Thursday, July 26, 2007

Making The Difference

When we hire employees at Rosanna, we look at the entire individual. And as a result, we have cultivated a work place atmosphere in which everyone is supported and celebrated for their diverse beliefs and lifestyles. We function as a family comprised of many different components.

I feel very lucky in our group of employees at Rosanna. All of them are highly competent, hard-working, innovative, and motivated. They also possess strong social consciences that have helped us infuse the company with more awareness of difficulties in the world, both local and international in scale.

The work our employees are doing is admirable and inspiring, and I wanted to share with you the causes they're passionate about, as well as what Rosanna is doing as a company to make a difference.

Volunteering and Community
Our employees are involved in a wide variety of organizations, many of which are based out of the Seattle area.

Natalie, one of our designers, just finished a great project at Children's Hospital. She led a group of young patients in the creation of a painting that was auctioned off to fund uncompensated medical care for families unable to afford the cost of medical treatment. The project was a success, raising a sizable amount for the cause.

Lauren, our PR and Media Coordinator, is an avid volunteer at Eastside Domestic Violence Program as a crisis line advocate, at Broadview Homeless Shelter for Women and Children as a tutor, and is beginning to volunteer at Planned Parenthood as well.

Heather, our operations manager, has channeled her enthusiasm for drill team by starting her own squad for 8-18 year olds, a great community builder and extracurricular activity for girls.

Our accountant Jen does her part by volunteering for Upward Bound, a national program that provides support for low income college bound students, as a motivational speaker and theater instructor.

One of our sales associates Sharon is a regular volunteer at Teen Hope, a homeless shelter located in downtown Seattle for teens from 13-17. She prepares meals, and helps the kids with homework and job applications. She also has an ongoing clothing drive at the office for Teen Hope. However, Sharon is also involved with the crisis in Sudan. She has just returned to the office after completing Bike for Sudan, a two month-long ride across the country, 4000 miles in 51 days. The donations she collected went to the construction of a health clinic and a well in a village in southern Sudan.

As well as having a group of committed volunteers, Rosanna has growing constituency of vegans and vegetarians. Their choice to abstain from eating meat, or any animal products at all, is socially responsible not only because it promotes animal rights, but because the meat industry in particular is a significant drain of natural resources.

To do their part in keeping the environment as well as their bodies healthy, we have a number of employees who are choosing to use alternative modes of transportation. Another of our designers, Jacqui, rides her bike 3 miles to work everyday. Sharon drives a hybrid Prius, and Heather and our warehouse manager Matt, who are married, use bio-diesel fuel in their car.

In Office
Annice, another of our designers, has started an office-wide recycling campaign. Now, we recycle plastics, glass, and any kind of shopping bags and magazines in addition to plain paper. Annice is also our office-wide food drive organizer. We have two drives a year, with the food we collect donated to Seattle's Northwest Harvest Food Bank.

Profits and Proceeds
In addition to changing our daily habits around the office, we have also begun to donate a portion of our proceeds to various organizations. Currently, a percentage of the profits from our Beach Bottles line goes to the Nature Conservancy. We are also working on a few lines that will be unveiled for next spring with proceeds going to nonprofit organizations that benefit the environment, increase world health, and fight hunger in the United States.

Because our offices are located very near to both of Seattle's major athletic stadiums, we are also looking into renting out our parking lot out for extra parking on game days. If approved, we'll divide the proceeds among the various organizations our employees are involved with for donations.

I am very proud of everyone at this company for their generosity and altruistic spirit. At Rosanna, we are committed not only to creating unique products, but to supporting each other, giving of ourselves, and making a difference in the world.

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