It’s always a great feeling to be surrounded by smart and insightful people. It feels even better to have the freedom to call on those smart people for advice and guidance to help navigate your way through different areas of life.
Having mentors who will share their wisdom and insights is key. Hearing details about someone’s triumphs, challenges and learning experiences is one of the best forms of education.
One of my mentors is Pamela J. Gordon. She’s the founder and president of Technology Forecasters, Inc., a consultancy that provides strategic advice on supply chain efficiencies and supports companies in saving natural resources while building responsible brands. The company will soon celebrate its 27th year, has won multiple awards (such as being named one of the 100 fastest-growing privately held companies in the Bay Area in 1997), and has saved approximately $300 million for mid-sized companies by reducing corporate expenses for electricity, travel, “costs of goods sold,” product logistics, facility space, and more. I find that quite impressive!
In addition to leading Technology Forecasters, Pam is very active in her spiritual community and spends a lot of time with her family. She has very much inspired me to practice “slowing down” rituals at the end of the week that focus on transitioning from work to rest.
I had the opportunity to work with for Technology Forecasters as a consultant and truly enjoyed my daily interactions with Pamela. Now, I look forward to our lunches and walks where I get to learn about what’s going on with her family and work life. I recently caught up with her and asked some questions that I thought might be insightful to all:
You’ve built a successful company that supports major companies in saving energy, decreasing waste, and reducing costs. Your daily actions in your personal life demonstrate that you “walk the talk” when it comes to taking care of the planet. Would you say that you’ve successfully “meshed” your “work life” with your “out of work” life?
I’m fortunate in that I have a strong internal drive to reduce negative impacts on the natural environment that wedges itself into my work and personal life. Thus I feel energized to do as many keynotes and as much consulting as possible to convince business leaders of the intersection between planet and profit; my husband is a huge supporter of my work schedule; my sons are growing to understand the value of my work; and we spend a lot of time in nature -- which is calming for everyone.
I’m always in awe of how you seem to successfully bring together and balance your family, your work, and your spiritual life,
all the while still also taking time out for you. All aspects of your life seem to be in “flow.” What types of practices do you take on to help make this happen?
I’m glad that it looks this way, even though it doesn’t always feel like a balanced flow! But one of the helpful tools I have is my calendar and how I use it. Before I had children, I used to schedule only my work activities and then discover I had little time for myself. But having children -- with the time they naturally demand and that I want to give them -- showed me that working longer is not necessarily working better. So, now I schedule the most strategic work activities first, and also schedule in nurturing activities such as yoga and walking my younger son to school through the forest. I still get the satisfaction of having an organized schedule, and now my days have the balance that allows me to be most effective.
Can you share about one of your proudest accomplishments?
In the fall we started a series of events called “Executive Think Tank on Supply Chain.” Some of the problems in the tech industry are entrenched and not getting solved. You see, traditional industry conferences comprise more reporting than collaboration. Last spring I attended an event in San Francisco for the 20th anniversary of Berrett-Koehler Publishers (the company that published my book Lean and Green: Profit for your Workplace and the Environment. One of the other authors led us in a group-of-four exercise in which novel ideas were cross-pollinated between groups. I leveraged this idea to create the Think Tank -- starting in Silicon Valley, then in the Middle East, and in Southern California for a large industry association. China is next. The Think Tank events are generating collaborative solutions for the next 10 to 25 years of the tech industry, using vision, creativity, and roadmaps to drive the solutions and new practices needed for healthy companies, people, and environment.
people have an “a-ha” moment at some point throughout their lives that completely shifts their direction and perspective. Have you experienced something like this in either your work or personal life? What opened up for you?
After I had been running Technology Forecasters for about 10 years -- a dozen employees and I were mainly conducting market research and consulting regarding electronics manufacturing to that point, I was tempted to sell off the firm in favor of starting an environmental consultancy. Fortunately, a leadership coach I used at the time, Ian Jacobsen, convinced me to leverage the success of Technology Forecasters and all of the positive contacts we’d developed to start an environmental consulting division within the firm. It was a brilliant recommendation and 16 years later I’m delighted to report that my firm has helped hundreds of tech companies to make better manufacturing decisions AND to reduce environmental impact -- profiting from both.
Pam and her consultants write great blog posts each week on the Technology Forecasters site with tips for a lean and green supply chain, how companies can benefit from eco initiatives and more. You can sign up to receive them directly into your email box.
I’d love to hear about the people who inspire you to live more sustainably! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please share your story.