Jaw Dropped: Viacom Makes Glassdoor’s List of Spectacular Offices

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Leaving the chaos of Times Square and pushing through the revolving doors into the award-winning lobby of Viacom’s headquarters at 1515 Broadway, it’s obvious you’re entering a place where entertainment is made. Batteries of televisions line the walls. A pair of supersized monitors pounds through highlights and previews of major television and movie properties. At the end of the elevator banks, supersized, vertically oriented glass shutter doors blink through updates of what’s happening all around the company. Through those doors is a cavernous event space. To the right is a humming, bright cafe.

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It’s design-first environments such as this lobby that helped Viacom make Glassdoor’s list of 16 companies with “jaw-dropping offices.” It’s a workspace, Glassdoor says, that is, “truly fit for the stars.” And these spaces reflect a company ethos that prizes environments tailored to accommodate the sort of high-octane creative work that is our lifeblood.

“The editors at Glassdoor are experts on workplace culture so it’s an honor to be included on this list,” says Vice President of Planning & Design Yetta Banks. “Beyond creating a pretty place to work, the goal for this project has always been to create spaces that encourage creativity, collaboration and play. Viacom is all about driving culture and conversation and it’s important that this mission is reflected in the way that we work.”

The gradual upgrades to Viacom’s offices have been ongoing for some time, and reach well beyond our New York City headquarters. In recent years, the company opened an 88,000-square-foot Viacom International production studio in Miami:

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… massively expanded its Nick animation studio in Burbank:

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony To Celebrate Grand Opening…
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony To Celebrate Grand Opening…
Stuart Stuart

attends the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

… and opened a new eight-brand West Coast headquarters in the bustle of Hollywood:

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Viacommunity Takes Talent for Good West

Last month, Viacommunity journeyed to Viacom’s Hollywood office, the Paramount Lot and the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank as part of an official West Coast launch of Talent for Good, Viacom’s skills-based volunteer program in conjunction with Catchafire.

The program kicked off with an exclusive Rapid Fire event in Hollywood. We matched five teams of Viacom and Paramount volunteers with one of five local nonprofit organizations to take part in a two-hour brainstorm, exploring solutions to each nonprofit’s challenges. All five teams then shared their solutions, forging connections with their colleagues and local nonprofits. Each organization left with clear next steps and tools to overcome their challenges and move closer to achieving their missions.

Viacom volunteers and their community partners met to explore solutions to the organization’s concerns at Viacom’s new Hollywood facility in October 2017.

The participating organizations and their respective challenges were as follows:

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest legal organization advocating through impact litigation and public policy work for the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV. The organization’s premier L.A.-based annual event, the West Coast Liberty Awards, attracts more than 400 supporters to honor advocates, activists and companies whose work complements Lambda Legal’s mission. Lambda Legal seeks to elevate their visibility as a Hollywood “influencer” so they can appeal to a new, younger audience.

My Friend’s Place assists and inspires homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives in Los Angeles. In 2018, the organization will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a spring gala and special campaign, complemented by storytelling that communicates and celebrates their heritage. The group needs creative thinkers to brainstorm inventive ways of sharing that history through unique storytelling that will drive engagement with their anniversary celebration.

Brainstorming sessions between Viacom volunteers and community partners at the Viacom Hollywood office.

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Viacom Again Lands on Indeed.com’s List of Best Fortune 500 Companies to Work for

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Over the past several years, Viacom’s towering Times Square headquarters has undergone a series of significant renovations. In the lobby, enormous screens now hang alongside the elevator banks, a cavernous event space and a new cafe host an endless procession of parties and meetings, and a sequence of bold installations has invigorated the entrance areas with the energy of a high-end art gallery. Up on the seventh floor, the Wellness Studio offers heavily discounted memberships on a regimen of fitness classes, while employees can get their pictures album-ready for free at a printing studio. The 31st floor has been transformed into a massive convention center, while several other floors have been renovated in a style that elegantly meshes function and design.

As the company headquarters slowly sheds its old skin for the wide-open interiors of the 21st century media workplace, Viacom has been investing furiously in new, renovated and expanded buildings all over its footprint: earlier this year, the company united eight of its brands in a soaring space in the heart of Hollywood and vastly expanded its Burbank studio.

This invigorating workspace overhaul is just one of many perks to having a job at Viacom, and it likely contributes to the company landing on the upper half of Indeed.com’s list of  Best Fortune 500 Companies to work for for the second consecutive year.

What makes Indeed’s list unique is that their rankings are based entirely on data extracted from employee-submitted reviews. And the reviews are strong.

“I have worked at Viacom in Hollywood for over a year and love it,” went one typical comment. “Super fun and collaborative culture, cool brands and a nice work/life balance.”

Commenters praised the company’s perks (like free soda and coffee machines in many locations), employee events (like a conversation with LL Cool J), paid time off, benefits, and career development and advancement opportunities.

“Smart companies know that if they make their workers feel comfortable and happy, they will work harder and longer,” another commenter wrote. “Happiness pays for itself with higher productivity.”

The company has spent decades building a deep talent pool – signed plaques commemorating 10-or-more-year anniversaries are ubiquitous on desks around the office – and this shows in the deep respect that many commenters had for their peers. “My co-workers were some of the smartest professionals I’ve ever worked with,” wrote one person, who identified themselves as a former vice president in Ad Sales. Another expressed a similar sentiment: “At Viacom I learned how to be a better engineer, you are around GREAT and strong engineers and as our lead architect would say, ‘Stay with us, we will make you better.’”

And while all of these things are, in my experience, true, and having cool workspaces infuses day-to-day tasks with a certain energy, there is something far more important that Indeed identified as a common thread running through all of the top 50 companies. “A recurring theme across the employee reviews for these firms is the importance of a strong company culture and clear values,” a post on the site announcing the list explained.

Indeed, a strong community conscience has always been vital to Viacom’s self-image, and many employees praised  the many volunteer opportunities, an inclusive culture that values diversity, and the unexpected benefits that transcend the typical menu of health insurance policies, such as adoption assistance.

Viacom employees help clean up Central Park at Viacommunity Day 2017, the company’s annual day of community service.

While a constellation of factors influence how people feel about their jobs every day, there is a pervasive pride, throughout the comments on Indeed, of working for a company that is so vital to the modern media and entertainment landscape, and one that is adapting so well to it, with advanced data capabilities and audience measurement tools. As one commenter wrote, “The industry is going through a major restructure and this company is ahead.”

This recognition from Indeed is the latest in a long line of acknowledgements that the company has received for creating a supportive and attractive work environment. Last year, Fast Company named Viacom a top destination for work-life balance, Fatherly named us to its Great Workplaces for New Dads list, and Working Mother put the company on its 100 Best Companies list for the sixth consecutive year.

History Echoes and Present Zooms at Nick’s New Burbank Studio

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

In a rousing ribbon-cutting attended by Viacom executives and the real-life embodiments of SpongeBob and Squidward, Nickelodeon opened a vast expansion of its Burbank studio earlier this month, planting a modern and well-appointed workspace for 700 employees at the heart of one of the world’s entertainment capitals.

“The opening of our new offices in Burbank is a significant moment for Nickelodeon,” said Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami. “We are ushering in a new era of creative excellence and increased collaboration for everyone who works here. Since we first planted our flag on the West Coast in the early ‘90s, Nickelodeon in Burbank has been a beacon to the creative community, and our new complex now signals our increased commitment to giving our creators and employees the very best environment and resources to be successful.”

(L-R) Actor Benjamin Flores Jr. from Game Shakers, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny, Mayor of Burbank Jess Talamantes, President of Nickelodeon Cyma Zarghami, President and CEO of Viacom Inc. Robert Bakish, Vice Chair of the Board Shari Redstone, voice of Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke, and actor Cree Cicchino from Game Shakers attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art Complex on January 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

(L-R) Actor Benjamin Flores Jr. from Game Shakers, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny, Mayor of Burbank Jess Talamantes, President of Nickelodeon Cyma Zarghami, President and CEO of Viacom Inc. Robert Bakish, Vice Chair of the Board Shari Redstone, voice of Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke, and actor Cree Cicchino from Game Shakers attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon’s State-of-the-Art Complex on January 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

The more-than 200,000-square-foot space expands upon Nick’s adjacent legacy studio with room to host more than 20 show productions, including smash hits The Loud House, SpongeBob SquarePants and Shimmer and Shine.

The building distills the essence of Nick’s kid-centric brand into a grown-up workspace dotted with customizable work stations and ample collaborative spaces. Archival libraries warehouse the brand’s deep well of iconic work, while rotating galleries showcase the best of contemporary artists’ efforts from both inside and outside of the company. Threaded throughout the five-story space is an 88-seat screening room, voiceover studios, a café, and rooms dedicated to fitness, music and gaming.

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attends the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Nick’s Next Star Is Rising in Burbank

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

One of the most exciting projects happening at Nickelodeon right now will never crack the top of the children’s ratings (as so many Nick shows have lately). It will not feature a talking sponge or a gaggle of rambunctious children or anthropomorphic monster trucks. It will never be on television at all.

Instead, it will serve as an animation and idea factory that will help launch all of these things and much more out into the wider world. It is Nick’s new Burbank animation studio, currently rising on a busy intersection between the Verdugo and Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California.

Viacom commissioned Southern California filmmaker and photographer Brian Hawkins to distill the project’s energy as it rose in the sun-dappled landscape. He’s headquartered nearby and was able to visit the site several times per month. The result was this stunning video:

I caught up with Hawkins to ask him a bit about how he executed the project and what he thought about Nick’s spectacular new building. The conversation below is edited for length and clarity.

Stuart Winchester: Really awesome video. What was your process for shooting and editing this?

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Viacommunity Day 2016: Check out Our Employees in Action

​​Viacom offices are usually clamoring with activity, but not on May 20, 2016. Instead, our employees across the country and around the globe left their desks, shut down their computers, and set off to put our corporate values into action. Here’s a loo​k at how they turned up for good on the 20th anniversary of Viacommunity Day.

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A Global Effort Puts an Exclamation Point on Viacommunity’s 20th Anniversary

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Reporting by Stuart Winchester & Lisa Di Venuta

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Viacommunity volunteers help teach young kids the art of music production. Read More

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VH1 Save The Music Foundation aims to bring music back into schools across America. Read More

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A volunteer helps train a budding musician. Read More

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Viacom employees volunteer their expertise in areas like marketing, legal, and leadership at the Catchafire phone-a-thon. Read More

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Philippe Dauman is one of many Viacommunity volunteers offering skill-based advice during the Catchafire phone-a-thon. Read More

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Philippe Dauman donates his time by giving professional advice at the Catchafire phone-a-thon. Read More

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An employee uses his professional skill set to help others at the Catchafire phone-a-thon. Read More

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Kids have a blast playing with Viacommunity volunteers at the Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Children of Promise. Read More

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A Viacommunity volunteer shares her dance moves with a child at the Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Children of Promise. Read More

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Kids have a blast playing with Viacommunity volunteers at the Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Children of Promise. Read More

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A boy shows off his skills at the Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Children of Promise, on Viacommunity Day. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers work on beatifying the grounds at the City Parks Foundation in Manhattan. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers work on beatifying the grounds at the City Parks Foundation in Manhattan. Read More

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Philippe Dauman and a volunteer check out the progress at the City Parks Foundation in Manhattan. Read More

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The Free Arts NYC Viacommunity Day site captain poses in front of art work from the day. Read More

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Free Arts NYC is a Manhattan-based nonprofit which gives undeserved children and families a unique combination of educational arts and mentoring programs. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers work on projects at Free Arts NYC. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers at the Grace Institute in Manhattan, a nonprofit providing disadvantaged women tuition-free job training and job placement assistance. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers at the Grace Institute in Manhattan, a nonprofit providing disadvantaged women tuition-free job training and job placement assistance. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers at the Grace Institute in Manhattan, a nonprofit providing disadvantaged women tuition-free job training and job placement assistance. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers practice a routine with kids at Hip Hop 4 Life, a Manhattan-based youth organization focused on positive youth development. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers, including Philippe Dauman, are impressed with the dance moves at Hip Hop 4 Life. Read More

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A volunteer and mentee share an inspiring moment at Hip Hop 4 Life. Read More

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A Viacommunity volunteer scrubs the walls at the Humane Society of New York. Read More

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Viacom employees are grateful to make a difference in this young pup's life at the Humane Society of New York. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers help out at the Humane Society of New York. Read More

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Long Island's North Shore Horse Rescue cares for neglected, abused, or abandoned horses. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers care for a horse at Long Island's North Shore Horse Rescue. Read More

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Viacom employees spruce up the Robert Moses State Park on Long Island. Read More

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Viacom employees spruce up the Robert Moses State Park on Long Island. Read More

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A group of proud Viacommunity volunteers at Robert Moses State Park on Long Island. Read More

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Stop Hunger Now gets food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, and works to end global hunger in our lifetime. Read More

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The Viacommunity captain for Stop Hunger Now prepares boxes of food for humanitarian relief. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers at the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers at the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Read More

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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles share the Viacommunity spirit with special-needs children at the Opportunity Preschool on Long Island. Read More

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Local children strike a pose with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this Viacommunity Day. Read More

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Donatello and Leonardo pose with two young fans at the Opportunity Preschool on Long Island. Read More

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Donatello plays around with a Viacommunity volunteer and students at the Opportunity Preschool. Read More

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Parents and students at the Opportunity Preschool are thrilled to spend time with the Turtles. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers, Donatello, and Leonardo helped out at the Opportunity Preschool on Long Island. Read More

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A Viacommunity volunteer helps out at Union Settlement, a nonprofit focused on empowering East Harlem residents of all ages. Read More

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A group of Viacom employees dedicated their time to brighten up the Remington Clubhouse gymnasium at the New Rochelle Boys and Girls Club. Read More

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A Viacommunity volunteer paints the Remington Clubhouse gymnasium at the New Rochelle Boys and Girls Club. Read More

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A group of Viacom employees dedicated their time to brighten up the Remington Clubhouse gymnasium at the New Rochelle Boys and Girls Club. Read More

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A Viacommunity volunteer repairs a warped walkway at the Westchester-based Greenburgh Nature Center. Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers weed out invasive plants at the Greenburgh Nature Center using a tool called the "gutbuster". Read More

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Viacommunity volunteers get to work revitalizing the Greenburgh Nature Center. Read More

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This hill is steeper than it looks! Viacom volunteers work with the Chris Canty Foundation and Partnership for Parks to plant trees at St. Nicholas Park in upper Manhattan Read More

 

 

 

 

Thousands of Viacom employees spread out through communities around the world last Friday, making an emphatic endorsement of the core company value of giving back. In a global arc spanning from Europe down through Africa, from Singapore and Australia to Mexico and throughout the United States, Viacom’s operations took a collective breath to clean parks, prepare meals, offer advice and help out in countless other ways as the organization celebrated the 20th anniversary of Viacommunity.

“We need to be a part of the communities we live in,” said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who dropped in on several sites around New York City on Friday. “It’s one of our Viacom values, which is to do good, and I think everybody has a responsibility to do that. I hope that we inspire a lot of people to do more during the course of their lives, and we’ll make them better people and better employees, because living those kinds of values outside of work helps you do a better job at work.”

PARAMOUNT TAKES THE INAUGURAL VIACOMMUNITY DAY CUP WITH GLOBAL EFFORT

Paramount employees spread across 13 countries and six U.S. cities, from San Diego and L.A. on the West Coast to Rogers, Arkansas, Coconut Creek, Florida, and Atlanta in the South to Columbus, Ohio in the Midwest – 1,125 volunteers altogether. It was enough to add the Viacommunity Day Cup to the Paramount’s already bulging trophy case, as that number gave them the highest percentage of any company division to sign up for a project. The trophy is theirs for one year – although another division will have a chance to steal it from them by rallying more employees to participate in Viacommunity Day 2017.

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