Bri Parker-Dinan, Philly Maid Green
SBN’s Meet Our Ambassadors Series
Ambassadors are SBN Members that commit to one year of expanded involvement within our network. They serve as flag-bearers for SBN. In this series, we highlight the work and stories of our Ambassadors.
How long have you been an SBN member and when did you first hear about SBN and its mission?
We just renewed for our third year in the network! I first heard of SBN in Fall 2014, when I saw it mentioned in a job advertisement for Judy Wick’s personal assistant. I didn’t get the job, but I learned about this awesome network, which ultimately became an inspiration and launching pad for creating my own sustainable business, Philly Maid Green.
Can you share a moment or experience that solidified your commitment to triple-bottom line principles for businesses?
My commitment to triple-bottom-line business really started in 2014 during my senior year at the University of Delaware. The school was trying to build a huge data center and power plant on campus, so I spent my last semester pretty consumed with trying to stop it. We organized protests, social media campaigns, contacted the news, held teach-in’s, etc. Meanwhile, people were asking me “why do you care about the power plant company when you’re graduating and leaving soon?” It seemed really simple to me, so I’d explain to them that a business should not even be here if it’s going to hurt people and the planet. A few weeks after graduation, the school announced they had terminated the 75-year lease with the power plant. This really became the groundbreaking moment for me because it really solidified my passion for environmental activism and sustainable business, and helped create the foundation for my company, Philly Maid Green.
What aspects of your business are you most proud of? And do you have any recent projects, events, or news that you are excited about that you want to share with our network?
I’m very proud of how much we’ve grown in just two years, the number of jobs we’ve created, the families we’ve helped, and the information we’ve shared. Educating and empowering people to live healthier, more sustainable lives (especially at home) is a huge part of our mission, so I really love when we get to do our workshop presentations about the effects conventional cleaners have on our environment, air quality, and overall health. People are always really shocked to hear the crazy stuff these products do to our home and health, so our workshops can be a game-changer for some people, especially those with asthma or allergies. At our workshops, we also help participants make their own cheaper, non-toxic cleaning products for them to take home. In fact, we’re partnering with Defend Our Future to host a workshop at the City Coho Nexus on July 27. So, if you want to learn more about my company and how to save tons of money while improving the health of you AND the environment, please come check it out!
What is your vision for the sustainable business community in the Philadelphia region?
Similar to the mission of our Shop Local Coupon Book, we envision small businesses working together to create a thriving environment and economy. Small, locally-owned companies are essentially the backbone of a healthy community, especially when the businesses are adamant about helping their workers, customers, and the environment. I envision Philly as a hub for mission-based companies and becoming the east coast Silicon Valley of sustainability. As a result, we’d have some of the healthiest citizens and economies in the country. It might sound far-fetched but after Mayor Kenney’s recent clean energy commitment, it might be inevitable.
What is your favorite SBN program or member benefit?
The Entrepreneur’s Roundtable and frequent networking opportunities have been extremely helpful as my business grows. The online Sustainable Business Directory was also extremely helpful when we made our Shop Local coupon book last Fall.
How did you end up in Philadelphia?
I ended up in Philly by chance because I had a new friend with a cheap room open in Fishtown and I needed a place to live after graduation. There was no way I was going back to my parent’s house in Delaware and thought Philly would have a lot more job opportunities for a recent grad. Turns out there weren’t any jobs or companies hiring, but it’s a great place to start your own!
What do you love about our city / region?
I love how there’s always stuff to do, people to meet, and places to go. I love the amazing plethora of green spaces, unique businesses, and supportive networks and communities. I especially love that it’s a huge city with a lot of people and opportunities for business growth, but not too many people like NYC.
What is your favorite place in Philadelphia to spend your day off?
Glendinning Rock Garden, Spruce Street Harbor Park, or the community gardens around my neighborhood
What is your favorite restaurant or bar in Philadelphia?
I never miss a dollar taco night at Loco Pez and my newest favorite is half price Thursdays at Stateside Vodka.