Whoever said non-profits shouldn’t invest in their brand early haven’t met charity: water or its fearless founder Scott Harrison. Without a dime to his name, Harrison began raising money in 2006 to build wells in developing countries with a mission to bring clean water to everyone on earth. This mission was large, and he knew he needed a good brand to capture attention, hiring a designer as one of the first employees. 13 years later, over 9.5* million people have/or will have access to clean water thanks to Scott’s mission, and his bold model for charity: water’s success; give 100% of public donations to water projects, show proof of where all funds go, and create a brand that captures hearts and minds (which obviously is music to our ears).
Since day one, Harrison knew he wanted charity: water to be the Nike of the nonprofit sector as he cited in a talk here in San Diego this week. Without a strong brand, he knew it would impact his ability to reach his mission. Check out charity: water’s website (stellar storytelling) or see their presence on social media (close to half a million followers on Instagram) and see just how important brand is to this organization.
Thank you for doing what you do, charity: water. You’ve built a phenomenal brand worthy of your phenomenal mission.
At Four Fin, it is rare for both Jen & Jess to have overlapping vacay trips, and even more rare that they found each other sharing the same destination – Alaska! While it is a second home to Jen, it was Jess’s first time getting to experience the Last Frontier. We asked her to share what makes it so incredible:
Ah, laska, you are truly magical! From seeing three Moose only one-hour post arrival (how crazy?), to the fresh clean air and gardens, to experiencing the sun high in the sky until evening (they call it midnight sun – and I couldn’t love it more) you certainly impressed this San Diego native. Being that my eye is now permanently trained to spot design – I, of course, noticed the Alaskan beer right away. What stood out- the creativity behind the names, the earthy and intricate illustrations, and how each can design seemed almost to compliment each other (though from different breweries). You can only get these beers in AK too – so needless to say, I completed a thorough quality control, and can attest to the delicious taste as well!
Hats off to Alaska for impressing Jess, she has high standards, and for giving 2/3 of our team a needed reprieve, and a dose of outside inspiration.
- When did you start taking photos professionally?
Late in life. I’ve always been interested but got “focused” around 2010 and seriously showing in 2013.
- Why did you decide to do a whole series on wave formations?
Every wave is different. They have personalities so I challenged myself to show the spirit of the waves with a new technique.
- Do people often mistake your “spirit of the wave” series as paintings?
So much so that I have a sign in my booth titled “Are these paintings?”. I developed a technique of leaving the camera open for a second or so and then panning the camera in the same direction and at the same speed as the wave. When you see it … you feel it … and then you start to think of waves differently.
- Your art adorns many walls, residential and public, around San Diego. What installation makes you the proudest? (Obviously, it’s ^this piece at Four Fin, but aside from that…)
I’m proud and honored when someone chooses my work for their home or business. When Four Fin chose “Soft Curl” at 80″ wide by 40″ high to hang in your offices, I saw how it fit your marketing message but it also fits your culture, your brand, and your style. I once had the privilege of showing my work at the Hospice center many years ago. One piece “Resting Giants” caught the eye of a wife and daughter of a man staying at the center. When his wife called me to order the piece she told me they loved it for its beauty but also for the title. Her husband had passed a few days earlier and she said, “He was my Giant and now he’s Resting”. I delivered the piece, hung it for her and we chatting for almost two hours about what a wonderful man her husband was.
See more of Dave’s work
- How long did you consider starting Sock Problems before finally jumping in feet first (pun intended)?
5 years. My last life running i.d.e.a. was a busy one. I was grateful to help grow the agency to 70 people and, when that happens, you stay focused on servicing those clients. It wasn’t until I was a year into working on my book about courage (Return on Courage: out in January ’19) that I started to realize that I wasn’t being very courageous myself. If you ink a book about courage you should live the premise! So I finally took action on Sock Problems and here we are today.
- What problem has gotten “socked the most” since you launched sock problems?
I think our “Baller” sock which Sock’s Prostate Cancer (25% of proceeds back to Movember) and our “Rainbow Pow” sock which Sock’s Hate (25% of proceeds back to The Trevor Project) are neck and neck.
- When you aren’t working hard on socking problems, where in San Diego might we find you?
Easy question. At the dinner table up in Encinitas with my family. I spend a lot of time outside of San Diego because of Sock Problems and Courageous (my Consultancy). So, when I am in San Diego, I try to be home and present with my family.
Allison Evelyn Gower
We’re taking a light and fresh approach with this installment of Making Waves, as we interview one of our favorite partners, the witty and talented Allison Evelyn. Because one of her many talents is concise messaging, we decided to give her limited room to answer our questions, in the form of a mad-lib. We hope you enjoy her humor.
1. You got started writing copy because words are magic and it was all rumpus from there.
2. Copy is to design like a helpful, welcoming host is to a 5 course dinner party .
3. You are the Emma Stone of copywriting, because you are direct yet sassy .
4. If you didn’t live in San Diego, you’d live in The Shire #Hobbiton , but never the coldest city in the world: Oymyakon, Russia .
5. Tone of voice is every brand’s shimmering personality + way to connect with the right people , so use with careful intention .
6. When writing copy, you always unroot the company’s “why” & ultimate goals first, and you consider your efforts successful when the client exclaims, “Yes, that’s what I was trying to say!” .
We hope you enjoyed this short and sweet Making Waves interview. Stay tuned for our next installment with local creative genius and the founder of Sock Problems, Ryan Berman. Don’t want to miss it? Sign up for the Surf Report!
Director, Multi-Sector Alliance
- So, you are the Director of Multi-Sector Alliance at Partners for Progress San Diego. Can you break down what “Multi-Sector Alliance” means for our audience?
There are groups of people in San Diego who have a lot to say about the policies that affect them and who want to be involved in the process. Sadly, though, they aren’t given the right structure or the opportunity to do that. The multi-sector alliance basically just means that I bring these new voices to the table to shape San Diego County: small businesses, academia, veterans, for example. On the surface, these groups seem disconnected, but together they can advance an agenda based on equity to disrupt the status quo. I really have the best job, because I work with fearless people who like rattling some cages and speaking up on what matters.
- What are your hopes for the newly formed Business for Good San Diego?
To change the perception of what businesses care about. The idea that they’re just motivated by making as much profit as possible is so inaccurate. The owners who are a part of Business For Good are deeply invested in how well their employees are doing and how healthy their communities are. That makes them huge agents for change, and Business For Good gives them the opportunity to match their values with their acts.
- Best Taco in San Diego?
Easy – Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista or La Fachada in Logan Heights!
Mixte Communications, Inc
- So your PR firm, Mixte, is well-known for your effective social-justice campaigns. How did you get started in that work?
Our work stems from our values. When you’re defined by these values, you see that the only work worth doing is the work that improves your community for all people. It’s an easy choice to specialize in social justice campaigns because it’s the right thing to do
- What does it mean to you to be named 2013 Commuter of the year?
I was selected as San Diego County’s Commuter of the Year because I traveled all over the county on bike, bus, Coaster and through carpools. But the better metric is that Mixte earned the highest county recognition again this year for our company’s commuter program, which means most of our staff commutes this same way. We’re showing companies of every kind that you can do anything if you just set the culture and lead by example.
- Finish this: All I want for Christmas is, _____
A classic clock for my living room wall. I never had one until my grandma passed this year. One of the only things I selected from her house was this cheap clock that always hung on her wall, but it stopped working a few months ago. Every time I see that blank spot, I feel that I’m not honoring my grandma’s long love affair with the tick-tock of clocks. Though, and maybe to Gma’s chagrin, my new clock would ideally be silent.
The Auker Group
- So, you’ve been consistently named “Top 1% of all REALTORs in San Diego County.” What has led to this distinction?
I did what some really brilliant mentors told me to do. Fast forward three years of doing that and having my focus on people and not selling houses… and low and behold, I sold a ton of houses.
- What’s the coolest home feature you’ve seen?
I’m still a sucker for a master bath shower with a panoramic view and a door to the outdoors.
- What’s your favorite secret spot in San Diego?
Red House Pizza in University Heights. (Although I don’t know how much of a secret it is… they’re always packed!)
Roxie Prima & Phoebe Cornog
CoFounders, San Diego Letters
- When did you team up as SD Letters, and how many murals have you painted together?
We teamed up in August 2015 and started San Diego Letters as a monthly Meetup group. After collaborating on planning events, branding the club, and promotion, we realized what a good team we made. After doing a couple freelance jobs together for fun, we realized that we had a passion for painting murals. We were both frustrated and unfulfilled with our full-time jobs so we decided to quit our jobs and turn San Diego Letters into a business in January 2016. We’ve been loving entrepreneur life and have big plans to continue to grow the business. Since we turned it into a business we’ve painted 42 murals and are excited to do our first international mural in Tasmania in a couple weeks!
- What’s your favorite thing about the gig?
Our favorite part about working for ourselves is the freedom to travel. We love teaching workshops, painting murals, and meeting up with our friends that we’ve had on our podcast (Drunk on Lettering) in every city we go to.
- Do you actually get drunk when recording the “drunk on lettering” podcast?
Yes, we actually get drunk for our podcast and most of our guests do too. The only time we don’t get drunk is when we have to record at 9am with a paper lettering artist in Mumbai!
Check out more about what Phoebe and Roxie are doing at sandiegoletters.com and see more of their work on their Instagram account @sandiegoletters and their podcast @drunkonlettering
President/Founder, WIT- Whatever it Takes
- So your company teaches teens how to be entrepreneurs.Why teens?
Because teens make great entrepreneurs – they are rebellious, don’t like to be told what to do, think they know more than most adults (which they do!), and want to make a difference in the world. And I just LOVE working with teens. They bring an energy and authenticity to the field of entrepreneurship that I don’t often see with adults. Plus, our teens aren’t getting access to “real world” business experience in school and I think if we want to set the next generation up to be successful in the “real world”, we’ve got to give them the tools needed to thrive.
At WIT we know that not every teen will go off and launch their own business, but every teen can benefit from developing an entrepreneurial mindset.
- What is your favorite secret spot in San Diego?
Wait… if I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore! OK, I’ll reveal a couple favorites … I love the bridges in the city … you can enjoy them on alltrails.com. I’ve gotta favorite bridge, but I’m keeping that a secret :)
- If you had endless time and money – what could you see yourself getting super into?
Happy to say that I’d just be doing more of the same. I’m incredibly passionate about engaging teens in finding solutions to the challenges facing our communities and world. When teens are engaged their confidence and sense of self worth increase…and that’s a win-win for everyone! I’d also want to reform the education system … I’m trying to do that now, but the Teachers Union is heavily funded and they fund a lot of political campaigns …but if I had endless pockets of money, hmmmmmmmm……
Check out more about what Sarah is doing at sarahhernholm.com and learn more about her WIT work at www.doingwit.org and www.smartcitysaturday.com