I try not to overplay the bike metaphor (I mean, Mixte is the name of a bike frame), but the reason that I’m here today is because of a bike.
In the late 2000s, I was bike commuting to my agency job in San Diego (I had sold my car because I couldn’t afford it). As the only bike commuter on the road, I waited at a stoplight, sharing the space with a Honda Element. But when I arrived at work, I stashed my used, slightly bent bike in the hallway, and sat down to do PR for Honda.
Yep, I was bike commuting to work to use my professional talents to sell SUVs.
It was that day that I made a plan to follow my personal values professionally, and within a year, I was the communications director for one of the world’s largest Waterkeeper organizations. As its first advocacy communications director and only communications staff member, I learned how the communications department can be spread thin by an organization’s comprehensive needs and the requirements to support internal departments, the board of directors and external stakeholders. It’s also where I experienced firsthand the inefficient nature of communications, driving me to develop Mixte’s proprietary extension-of-staff model and our focus on systems development.
This leap into the nonprofit sector also revealed to me more about the white dominant world of public relations (about 87% white in the United States) while also introducing me to environmental justices happening in my backyard (which primarily impact communities of color). My vision for what I could accomplish professionally evolved into building an agency committed to social justice, achieved by supporting community-driven activists.
More than what my professional track taught me, I also realized this vision would require some of my life’s most important work – acknowledging my privilege and understanding where it comes from and how it affects my presence and leadership.
Once you see the injustice, you can’t unsee it.
This relentless focus on equity – both through our clients and with our team – led to Mixte being recognized in 2021 as one of the nation’s best boutique agencies, and in 2019 as PR Team of the Year.
Today, I am one of two principals, and I nurture company culture and create community engagement opportunities, including the development of Mixte Classroom and Tracks Apprenticeship. I do this from my backyard, nestled in the mountains of Central Oregon.