Ruth Lee: Our Vice President Shares The Importance of Women Helping Women

Ruth Lee has over ten years’ experience helping clients develop and implement sustainability strategy, conduct stakeholder engagement to assess materiality, navigate executive level buy-in and manage greenhouse gas emissions. Ruth is a valued partner to her clients and various non-profit organizations and supports her local community as a board member of Sustainable West Seattle. When she isn’t trying out to be SBC’s mascot, she spends her time discovering new recipes, traveling and exploring the world of water coloring. Below, she chats about mentoring women, networking tips, and the challenges of becoming a plant mom.

  1. Why are you passionate about sustainability?

Growing up in a region of Canada where the oil industry is king (Edmonton, Alberta –our hockey team was literally named the #Oilers) the environment was never something I thought about, until I moved to Seattle and saw the beauty in the mountains, streams and rivers I realized the importance of the role we all play in preserving the environment we live in and became quickly aware of the urgency to move away from a fossil-fuel addicted society.

  1. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on for SBC?

One of my favorite projects I’ve worked on at SBC is helping an agricultural client start their sustainability journey. Not only were they a dynamic and fun team to work with, but their commitment to sustainability went beyond simply good business sense, but an understanding of its deep connection to their farm and listening to their land. Also, I tried my hand at hops picking and quickly realized I should stick to what I know!

  1. If you could make one change to help women advance at work, what would it be?

One of my professional goals this year is to take more time to give back to the people I work with on a daily basis (mostly women!) by taking time each quarter to meet and talk about personal and professional growth. Taking and making the time to nurture the whole person to really understand how we can help with career planning and developing foundational skills for the long term will really be a full focus for me this year.

  1. What do you wish you had known when you were first starting your career?

The importance and value of networking! Also, that networking doesn’t always necessarily have to feel sleazy and always tied directly business development but can be thought of instead as pursuing and cultivating relationships.

  1. What can men do to support women at work?

Share the office “housework!” Office tasks like note taking and organizing company social events often fall on the women in the office, but don’t assume that it’s someone else’s job! Offer to help out before someone asks you.

  1. How do you work to uplift other women, personally and professionally?

As an ISFJ, I’m very sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others, therefore I always try my best to advocate for others create an environment where everyone has the ability to be heard and or amplified, whether during a meeting or delegating speaking opportunities for our female staffers.

  1. What is the best advice you’ve received?

To see every challenge as an opportunity and to always be kind.

  1. What is something someone would never guess about you?

I have a strong preference for eating just the crispy fries within the container. Crunchy is life!

  1. What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Seeing SBC’s new plant wall thrive and grow (we’re all hopeful still!)

  1. If you could say one thing to young women today, what would it be?

Take the time to figure out how to be your own person and don’t be swayed by traditional societal expectations. And, if the opportunity to travel presents itself, always say yes!