By Sheryl Estrada
They chose to name him Martin, inspired by two world changers: St. Martin de Porresand Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The expectations my parents had for me were expectations of greatness and service to others,” said Rodgers, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard University.
His mother participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Thirty years later, her son would work toward establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day of service, “a day on, not a day off.”
MLK Day has been celebrated as a federal holiday since 1986. In 1993, at the age of 27, Rodgers worked on Capitol Hill. He was a legislative assistant in the office of former Senator Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), co-founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. In 1994, the federal legislation declaring the holiday a day of service was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
Rodgers participated in drafting the legislation, which transformed the holiday into a day for Americans to reflect on the legacy of a great leader by donating services to others.
“[Dr. King’s] life, legacy, dream and vision have a huge impact on my life,” Rodgers said.
Accenture (No. 12 in The 2014 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity) is the company where he is encouraged to combine a life dedicated to public service with client service.
A Managing Director, Rodgers joined the global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company in 1997. He was recently named to lead the Metro D.C. office, and will oversee business growth and strategy.
Rodgers started the company’s nonprofit practice, which operates by the motto: “Doing well by doing good.”
In recognition of MLK Day of Service, more than 2,000 Accenture employees, under Rodgers’ direction, will participate on Monday in projects benefitting approximately 70 nonprofits, one of the largest corporate efforts in the D.C. Metro area.
“We aspire to be known as part of the fabric of the D.C. area,” Rodgers said. “We want to be a great corporate citizen and make a difference.”
Employees will participate in a variety of projects including: providing tech- and financial-literacy workshops, training in rsum writing, interviewing skills for veterans, refurbishing furniture, hosting food drives and painting rooms for veterans.
Rodgers said employees start planning with nonprofits in advance, and while making plans they also help organizations in areas such as social media and digital strategy.
He noted that at Accenture employees are encouraged to be positive examples for clients and in the community.
This challenge is aligned with career and personal advice that Rodgers can offer others: Greatness is always expected of you when you have talent and opportunity. And that greatness translates into serving others.
Currently, Rodgers also oversees Accenture’s work with the United Nations, including its recent work developing the UN’s ICT Strategy, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Department of Field Support Logistic Support Division’s Workforce Effectiveness initiative, and the UN’s Umoja Foundation SAP ERP implementation.
“At Accenture, one of our core values is stewardship,” Rodgers said. “For our clients, the community, the world and ourselves, we want to leave things better than we found them.”