‘To go and spend my money buying material things just doesn’t satisfy me the way that it used to.
To save someone’s life and do that once a year, then that would make me … my heart fuller.’
– Kim Kardashian
It’s not often we take inspiration from reality TV stars.
But this is an exception. Kim Kardashian has long been in the headlines for her lavish lifestyle, outrageous spending and for being famous… for being famous.
Both mainstream and social media lit up after her White House visit. She went to plead with President Donald J Trump for a pardon for a prisoner serving a life sentence.
It’s not the first time the celebrity has raised the case of Alice Marie Johnson, who has spent more than two decades behind bars and is not eligible for parole.
The 63-year-old was convicted in 1996 on eight charges related to a cocaine trafficking operation. A previous request for clemency was rejected by former President Barack Obama.
Ms Kardashian came across the great grandma’s plight on social media – where else? – and has championed her cause ever since. The principle argument seems to be the laudable notion that everyone deserves a second chance.
If we’re to take Ms Kardashian at her word, then she should be applauded – rather than ridiculed as she was by some sections of the media – for putting others before herself.
Some may sneer at a socialite’s ready access to the ‘leader of the free world’ but with 60 million Twitter followers and 111 million on Instagram, she’s not without influence. Why not use if for something worthwhile?
It may have taken years of excess spending and living the kind of life most of us could not imagine before the penny – or $100 note – dropped. But isn’t brand Kim displaying all the merits of the kind of altruistic actions we’d like our businesses and leaders to display a little more often?
There’s a huge swing in society towards businesses that put others before themselves; that value purpose over profit.
Many of these firms have grown from simple start-ups set up by innovators who didn’t necessarily equate themselves with perceived corporate world values. As they’ve grown, more people have taken notice.
Microsoft and Bill Gates set the bar with an estimated $1 billion given to charitable causes annually.
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia regularly asks customers to refrain from buying its products if they don’t really need them and software company Salesforce encourages its employees to do any type of charitable work they choose by giving them six days off per year to do it.
Collectively there’s an evolution that says businesses don’t have to be the bad guys and girls. You can build a business, offer good services or products, make a profit and do it all in a way that doesn’t leave customers and the public feeling like your only interest is in how quickly you can pocket their cash.
This ‘paying it forward’ philosophy can manifest in many ways. For instance, offering your expertise or products for free or at cost to charity; championing a cause close to your heart or giving a helping hand to those starting out on their careers.
In law, there has long been a tradition of pro bono work carried out ‘for the public good’. This traditionally has given access to justice to many who otherwise would not have been able to afford quality legal representation.
And here at Merrick, we’ve come up with a way to help clients with fewer resources but who, because of funding changes, no longer qualify for state funded legal aid. We ensure they get the help they need through our #AccessUs scheme. Their relief is all too clear to see.
This is just one of the ways here at Merrick we put people first and give something back.
In that respect, we think Kim really does have a good grasp of reality.