Recently RAOG Community Business Member , Fanimal connected our CEO Jessica Correa with Sophia Binz. Sophia is one of their Fanimal Fellows in their Learn, Earn, and Return program.
Sophia asked to interview Jessica as a part of Fanimal’s Career Interviews series, where they conduct interviews about careers and career paths that relate to animals or the environment.
Sophia is a master’s student of sustainable development, studying at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. She completed her bachelors in International Relations at the University of Groningen.
Here’s what Sophia and Jessica chatted about:
🐘 Fanimal – What was your journey to get to your current position?
I started Random Acts of Green when I was 23 years old.
In high school, I worked at a fast-food restaurant and saw the amount of food waste dumped into the garbage every day and it bothered me. I knew it belonged in the composter! It set me on a path to take my degree in environmental resource studies/sciences at Trent University.
During this time, I also had an opportunity to work at Algonquin Provincial Park. This deepened my connection to nature and animals, such as the moose and bears I crossed paths with often.
I also had the opportunity to work at a landfill where I saw so many items being thrown out on a daily basis.
After I completed my undergraduate degree, I then pursued my Master’s in Sustainability Studies. This is when Random Acts of Green was born – I took my thesis research and turned it into what I today call Random Acts of Green.
🐘. Fanimal – Tell us about the organization you work for… what is their mission? What do they do?
Random Acts of Green is a women-led and women-operated social enterprise.
🌎. Our vision is to build a global climate action community where everyone feels empowered to take action together.
🌎. Our mission is to prove seemingly small changes (like carpooling, composting, and refusing single-use plastics) add up to make a big ripple impact for our planet.
🌎. Through our app, social media platforms, campaigns and website, we help inspire people in new and diverse ways to get involved in actions that help protect our planet.
🐘. Fanimal – What position do you hold at Random Acts of Green? What roles do you play in this position?
🌎 I’m the Chief Executive Officer with Random Acts of Green. I help set the vision and mission and core values of the organization. I lead a team of 4 and encourage and defend the organizational values of RAOG.
🌎 Since 2015, I’ve been learning about business and social enterprise. I’m a self-taught business owner and have learned of the many challenges and opportunities of entrepreneurship.
🌎 I help craft the unique value propositions of the organization and look for ways to monetize our initiatives.
🐘. Fanimal – What is your favorite animal/species or which species in on your mind the most? Why do you think that is?
I have a few – I love dogs. I own a black lab named Koda and we’re pretty much best friends. She has positively impacted my well-being especially during this pandemic.
In the wild, I’m a big fan of sloths (so much so my partner bought me a sloth onesie!)! A sloth’s nature allows it to conserve energy – moving slower than any other mammal on the planet.
Although I’ve never met a sloth yet, I like looking at sloths like a metaphor. I’d rather get somewhere slower and do it right than speed things up to cut corners.
A sloth moves at a modest pace. They generally travel no more than 125 feet (38 meters) in a single day. Though not all sloths are endangered, some of the six species are threatened by habitat loss.
I think it’s important to remember these species and how this planet is a shared home between humans and many other plants and animals – included 6,495 different mammal species.
Animals can help us reduce stress, raise blood oxytocin (the love hormone) levels and reduce stress.
There are many positive, mental, and physical effects that animals have. The human-animal bond can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and decrease our feelings of loneliness.
Pets can also improve our physical health by encouraging us to do things like walking!
🐘 Fanimal – What is your favorite animal/species or which species in on your mind the most? Why do you think that is? (… continued)
One summer I worked at Algonquin Park. There was something so majestic about wildlife interactions. Whether it is a goose or a moose, there is something so special about crossing paths with an animal species – whether you’re out walking and see a beaver or even a goose.
I literally was surrounded by fox, moose, deer, and bears. I came into contact with them so many times I lost count.
It allowed me to realize that I was living in their home that summer – and that we were sharing the park together.
I realized that whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, these species are sharing our planet with us and they deserve our respect.What would you do if someone tore down your home? We do this frequently to animals – and we need to be empathetic toward them.
🐘. Fanimal – How do you incorporate environmental- and animal- friendly practices in your everyday life?
🌎. I am a vegetarian – I don’t eat meat.
🌎. I’ve planted a veggie garden this year on my front lawn and I have a rain barrel.
🌎. I shop almost always with used items, at thrift stores.
🌎. I’ve also cut back on the amount of plastic I have.
🌎. I rarely fly.
🌎. I installed a composter this year outside our house because our City doesn’t offer composting pick-up yet and I also installed a outdoor clothes drying rack.
🌎. I don’t own a vehicle and like to walk places and bike whenever I can.
🌎. This year I participated in No Mow May, which encourages people not to mow their lawns during the month of May to encourage pollinator species
…. and I gave out clementines dressed as pumpkins for Halloween to help encourage kids to reduce their waste.
🐘. Fanimal – What advice do you have for others wishing to get into your field?
For people looking to enter the workforce, it’s so important to really think about the skills you are going to bring to our potential job.
I like to recommend people to think backwards – what job do they want to have and what skills do they need to get it?
Pick a job that interests you that you’re passionate about and think backwards.
My biggest advice is not to continue education because you think it will get you a job – but to focus on acquiring skills and experience that are valuable to an employer. Choose your education wisely and try and acquire as many skills you can.
I also strongly believe that social problems require and call for business solutions – but not just any type of business.
I believe in social purpose organizations that are for-profit but have a strong social mission baked into their organizational DNA.
For too long, there has been a disconnect between for-profit and non-profit and charitable organizations.
I want to prove to the world that there are new ways of doing business – and some of our biggest challenges call for social entrepreneurship.
A huge thank you to Fanimal Fellow, Sophia for taking the time to put this thoughtful series of questions.
We hope that you enjoyed gaining a little further insight into RAOG and to our CEO Jessica’s desire to empower, engage, educate and embrace for collective change.