Employee Spotlight: Q&A with Gena Carruthers

Gena Carruthers is Planet Aid's Community Relationship Manager for the North Carolina office. She recently described why she likes working for Planet Aid and what it means to her.

How long have you been working for Planet Aid?

I have been working to communicate Planet Aid's cause since March 2012.

What do you do as a Community Relationship Manager?

As part of a wonderful team, I work to grow relationships with people, businesses, governments, and other concerned organizations. I help educate people and communities about the importance of recycling for our earth and I promote standards that help save valuable resources and make recycling more convenient. I also promote the support of our programs that help the poorest of the poor around the globe.

What are some of your favorite parts of your job?

Having the platform to share and involve others with Planet Aid's work is an incredibly rewarding position. I enjoy orchestrating recycle opportunities which give directly back to the environment, while at the same time make a real difference in people's lives who need it the most. It is with satisfaction I see every day more businesses, community groups, schools and individuals come together to contribute to a cleaner environment and a better quality of life for those who have so little.

What do you like about working for Planet Aid?

Being a part of Planet Aid, a nationally recognized leader in textile recycling, is a real honor! What recognition to be part of an organization that hosts recycling experts from another country so they can learn how Planet Aid handles 100 million pounds of donated textiles every year, and how they can develop similar practices in their own country. [Read Planet Aid Shares Recycling Expertise with Zero-Waste Russian Delegation.]Donors, people, and businesses I work with appreciate Planet Aid's transparency. It allows them to be a part of our mission, support our programs, get to know our leaders, goals, and accomplishments, and most of all, know that proceeds go toward our programs to reduce poverty, train teachers, improve health, and enhance the lives of those in need.

Gena often appears on local media to promote Planet Aid's causes.

What kind of impact do you see your work having locally?

I can see a positive shift locally as more people, communities, and governments learn about and embrace our recycle programs to reduce waste. It has also been fulfilling to witness firsthand the impact our donations have in our local communities to help our veterans, shelters, community resource centers, food banks, literacy programs, and schools, to mention only a few.

What are your biggest takeaways after being with Planet Aid for four years?

Ester's [Planet Aid's President] work has had a profound influence on the way I personally see the earth we share and the responsibility we each have to make a difference in the world. I have had the opportunity to learn a lot from her, rarely around a conference table in meetings and never in a suit! Most often, it is in a hands-on setting in a warehouse, wearing jeans and t-shirt, baling textiles, refurbishing bins, grading clothes-- she expects nothing from others that she would not do herself.

And while working shoulder to shoulder, Ester injects in conversation the valuable meaning of this work we do for the enormous good of the environment and for others. I can see how Planet Aid has got to where it is today--now in 21 states, recycling millions of pounds of textiles every year, and supporting sustainable development around the globe. Borrowing her words of praise, "Well done."

Any quotes that inspire the great work you do?

"One individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!" — Dr. Jane Goodall