Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Navigating AI’s Impact On Business
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Natalie Ruiz who is a CEOat AnswerConnect .
Welcome to our interview with Natalie Ruiz, CEO of AnswerConnect. Natalie grew up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest and started with AnswerConnect as a temporary call center employee. Today, she leads a company that is not only focused on profits but also driven to positively impact people and the planet. In this interview, Natalie shares how AnswerConnect has worked to reduce its environmental impact, including their tree-planting initiative and pioneering remote work for their employees. She also discusses the challenges they’ve faced in implementing sustainable practices and how they’ve overcome them.
Interviewee Name: Natalie Ruiz
Natalie Ruiz’s favourite quote: My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou — ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Natalie Ruiz : Thank you so much for having me! I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life and grew up in a very small, rural town west of Portland, Oregon. My childhood was filled with more walks in the woods and great books than people or screens, which has helped shape me into the person I am today.
I started with AnswerConnect as a temporary call center employee. The company was very much in its startup phase at the time, and I almost quit because things felt chaotic. Instead of leaving, I was given the opportunity to be part of improving things, and thanks to amazing leadership and mentors, I was able to grow as the organization grew.
We ditched our brick-and-mortar office in the early 2000s and pioneered remote work for our employees. This allowed us to recruit and retain the best talent, not just the closest, and improve our redundancy and 24/7/365 service to our clients.
In 2015, after working through many different roles and departments within the company, I was promoted to CEO, and officially became responsible for the health of our organization. I’m grateful to lead a company that is not only focused on profits – we are also driven to positively impact our people and planet through all we do.
In what ways has your company worked to reduce its environmental impact, and what results have you seen from these efforts?
Natalie Ruiz : Our tree-planting initiative sees our NGO partner, Trees for the Future, plant a tree for every customer and every employee, every month. Over the next 100 years, those trees will absorb over 1.5m tons of CO2.
The planet urgently needs those trees. Forests today store approximately 400 gigatons of carbon (GtC). Mass reforesting could capture up to five billion tons of emissions per year. That’s half the current level of emissions from fossil fuels.
That’s not counting the impact of cutting out the daily commute for our employees. Over 25% of daily traffic is for commuting or business purposes. By allowing teams to work anywhere, we’ve been able to play a small part in cutting down carbon emissions and minimize car travel.
What challenges have you faced in implementing sustainable practices, and how have you overcome them?
Natalie Ruiz : We’ve faced numerous challenges, including measuring the impact of our giving back and anywhere approach.
We know tree planting isn’t the only solution to protect the planet. While trees are a hugely important part of reducing our carbon footprint and cleaning the air, the forests in which they’re planted are often based in rural areas. To counter that, we also work with local environmental organizations that work to protect and re-green urban areas. These include Trees New York, Texas Trees, and TreePeople, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles that works with schools to provide tree cover on school campuses.
Leaders Perception would like to thank Natalie Ruiz and AnswerConnect for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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