Good For Others Podcast

Building Employee Community Engagement with Warren Ruis

June 02, 2020 John Valencia / Warren Ruis Season 1 Episode 12
Good For Others Podcast
Building Employee Community Engagement with Warren Ruis
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00:18:52
2nd Segment
Good For Others Podcast
Building Employee Community Engagement with Warren Ruis
Jun 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
John Valencia / Warren Ruis

Learn how building a culture of employee community engagement can increase morale, brand loyalty, and help the world.

Good For Others Host John Valencia and special guest Warren Ruis, chat about how the many ways employee community engagement can transform workplace culture and support nonprofits in the process. 

Warren Ruis is San Diego Gas & Electric's Director of Regional Public Affairs.  Hear how he became an advocate and leverages his professional role to help his hometown. Listen to best practices on how you can get your company involved in transformative and meaningful ways in your local community. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Learn how building a culture of employee community engagement can increase morale, brand loyalty, and help the world.

Good For Others Host John Valencia and special guest Warren Ruis, chat about how the many ways employee community engagement can transform workplace culture and support nonprofits in the process. 

Warren Ruis is San Diego Gas & Electric's Director of Regional Public Affairs.  Hear how he became an advocate and leverages his professional role to help his hometown. Listen to best practices on how you can get your company involved in transformative and meaningful ways in your local community. 

John Valencia :

Welcome to the Good For Others podcast. I'm your host John Valencia. And with me today is our producer Samantha Herron. Hey guys. Today's guest is Warren Ruiz. Warren is a natural people connector. Since 2006, Warren has been working for San Diego Gas and Electric. He's currently the Director of regional public affairs. Warren is well connected throughout San Diego and currently serves as a board member for California coast credit union, San Diego grantmakers, San Diego LGBT community center, and mana de San Diego. Welcome, Warren. Hello there. Thanks for having me. salutely and if people haven't noticed, we are remote. So we're trying our best so if there are technical difficulties, we apologize and appreciate your listenership. To kick off today's podcast, I'm going to ask Warren a few lightning questions so we can get to know you better. How does

Warren Ruis :

That sound works for me.

John Valencia :

Great. All right. Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke. Yes

Warren Ruis :

me care about bottle. Yeah, Yes me too right I knew I knew I liked you. Alright dog or cat. Dog cats are I know we're recording but cats are just rodents dogs or pets.

John Valencia :

breed Would you like a big party or a small gathering?

Warren Ruis :

Small gallery?

John Valencia :

sneakers or sandals? Flip Flops hurt me to amusement park or did the beach

Warren Ruis :

good question we'll probably do at the beach now during COVID eventually maybe amusement park.

John Valencia :

Save or spend, save. Oh. Name a celebrity you'd like to have happy hour with

Warren Ruis :

Oh man well I look I'm a big country music fan so any like country singer George Strait, Keith Urban, happy hour dinner, just get to see him and shake their hand kiss the ring whatever.

John Valencia :

Alright and on a more serious who are inspires you

Warren Ruis :

know there's a lot of folks that inspire me. I love I love those who, who, you know are able to earn and create jobs and give back to the community and give back in their own ways. So, you know, I love the Giving Pledge Bill Gates, Warren Buffett folks who have employed millions of people through their own value chain, but also have committed to giving at least 95% of their wealth away after they, after they pass on those those folks inspire me every day.

John Valencia :

Awesome. Alright, so before we jump into the topic, tell everyone a little bit about your background.

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, so I'm a native San Diego in 30 something born and raised in, in East County where I currently reside with my partner. It's a it's a great city to live work and play in I love San Diego can't imagine leaving ever and specifically love the East County, you know, you get a little bit more for your money and not as much traffic and congestion. My my folks are out here, my grandparents are out here. Some of the community organizations that I'm involved in, do work out in East County. So I love being out here. john and i actually who's who's your moderator today, actually have had been youth activists before it was cool back in the day and done a bunch of stuff in the community. So you know, Eagle Scout and and involved in scouting through my childhood and certainly happy to, to continue being involved in the community and really call San Diego home.

John Valencia :

That's amazing. I was just talking with a friend yesterday about Boy Scouts and how you guys sold popcorn. Did you see lots of popcorn?

Warren Ruis :

No, actually, I didn't sell a lot we were forced to but I'm telling you, it's a lot tougher to sell than cookies. The girl said it easier. And, you know, I typically will give a contribution to Boy Scouts, but not, not by their popcorn product cookies.

John Valencia :

So it's funny, I was reading an article about the popcorn sales and they actually make more money than the Girl Scout cookies because of the profit margin. Who

Warren Ruis :

know it's a $58 ton of popcorn, of course, they're gonna make

John Valencia :

me that's how much it is

Warren Ruis :

so expensive. I'd probably buy a little bit more popcorn. If the scouting policies were a little bit more inclusive, but that's a topic for another day.

John Valencia :

That is, well Great. Well, thank you for for being here. So today's topic is employee community engagement. So for our first segment, I'd like to chat about the importance of employee Community Relations and what that means. And then in the second segment, we talked a little bit more about ways listeners can get their companies more engaged in helping their own local communities. So let's first start with Warren as you've been so supportive of the nonprofit sector for so many years, he went to school at USD go Terreros. Got an MBA in finance. So you probably thought you were going to do something with business and finance I'm guessing and then you wit and here you are in on really more of the relationship building side of of the business. So how did you how did you get there?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, it's it's it's actually goes to kind of the topic of the other The podcast today so I did graduate with a business degree later went back while I was working for an MBA, but you know as soon as I started at the company and again was San Diego Gas and Electric, you know, I started getting involved in walks and runs and all sorts of charitable causes a lot. A lot of focus on the diversity front we have a diversity is really kind of part of our DNA that that's temporary in sdg&e. So whether it's employee diversity, supplier diversity, charitable giving diversity, and so I was heavily involved in those projects. And what I found myself doing is spending a lot more time on the weekends. You know, doing some of the charitable stuff and volunteer work through the company's opportunities. Then I did my own work in the supply chain department, which is where I started so the company provided me a whole bunch of opportunities to really be informed of how it's appropriate and needed and good for business to be a good good community partner and it just made it And after about four or five years in the in the purchasing department, I migrated over to the community relations side where I spent where I spent several years.

John Valencia :

So what I think is what inspired you to think about caring for others? You talked a little bit about your you mentioned your grandma, I know your mom, you have a good relationship with. I mean, were you. A lot of people I talked to stumble upon a nonprofit, maybe it's a health related thing, and all of a sudden they're suffering from something. So now they're involved with an organization that they had not known about. But what was it that inspired you to, to give back at an early age?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, really good question. I think it was a combination of a whole host of items that mean, I remember being, you know, essentially crawling and having my mom bring me to a Lemon Grove change of commerce meeting or at East County Chamber mixer A few years later. And so my mom, small business owner always heavily involved in the community. And so I think it was just expected, like, yes, you're gonna have a job and you're gonna. Well, but what are you going to do in addition to that? And so that was sort of, also engrained through through scouting and, you know, obviously, tons of community involvement through the scouting program. So it was just, it wasn't, yeah, it was what right, it was just expected. And so as soon as I started the company, like I said, I gotten involved in those things, but I think it was ingrained from an early age and I would just encourage those kids to start early, you know, giving back so it should just be core to who we are as Americans.

John Valencia :

Awesome. All right. So from your perspective, why does public relations and Community Relations Why do they matter?

Warren Ruis :

You know, it matters because at kind of the Maslin level one now which I probably wouldn't have said 20 years ago, and those in those in business may have not said 20 years ago is that it just wasn't expected. Right? I mean, if you if you think about how business has grown in America, there was not an expectation of involvement. Now there is I mean, just giving back and cutting a check at a minimum is expected. Right. It's not just good for business. It's It's It's the expectation that the citizens of your communities you serve have a view as a corporate citizen, and I didn't say good corporate citizen yet. I think that's just a baseline. Right. We should be getting back. That is that is the right thing to do. I think the expectations have exponentially grown of our customers and as our elected officials of our communities, that it's not just cutting a check, although we still need that right. But it's what's what's happening on top of that, are you placing leadership, members of your leadership team on boards of directors? Are you volunteering On the weekends, are you allowing for easy employee getting through payroll deductions. So I think cutting a corporate check isn't needed. It's absolutely the right thing to do. But there's so much more that can happen. And it's just expected.

John Valencia :

Yeah. And obviously, I, I, I've been well connected with San Diego Gas electric for a long time. My mom worked there for many, many years. But one of the big things that I think is a great company. One of the cool things that you guys do that, obviously is what what you do for them now is helping to build also these public private partnerships. And I think what's neat about what you guys are doing and you specifically as a person, are, are, you're not just going and donating your time to sit on a board, like, sure you're doing that. But they're connecting the right people that work within the organization, to the right causes that matter and that are part of the culture of what your organization represents. So, how, how have you kind of selected and picked? Which organizations that matter to you?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, I mean, I think I think one of the things that company provides us which I love is, you know, a wide variety of organizations to get involved with and opportunities to maybe, you know, get involved outside of kind of the pillars of the company's giving strategy. But I think one of the best ways our company does it, and I know a lot do around the around the region, Qualcomm has some great options for this too, is really kind of opening the company up to the community. So we have Yes, we're a utility, we provide an essential service, we are not a luxury item. Gas electricity is something folks need. It's basic its core, but we have accountants and finance people and purchasing people and environmental specialists. We have six full time meteorologists, we have archaeologists biologists. We have Water quality people. Yes. And we have some of the hardest working crews climbing poles and laying gas pipe to make sure you have a hot shower and that your air conditioning comes on. So so whatever spectrum you could see yourself in, in business today, if you're a 12 year old kid from City Heights who's not had a lot of attention and the mentorship you need, we may have a home for you at St. Jamie. Right. And so what we've done is taken some of these highly talented, highly trained, in some cases, licensed professionals and gotten them into the community, whether it's through, you know, something significant, like a board placement or something material and that matters like volunteering and the weekends are becoming a big brother, big sister. Some of those programs are really focused on equity and inclusion, which is super important to the company and and I think our our giving strategy and our volunteer strategy is really, really focused on that and making sure that it's amazing And appropriate and Representative way to get engaged for the communities we serve.

John Valencia :

So I know from a personal experience, how much you guys do to support San Diego, specifically within our education world. So I was the vice chancellor for Community College for many years. And I'm recently actually helping doing some consulting work with San Diego continuing education. And you guys were really, really instrumental in supporting a lot of the work they're doing right now because so many people have just suddenly become unemployed because of COVID-19. And you guys with new and a bunch of amazing human beings really stepped up to the plate in figuring out how to support local nonprofits. You guys are doing some pretty cool stuff right now with with COVID-19 and stuff like that. Obviously, it seems like that's just something you guys would have just naturally have done just because you knew it's something that affected the community. But how did that? How has that support kind of motivated you as a person? Right? Because here you are, you're probably we're all sitting here wondering how do we help each other right? And you get to work for a great organization that really truly has the capacity to support others during COVID-19. So how has that kind of process gone through with you? And how has that helped you kind of support the efforts you're looking for?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, you know, I think I think the thing that's that's unique for our organization and for utilities across the country is that whether you're on the east coast and you serve customers, you're so used to hurricanes or for us, we're so used to wildfires and earthquakes are in the south. You're used to the weather conditions down there and some of the heat waves that come across the cross the West, I are so well prepared, and probably much more prepared than the average business for emerging says, and I say that it's not necessarily a fabulous thing. Right? emergencies are terrible. But we're so ingrained. And so I think, while my blood pressure probably went up 10 or 12 points, I think the probably the average person in business probably went up 40. And, and that's not, that's not a good or bad thing. It just is we are so prepared for emergencies and so prepared for what can happen. So when this started coming, obviously, we planned early it was we have a full time dedicated Emergency Services team and they started planning for how do we handle employees? And how do we handle working with customers during this and a number of commitments that we made to the community before our regulators forced us to do so that I'm really, really proud of, and those things stand on their own two feet, but I think we're just we're so prepared and trained to handle things like this, that it made our response easy. I would say to the other part of your question that not everybody right now can give as you mentioned, And earlier, I sit on a number of nonprofit boards and some of the things that we're doing is, is lifting up and being okay with a five or $10 contribution, right, that is so meaningful. And in some cases, we get enough of those, they're transformational, and services falling. So lifting up those voices, and folks who are stepping up lifting up smaller donors, so everybody can help even in a small way. And I think making sure that that those who are giving and staying involved whether it's through let's say, you're a volunteer at the Trevor Project, and you're doing life saving counseling services remotely, instead of in person in some cases, that is so important right now, and and even more important than it was and, quote, unquote, the normal times, we got to lift those up, we got to showcase those examples to make sure that we inspire others to get involved.

John Valencia :

Ah, thank you for saying that because that is exactly What this podcast is about and ultimately, you know, any TV show or whatever we're working on can do because this is a time may we pause and just say this is a PSA to say right now anyone listening, give what you can because just in San Diego alone, there's 12,000 nonprofits, I can guarantee you there's a lot less nonprofits there are right now than there were before COVID-19. And, and they are dependent. Right now if you have a favorite nonprofit, send them $5 $10 whatever you can, because this is a time that will make or break so many businesses, especially nonprofits. So thank you Warren for just saying that because I can't echo and reinforce that enough. It is this is a crucial time that we'll be at depicting future for all nonprofits. And if you have one that is a favorite, a dear heart, it's close to your heart for some reason. Go now right now stop listening to us. I'll even let you stop listening to us right now. So you can go to the website and fill out their donation and give what you can because that's what we need to do. All right, we do have to go to a break commercial, commercial break, but we will be right back. Stay tuned. Thank you so much, Warren for being with us. We'll be right back. No one

Commercial :

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John Valencia :

We'll come back to the good for others podcast. I'm your host John Valencia and today we are talking with Warren Ruiz. Warren is a people person, he is really great at connecting all sorts of different organizations and nonprofits together so that we can have a better and stronger impact. Warren. So in the first segment, we talked about how businesses can get their employees connected to nonprofit organizations, and really how you did that and how the organization you work at, sdg&e is doing that. But let's talk about those who are listening and saying, okay, all that sounds great, but my company I work at isn't doing isn't really doing much. What's what do you think is the first step an employee could say to maybe their boss, or their owner of a small business here in San Diego to say, we need to be doing more what would you say to someone in that situation?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, thanks, john. I you know, I think Every company can do something right. Of course, the big major fortune 500 publicly traded companies can cut checks and create big teams. But every company even the smaller companies can do something. My mom is a small business owner and often would she was a printer and would often donate some of her extra printing stock to nonprofits, you know, even some, some extra cards actually had on hand to so that they could do non you know, they could do thank you cards for the folks who are supporting their nonprofit. I think if you're a roofer or if you're a plumber, I guarantee you, you know, there are 1313 or 15,000. JOHN, you probably know better than me, nonprofits in San Diego, three or 4000 of those have at least one paid staff member or more. And most of those, those actually have a building or a place that they they work and operate out of or a satellite location. And I guarantee you some of those are probably in need of some plumbing or a new toilet or a roof job. So everybody who has some sort of training or skill, or talent can deploy that in the community in a positive way. I would also say you don't have to do all at once. So let's say you're in three or four person shop, pick a cause a year, don't feel like you have to pick one or two a month to pick a cause a year. Focus on that focus on growing your impact. When you when you get to that month that you're going to do it and stand down the other months. That's totally okay. But start somewhere.

John Valencia :

I love what you just said there. And I would echo and maybe we can talk about that a little bit more. Marketing is a huge piece of this. Right? And people think, Oh, I need to give. It's a good thing to do. But you're also I mean, let's be serious from a business perspective. You're also doing really good marketing and showing the public what your culture is like, right and there's no harm in sharing what Do what you're doing. So for a lot of organizations, I'd say it's a win win, right? Yes, you want to help and promote and support your local community. But you're also getting some really good marketing out of it, wouldn't you say?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, and I would say that I don't know a single nonprofit who wouldn't tweet or Instagram or Facebook out a shout out to your business for stepping up. All three of those are free. Most of these nonprofits also have E newsletters where they can give, let's say, you're a dry cleaner and you want to support a local nonprofit and they have a gala coming up, you know, they're going to need linens that are clean. And you know, let's say it's a child supporting organization. They've probably got kids who need fresh clothes and clean clothes and you can support that if you're a dry cleaner. I guarantee you they're going to give you a shout out and they're probably widely read newsletter or widely followed social media. So So stepping up is is so easy once you do Do it once such as give it a shot?

John Valencia :

Well in and the really interesting thing is I mean, I've worked for big and small nonprofits, the small nonprofits I worked at still had a ginormous amount of supporters. And that email newsletter you're talking about, is a great, great opportunity for people to get their name in front of right to share the cool work that you're doing. And I always say it's like, people always shy like, Oh, I'm not trying to do it, because I'm trying to do marketing. No, no, listen. Like, this is all encompassing. If you're doing good work, let's, let's expose that because it's a great thing to be doing. And also, you're helping a nonprofit in the same in the same breath. That's awesome. Right. And I think that people are looking for people or organizations that they can support and lean on her who are like minded and doing great work

Warren Ruis :

and you stepping up As a small business, I guarantee will inspire somebody else who's on that email list to step up as well. Thank you so much for saying that, can we repeat that you as a small business owner stepping up, will really inspire others to do the same thing. hundred thousand percent agree because it really does take someone to be the leader. And then it comes back tenfold. Right? I mean, Jeff and I were just, you know, we own nurse next door. And we didn't necessarily do marketing and support other organizations because we wanted to look good. We did it because it was part of our culture and that we want other organizations to understand what we do. But in that process, it also means that we're sharing who we are. And we're also supporting the things that matter. And I think when other organizations see that and other potential customers, that's something Firing, you want to be associated with like minded people? Right? Yeah, I think it's a good point. And I would also say, you know, to expound on it on that these nonprofits have extraordinarily talented marketing professionals. So you asking for a shout out should be expected if they're not already offering it to you. So don't feel like you're asking for something that they don't get asked for a bunch or something that you don't deserve if you've stepped up to support them. So nonprofits have to market just like us a small business or large business have to as well so, so don't be shy about asking for that shout out on that street cred. It's part of your business, it's also part of theirs.

John Valencia :

And most importantly, if there's something a nonprofit out there is looking for whether it's outreach, its marketing, it's getting new donors or volunteers. Listen, if you're out there, and you're needing these things right now and you've got a great partner and for people out there who are supporters of great organizations Like once connected to you and I with like California coast credit union, all these different organizations are out there doing things that that matter. It doesn't have to be, you know, oodles and oodles of money. Of course, we'd love that. Right. But it can be, like you've said, with with your mom's doing with printing or whatever it may be if you've got something that right now could help. That goes a long way. And I think that's what I want to echo here is that it doesn't need mean that you're giving millions of dollars every year. But if you could be donating some in kind products, that really matters, and it goes a long way, a long way for sure.

Warren Ruis :

Good point.

John Valencia :

So with this on, I would love for those who are listening right now. And they're thinking okay, my company right now doesn't do anything. What would you say from your perspective, like What would might be a first step for them to do next?

Warren Ruis :

Yeah, well, like I said earlier, you've got to start somewhere, pick a cause, do it once a year, maybe the following year, you do two a year. I think it also helps because a lot of businesses get get hit up for contributions all the time. And it's okay to say, you know, I'm not able to support that this is the cause of our choice. That should be something you're proud about, and that's part of your brand, and maybe mission aligned for you as a company, if that's appropriate. But I would say, you know, ask, ask your boss, if you're okay, ask her. Are you able to go out and see what our community that we serve, really needs? You know, we mentioned earlier how many, you know, over 10,000 nonprofits in San Diego. Most of those nonprofits who have a team also have a website. And on that website, there's usually a staff staff directory, and it'll say something on there like volunteer coordinator or development director, email that person and say, Hey, you know, I know you're the You're the Boys and Girls Club down the street. I run the mechanic or I run the it firm down the street. We see you guys all the time. You know, we want to get involved in the community. What do you guys need? Maybe we can do it. Maybe we can't. It's a five minute email and I guarantee you get a response that is cordial and professional and honest. And those nonprofits will tell you hey, we're struggling, you know, on monthly donors, we're struggling on landscaping, we're struggling with our computer system. And there's a there's a match to be made there that is potentially transformational for the community.

John Valencia :

It's amazing. Yes. And I think I will echo it just doesn't need to be a lot you could start with say say there's a organization you love that's doing a walk or run God knows it's crazy right now with virtual if you seeing if you're seeing something for American Heart Association, or, or Crohn's and colitis right now I know they're doing a bunch of different stuff. And they're having to now translate what they do in person into a virtual format. I would urge all of you follow them on social media, Facebook, whatever it may be, and pop in when it happens, because it's got to be so difficult right now, if you can't have that one to one connection with someone, but we are I know, we, as the nonprofit sector is really trying hard to figure out how to engage with everyone to really bring that meaningful message of what we're trying to do to everyone's hearts, where we can actually hopefully open up someone's pocketbook in order to support the mission of any organization. So right now, whether it's, if you can do any kind of you can just show up and do something on a on a website or something virtual right now. Let's support as much as we possibly can, because this is the time that really matters. So thank you for bringing that up. Warren, I do want to say, I'm kind of digressing a little bit from what we're talking about. But I would love to know, what what are you most proud of in your career right now?

Warren Ruis :

Well, I think I think the biggest thing, and we touched on this earlier, but I think the biggest thing is, you know, working for a company you're proud to represent in the community. I think, you know, of course, I work for a utility. Not everybody loves having a bill. I don't like paying money either. But to know that your company that provides you a critical and essential service is also stepping up for the communities it serves in so many different ways, is really important. And I think the things that we've done to take care of our customers is is is leaps and bounds above what other other companies are able to Do and we are able to do that. And we're proud of that. So I love that. I would also say you mentioned some of the other boards I sit on. So I sit on the board of the San Diego LGBT community center. And we have really done everything we can to have more some of the service delivery around counseling and case management to virtual as much as possible. I also am on the board of the California California coast credit union, which is a nonprofit member owned if you're a member of a bank, Please switch go to a credit union doesn't matter which one go to a credit union calculus would be great. But California coast voluntarily, with very little regulation has stepped up to support our members with payment plans through the COVID crisis. And and really done everything we can to waive fees and and waive late fees and things like that. So So call them if you need help, we're there for you. So I'm just proud to be associated with so many organizations that are stepping up. One other I should mention I'm also on the board of San Diego grantmakers, and I'm sure this year and really it is the Chamber of converse of philanthropists and nonprofits. And that organization has just done an extraordinary job to make sure that the funders and the charitable philanthropists in the region by which we have many, many, even though as a small town, we have a lot of very generous folks. But that those corporate givers, those family foundations, this philanthropist, are stepping up to give with an equity lens. And so some of the training that we do is really focused on making sure your giving is inclusive, has equity Top of Mind, and that we lift up and empower those organizations who are really focused on communities of concern. So I'm just proud to be associated with that spectrum of groups. So you just gave me the great opportunity to invite you back as another guest on our podcast because I would love to talk about equity in regards to fundraising and supporting other organizations that really have that equity lens associated with it. I think that's a that's a topic. Not many people. Our understanding of what that means. So that could be something great. But But before we do, and this this segment, let's talk about equity in a moment, high level, because I know we could go into it for hours. But when you say that right now, right now we're in a world with COVID-19. And nobody understanding like, what's going to happen tomorrow. But if we're going to put in and we're thinking ourselves is just general Joe Schmo sitting on his couch being like, how can I help right now? You know, equity means supporting those and giving those the resources so that they can have an equitable chance and ask Yes, that's, that's redundant there, but they have a chance that is more level with their peers, right. So we need to really help those those populations have an equitable chance to thrive. So when we say that, what are you thinking off the top of your head about giving from an equitable lens? And is there a way that just Joe Schmo any one of us sitting on our couch listening to this podcast? Is there something we could be doing for more of an equitable lands? Yeah, I think I think I have sort of let me give you a very brief general answer about giving with an equity lens. And then I want to talk about COVID. A little with a little bit more detail. But I think when we give with an equity lens, we want to really check our biases, as much as possible. When you think something about someone or think something about a population. Question yourself, why do you have that bias? What's your natural inclination, and for most donors, and we want to encourage all generosity, but most donors want to get to those organizations that they're associated with that are, you know, within your same herd, and so what we do at grantmakers is really challenged folks to think Outside of that box, and really give with, with a lens that goes beyond who they're very familiar with, and that includes much more inclusion within a given spectrum. So that's kind of general, as it relates to No, but I think one of the things that we're, we're most I don't know another word besides embarrassed, but I'm embarrassed for our country in a lot of ways that the most adverse effects of the COVID pandemic have hit the communities of concern that we'll talk about when it comes to equity and inclusion. It's adversely affected communities of color. Part of that is part of that most of that is systemic, it's institutional, and and the the gaps in terms of service delivery have been amplified by the the systemic challenges we see in those communities of concern. So if I'm thinking about a way to give with an equity lens right now, as it relates to the COVID pandemic, I'm thinking about local community health centers that are working in communities of concern. And thinking about Santa cedar health centers and thinking about Family Health Center. I'm thinking about the sandy the LGBT community center. those groups that are really ingrained in and not starting, you know, yesterday but have worked for decades for longer than any of us have been alive on this podcast in these communities to support those who are often marginalized and overlooked. So I think challenging our biases at a general level, but also really focusing on where there's gaps during this pandemic is the best way to step back and say that any better.

John Valencia :

So thank you. We have to go to a we have to go to a quick commercial but we will be right back.

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John Valencia :

Welcome back to the good brothers podcast. Today we're talking with Ward Ruiz, who's really been enlightening all of us on the ways that businesses can give back to support their local communities. For our final segment, we play a quick game we call three wishes. Let's imagine there's a genie here to grant you three wishes, Warren, what would be your first wish?

Warren Ruis :

You know, I think that the thing that's so top of mind for us right now, during the current pandemic, is, you know, finding a quick here to COVID a quick cure that works for everybody inflicted by this disease and have it rapidly deployed.

John Valencia :

So what would be your second wish?

Warren Ruis :

I think what would be my first wish in non pandemic land. And my second wish now is really civility. Right? I think from a from a, a, a political standpoint, from a community standpoint, we have a lot of folks who are just not happy and not willing to engage in a conversation. We see that with different factions and some of the environmental labor business community. We've got a knock that off, being able to get in the same room and have a conversation. Carl Luna at the University of San Diego has done an extraordinary job talking about the value of civility, interviewed some extraordinary thinkers in that concept and I just want to see more of it. And what

John Valencia :

about your third wish?

Warren Ruis :

You know, maybe it's just because I've been stuck at home for like three months in COVID land but I need a tan I'm so pale. Yeah. Nobody believes I have a release last name, but I just need I need to get a little color. That's my third wish.

John Valencia :

I will gladly take it. That is so great. I actually laid out in the sun yesterday and the vitamin D was tacular Alright, so that wraps. That about wraps up today's podcast. However, before we go, I would like to thank Warren for joining us today, when you truly are making a positive impact in the world by just being an authentic and inspiring leader, and if you've not heard that in the last three months because of COVID I hope you hear it loud and clear here. There are so many people, especially here in San Diego, who really really appreciate what you do and how you do it because you do it from a really authentic and glorious place. That's, that's very, very transparent. And it's it's real and it's a well appreciated and I hope you know that.

Warren Ruis :

You're so awesome. Thank you for having me. I've had a lot of community leaders who have kind of paved the way for what humble, authentic leadership and showing up in the community looks like People like you people like Linda cats. I've just been so inspired by all of those folks and inspired by you. I learned something from you every time I'm with you. So thank you for having me and happy to come back whenever you'll have me. Awesome. Well, thank

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