When you count Jane Goodall as one of your high school mentors, you know you’re destined for a life of goodness. Lucky for us that’s Sarah Palladino, our Office Culture Queen and Master of Giving. Since she embodies the spirit of giving year round, we sat down to talk about how giving actually makes businesses stronger, what’s on her book list, and what Dr. Jane Goodall is like in real life (yes, we feel starstruck just taking about it).
Toad: Ok, Sarah – you do a lot of things at Toad, so give us a rundown on your favorite thing to do:
SP: The best part of my job is getting Toads connected to our social and environmental missions in hands-on ways. Whether it’s planting trees or volunteering at Earth Day or hosting a Friendsgiving with members of Search, Inc, I love seeing Toads really feel the impact of “business for good.”
Toad: Feel it?
SP: Ya. It’s one thing to hear “we’re a sustainable clothing company,” but when employees are actually planting trees to offset carbon emissions, they’re really feeling what it takes to offset one shirt or one factory or one cargo ship. That sort of impact has a massive ripple effect well beyond 9-5.
Toad: Do you think it also has an effect on the business?
SP: Absolutely! I can tell you it makes a huge difference on the HR side – being a business that prioritizes volunteer days and community outreach attracts like-minded people. Those like-minded people become Toads and in turn make us better.
Toad: What about our customers?
SP: Doing right by people and planet is the heart of the Toad ethos, and our customers are right there with us. I think they’re looking for companies that are doing good (like giving 1% back or making sustainable products) because THEY are doing good.
Toad: It sounds like a movement…
SP: It totally is! The Do-Gooder Movement!
Toad: So where did this love of philanthropy come from?
SP: Starting in middle school I was always that kid with thousands of hours of community service. I just loved feeling like I was contributing to the greater good. My first experience working with at-risk youth made me realize that giving back needed to be ingrained in my life. After that I joined pretty much every club to help organize more people to give back.
Toad: Every club seems like a lot. Any favorites?
SP: I loved working with Dr. Jane Goodall as the California Chapter Leader for her non-profit, Roots and Shoots.
Toad: Did you just say you worked with Jane Goodall?
SP: Yes, and she’s amazing. So inspiring. Her motivation behind everything she does is to foster a better understanding of nature, and thereby create a deeper connection between people and planet.
Toad: Wow. That sounds amazing.
SP: She’s my idol. It’s not just about animals and humans – it’s about equality. In Jane’s eyes, everyone and everything is equal. We’re all equal and we can all do good and impact the world.
Toad: What else do you draw inspiration from these days?
SP: I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and she’s just a good human. I’m also really into this local lecture series right now where cross-disciplinarians talk about creative ways to think about problems and solutions, like an artist depicting climate change. Then there are always the classics like Silent Spring and The Lorax…
Toad: Switching gears. Let’s say Toad wins the lotto and we (YOU) get to finally execute your giving pipe dream. What do you do?
SP: Commit 99% for the planet! I would love to start a whole education branch of Toad with the sole goal to inspire people to pursue environmentally friendly practices – the Toad Academy! I think we could have the biggest impact by investing in teaching future generations about sustainable lifestyles and communities and cultures… it would be amazing.
Toad: Okay, back to reality. What do you want your Toad legacy to be?
SP: My goal is to inspire Toads (whether it’s employees or customers) to look at how they can contribute to their communities and give back in areas that THEY love. I want to create a perpetuating cycle of giving back.