1×10: Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell, Founder & CEO of Oliver Russell and Humanista

Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to meet Russ Stoddard, Founder & CEO of purpose driven agencies Oliver Russell, a certified B-Corp (my favorite types of Corps), and Humanista. He’s also a field hand at Dream Farm Flowers. He’s the author of Rise Up: How to Build a Socially Conscious Business, a leading voice in the purpose-driven business community, and lover of bicycles! We met over a tweet and I am so happy and honored that he could join to do a 1×10 interview! Read on!

1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?

I fell in love with cycling as a young boy — we didn’t call it cycling then — because a bike meant total and complete freedom to go wherever you wanted, at least back in the days before helicopter parents. That love of riding never left me — it’s fun, great exercise, saves money, protects the environment, and provides an unmatched connection to your community.

…it’s fun, great exercise, saves money, protects the environment, and provides an unmatched connection to your community.

2. Favorite bike?

My favorite bike was my first bike, a Columbia Stingray. Of course, what I really wanted was a Schwinn. I look back now and realize how lucky I was not to have a bike like everyone else.

3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?

A 15-minute ride home that turned into a 3-hour ride–one of the great things about riding your bike is you make connections with people and your community that you just can’t in a car. On the ride in question, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long, long time, and didn’t know that she’d been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis–she took me into her back yard and showed me her illegal marijuana plants that she used for pain. We had a great time catching up and I showed up at home three hours later.

I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long, long time…we had a great time catching up and I showed up at home three hours later.

4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?

Kristin Armstrong, three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner in the individual women’s time trial — from my hometown of Boise, Idaho.

5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?

Commuters–look twice and be careful out there. Mountain bikers–go with the flow. Road cyclists–let yourself go, the real world will always be back there waiting for you.

6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?

Cargo bikes — I love that people are hauling all sorts of stuff through human-powered bikes!

Editorial note: Amen to that!

7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?

My business, Oliver Russell, is a Certified B Corporation and a strong advocate for cycling in the community. We pay people to ride bikes to work and reimburse expenses for cycling (and other healthy) gear. We’re also  a certified Bike Friendly Business and support community cycling efforts such as Boise Goathead Fest, Commuteride, and May In Motion.

We pay people to ride bikes to work and reimburse expenses for cycling (and other healthy) gear.

8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?

I think the biggest change will be the corporate world adopting social purpose at its core–because customers and employees demand it, investors reward it, and the planet needs it. We’re seeing the tip of this iceberg now, I believe, with more and more businesses recognizing that they have a responsibility to society that goes beyond solely creating a financially profitable bottom line. That’s why I turned my business into a Certified B Corporation and a legal Benefit Corporation.

I think the biggest change will be the corporate world adopting social purpose at its core–because customers and employees demand it, investors reward it, and the planet needs it.

9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?

Too many damn ideas and not enough time plus my inability to effectively manage the hours that I do have.

10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?

I’d turn this question around — what can I do to be of help to anyone who’s reading this?

Russ Stoddard is the founder & CEO of Oliver Russell, a certified B Corp that builds brands for purpose-driven companies. He can be found walking his bike through their office on their home page! He also founded Humanista and is an all around leading voice in the purpose-driven business community.You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at virtcyc@gmail.com or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.

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