The Big Give Back…
Today, more consumers than ever are demanding that companies change their practices, become more transparent and communicative and take a more a hands-on approach to making the world a better place. According to a 2014 Nielsen survey, more than half of online consumers around the world surveyed (55 percent) said they would pay more for products and services from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. – Jeffrey Hayzlett (Why Should Your Business Care About Social Responsibility?) This year Global Patent Solutions in Scottsdale Arizona, became one of the sponsors of Hope’s Crossing Organization’s, Spark The Dream ~ Ignite The Future Fundraising Gala. Hope’s Crossing Organization in Phoenix AZ has been helping women, restoring hope as I like to say, to women for over seven years now. There yearly sponsored Gala is a fundraiser, but it is also a way of honoring the women who have gone through the program. Sarah Rupprecht, an employee of Global Patent Solutions was a volunteer at Hope’s Crossing and took the information of how they were helping women back to Kathryn Odland and Global Patent Solutions.
Vertikal Life: How were you introduced to Hope’s Crossing?
Kathryn Odland: Since we actually have quite a large remote workforce, and we are trying to have a way to connect all of our giving back to the community and our volunteering on a central platform. Sarah brought to my attention that she has been volunteering with Hope’s Crossing and she asked if our company would be interested in becoming involved, and without hesitation, we said yes. We try to help any, we try to
align with any of our employees that are doing great things within the community as it directly ties back to our mission of giving back and demonstrating corporate responsibility.
Vertikal Life: I really was impressed with your mission statement and core values that demonstrate your corporate responsibility. How you came to have a mission and a vision that really does say a lot about your responsibility to your clients?
Kathryn Odland: I felt that we have a responsibility to our clients, our employees, and the world in general. We were founded on principles of trying to help in whatever regard, in many different avenues. So, for helping our clients, our clients are typically patent attorneys or people in intellectual property companies making big decisions. So, for that, we want to support them and enable them to make the best, informed decisions and we do that through the research that we provide to them.
We have a tremendous responsibility to help our clients, enabling them to make good decisions and save money wherever possible in an intellectual property space and we also try to give back to our employees and make them have a great working environment here at the company and in the process we want to just make the world a better place. So, wherever we can, in our community, locally or internationally, we try very much to have that in the back of our minds at all times.
Vertikal Life: Okay. And, you are also the co-founder of Global Patent Solutions and can you tell me a little bit about how you came into being or how you went about creating this organization?
Kathryn Odland: Sure, yeah. Before the company, I worked as a patent examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office and I was there for a number of years and I married my husband who is the other co-founder of our organization when we were there at our time at the United States Patent Office and we had a great experience there and we loved it. It came down to housing and where we were going to live and we were looking to find a house. We were trying to figure out what to do. At the time, telework was not really an option and it wasn’t rolled out there and it has since become an option, but at the time it wasn’t an option. My husband and I at the time we both had entrepreneurial aspirations and I had done an internship in college in Arizona and I fell in love with the sunshine and the blue skies and you know house hunting in the Washington, D.C., Virginia, Northern Virginia area.
One day I showed him a house. I saw a house, a picture of a house in Arizona and I said: “what do you think?” And, he thought it was sort of joke, it actually sparked dialogue and the two of us started talking and long-term what do we want to do and where do we want to do it? What were we thinking? We were still young at the time, so we decided we were going to take a leap of faith and move to Arizona and start a business.
So, leveraging our expertise around patent research and patent examination, granting and denying patent applications we thought that it was a really good place for us to focus. We started this company out of the spare bedroom of our house and it was just the two of us. Slowly we grew from there. We co-shared an office first, then we took the big leap and got our own office in old town Scottsdale, and then a number of years later moved to the Sky Song location which is where we currently are. I have seen pretty tremendous growth and have been honored by the level of talent that has chosen to join our organization.
Vertikal Life: Well that’s a great story and hearing you say that. I know we have a program that we do talk to women who, kind of like you, they just decide or they have this great idea and they jump out there and have been very successful. So, I am even doubly happy to be talking to you and seeing all that you are accomplishing. One of the questions I have for you is what do you think your responsibility to women in the community and to women in the community leadership role is to other women in the community because there are a lot of statistics out there that say women in leadership [roles] usually have the bigger percentage of give back to the community, but it’s also proven that the more women business, it shows a higher than the country’s GDP increases on average by three percent. So, I would like to ask you what do you think your responsibility is to women in the community, especially since you sponsored Hope’s Crossing and had an opportunity to learn who they are?
Kathryn Odland: Yeah. I think it is all of our obligation to mentor and share all of the knowledge and help others have the same opportunities. I think this country is great. It is a great country and we have so many tremendous opportunities and I think just continuous learning and then being there to mentor and share and help with time and resources is just really important because I think there are some tremendous women trying to do some tremendous things and, I think, being there to support is really important.
Vertikal Life: Okay, alright. That’s great. That’s great. Well, you know what? I really appreciate the time you have given us today, just giving us some information on Global Patent Solutions and thank you very much for your participation with Hope’s Crossing. At Vertikal, we are a media partner for Hope’s Crossing and I always get a lot of…I just love it when there is a lot more of the community, local businesses are helping more of the local nonprofits in our community.
I think it’s very rewarding and I think it is a way for our community to really grow positively as more businesses jump in and say, we want to give back to our communities. So, thank you very much. Thank you for your time today. I appreciate that. We are going to be featuring you, as I said, in our newsletter. Our newsletter is Corp! Magazine. It talks about the social responsibility of businesses, local businesses in Arizona to the non-profits. You will be getting a little bit of information about Hope’s Crossing’s Gala as well. Kathryn, thank you today for answering my questions, all of my questions and I look forward to hearing about Global Patent Solutions more.
Kathryn Odland: Thank you. I hope I gave you enough information. I wasn’t sure what to be prepared with for today, so, don’t hesitate to reach back out if there was something I didn’t have right at the forefront of my mind to add to us and our company. I tried to give you any information you need about us and our company.
Vertikal Life: I really appreciate your sponsorship to Hope’s Crossing it is one of the nonprofits I am really excited about. I have been with them for three years and I have actually seen the transformation in the women.
Kathryn Odland: I think it is a wonderful, wonderful thing that gives people hope. People’s paths and journeys always take them through times where they have things they need to learn. It’s great when they are able to face those challenges, but then have the resources to help them learn and grow. Education is the key to that because I think that is where people learn why, when, and how. They just grow themselves in ways they never thought possible or ever imagined. It’s really great to see. There is nobody that doesn’t make mistakes sometimes and you take that mistake and you learn from it. Having Hope’s Crossing there to really support them as they transition through these challenges. I think it’s really great, a great thing.
Vertikal Life: Thank you so much because it is great to hear you say that. I do believe that as long as a person is, well, every day they get up, they have the opportunity to make a decision to do something better for their life. I appreciate what you just said. Most definitely.
Kathryn Odland: Life is about choices and there’s never a day you can’t make a better choice.