January 26, 2014

Making an impact: my first year in business


I’ve been driven for at least six years by a desire to make a positive impact on my community and the world. It’s a major reason I worked for the David Suzuki Foundation (and loved it), and a factor in my decision to start my own business. It wasn’t a career choice I’d ever seriously considered for a number of reasons. But I reached a point where my need to affect change, help organisations I’m excited about, and use all my professional skills outweighed some obvious downsides of going solo. (Yes, I do miss having a team.)

Gratefully, it turns out I quite like it.

Here are a few highlights from my first year (well, almost), which includes volunteer work. (Because why not?)

In the spring, I helped Calgary’s Vecova launch a website to make it easy for residents to sign up for beverage container recycling — with a major win-win-win factor. Read more about that in my portfolio.

That same month, SeaChoice, the Vancouver Aquarium, and partners hosted a sold-out event to generate support for National Sustainable Seafood Day. I branded the Day and designed promotions for the event, which was attended by David Suzuki.

In the fall, I joined a new group co-founded by a friend of mine called Changemakers Vancouver. I designed the identity for the group and vetted options with the attendees of the second event. I look forward to designing more posters and launching a small interim website, currently in development.

In November, over 130 communities across Canada held actions to defend our climate from reckless tar sands expansion, dangerous pipelines and runaway climate change. Thousands attended and media coverage was widespread. I had the pleasure of working with a talented organizing team, contributing dozens of graphics used to amplify the event and conversations across social media channels. Check out my video of NDP MP Nathan Cullen giving a barn-burner of a speech in Vancouver, and the team’s “best signs” photo recap.

I volunteered my time once again to the GDC’s BC Chapter to update Practivism’s website for the 2013 installment. Needless to say, November was busy.

This is a small item but comes with a big win. In December I worked with Communicopia to create a graphic asking Vancouverites to write to the Mayor and Council offering their support for a motion. They received an unprecedented volume of letters in 24 hours — almost 750! And it passed: the City of Vancouver declares Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline a threat to our communities, environment and climate. Nicely done, Vancouver! Thanks to everyone who took the time to write.

I guess I’ll sneak in this month’s incredible success of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation whose campaign to raise $75,000 for their legal defense fund (to challenge tar sands expansion) exceeded its goal! Neil Young and thousands of Canadians made it happen. I designed social media graphics for the final online push (again working with Communicopia), some of which had thousands of people engaged on Facebook. Learn more about the issue at Draw the Line, and please donate.

Looking ahead, make sure you grab a copy of EcoParent‘s spring issue!

Thanks for your support the past year. I look forward to helping more businesses and organizations do good in the world by doing great on the web (and in print, too)!