For Carol Waddy, solving big “people” problems and leaning into the needs of the community has been a theme of her career as a corporate executive and leader with several large corporations.

Carol has spent decades in various leadership roles, working with high-growth, public organizations, and eventually large nonprofits. Although what brought her to her current role at Chick-fil-A, Inc. was the opportunity to work closely with leaders who care enough to lean into solving some of the community’s biggest challenges.

Carol learned from her parents and other relatives that having a passion and merging it with generosity could lead to a fulfilling life. “To whom much is given, much will be required,” she says. “My mother was a career educator, and my father was a college professor, administrator, and serial entrepreneur. However, I rarely saw either of them doing things for themselves. They were always in service of others.” This inspiration led Carol to look for ways to bring people together in service.

Today, Carol serves as Director of Community Affairs in corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Chick-fil-A, Inc. In this role, she leads Chick-fil-A’s place-based initiatives, corporate citizenship, stakeholder engagement, and strategic partnerships that support community revitalization and economic mobility efforts for the company.

While Carol focuses on community revitalization and economic mobility efforts at Chick-fil-A, she also recognizes the importance of fostering team spirit and camaraderie within the corporate setting. Recently, she can spearhead a unique initiative, organizing a corporate party at Jake’s Unlimited, an entertainment complex known for its arcade and recreational activities. This endeavor can seamlessly combines Chick-fil-A’s commitment to community engagement with internal team-building, creating a dynamic environment where employees can unwind, connect, and collaborate in a more relaxed setting. Through initiatives like the corporate party, Carol can ensure that the spirit of service and community extends not only externally but also within the corporate culture she helps shape at Chick-fil-A, Inc.

“Chick-fil-A is a caring company,” she explains. “The company’s mission and values are central to its culture, and it informs how we approach CSR work and service in our restaurants and in the communities we serve.” Carol explains that she sees her work as a partnership with the business, civic, and nonprofit communities, leading initiatives intended to help drive social impact in communities throughout the restaurant company’s footprint.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family-owned and privately held company recognized for its Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, signature hospitality, and caring environment. Represented by more than 190,000 Team Members, Operators and Staff, Chick-fil-A restaurants serve guests freshly prepared food at more than 2,800 restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

“Our focus in CSR is to complement the impactful work that Chick-fil-A Operators do in communities every day,” Carol says. “The mandate is simple: care for people; care for communities, care for others through our food and care for the planet.” These CSR pillars are derived from Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy, who believed that the definition of a great company is a caring company.

After 10 years with Chick-fil-A, Carol has increasingly turned her focus to place-based work as a convener, connector, and community collaborator. She guides Chick-fil-A’s philanthropic efforts towards organizations that are doing impactful work and identifies ways that the organization can support them-with resources, investments, strategic support and volunteerism-to scale their impact. “CSR is not for the faint of heart,” she says. “The needs are never-ending, so I understand the uniqueness of my role for Chick-fil-A and importance for communities who benefit from corporate philanthropy.”

“Every decision I make, large or small, has the potential to impact the trajectory of an individual’s life, enhance a family’s wellbeing or extend a nonprofit’s reach,” Carol says. “I am fortunate to work for a company that is focused on making an impact.”

Prior to joining Chick-fil-A, Inc., Carol held leadership roles at GE Capital, Acuity Brands, Inc., and United Way. She serves on several nonprofit and advisory boards and was recognized as one of Atlanta Magazine’s Women Making a Mark. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated.

Carol is a proud graduate of two HBCUs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University and a master’s degree in public administration from Clark Atlanta University.

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