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The Estée Lauder Cos. Launches Voting Initiatives

The civic program, focused on content and initiatives, aims to help Lauder employees get out the vote.

At a time when election fraud is top of mind in the U.S., The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. is solidifying its commitment to getting out the vote, it announced in an internal memo Wednesday morning.

The organization has partnered with TurboVote, a nonprofit, non-partisan platform that aids in voter registration, offers e-mail and SMS reminders and locates nearby polling places. The platform is available to employees of the Estée Lauder Cos. who are eligible to vote, according to an internal memo sent throughout the company Wednesday morning.

The company kicked off the nonpartisan initiative with a video, titled “Why I Vote,” featuring various employees describing their philosophies behind voting. The company will be releasing more “Why I Vote” videos, as well as various posts about planning voting days and communications around voter registration, ahead of the general election on Nov. 3.

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Lauder’s internal commitment to civic engagement predates the initiative. “Our role as a company is to provide the tools, and the space and the time for our employees to exercise their civic duty,” said Maria Cristina “MC” Gonzalez Noguera, senior vice president of global public affairs at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “Prior to 2016, it was understood that you could go and take your time and vote. We made it more explicit by having communications to employees, and in 2018, we made it even more explicit with PTO.”

The initiatives were executed partially by the global public affairs team, and partially by the civic engagement task force, which any employee can join. “This idea came up organically through our employee resource group structure and we pulled it together,” said Kara Carscaden, vice president of global public affairs at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. “In the past two to four years, the nonpartisan tools available to companies have really expanded. When we started to look at it, it was clear there were new opportunities for our employees.”

“Through this initiative, we are meeting our employees where they are. This is a reaction to what our employees told us they wanted,” Gonzalez Noguera added.

Gonzalez Noguera herself has a history with elected office, having served as director of communications for then-First Lady Michelle Obama, and assistant to President Obama. Carscaden also formerly worked for the Obama administration.

The team’s government experience did come in handy. “The Estée Lauder Cos. had a preexisting commitment to civic engagement, and we brought the understanding of how you organize,” Gonzalez Noguera said. “What we instinctively did was marry the commitment with our experience in organizing.”

That being said, she emphasized the nonpartisan nature of the initiative. The internal memo sent by Gonzalez Noguera Wednesday morning highlighted keeping any ensuing political debates civil. “We were very deliberate about saying, ‘We know there will be discussion about politics, and we want to encourage you to have that discussion, but have it with respect,'” Gonzalez Noguera said.

The company has also joined the ranks of corporations prioritizing advocacy for social causes, having just inaugurated its civic engagement task force late last year. It also joined the Civic Alliance this July, an alliance started by the Democratic party and the CAA Foundation to encourage employees to participate in public elections.

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