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It’s good business for HPE’s CFO to wear a tutu and jump in a cold lake. Here’s why

If you see a woman in a tutu diving into Lake Ontario on Thursday, it could be Linda Sampson. The chief financial officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Canada isn’t afraid to make a splash for conservation.

Nor are her colleagues. Participating in events like WWF-Canada’s Polar Dip is business as usual for the fun-loving and philanthropic folks at this tech company.

Linda Sampson, CFO and Charlie Atkinson, Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise kick off Polar Bear Week at their head office. © Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada

Linda Sampson, CFO and Charlie Atkinson, Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada kick off Polar Bear Week at their head office. © Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada

Corporate social responsibility has been part of Hewlett Packard since the beginning, when founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard first laid out the company’s objectives back in 1957. Over the years, the company has encouraging employees to give back.

HPE pays their staffers to volunteer as much as 60 hours per year. The company also gives employees $5 to donate to a charity of their choice for every hour of volunteer time they do. And if employees dig into their own pockets to support a charity, HPE matches those donations up to $1,000 (U.S.) per employee each calendar year.

This isn’t the first time Sampson had braved the cold for WWF. Last year, with her husband and three boys cheering her on, she overcame her aversion to cold water and took the plunge for a cause she cares about. Growing up, Sampson loved spending time outdoors, but she took the natural world for granted. Today she recognizes just how vital it is to protect the planet that sustains us.

The dip will cap off Polar Bear Week at HPE, with 60 local staff volunteers coordinating high-energy events at sites across the country. “We’ve really seen our employees rally around the cause,” Sampson said.

Other companies could benefit from following HPE’s example, Sampson said. Participating in events like WWF-Canada’s Spring Things campaign supports important causes and creates a buzz of excitement around the office, giving staff a chance to have fun, let their hair down and connect with colleagues. “It’s a great opportunity to show your company pride, an excellent way to engage employees,” Sampson said.

At this year’s dip, she will be joined by 15 other brave souls from the office. Her advice to nervous newcomers? “The more, the merrier,” she said. “I think the main thing is not overthinking it.”

Join HPE and become a force for nature through WWF’s Spring Things campaign. Find all the details here.