Dress for Success Open House: Interview with Michelle Reid, Sustainability Czar at Mills Office Productivity

By Sophie Collins  /  

#DressforSuccessVancouver, #Interviews

Michelle Reid, Sustainability Czar at Mills Office Productivity

Our second speaker at our upcoming event is Michelle Reid, who heads up sustainability at Mills Office Productivity (pretty cool job!)

What is the easiest way to start buying local?

As consumers, we need to become more aware about the impact we can create in our own communities. There seems to be a misconception that local means proximity, but it goes much further than that. The concept of local means locally owned, locally grown – companies that are spending their profits on ensuring the local community thrives with them. Easiest way to start is to look at your own shopping habits and see where you can make small changes. Buying your produce from a local independent grocer or farmers market rather than Walmart, eating at the family owned diner by your home or buying your pet food from the little shop down the street from you. I love being able to establish a relationship with my retailers and the amount of knowledge I have gained from making these switches is invaluable. I have very happy healthy cats to prove it!

What is your favourite thing to do on the weekend in East Vancouver?

I love two things more than anything…brunch and biking. I am often so rushed during my weekdays that I don’t get to enjoy my favourite meal of the day..breakfast. On the weekend you can find me at our local diner The Slocan or if I am feeling very indulgent at Yolks enjoying pancakes..ohh the salted caramel sauce is to die for. I fell back in love with biking three years after a very long hiatus (P.S. you can forget how to ride a bike!). I love every thing about riding, it doesn’t even feel like exercising. Being six months pregnant, this is the one activity I miss the most, the spin bike can never replace to feeling of being outdoors on a beautiful sunny day.

Which woman do you admire most?

There are so many! I really admire Malala and her brave fight for education for Pakistani girls. To be so young and to fight for your purpose even in the face of death, makes me want to do more in my own community. We have some many rights and privileges here in Canada, we need to stand up and fight for those that can’t speak for themselves. The woman I admire the most will always be my mom. She is the strongest woman I have ever met and she has always been my number one supporter. She is a single mother of three children and her sacrifices have allowed me to become the woman I am today. I can only hope to be as great of a mother to my daughter as she continues to be for me.

What is the easiest way any woman can give back to their community?

Find out what you are passionate about whether it is children, helping women, animals or the environment. There are so many great organizations out there needing people to help them move forward. Sometimes the biggest gift you can give someone is listening to them. I find people so fascinating and I love hearing the different journeys people have been on. We all have a story that is important. I started to immerse myself back into volunteering 5 years ago and it has led me to many different adventures…including a trip to Italy. My outside volunteer work inspired me to start a program at Mills a year & half ago. It has been hugely successful, we were the 3rd highest volunteer group behind Telus and BCLC, and it has given our staff a chance to give back while getting to know each other on a different level. If you give people an opportunity to help, they will in so many wonderful unexpected ways. If you don’t know what your passion is, talk to your friends and see what they are involved in. Open your mind and you will even surprise yourself!

Do you believe in “Balance”? If so, how is it best achieved?

I do believe in the concept of “balance”. The problem is I haven’t figured out how to achieve it! l love the work I do which leads me to saying “no” to nothing. I am a classic helper that wants everyone I care about to achieve their dreams. The problem is I often forget about myself and I never really take the time to refuel my tank. Becoming pregnant has forced me to slow down, which I will admit has been extremely difficult for me. I have had to face the fact that I won’t be doing triathlons this year (or even the next one!) seeing my friends or family every day or be able to participate in all the organizations that I am involved in. I made the conscious decision that I want to be the best mom I can be and that needs to be my focus even above my career for the time being. I believe the time away will allow my creativity to be regenerated and a fresher (albeit sleep deprived!) woman will reemerge.