I recently hosted an Airbnb guest who aimed to visit all 59 national parks by the time she turned 25. She knocked off another three during her stay with us, bringing her total to well over half by age 21.
When I asked why, she explained that she felt a deep sense of awe every time she sat in one of our national parks. It was almost a religious experience, she said. Her journey was a pilgrimage.
All missions are deeply personal. Excellence, power, family, the environment—our private Polaris guides us through the tangle of choices we must make each day.
My mission crystallized soon after I graduated from college while interning with a social enterprise consulting firm. I worked with rainwater collection companies, social enterprise kitchens and mobile grocers on capital raising, business planning and marketing. Despite their variety, they all took the same approach: identify a social need and build a business to address it.
I have always wanted to build something better than what I find. That’s why the idea that I could harness the power of business to meet public needs struck a chord inside me. I knew I wanted to be a part of an organization where I could go home at the end of the day and point to the good we were doing, and where my day-to-day work could have a lasting impact. That was to be my mission, my calling.
Shortly after, I started working at McKinstry, a company whose vision of, “together, building a thriving planet,” called to me. I spent three years learning how a construction company could save massive amounts of energy for clients, take care of its employees and support the communities where we live and work.
One year ago, my role expanded to include community relations. I now have the opportunity to connect McKinstry and the people who work here with the broader community, and to help those organizations access McKinstry’s time, talent and resources. In short, I get to work on a portfolio of projects that match my mission—and McKinstry’s vision.
I believe people are drawn to McKinstry because of the company’s values, and stay because of the people. Both are powerful motivators. I want everyone at McKinstry to know that they can join other caring people to make a meaningful difference in their community. Over the past year, I’ve seen what can happen when they do, and the results are powerful.
Other organizations are on this same journey, and we can learn from each other. That’s where this blog series comes in. I’ll talk about what we’re trying to do and some of these lessons that I’ve gathered along the way. There are a lot of good stories out there, both at McKinstry and elsewhere, and I hope to share some with you.
Work in this field? Know someone doing something impressive? Have something to teach? Drop me a line. I’d love to talk.
Kevin Lynn is McKinstry’s community relations specialist. He lives in Seattle. This is the first post in Kevin’s ongoing “Building Good” blog series.