Recycling Smarter and Other Tips To Reduce Your Footprint On Earth Day

We’ve all heard the phrase, “reduce, reuse and recycle,” but what’s equally as important is learning how to recycle right. While we have the best intentions, when life gets busy and compost bins aren’t within reach, we’ve all been known to make a bad recycling decision.

This Earth Day at Highwire, our agency is renewing our commitment to mother earth by making a pledge to reduce our footprint and to be earth-wise all year round.

Highwire SF is pledging to consume less plastic overall. Our employees are pledging to make better decisions by using the silverware in the office that can be tossed into the dishwasher, rather than using one-time plastic utensils that might come with our Monday bagel delivery.

Highwire NY is committing to educating Highwire employees, and holding themselves accountable. This means skipping the plastic bag that might come along with that to-go lunch order, and saying no to plastic knives to spread their favorite schemar. Additionally, the New York office is going to print out labels for their recycling bins to remind employees what goes into what bin.

Those Chicago winters get cold, and Highwire Chicago is pledging to pay extra attention to unplugging those life-changing space heaters when they aren’t being used. Even more, the Chicago office is going to cut down on the usage of lights when not needed, and will make sure that all electronics are unplugged at the end of the day.

Highwire Boston is trying to go without plastic as well. The team is ordering a set of silverware to cut down on the need to use plastic cutlery, and a set of stainless-steel straws to avoid reaching for a plastic straw.

Our offices will also be participating in an Earth Day event this month. Highwire SF will be joining a handful of other Bay Area PR agencies to Rock the Earth by participating in a clean up at Mountain Lake. On the other side of the country, Highwire Chicago will be participating in its annual clean up of Lincoln Park while Highwire NY will be participating in a Central Park clean-up in May. Highwire Boston has a couple initiatives to better the community. They will be holding an “office planting” event, as well as donating to a local conservation charity.

While this annual reminder is a great way to remember the importance of doing our part to protect our earth, here are a few ways you can do your part all year long:

  • Choose paper or reusable straws with your iced coffee. Better yet, skip the straw all together
  • Use compostable trash bags in your kitchen, like these.
  • Learn how to recycle correctly— did you know that your greasy pizza box or your plastic bag should not be recycled?
  • Compost paper products like paper towels, newspaper and tissues
  • Participate in “Meatless Monday.” Just one ¼ lb. of beef requires 425 gallons of water to produce
  • Reduce food waste: learn how to properly chop vegetables to maximize what you are using
  • Use reusable mugs, bring them with you to Starbucks and get a discount.
  • Turn off lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED ones.
  • Eat organic food, and food from local farms that aren’t using pesticides (talk to your farmers, at places like Green City Market in Chicago!) It has been estimated that 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food.

What will you be doing to reduce your own footprint this year?

Walk Your Way: Reflecting on Kickoff 2019

Highwire Group Shot
Last month, all of our teams across all offices got together under one roof for our annual Highwire Kickoff in San Francisco. Our focus this year was individuality; with our theme – “Walk Your Way” encompassing that.

With beautiful bay views at the historic General’s Residence at Fort Mason, our teams got right down to business once onsite. The conversations were based on the Strengths Finder 2.0 book from Gallup and Tom Rath, which analyzes your personality strengths and focuses on those strengths versus your weaknesses. With a total of 34 strengths, including Analytical, Connectedness, Learner, and Woo; our facilitator guided groups to ask each other thoughtful questions and put their strengths to work. The best part of these learnings was seeing how we, as an agency, compliment one another.

Another huge part of the Highwire culture (and a focal point of this year’s kickoff) is our committee groups. Highwire Helping Hands – our community group, Diversity + Inclusion, and Society – “the memory makers,” are just a few of the committees which were showcased “science fair style” to increase visibility and engagement among peers.

And finally, what is kickoff without a little competition?! This year we hosted a Shark Tank initiative with the help of Funworks, highlighting our focus of the year – Digital! This effort dove deep into impressions and pre-thought biases. It also allowed Walkers to think clearly over some pretty great ideas! Due to the nature of this activity and what it means to our business, we can’t publicly acknowledge what came of it – but more of that will come this year 😉

And now, here’s what a few of our Highwire Walkers had to say about kickoff –

Megan Grasty: My favorite part of kickoff was how hands-on and interactive it was – this was my sixth kickoff and it was by far the best. I especially enjoyed the science fair, it was fun to hear more about what all of the committees have to offer and also really enjoyed the creative touches each had, like the thumbprint tree art project at the Diversity & Inclusion booth and the “thank you” writing station at the Strong Careers booth.

Ben Liwanag: Kickoff was a great opportunity for me to see my colleagues in other offices in real-life, rather than over video. This year kickoff was an amazing addition to Highwire’s training initiatives, letting everyone get together to focus on skills to grow our careers (like this year’s Strengths Finder assessment), and establishing the agency as the best tech agency around, as seen from a fun Shark Tank competition!

Highwire Shark tank

Ali Mapplethorpe: My favorite part about kickoff was getting to spend time with coworkers in other offices that I don’t get to see every day. I also loved the “thank you” card station; that there was a dedicated portion of the event to thank our teammates for the hard work they put in day in and day out was really meaningful! 

Group of Highwire Walkers

Katelyn Lavine: My favorite part of Kickoff was analyzing our Strength Finders. It was very cool seeing the strengths of my team members, as well as my own, to then better understand how we can work together in unison when collaborating across teams.

Bailey Harmon: My first Highwire kickoff blew me away. From engaging in a real-life Shark Tank scenario and finding my strengths (and weaknesses) with a personality guru, to meeting my awesome coworkers I’ve been working with for the last eight months in person, everything was such a rewarding experience. OH, and the best memory? Carol and Emily (two of our principals) dressed in shark costumes.

Value-Based Prioritization: How Tech PR Women Seek Balance

International Women’s Month was a reminder to celebrate women of the past and present, and to be conscious of the foundations we are setting for the future. We sat down with Highwire’s Carol Carrubba, Christine Elswick, and Miya Shitama for insight on what it means to be a woman leader.

Balance is a key component of Highwire’s culture. The theme of IWD this year was #balanceforbetter. With the term holding a variety of forms and meanings, how do you define balance?

Carol Carrubba, Principal and Co-Founder: I wish someone had told me earlier in my career that balance is personal —  both a personal experience and a personal priority. In a leadership role, it can feel like your responsibility to create balance for others. Instead, it is your responsibility to create an environment for others to create their own balance. I encourage my teams and the agency to find what they need for personal balance and ask for it. As a company, we’ve engaged with programs that aim to facilitate this with Work From Home Fridays, Summer Fridays and other wellness benefits.

Christine Elswick, SVP and Head of Security: The dichotomy of a working mother can be tricky. The most important thing I can do to be an asset to my colleagues and family is to have good self-care. Finding balance can be challenging in the  high-demanding tech world we live in, and it takes planning – but it is critically important and it pays off! I carve out time in the early morning hours when all is quiet to work out or spend time on projects that inspire me. Balance should be celebrated and people should feel empowered to do what it takes to find their own sense of balance.

Beyond balance, which values hold significance to you?  

Miya Shitama, Account Manager: Dignity stands out to me. In any industry, there are a variety of professional levels, each offering a different purpose. At the more junior levels, work can feel unrewarding and it is easy to lose sight of its purpose – its dignity. I try to respect every part of my team, including myself, so that I can maintain dignity on all levels. To do so, I think of dignity as a barometer of a good relationship, serving as a measure of health and prosperity within our teams and clients.

Christine: Commitment is a major value for me. I believe that the key to excelling at anything in life is through various expressions of commitment: hone your craft, be open to ongoing feedback, and learn along the way. Success will follow. Commitment is also tremendously important when building and leading teams because it establishes trust. If commitment is placed as the foundation, then trust serves as the building material. I always tell my teams that no matter how things go, dedicate yourself to making it work, and if you fail, I’ll be there to back you up.

Emily Borders, Principal and Co-Founder, has said, “You can do anything. But you can’t do everything.” What and how do you prioritize?

Carol: The work day and its structure can be seen as a burden or as an opportunity. As my family grew, I woke up earlier, squeezing hours in to balance my family and my work – two things that bring me joy. I broke apart the 9-to-5, desk-bound work week and split it apart, creating pockets of free time for lunch with a friend, yoga, or making it home for dinner. I learned to fit work in around life, not vice versa.

Miya: I think prioritization is an ongoing and fluctuating process. I had an Aha! moment a few years back, amidst what seemed to be a never-ending workload. I realized that being successful isn’t about checking everything off. Instead, it’s about being able to distill and figure out what is most important, move everything else and communicate deadlines along the way.

PR is often a woman-dominated industry, while tech is a notably male-dominated industry. How then does your role at Highwire, a Tech PR agency, transcend, challenge, or motivate these generalizations?

Carol: When I started, PR and tech were male-dominated. But the PR industry filled with women, because our brains are trained in the art of empathy, emotion and strategy. The way a female brain works is valuable. It is quantum and multifaceted. I am hopeful and excited for women to continue to be rewarded for showing off their strengths. That’s the cornerstone of PR – it doesn’t matter how great the technology is if you can’t talk about it.

Christine: As head of Highwire’s security practice, with almost every executive being male, I am no longer phased by the gender discrepancy. Instead, I’m empowered. I sought out Highwire because it is an example of strong female leaders breaking through in this industry. I continue to seek out female leaders, both in Highwire and in clients.

Highwire prides itself on its many forms of leadership. The varying expressions of this compliment the diverse industry, empowering insights and encouraging confidence in diversity. Throughout the variety of insight, one common theme arose: confidence. Each leader touched on the power of believing in yourself, your team and your clients. With confidence as the fuel – and womanhood as the fire – the future of tech PR shines brightly for Highwire.