Women in CSR: Angela Parker

2013. május 16. 22:26
Angela Parker
Triple Pundit

Overall, my role includes ensuring the execution of all of the day-to-day tasks necessary to achieve the company’s vision, managing the company’s non-senior level employees, and „making things happen”. Interjú.

„–Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey and how.

– Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I knew a lot of people who were deeply committed to leaving their world better than they found it. I saw straw bale houses and »off the grid« lifestyles – I even had a friend who had a very literal goal of producing zero waste. When you are submersed in that culture, you feel a wave of guilt every time you choose the garbage can labelled »landfill« over the ones labelled »compost« or »recycling.« You also become a sustainability snob
or at least I did. I thought I knew what the rules were and where the lines between »right and wrong« should be drawn until I heard a brilliant man one day speak about social justice, financial responsibility, and environmental sustainability. I wholeheartedly believed what he said that day – in fact, I was sure I had come across one of the very few who I could confidently refer to as “the real thing”. Overwhelmed with a sense of admiration and appreciation, I rushed to follow him out the door as he was leaving to thank him for his inspiring words. We reached the parking lot just as I breathlessly finished my thanks and then, in a moment of confusion, and then humor, and then complete horror I watched him open the driver’s door to his Lincoln Navigator SUV.

It goes without saying that this man driving a massive, gas-guzzling SUV contradicted everything he had just shared from the platform. Or at least to me it did. But when he saw my look of horror, his simple response forever changed the way I evaluate a sustainable lifestyle – or any lifestyle, for that matter. He said, »Were you expecting a Prius? Or maybe a bicycle? Listen, there are reasons that I drive this vehicle, but if I were to list them to you, I would be addressing the wrong issue. It’s too easy to drive the right car, wear the right clothes, throw our garbage in the right can. Those things are good, but they’re not good enough. What matters is who we are when we cannot control the world’s perception of us. If we only address perception, when will we begin to ask the right questions?«  After that, he started his beast of a car (which I still disapprove of) and drove away. I don’t know if his intention was to be profound, but I do know that after that day I stopped looking first for the right answer – and instead started asking the right questions.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The best advice I ever received came from the Indigo Girls. They are profound poets and in one of their older songs, called Touch Me Fall, they sing about the pressure to meet high expectations, both of ourselves and others. With what feels like a shrug of the shoulders, they sing »If I stumble, I will stumble. If I fall, I will fall.« This advice is along the same lines as business gurus who say »fail forward« and »don’t be afraid to make mistakes.« If I could have a personal wish, it would be to be free of my fear of making mistakes. When the Indigo Girls sing about the potential to fail with such nonchalance, I find that I believe them. I believe it’s ok, and even important, to fail.”

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