Little known fact about me…I love quotations. Inspirational quotes, serious quotes, humorous quotes; I collect them all. I collect them in notebooks, on scraps of paper, in Google docs, and on Pinterest boards. For my birthday many years ago a good friend of mine gave me a journal filled with her favorite quotes (a quotation mixed tape if you will). One that always stood out to me was this one by Mahatma Gandhi, “A small group of like-minded and determined people can change the course of history.” How simple and yet how affirmative those words are. When we have the opportunity to engage with those that have similar goals and visions to us, our ability to create and initiate change increases. Changes that can be steps on a path towards a more sustainable future. Sustainable Waterloo Region takes this quote to heart, not only in its mission and holistic approach to people management, but by defining collaboration as its first core value. I saw this immediately when I joined, as we are located in a very unique space at evolv1, called evolvGREEN, which is a collaborative workspace where we aim to use a community approach to drive the clean economy. I will admit that before I joined the team here at Sustainable Waterloo Region, I wasn’t familiar with the term Culture of Sustainability. But one of the evolvGREEN collaborations is implementing a Culture of Sustainability program for the building. Put simply, this means that the tenants in the building work together to achieve environmental, social and economic goals with the hope that over the long term a collective understanding develops and positive change not only happens on an organizational level within the building, but also beyond. When I learned about this I had an “aha” moment. What an incredible way to move your business forward. Create a culture that encourages and promotes employees to foster habits that supports the vision you have for your organization. But that left me thinking. Does it work? How would immersing myself in the workplace culture of Sustainable Waterloo Region impact my life, my choices, and my overall satisfaction at work? After all, studies show that the average person spends 90,000 hours of their life working. That is a large number of hours spent with coworkers and dedicated time to your organization’s mission and values. My experience? A Culture of Sustainability has the ability to make magic happen in an organization! Joining the SWR team has been an opportunity to join a supportive group of people that has encouraged me to consider what I have been doing well on my personal journey towards a more sustainable life, but also where I can make even greater strides. A crew that is passionate about plant-based eating? The help I needed to get back on a path that I had lost focus on. An organization that supports sustainable transportation? My family is exploring ways in the future we can walk & cycle more, choose carpooling or public transit over driving. Co-workers that choose local zero-waste shopping options? I can do that too and why haven’t I been doing it more? As for workplace satisfaction? I believe fostering a Culture of Sustainability in your workplace has the potential to be a game changer. Working with individuals who share your values and goals towards sustainability can greatly increase your happiness at work, your productivity and commitment. Returning to the wise words spoken by Gandhi. Can an organization that nurtures a culture of like-minded and determined individuals take the action steps to create a more sustainable vibrant system? Could those new systems change the course of history? I think so. Katie Hill Events Coordinator Sustainable Waterloo Region.