|The author (center), with Ray Anderson (second from right) and staff members of InterfaceRAISE and MagicWig
(producers of the “So Right, So Smart” documentary).
Mona Amodeo, Ph.D., is the founder and owner of idGroup USA, a branding firm with offices in Pensacola and Cleveland. A leader in corporate sustainability, she is featured – along with Ray Anderson – in the documentary So Right, So Smart.
Ray Anderson will be remembered by the world as a sustainability pioneer. A man who “got it” before most, a passionate crusader for what he believed. Through his gift of storytelling, he informed us, charmed us and inspired us to join his cause. He leaves his mark on the world as an entrepreneurial thinker and as a major force in redefining outdated industrial business models. Certainly important parts of the Ray Anderson legacy.
Perhaps the most poignant moment at the summit came at the end when we asked participants to make a commitment statement around the work we had done over the 2-days. Ray’s statement reflected his commitment and tenacity. “I commit to fighting this cancer so I can be here [to] see us reach the top of Mt. Sustainability.”
Ray, somehow, I think you will be waiting for us at the top.
While Ray inspired me with his sustainability vision, it was Ray Anderson the person that impacted me most. I first met Ray in 2004 when I asked him for help with a research project I wanted to do. I was interested in the emerging concept of sustainability and wanted to study the Interface journey to becoming a sustainability-focused company. After listening to my request and asking a couple of very direct questions (which I came to learn was part of any conversation with Ray) his response was simple and straightforward, “I think I want to help you.” He never wavered from that commitment. He helped me with that research project and beyond. In his quiet way, he paved the way for opportunities I would have never had. He always made time in his amazingly busy schedule to talk with me. When I try to explain to people what made Ray so special, I often begin by saying “he answers every e-mail I send to him, and usually within a couple of hours”—which in a strange kind of way sums up Ray. A man of integrity who didn’t just talk about commitment, he lived it.
While he was a rock star in the sustainability world, I will remember Ray as a friend and mentor. He was a consummate southern gentleman who helped me realize a dream. Thank you Ray, I hope I can give back to others even a small portion of what you have given me and I promise I will always remember my responsibility to Tomorrow’s Child.