Rubicon’s mission is to end waste. This has been true since our company’s founding, and at the same time, our commitment has always been to take care of our employees, so as to ensure we foster their creativity and innovation while at Rubicon®, and further out as they move forward in their careers.
At Rubicon, we like to keep in touch with former employees, and as a part of this outreach, I recently spoke with former Rubicon team member Maui Orozco. After working at Rubicon as the company’s first-ever Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Maui moved to Facebook, where she works on External Affairs and Strategic Engagement for the social media giant’s Public Policy team.
Maui and I were colleagues on Uber’s Public Policy team about five years ago during a time of extraordinary growth for the company, and when I was developing the RUBICONSmartCity™ business, she was my first call. I knew that she would be the perfect fit to help me build something from the ground up and to be the partner I needed to make strategic decisions that would lead to the best outcomes for our customers and our business. Her hustle, her determination, and her creativity were exactly what we needed in order to “think big” and develop a business that would change the game for city governments across the country. Maui’s hard work has left such a bright mark on our company, and it is paying dividends for our city customers, our Smart City team members, and our company at large even today.
I sat down, virtually of course, with Maui to talk about the intersection of public policy and sustainability, her time at Rubicon, and her current role at Facebook.
Could you tell us a little about your background—how has public policy played a role in your career, and what initially led you to Rubicon?
I’ve shaped my career around opportunities to build fast-growing, high-impact public engagement teams and strategies at start-ups, so deciding to join Rubicon as the second public policy hire to help you, Conor, Nate, and the team build an entire government partnerships product and function really appealed to me.
Growing up in Nevada—where 67 percent of the state is considered public lands—sustainability and environmental protection have always been important to me. I’ve always believed deeply in our responsibility to our environment and the role we can all play in ensuring our planet’s resources and health for future generations. So this position at Rubicon seemed like the perfect opportunity to bridge my passion for sustainability with my expertise in government relations and building teams.
At Rubicon you were working at the intersection of public policy and sustainability. In your view, how important a role does thoughtful public policy play in creating a more sustainable future?
Thoughtful public policy is absolutely critical to creating a more sustainable future. I truly believe we all have a role to play in protecting the future of our plant and that includes policymakers and elected officials.
In addition to policies that can be passed to encourage recycling and improve investments to recycling education and infrastructure, good governance also has an important role in encouraging sustainable development. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which I know Rubicon has supported, is a great example of the critical role that intergovernmental organizations can have working with policymakers and businesses around the globe to work toward a more sustainable future.
Can you name a favorite project that you worked on at Rubicon?
Working on RUBICONSmartCity and building that team and product alongside Michael and Conor will always be a highlight not only of my time at Rubicon, but probably my entire career.
One of my favorite memories is driving through the streets of Fort Collins, Colorado in a street sweeper when we were trying to collect more data to understand how our smart city technology could be applied across various government fleet vehicles. Working on the policy side of the house, I rarely have the chance to roll up my sleeves and work with product teams, so working on Smart City was such a unique opportunity to learn about what it looks like to build a product from scratch and watch it evolve.
How does Rubicon’s commitment to its B Corp status match up with the work you are doing at Facebook?
At Facebook, I manage strategic outreach and engagement with the progressive community, including advocacy groups, civil rights groups, and civil society organizations. A core part of my job is bringing diverse perspectives, expertise, and voices to the table when developing new products and policies. A key part of what I do is working with groups that represent underrepresented minority populations to enhance their understanding and access to technologies like social media to bring visibility to the issues that are impacting them. We strive to empower people to leverage our platforms to not only solve issues in their communities but also help build them.
Working at Rubicon, a mission-driven company committed to using its business to solve global challenges, prepared me to approach my work at Facebook through a community-first lens and deepened my belief that businesses should actively work to benefit people—from employees to consumers to society at large.
What is the most important thing that you took away from your time at Rubicon?
One lesson that has stuck with me most from my time at Rubicon is understanding that a “no” is not always a “no” but probably means “ask me again later.”
When I first started doing municipal partnerships at Rubicon it really impacted me when negotiations or submissions to requests for proposals didn’t immediately lead to a contracted partnership. When my goal was to grow and scale these partnerships, one can see how that might be discouraging. But this role at Rubicon truly taught me the power of patience and perseverance and the importance of relationship-building in business. Just as important as the quality of the product was the time spent on cultivating strong community partnerships. This lesson has continued to help me find success in my career in policy and partnerships to this day.
Michael Allegretti is Chief Strategy Officer at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.