Meet Our Members: Urban Ambassadors

posted on Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Iowa Environmental Council is proud to have Urban Ambassadors as a member organization In this edition of "Meet Our Members", we present an interview (published on June 30, 2017) with Urban Ambassadors' President, Emily Steele to highlight the nine-year-old organization's great work to promote sustainability for communities and individuals.

Emily Steele is the Client Relationship Manager for Think Digital, a digital marketing company. Her work stretches beyond the office into community transformation on many levels, from launching POP UP YOGA DSM to overseeing FemCity Des Moines. Originally from Pella and a Drake graduate, she is interested in bringing various sectors together to make significant impact. 

What is UA's current mission? 

Our mission is to inspire & empower individuals to be more sustainable in their home & in their community. 

How does UA fulfill its mission?

UAOur board and fellow "ambassadors" are amazing connectors in the community. As a "hub" for sustainability, we are here as a one-stop shop for resources and relationships. We also host monthly meet-ups (second Tuesdays of the month!) to offer our community education on sustainability-related topics. These have ranged from learning how to compost to looking at a variety of electric cars (pictured). 

We're constantly posting sustainability events in the metro through our Facebook page and our Facebook Group. It's fascinating to see how many people live sustainably in many different ways.

What need do you see UA filling in Des Moines? 

Urban Ambassadors does a lot of intangible work. We find that a lot of newer people in our community get plugged in to meet like-minded people and learn how they can be sustainable in our city. Connections are absolutely invaluable and we find that because of our wide net, we're able to touch many lives on a variety of focus areas for sustainability.

I love our social media presence and how frequently we are sharing other organization's upcoming events. Our all-volunteer board works hard to lift up the businesses and organizations in town that are focusing on sustainability. The last three years we've hosted an event that celebrated our local "eco-heroes;" many of the individuals are grassroots, neighborhood people who are trying to make an impact. We find that these people typically do this without praise or acknowledgment (even though they absolutely deserve it), so lifting them up is something we're all really proud and excited to do.

What is the makeup of the organization? 

Right now, we are an all-volunteer board of 8 people. We have committee chairs of people who focus on marketing, meet-ups, finances, and so forth. The picture below is the powerhouse of women that serve on our board! (Not pictured Zack Valigosky and Jeremy Moore)UA Board

What inspires you to be involved with Urban Ambassadors? 

I'm a huge advocate for community building and creating a vibrant city of people who care about sustainability. Every person I've met has a different sustainability journey; no person is better or worse than the other person, we're all just trying to do the best we can to make sure our planet is taken care of. Some people are leading efforts to pick up trash in their neighborhoods, while other people are installing solar panels. It's all great & progressive, so we want to celebrate and share those efforts.

I've also found that UA has helped me meet some pretty remarkable people that I'm not sure I would have otherwise met!

How can people get involved now? 

Since we are a nonprofit, it takes volunteers to make events and other monthly activities happen. If you find a passion in sustainability, we'd love to chat with you! From joining our board to helping with an annual event, your time and talent can be put to good use. We know our community is filled with amazing & generous people as well, so if you feel inspired to give to Urban Ambassadors, you can support our mission by donating here.

Thanks to Emily and Urban Ambassadors for sharing this interview with Council readership and for all of their great work!

Interested in Becoming a Member of the Iowa Environmental Council?

The organizational and Individual members are crucial to the success of Council efforts. Alone, we are individuals and organizations with unique and important but single voices advocating for Iowa’s environment. Together, we are a coalition amplifying Iowans’ voices to create large-scale, sustainable change that makes Iowa a better place to live, work, explore and enjoy. Join us, and make your voice heard on behalf of Iowa's environment!


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