Meet our very own Claire Dunivan, who’s been giving the environment the megaphone treatment. Ever since she started working at ezCater, she’s widened the circle of our employees who recycle at work. From placing blue bins around the office to throwing eco-themed socials, Claire is leading ezCater to a greener future.
So it’s not surprising that this year Claire won ezCater’s Rosanna Rockstar Award, which is awarded to rock-star employees who take action and embrace opportunities for learning and personal growth. The award comes with a prize of $1,000 to put toward Claire’s personal or career development. We talked to Claire about why she can’t get enough of recycling, and why she’s made cleaning up the environment her mission.
ezCater: You’re one of the founding members of the ezGreen committee, a group that promotes environmental sustainability at ezCater. How did the group get started?
Claire Dunivan: So I was talking to Randi, who was then our office manager, and I was like, “Dude, the recycling situation here is horrible.” People weren’t recycling properly. The recycling bin was completely contaminated with trash. So I asked Randi if we had a green team and whether anyone was doing anything about the recycling. And she said, “No, but another employee, Olga Perfilieva, is also concerned. So maybe you guys should sync up.”
So Olga and I met a few times and decided to start a green committee. And Olga is amazing. But when she didn’t have the bandwidth to continue, I kind of took over the project. Over time, Justina and Jade from our Denver office have become my ezGreen counterparts. So we tend to co-lead the meetings.
ezCater: When you knew you wanted to make ezCater greener, how did you start working on your initiatives?
Claire Dunivan: So, honestly, we started by learning the rules ourselves. Then Justina created the first version of our poster on proper recycling. And we published recycling tips on a Slack channel. I even printed miniature guides that you could pin to your desk.
Initially, our efforts weren’t really working. So we asked for feedback. Our co-founder Stefania was like, “Look, your posters are great, but I still don’t know what to do with these 20 items.” And we were like, “These are good points.” From that feedback, we were like, “Okay, what we’re missing from all of this is the why.” We weren’t explaining why you can’t recycle paper towels, even though you can recycle paper. People need to understand the difference. So that’s when we created the “Dirty Dozen” poster to help people recycle, compost, and dispose of items correctly.
ezCater: Why is environmental sustainability important to you?
Claire Dunivan: I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, pretty hippie-dippy. It didn’t occur to me that some people don’t know how to recycle. Because that was something that my mom ingrained in me when I was a kid.
On a personal level, since the 2016 presidential election, I’ve tried to be more engaged with my community. What I’m doing here goes hand in hand with my decision to be more engaged civically. It’s one way for me to make an impact.
I also realized that our company is so big that if I teach everyone here how to recycle properly, they’ll go home and do it right and teach their roommates, families, and spouses. And that could have a huge impact. So I just saw this opportunity.
ezCater: Some people see the workplace as separate from their own communities. But you seem to have a different attitude about this.
Claire Dunivan: I’ve taken personality tests that have called me a “connector.” My instinct is to solve problems and support and connect people. But many workplaces are unlike working at ezCater. And I probably would not feel as comfortable working on these projects anywhere else. ezCater is a place where new ideas are welcomed. And if I’m in an environment that’s open to it, I should take advantage of the chance to make an impact.
Want to work with Claire Dunivan at ezCater? We’d love for you to join us.