Over the past year (yes, a year has come and gone, and my journey continues – I cannot believe it either!), the amount of love and support I have received has been unquantifiable. From family and close friends to strangers that have become indoctrinated into my extended family, I have been so very lucky.
I am extremely excited to introduce you to four local women who, aside from being mothers and independent businesswomen, have partnered with me to do what they can in support of the American Cancer Society’s ResearcHERS initiative.
My first interview in the series is with Jamie Raitan, CEO and Founder of Pearth (Peace on Earth).
Meet Jamie, CEO and Founder of Pearth
ZOE: Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose the business you’re in.
JAMIE: Growing up in the fast-paced life of South Florida, I was always busy doing something. Between parenting and working in a highly demanding industry, the stress was always on. There was never a moment to stop and breathe. I had been a self-advocate of inner peace since I was a young girl, and it felt like I was experiencing anything but that while the stress and demand of our lives consumed me. Trying to be a hundred percent at home and a hundred percent at work was impossible. I felt like everything I did was just "not enough". As busy and as successful as I was in my career, I was missing the best years of my life because I didn't know how to slow down. I couldn't say no and I didn't want to. I was addicted, just like so many other Americans. My husband, Ron, and I decided to go on a trip to Ecuador to disconnect and slow down for a few days. It was the first time in our lives that we were fully embraced in a culture of peace and simplicity. The natives were engaged in the present, they were generous with their time, peaceful and content. This was something we longed for. Little did we know, this trip would be the inspiration that would lead us to the next phase in our life; a bold move to Ecuador and the creation of my company, PEARTH, which stands for "Peace on Earth".
Nature is a strong influence in the culture of Ecuador. The natives utilize what earth provides them, creating beautiful treasures out of alpaca fiber, toquilla palm, tagua seeds and more.... This way of utilizing our surroundings is such a simple concept that has been passed down from many generations. At Pearth, we source and put our personal touch on these items while supporting the artisans that have kept these traditions alive for so long. Our beautiful alpaca blankets, sun hats and handmade alpaca figurines help us spread the Pearth movement, serving as an everyday reminder to stop and reconnect.
ZOE: Who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
JAMIE: Throughout my encounters in Ecuador I have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with many individuals who have absolutely nothing to their name but are happier than anyone I know. In a way I was envious of their ability to be at total peace with the simple things that most of us take for granted. These people always have a smile on their face, always thinking and doing for others, they value every moment with their family and they give back to their community even though they themselves are struggling. To put it simply, I wanted to be more like them.
The Pearth Movement was created to influence mindset and behavior. Pearth is your everyday reminder to prioritize what is truly important to YOU. The definition of Pearth is different for every person, but it serves as a reminder to define what true happiness is to the individual and is a constant reminder to take the time to enjoy those very simple things that bring you that happiness. Pearth was not influenced by one person. It is about a concept and a philosophy that we are born with and, unfortunately, many of us lose.
ZOE: What s the best advice you’ve received in business?
JAMIE: The best advice is not about business, it is about life. When you are passionate about something and you truly want to make a difference in someone else's life, it will ALWAYS be a success. Being genuine is one of the most important traits a person can have. If I can change the mindset of just one person through my experiences and through Pearth, I have done my job.
ZOE: What Is one characteristic you believe every woman leader should possess?
JAMIE: If you can be one thing, be kind. Not only to others but to yourself. Being kind to yourself is the most beneficial and rewarding trait that anyone can have. It is so easy to to get discouraged when building and growing a business. You need to be your biggest fan!
ZOE: If you were to author a book, what would it be about?
JAMIE: My book would be about the incredible learning experience that our move to Ecuador had on myself, my husband and my two children. Taking the giant leap and moving from the United States to a third world country (not knowing the language or a single person) has taught me that uncertainty and change is undeniably rewarding if you learn to let go and become vulnerable. From this humbling experience, I have a much deeper understanding of myself and how much we can all grow when we allow it. Observing and embracing the slow and simple ways of the natives has given me a new perspective on life and now it's just a matter of being able to share it with the world!
ZOE: Why have you chosen ResearcHERS as your philanthropy?
JAMIE: For many years, cancer was a big part of my daily work regimen. I never had cancer myself, but I did witness the fight for survival on a day to day basis while working in the medical industry. In fact, for some time I actually felt like an expert in breast cancer reconstruction due to the fact that I represented and was an expert on a product which provides women with the best chance to heal post mastectomy. Each day I had to stand side by side with the surgeon conducting this life transforming surgery. I understand the vast amount of research that is required in order to develop new tools, techniques and treatments for cancer.
When I joined FemCity and attended my first luncheon full of powerful "boss women", I was fortunate enough to hear Zoe Lanham tell her story about her fight against cancer. Her views on life and her contagious positivity were very inspiring. Her message seemed right in line with the Pearth mission. I knew right then and there that our paths were crossed for a reason and that I could also help make a difference in cancer research through Pearth.
ZOE: How have you chosen to give back to ResearcHERS?
JAMIE: I have recently designed a special edition Pearth Hat specifically to support and promote this cause. It's Pink and it's Beautiful! With each purchase, Pearth will give back 50% of its profits to ResearchHERS.
Stay tuned to my blog for more interviews and ways you too can help support the American Cancer Society and ResearcHERS!