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Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.

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Catching up with ReDirect Guide Program Manager Allie Callow

October 26, 2010

Erin Floresca, Contributing Writer

If there is one company in Portland that all healthy, green and eco-conscious businesses should have a connection with, it's the ReDirect Guide. The ReDirect Guide, and the incredible people behind it, are the eyes and the ears of everything sustainable in Portland. We all have a copy of their insanely popular annual green business and lifestyle guide. But the ReDirect Guide media company offers oh so much more. For instance, did you know that the ReDirect Guide created the first-ever credit card that offsets carbon emissions with each purchase? They also put on sustainable community events like the annual Green Sprouts Organic Baby and Family Festival. When they aren't producing their own events, you can find them co-sponsoring and exhibiting at other gatherings around town, along with providing business to business networking connections, speaking engagements, and other special projects.

In the beginning, the ReDirect Guide used to be delivered via peddle power by founder Mike Johnson. It was the perfect example of a zero carbon emission delivery system. Plus, it probably kept Mike in excellent physical condition. While the company grew too much to sustain that kind of personal delivery service, their values have never changed. The folks at the ReDirect Guide think about sustainability in every aspect of how they run their business--including their decision to have team members who are passionate about sustainability. One of those shining eco-friendly stars is Program Manager Allie Callow. Many of you have probably seen her smiling face at community events, including VegFest. She’s the kinda gal that makes a stop by the ReDirect booth leave you feeling all sparkly and warm inside. NW VEG recently caught up with Allie to find out more about why she loves being a part of the ReDirect Guide team.

How long have you been with ReDirect Guide?
In December it will have been five years.

What drew you to the company?
A common interest in sustainability is probably the simplest way to put it. When I first learned about their open position, I was working a full-time job and separately organizing a community festival and conference to showcase biofuels in the Northwest. When I learned that there was an opportunity for me to actively promote sustainable options in my community full-time, my interest was certainly piqued.

One of your titles is Member Advocate. What does that mean? What are some examples of the ways that you advocate for your clients?
The title 'Member Advocate' has to do with our mission to promote substantially better companies. We're advocating for the success of our business members in the community and work actively with them to make sure they're using all the tools we're able to provide -- whether that be staying active on our website, attending a not-to-be-missed event, or making an introduction to another member that can help their business.

I see you at community events all the time. Why is it important for ReDirect Guide to have a presence at these events?
At ReDirect, it's important that we stay plugged into the community we're supporting. By attending, sponsoring and producing community events, we're helping to strengthen the green community here in Portland and stay current on all the latest innovations and trends in the sustainability movement.

What is the coolest part about being with ReDirect Guide?
I meet the most amazing people. Part of what I love about my job is that every day I get to talk with inspiring, innovative entrepreneurs who are dedicating their lives to make their dreams a reality and make the world a better place at the same time. Watching these businesses grow and providing them with some of the tools that make that happen is incredibly gratifying. Their success makes my job a joy.

Is there an area where ReDirect goes above and beyond when it comes to being green that you think is innovative or just plain neat?
It's hard to name just one example. Environmental responsibility is part of every decision we make. We're working on making our office totally zero waste, our electronics are all refurbished whenever possible, we use alternative fuels and maximize trips to eliminate unnecessary travel, we use reclaimed and repurposed materials whenever possible--the list goes on and on. I think one of the neatest parts of the green culture in the office is that we're constantly learning from one another and challenging each other to go even further to serve as a positive example in the community.

Why the expansion to Utah and Colorado? Anything particularly special about those two markets?
In both Utah and Colorado we had community members contact us and ask us to come because there wasn't anything in the community that was mobilizing green businesses the way we do. It's been wonderful seeing the other markets grow into such vital parts of the green business community locally.

Are there going to be more markets soon?
Everyone always asks that. Ideally, there should be a ReDirect Guide in every city that needs one. I guess you'll just have to wait and see where we go next.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.redirectguide.com. For details on upcoming events, visit the Events Page.

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