December 31, 2013

A Rider's Exit and Experience

The New Year is often a time for reflection on what has come to pass in the previous. This past year was just as eventful as any at B-Line; with press from Time magazine as well as an article in the New York Times SundayEdition, lots of fresh faces, additional delivery partnerships and continued growth. Working for B-Line has surely left its mark on me this past year. B-Line is a company that changed my perception of what business can mean.

Before I worked for B-Line when I thought of business I pictured a heartless corporation sucking the life out of its employees and only caring about profit.  When I heard about B-Line’s mission to create more livable communities by reducing carbon emissions and its food redistribution program (B-Shares) I wanted to know more about this unique caring company. I soon came to discover that B-Line is a certified B-Corporation, a model for business as a solution to social and environmental problems. I wanted in, I sought to find out what it would be like to work for a company making a difference in the world we see today.

After pestering the founder Franklin Jones for over a month, he decided to take a chance with me. Starting at B-Line as an anxious Midwesterner, I was almost certain I was going to die within the first month. Every time the 600 lb carrying capacity bicycle trundled down the Burnside Bridge picking up, handlebars rattling, I had visions of catastrophe. I was not a professional cyclist, had only recently moved to Portland, and had never been a delivery person but I was inspired.

B-Line is a company that helps develop one’s character. As a delivery rider peddling in torrential rains, snow, sleet, winds and 100 degree heat one has to reach within to find the mental, emotional and physical strength to overcome the very real adverse conditions outside. This is not a glamorous job. Often I found myself lugging 100 pounds of water up two flights of stairs, accidentally smearing organic produce debris on my clothes, hauling 50 pound boxes of paper and always rushing to meet delivery deadlines during 8 hour routes 3-4 or more days a week.

With these challenges also came exciting opportunities to develop myself within a company that cares about its employees, community and the environment. Through B-Line I was able to take on new roles that I had never imagined myself performing including becoming the lead promotional event coordinator, brand ambassador, social media strategist, and contributing to several company projects. I saw the bigger picture and I stayed with B-Line for 2.5 years only leaving because the road to further adventures called me.

As I rode my final delivery route a while back, dressed for Halloween as Wonder Woman, my personal favorite Amazon heroine, my last stop was at The International School. I handed off the final package and was greeted by a group of school children marveling at my costume. The children exclaimed, “Wonder Woman!” then began telling me all about their costumes. This was a symbolic moment as I have left my position at B-Line to teach children, much like these little ones, halfway across the world in Seoul. I hope to inspire others to reach for their fullest potential just as B-Line has filled me with inspiration.
I have moved on from the company but look back at my time working for B-Line as one of tremendous personal and professional development.  I have become more of who I want to be, living a life of meaning and purpose rather than being another cog in a corporate wheel. I definitely miss my days pedaling through the city and greeting so many lovely, familiar faces! I wish B-Line nothing but the best in the coming year and with all future endeavors.
B-line delivers on the promise that business can be a catalyst for social and environmental change.
1140 SE 7th Ave, Ste. 190, Portland, OR 97214
Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
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