Diversity, Philanthropy, Sustainability Highlighted at 100 Best Green Workplaces Awards

Jason E. Kaplan

Corporate social responsibility discussion anchors Oregon Business’ first in-person event in more than 2 years.

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Business leaders who want to make change have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

That was one of the takeaways from Tuesday’s panel discussion on corporate social responsibility, which immediately preceded the presentation of awards to attendees who ranked on Oregon Business’ list of 100 Best Green Workplaces. The panel discussion and following ceremony were sponsored in part by Heritage Bank.

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The event, which took place at Portland Center Stage at The Armory in downtown Portland, was OB’s first in-person event since the March 2020 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, which immediately preceded statewide COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings. Refreshments were served during the morning reception.

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Kristen Connor, Heritage Bank’s senior vice president and community impact officer, moderated a discussion with Alando Simpson, the CEO of COR; Michael Colgrove, executive director of Energy Trust of Oregon; and Marguerite Merritt, the marketing manager and “cheese emissary” for Rogue Creamery, which ranked first on this year’s list.

KristenJEK 9597Kristen Connor, panel moderator.  Photo by Jason E. Kaplan

Other takeaways:

  • Simpson stressed the difficulty of disrupting an industry where “you have to work with all the people you’re trying to disrupt,” along with the need to embrace discomfort.
  • Colgrove talked about how the clean-energy industry has failed communities of color, and how his organization is trying to correct course.
  • Merritt revealed that Rogue Creamery formed a “crisis team” at the beginning of the pandemic, which reviewed the latest news every morning and strategized, and donated 500 pounds of cheddar each week to local food banks to help struggling community members.

AlandoJEK 9709Panelist Alando Simpson of COR.  Photo by Jason E. Kaplan

MikeJEK 9640Panelist Michael Colgrove of Energy Trust of Oregon.  Photo by Jason E. Kaplan

Marguerite JEK 9618Panelist Marguerite Merritt of Rogue Creamery.  Photo by Jason E. Kaplan

Following the panel discussion, awardees who attended the event were photographed on stage. These photos can be found on Oregon BusinessesFacebook page.

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