Last month we introduced five of our amazing new Business For Good members who joined our organization since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. We are so grateful to have these fellow conscientious business owners on board to help us drive impactful, progressive policy that improves San Diego for everyone.
Now, please join us in welcoming even more of our new fellow BFG members! As promised, here is Part 2 of our new BFG member profile series. Read on to discover the phenomenal work these folks are doing to help America’s Finest City live up to its name.
Jose Alonso // Founder, A&Co
What does your business do, and who are your favorite clients? We are a full-service marketing firm that transforms brands and businesses with a focus on clarity, meaning, and emotion. We’re on a mission to solve problems of any nature, and we inspire our clients, teammates, and community at large to view every challenge as an opportunity.
What about yourself or your business are you most proud of? What I’m most proud of is how we have built relationships with our clients that have helped them become better people and organizations. This helps create a positive, energized environment for them that spurs growth and innovation. Collaboration, empathy, respect, and open-mindedness are my core personal values, and I’m proud that they are ingrained into A&Co as well.
What made you want to join Business For Good? We’re always looking for ways to improve the world. That can be through direct collaborations with other individuals and organizations, or indirectly supporting them in many different ways, too. I love the mission of Business For Good to drive meaningful local impact through the collective power of our business community.
Which one of BFG’s four policy focus areas resonates most with you, and why? Immigration, because I myself am an immigrant, and I understand firsthand the challenges—and most importantly, the opportunities—that come along with that. I’m also quite interested in Environmental Health.
What do you love the most about San Diego? The spirit! I feel San Diego has an incredible spirit of collaboration and open-mindedness while still possessing a strong drive for innovation and progress.
Bonus question! What was your biggest guilty pleasure during the pandemic? Watching Formula 1 races! I’m a gearhead.
Jennifer Case // Co-Founder + CEO, New Leaf Biofuel
What does your business do, and who are your favorite clients? New Leaf Biofuel converts used cooking oil from San Diego restaurants into biodiesel fuel—an eco-friendly alternative to diesel fuel. Biodiesel directly displaces diesel fuel usage, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. On the supply side, our customers are restaurants who love contributing their cooking oil to a good cause like us. On the consumer side, our customers are environmentally conscious wholesale refiners and truck stops throughout Southern California who want to offer clean fuel to their own customers.
What about yourself or your business are you most proud of? We’ve built a company full of passionate environmentalists who want to leave the planet in better condition for the next generation.
What made you want to join Business For Good? A friend highly recommended the group of values-aligned business owners to me.
Which one of BFG’s four policy focus areas resonates most with you, and why? Environmental Health! But I believe strongly in the other three areas as well.
What do you love the most about San Diego? The weather!
Bonus question! What was your biggest guilty pleasure during the pandemic? Pictionary with my pandemic pod.
Natalie Chiles // Founder + Owner, Natalie Chiles Photography
What does your business do, and who are your favorite clients? I provide artistic portrait photography. Headshots, family portraits, high school and college graduations, and modern school portraits are among my favorites. I also love branding photography! My favorite clients are those who are kind, forward-thinking, and laid-back. Basically, if you like having fun, want to have some photos taken, and you like color, we are going to be great friends.
What about yourself or your business are you most proud of? I’m proud that I transitioned from “mom with a camera” to “business with a studio.” I have yet to feel like I’ve “made it” as a photographer—I’m not sure when that will happen, but I do know that I’ve worked really hard to get where I am. And I have so much further I’d still like to go.
What made you want to join Business For Good? I love that BFG aligns with my values as a human. It’s hard to know who to align with as a business, and I want to be sure I am supporting and involving myself with groups that truly believe in humanity and equality. BFG hits all the bullet points for me, and it definitely requires me to think more broadly about the greater good than just in my little corner of the business world. At some of the BFG member meetings, I have really been challenged to keep up and learn. This is a great place to be.
Which one of BFG’s four policy focus areas resonates most with you, and why? I believe in all of the focus areas so much. It would be impossible to make a real impact in these areas on my own, but my hope is that I will be able to get more involved and make a bigger difference through the collective voice of others here at BFG.
What do you love the most about San Diego? I love the diversity that San Diego brings. I grew up in a bubble in the midwest. As a mom of three, I love that my own kids are growing up hearing a multitude of languages, seeing a variety of cultures, and living out what I was taught but didn’t experience until I moved here—that our differences make us beautiful, and we are all humans first.
Bonus question! What was your biggest guilty pleasure during the pandemic? For sure it was food. We were lucky to have completed a kitchen remodel right before the pandemic hit, so we put it to work! I fell in love with everything from making my own hummus to making desserts and cooking meals again.
Kirk Hensler // Founder + Owner, Hale Productions
What does your business do, and who are your favorite clients? We are a full-service production agency that focuses on product and lifestyle photo and video for brands and individuals. We shoot a lot with food, lifestyle, and wellness brands like Chosen Foods, Birch Benders, SmartyPants, and Ripple Foods.
What about yourself or your business are you most proud of? Probably the fact that I used to do everything by myself, and now multiple days will go by where I don’t actually have to do anything because the team I have now is so quality. Having started something small and then taking it to the point where it can run itself is a thing I am grateful for every day.
What made you want to join Business For Good? I’ve always liked the idea of being rich without being an asshole. I think it’s important for people to pursue their dreams and do really well for themselves while also spending at least some of their time trying to improve their communities so other people can experience the freedom that money and entrepreneurship can create. I felt like BFG was definitely a place where I’d find others who share this belief.
Which one of BFG’s four policy focus areas resonates most with you, and why? As a business owner, I think Homelessness resonates with me the most. All of my companies have been located in East Village, which is one of the most densely populated homeless areas in the city. I’ve struggled with wanting to provide a nice experience for our clients when they visit our office while at the same time recognizing the many socioeconomic barriers the unsheltered face when trying to rebuild their lives. I’ve lived in San Diego for nearly 14 years, and I’ve never seen anyone be able to provide adequate relief for the homeless or the businesses directly affected by homelessness. I sincerely hope that will change.
What do you love the most about San Diego? Probably the fact that we can produce content year-round and not have to deal with weather-related scheduling issues. On a personal side, I like going to the ocean early in the morning when it’s still overcast and taking in the breeze.
Bonus question! What was your biggest guilty pleasure during the pandemic? That’s a good question. I am one of those hated people who actually had an incredibly productive pandemic. I started taking Spanish lessons every morning, something I’d always wanted to do. I also played the guitar and took a lot of walks in my neighborhood (North Park). But the one really wonderful thing that happened in those first few months of quarantine is that I realized I enjoyed so much about my life outside of work. And upon returning to the studio, I made sure to reduce our number of monthly shoots by 30% and give the last Friday of each month off to everyone for mental health.
Katrina Oprisko // Co-Founder + Owner, Earthwell Refill
What does your business do, and who are your favorite clients? Earthwell Refill is proud to offer high-quality, eco-friendly refill products from a wide array of established local vendors. Our customers bring their own reusable containers and fill them up with quality natural products: hair care, lotion, shower gel, hand soap, household cleaners, dental care, and much more. This helps to significantly cut down on the amount of single-use plastic containers that are consumed and produced. Our customers come from all walks of life, and they are very excited to be in our store. They make our work very satisfying.
What about yourself or your business are you most proud of? I’m proud that we have been open for five years. I’m glad to have met so many like-minded individuals who have made a conscious decision to live sustainably.
What made you want to join Business For Good? I wanted to connect with other local entrepreneurs who are interested in more than just making money but actually helping their communities too.
Which one of BFG’s four policy focus areas resonates most with you, and why? Environmental Health, because it’s resonated with me since I was a child.
What do you love the most about San Diego? The openness. I feel like San Diegans are free to be exactly who they want to be.
Bonus question! What was your biggest guilty pleasure during the pandemic? I listened to Labi Siffre and Whitney constantly—a bit excessively, one could say!