Earth Consultants

Applying Lean Six Sigma to the Environment

E108: Interview with Maria Grzanka and Reed Harrison

3 min read

In this podcast, I share an interview I had with Reed Harrison, Executive Director of Mind Matters Portland, and Maria Grzanka, a process improvement expert and prolific volunteer in Portland, Oregon.

Reed worked in Supply Chain management and Operations with major companies like Adidas and Columbia Sportswear, but ended up as Executive Director at Mind Matters Portland.

Maria also had a career in Supply Chain, Logistics and process improvement and is now running her consulting firm, Idea Maria. She has spent hours volunteering her time with local nonprofits near Portland, Oregon, including Mind Matters Portland in 2010. She is also leading a group called Lean Portland that offers pro-bono consulting to nonprofits, and is involved with her local neighborhood association.

In this podcast, we discuss their backgrounds in process improvement, along with:

  • How Reed moved from corporate life to running a nonprofit
  • How Mind Matters has had success with documentation using 1-page checklists instead of lengthy SOPs
  • How Maria has applied Lean principles to her volunteer work with her local neighborhood association, including the importance of gemba walks
  • How Maria has seen improvements at Mind Matters since she was a volunteer over 10 years ago
  • How they avoid talking about the word “process” as it has a negative connotation
  • Ways that people can get more involved with nonprofit volunteering

You can watch the video below, or go to


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Have you ordered the new book, “Lean Six Sigma for Good: Lessons from the Gemba (Volume 2)?” The book is made up of 8 chapters written about experiences from Lean and Six Sigma practitioners, to give you tips and tricks to help you work with nonprofits in your area. All proceeds donated to charity. You can also order Volume 1 released in 2019.


Coming soon!

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