Making a Difference, In Good Company
Categories: Making Our Difference: TBL CSR, Who We Are, What We Do: TBL Culture & People
Last month, Timberland employees Courtney Baumann and Sandy McDowell joined a team of other corporate volunteers for a week-long community service sabbatical in West Oakland, CA. We’re pleased to be able to share Courtney’s final reflections and photos from the experience below.
I can’t express how grateful I am to Timberland for choosing me to attend the sabbatical in West Oakland. I was truly moved by the experience. Before I left, I was asked what I hoped to accomplish by going on the “trip,” and I stated that I wanted to add value to humanity, restore my perception of society and overcome challenges. I most definitely accomplished all of these things. I came back with a renewed sense of self and proud of the people I had met and the things we managed to achieve.
I knew it was going to be a good week, when Thao, one of the Clif Bar peeps who coordinated this whole event, picked me up at the airport. Of course nothing goes to plan, and everyone’s flights ran late — and I mean everyone! But I called when I landed and she burst out laughing, stating that she would be around in a bit, and that she had a funny hat on, which would make it easy to recognize. That cheerful attitude followed us around all week. Although many things did not go to plan, there was never a moment when it seemed Temra or Jennifer (Clif Bar) gave up or got discouraged. They just kept trucking along, making arrangements, and making it work. From rainy weather dampening our mural walk and halting our bike ride, loss of electric power in half of West Oakland, to rearranging our duties to make sure that every day, every project was adequately covered. I was lucky enough to see the City Slickers chicken coop project through from start to finish, and that meant a lot to me. Starting from scratch and then seeing the joy on a little boy’s face as he gets to see a chicken for the first time, just made it all worthwhile.
The entire week was so inspiring. There are so many people out there willing to make a difference, and many people that need our help. Since we’ve returned, City Slickers has received a $4 million grant to buy a parcel of land to aid in more urban farming. This shows how much of an impact a few organizations can have on a community.
Throughout the week, all of the companies participating shared what they are doing to make it better for their employees and the planet. Timberland is not the only one who takes care of their employees and it means that we really might be able to change the world! Attendees included: Clif Bar (the spearhead of In Good Company), Annie’s, Eileen Fisher, States Logistics, Kaia Foods, QBP, Stonyfield Farm, New Belgium Breweries, Seventh Generation, Effects Marketing, and of course, Timberland. Support these companies wherever you can, because they are paving the way for a new way of thinking about the corporate world. They are all producing quality products with the environment in mind. We are part of a community of companies that care about social, environmental, and food justice.
A few final thoughts and observations: I’ve discovered that there are all sorts of foods that I haven’t tried yet, and will probably like. I never knew I could go on that little sleep and still be happy to wake up in the morning. And my Timberland waterproof jacket and boots really are waterproof. They came in handy more than I ever realized they would.