Exclusive: Dana Medema tells us all about the CO. by Colgate and The Cybersmile Foundation’s New Partnership

On Stop Cyberbullying Day, CO. by Colgate and The Cybersmile Foundation launched an important new partnership.

We recently spoke to Dana Medema, Vice President & General Manager, Oral Care at Co. by Colgate to find out all about the partnership and why Colgate feels so strongly partnering with The Cybersmile Foundation.

Dana Medema - VP & GM, Global Oral Care-North America at Colgate Palmolive  | The Org

What is it about Cybersmile as an organization that made you want to partner with them?

As a purpose-driven brand founded on the values of inclusivity and authentic self-expression, CO. by Colgate envisions a world where everyone can express themselves freely. When we can express ourselves freely, we smile more. 

Our values align closely with The Cybersmile Foundation, which works to promote kindness, diversity, and inclusion by building a safer, more positive digital community. They are committed to helping everyone realize their true potential by supporting those affected, changing negative behaviors, and through education – preparing this and further generations for a safe and positive digital future.

Our organizations have come together for a partnership to raise awareness about the impact of online bullying on the lives of many young people, recognizing Cyberbullying is a key barrier to self-expression, with 73% of Gen Z stating they have seen somebody targeted with online abuse, bullying or harassment for how they express their individuality or identity*.

As part of this partnership, CO. by Colgate will donate $1 for every product purchased in 2021 to The Cybersmile Foundation, committing to a minimum donation of $200,000 and a maximum of $300,000. 

CO. by Colgate and The Cybersmile Foundation will also continue to raise awareness around cyberbullying throughout the year, including a Cybersmile report sponsored by CO. by Colgate, titled “The State of Play Report: Gen Z & Identity Based Cyberbullying.”

It’s such an important campaign, especially the report, do you think it will help people change the way they think about how they interact with others online?

The effects of online bullying can be especially difficult for young people, who tend to spend greater amounts of time on social media platforms. Over the last 12-18 months, Cybersmile has experienced an increase in young people requesting help and support for issues relating to identity-based bullying, harassment, and abuse. We are proud to support the work of The Cybersmile Foundation in building a safer, more inclusive future for everyone. 

CO. by Colgate and The Cybersmile Foundation will raise awareness around cyberbullying throughout the year, including a Cybersmile report sponsored by CO. by Colgate, titled “The State of Play Report: Gen Z & Identity Based Cyberbullying.”  

The State of Play report will examine the prevalence and emotional impact of bullying and abusive content on various social media platforms, with a particular focus on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ableness, physical appearance, and freedom of expression. 

Findings from the report will inform a series of best-practice recommendations for dealing with cyberbullying and reporting identity-based abuse and hate speech on a platform-by-platform basis; it will also help guide The Cybersmile Foundation’s ongoing work and support services.

We hope that our work together will raise awareness of cyberbullying and the impact it can have on people’s lives. Our aim is to encourage people to be mindful of their own online interactions while encouraging people to celebrate and promote a truly inclusive online community where everybody feels free to communicate and express themselves without the fear of bullying, ridicule, or abuse.

What do you hope the campaign achieves?

Research conducted by CO. by Colgate and The Cybersmile Foundation shows cyberbullying is a significant barrier to confident self-expression – with 73% of Gen Z stating they have seen somebody targeted with online abuse, bullying, or harassment for how they express their individuality or identity*.

Our partnership aims to raise awareness about online bullying and its impact on the lives of many young people. We hope to further Cybersmile’s mission to promote kindness, diversity, and inclusion by building a safer, more positive digital community while advancing CO’s brand purpose to help promote a future where everyone can feel confident to express themselves freely.

How do you as a company help your own staff deal with any negativity they might face online?

At Colgate-Palmolive, we are focused on our purpose as a caring, innovative growth company that’s reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets, and our planet.

And we are working to create a culture that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive of all, rooted in our core company value: caring.

Our goal is for Colgate people around the world to feel like Colgate is a place where they belong; where they can be their authentic selves, feel treated with respect, and have the support of their manager and the company to impact the business and achieve their potential. Specifically, Colgate is providing new training on unconscious bias and allyship, as well as manager inclusivity training. We also have a goal to become an ally for change as a thought leader on issues of DE&I, leveraging social media, which we hope to further through CO. by Colgate’s partnership with Cybersmile and our sponsored report.

What is one thing you would like people to take away from this partnership with Cybersmile?.

CO. by Colgate envisions a world where everyone can express themselves freely; when we can express ourselves freely, we smile more. We hope that our work with The Cybersmile Foundation will raise awareness of cyberbullying — including identity-based cyberbullying — and the impact it can have on people’s lives, and further The Cybersmile Foundation’s mission to build a safer, more inclusive future for Gen-Z and all online users.

* All figures are from Perksy. The total sample size was 1,096 individuals 16-24. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 3 2021 and June 4, 2021. The survey was carried out on mobile.

You can find out more about the partnership here!

Written by Kelly McFarland

Likes to post in black and white on Instagram. Avid Tea drinker, preferably Yorkshire Tea or Lipton Iced Tea and lover of Pop Culture. Contact: kelly@celebmix.com