GET TO KNOW OUR MEMBERS – May

Lara Smedley (she/her/hers)
Smedley Events

Carrie Martin-Haley (she/her/hers)
Summit Sustainable Goods

Occupation: Event Producer/Owner, Smedley Events

Do you have a specific area of sustainability that interests you the most? Why do you CARE about that specific area? (i.e. energy, water, waste, transportation, etc.) I love utilizing events to connect people with their community and environment. Events have the power of bringing people of varying backgrounds together and creating experiences that uncover commonality. This can help spark a new idea, or change that creates a better world for all.

Finish this statement: I CARE Because … doing the right thing matters.

What are one or two of your favorite sustainability tips or tricks that you like to share with others? Go paperless! I try whenever possible to not print anything. I have reusable vinyl banners that we print new dates (and attach with velcro) each year. Saves time, money and the environment!

What are you most excited about when it comes to being a Women in Sustainability Member? I am most excited about seeing this community grow and supporting my amazing friend Becky Migas!

Connect with Lara:
Email: lara@smedleyevents.com
Website • FacebookInstagram • LinkedIn

Occupation: Founder at Summit Sustainable Goods

Do you have a specific area of sustainability that interests you the most? Why do you CARE about that specific area? (i.e. energy, water, waste, transportation, etc.) Zero waste is a passion of mine because it’s a simple and effective way to engage with environmentalism from an everyday perspective. Through minimizing the waste we produce as individuals and as a society, we can reduce the amount of trash that collects in landfills on an annual basis. This shift to a circular economy reduces land and water pollution, decreases emissions, and minimizes dependency on single-use items. Zero waste empowers both individuals and communities to shift behavior changes to more sustainable practices and embrace mindful consumption.

What interests / excites you most about being involved in sustainability? I love being involved in sustainability because it provides an outlet for individuals to connect with each other and the natural environment through both small and large decisions to make the world a better place. Through sustainability we can connect with current and future generations to ensure a safe planet where we can thrive. Sustainability excites me because it allows me to establish connections with people from all walks of life and work together towards a clean and healthy world for everyone. For me, it’s about seeing both the small details and the large picture; how the small decisions we make every day impact the kind of world we choose to live in.

Finish this statement: I CARE Because … I see a world in which people and the planet can thrive harmoniously, and where individuals, communities, and societies can work collaboratively to create a healthier tomorrow for generations to come. It takes all of us making shifts, both small and large, to create the momentum necessary to make this happen. I care because our planet – and all life on it – ultimately depends on it.

What are one or two of your favorite sustainability tips or tricks that you like to share with others? When making the transition to lowering your waste, don’t feel like you have to change everything overnight! I like to break it down into two categories: practices and products. Brainstorm the practices in your everyday routine that you could adjust to reduce your trash or dependency on single-use items, such as bringing reusable bags to the grocery store instead of choosing plastic. Then look at the products you use on a regular basis in your household. Find options you are comfortable committing to swap out, such as buying a plastic-free shampoo bar or refill when you run out of liquid shampoo. Work on adjusting these lifestyle swaps – the practice and the product that you committed to – and ensure you’ve established a habit before moving on to the next product and practice! Rather than becoming overwhelmed on your zero waste journey, this creates a way to feel successful and accomplished.

What are you most excited about when it comes to being a Women in Sustainability Member? I love the community that surrounds the Women in Sustainability community. Becoming a member opens up a host of additional opportunities for me to engage with environmental justice and sustainability, both as an individual and with my business.

Connect with Carrie:
Email: carrie@summitsustainablegoods.eco
Website • Instagram • Facebook

GET TO KNOW OUR MEMBERS – April

Brie DeLisi Zoller (she/her/hers) – Brie Z Operations

Occupation: Chief Problem Solver of Brie Z Operations

Do you have a specific area of sustainability that interests you the most? Why do you CARE about that specific area? (i.e. energy, water, waste, transportation, etc.) I have an overarching interest in the sustainability of supportive synergy – when we take care of the planet, the planet takes care of us, and we all flourish! We rely on every single aspect of our planet to live, why wouldn’t we treat it and care for it like the life-giving force that it is?

What interests / excites you most about being involved in sustainability? I’m beyond excited to have an exponential impact on sustainability with the work that I do. By streamlining, strategizing, and connecting sustainable, impact-driven organizations – I have the honor of helping them do even MORE good for the world!

Finish this statement: I CARE Because … I’ve lived in and visited so many breathtaking places, they deserve to be protected and cared for so that future generations can continue to enjoy them, too.

What are one or two of your favorite sustainability tips or tricks that you like to share with others? Buy everything second-hand! You’ll save so much money AND still get what you want/need. My go-to second-hand shopping in thrift stores and Facebook marketplace. Even Amazon has an option to buy ‘used’ when in a pinch.

What are you most excited about when it comes to being a Women in Sustainability Member? I love the community of like-minded women and allies who are here to make the world a better place. I’m constantly inspired and excited by the discussions I get to have with my fellow members. I cherish the opportunities to learn and grow as an individual and together as a community.

Connect with Brie:
Email: brie@briezoperations.com
WebsiteInstagramLinkedIn

GET TO KNOW OUR MEMBERS -March

Stephanie Vail (she/her/hers) – On the Move with Vail

Occupation: Denver Metro Realtor

Do you have a specific area of sustainability that interests you the most? Why do you CARE about that specific area? (i.e. energy, water, waste, transportation, etc.) energy, food, clothing

What interests / excites you most about being involved in sustainability? I think there is a lot of energy and momentum in sustainability going on right now. I know in our household, we are always looking for ways that we can be better for the environment and in the past year switched to an electric car, being a single car family and put solar panels on our home. Also, now that we have integrated some of these practices into our life, we can help be an ambassador and hopefully help others feel like these are approachable options for them as well! As more options and developments become available we love to find ways to integrate more sustainable practices into our daily life. That’s the exciting part about sustainability- it’s always evolving!

Finish this statement: I CARE Because … I care because… it is vital that we take action steps now for the next generation!

What are one or two of your favorite sustainability tips or tricks that you like to share with others? I absolutely love clothing swaps- people aren’t always aware that fashion is one of the largest pollutants and people come not really knowing what to expect and walk away with incredible pieces that get a second life! Last year I was a part of my first CSA which supports a local farmer and provides fresh produce all season! It was a fun way to explore some new (to me) vegetables and support a local restaurant and their farm in my neighborhood.

What are you most excited about when it comes to being a Women in Sustainability Member? I absolutely love being in the Women in Sustainability space as I am always learning so much from passionate experts in their field. I love being able to learn, connect and integrate tips into my daily life so that I can show up and live in a more sustainable way! After the last few years I am so excited to gather in person! I am always looking for ways to stretch and grow and find this community to be so motivating and inspiring. I love the variety of events and topics that are covered and look forward to diving in!

Connect with Stephanie:
Email: steph@onthemovewithvail.com
InstagramLinkedIn

COMMUNITY VOICES SERIES – April

Embedding Sustainability in Business Operations
by BRIE DELISI ZOLLER (SHE/HER/HERS) ~ BRIE Z OPERATIONS

Photo by Josh Power on Unsplash

You live and breathe sustainability and supporting the planet, right? Sustainability is in every fiber of your being! But is it embedded in every fiber of your business operations? Protecting the planet goes beyond just a value you hold when you’re in business – it needs to be engrained in the work that is being done by everyone who touches your business.

Today let’s talk about what are the critical operations management systems necessary to embed sustainability in day-to-day business. Here is a high-level rundown:

  • Operations management system is the blueprint for how a company does work – it is meant to support the whole organization from the top down.
  • Circular approach in which leaders are supporting employees, who are supporting the operations, and feedback is returned and acted upon at all levels.
  • Goals and metrics that are related to sustainability – equal to and integrated with production and revenue related metrics, they could be:
    • Lagging indicators (output after an event occurs): Energy consumption, emissions, water usage, waste, supply chain
    • Leading indicators (input before an event occurs): Sustainability project efforts, pre-implementation sustainability audit, environmental audits, employee training
  • Communications – leaders need to be able to clearly explain what the company goals are, why they are important, what they are doing to support the goals and what employee’s roles are in the company efforts
  • Written requirements and instructions for how work is performed (standard operating procedures (SOPs), standard work, processes, operating instructions) and those should include sustainability measures. Ideally there isn’t a separate document for the same task, otherwise it isn’t viewed as one in the same.
  • Tools and equipment: should be aligned with sustainability initiatives.
  • Training: Training is important to ensure that all employees have the same understanding of how to perform their work and how environmental efforts tie into the work that they perform.

What are best practices to engage employees in sustainability initiatives?

  • Employee engagement efforts are important to gain buy in and to get important insights into how work is performed.
  • A great tactic is to include sustainability as a part of each employees’ annual performance goals with tangible activities that can be performed to meet those goals.
  • Employee-led committees with leadership support.
  • Department representatives for sustainability and environmental efforts.
  • Leadership should highlight those efforts to the entire organization so that everyone understands the importance.

As business leaders, how do we know if we’re succeeding in embedding sustainability in the organization?

  • Conduct assessments or audits to verify within the operations and conduct a root cause analysis for any issues or gaps that arise
  • Get feedback from employees: Circular feedback loop when an employee submits concerns, Townhalls, Employee surveys – most importantly, this should be a regular conversation that is happening internally so that its normalized and not just a ‘check-the-box’ activity.

Have any questions? Want to learn more? Shoot me an email at brie@briezoperations.com

Brie DeLisi Zoller • Brie Z Operations
LinkedIn