Impact of working for a company that cares | Opinion

By Marc Cannon

Special to the Sun Sentinel

Oct 14, 2021 11:14 AM

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Inter Miami CF's stadium is named AutoNation's DVR PNK Stadium.

Inter Miami CF’s stadium is named AutoNation’s DVR PNK Stadium. (Khobi Price / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

With today’s up-and-comers having different work priorities than those of previous generations, companies of all sizes are challenged to figure out what talented candidates are looking for. A decade ago, the answer would have been pay and benefits, but not any longer. Times have changed, and the non-negotiable condition for many young people, whether they are MBAs or skilled tradespeople, is working for a company that cares about improving people’s lives.

I know this to be true because I experienced it first-hand in AutoNation’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters and in over 300 AutoNation locations around the country as we took on the task of aligning our brand with our culture of making a difference.

It all started in 2013 with a bold company commitment to direct all our charitable initiatives toward the singular mission of ending cancer. Two years later, we launched Drive Pink and to date have raised and donated over $28 million to support critical research and treatment through partnerships with cancer charities from coast to coast. From the AutoNation logo to pink license plate frames and pink shirts, wearing pink became a badge of honor.

Before long, a movement was underway in the company. Service managers from Texas sought me out after a DRVPNK event to tell me how proud they are to work for AutoNation. Countless emails and phone calls came from others who had watched a video on the amazing impact DRVPNK was having on cancer patients and their families.

DRVPNK was embraced equally by owners of every make and model AutoNation sells and had become a point of pride for them all. In fact, our market research tells us that DRVPNK is what many of our customers like best about AutoNation.

Marc Cannon

Marc Cannon (David Pearlman / Courtesy)

We are assuring DRVPNK’s future by visibly making it part of our culture in many ways, such as naming Fort Lauderdale’s soccer venue the DRVPNK Stadium and sponsoring IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud who proudly wear pink and the pink plate. Breast cancer currently is about 70% of the DRVPNK initiative, as we also answer the call for donations to end other types of cancer, including prostate cancer.

Every day, we see how committing to a cause contributes to our associates’ happiness, productivity, and work satisfaction. It is human nature to be more motivated to work for an organization that invests in your well-being and the well-being of your family. From the day they join us, associates qualify for company-paid cancer insurance for themselves and their family of $5,000 per year to offset the expenses associated with living with cancer. That’s a powerful statement about caring for our employees. AutoNation is one of only a handful of companies that provides free cancer insurance.

Of all the many things I have learned from the evolution of DRVPNK, the most enduring revelation is that we do not give one another enough credit for caring. Everyone I know wants to beat cancer and I am proud to work for a company that is putting its muscle behind the wheel.

Marc Cannon is executive vice president and chief customer experience officer of Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation, Inc.

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