So I Decided to Start My Own Business
I grew up with a working mother. As a nurse and a mother of four her work ethic was exemplary and always evident. Coming home after a 10 hour shift in the ICU her day was only half over. There was dinner to make, dishes to do, bedtime stories to read and interrogations about whether homework had been completed or who pulled all the sheets and towels out of the linen closet and used them to turn the entire living room into a fort.
As an adult I became a single mother early so my mother’s predilection for hard work and perseverance had to kick in with immediacy. I cannot say it came easy for me and the thing I struggled with the most with how tired I was. No matter how much sleep I managed to get, no matter how many high energy protein drinks or brisk jogs on the treadmill I clocked in I felt perpetually stalked by a menacing case of fatigue.
In my efforts to provide a better life for my young son I entered the corporate world. While battling chronic fatigue, which was diagnosed as Chronic Lyme years later, I leaned into my work and eventually was promoted. In my new position the glass ceiling slowly came into view. I saw the camaraderie among my many male counterparts and superiors and their nurturing demeanor toward male interns. I watched the two female superiors at the company sit alone at their desks while the guys went out to lunch or gathered in the break room to plan their next trip to Vegas.
The sexism was not a minute to minute affair but I wasn’t surprised by their efforts to relocate me after I filed a sexual harassment complaint in response to a number of instances that I will refrain from describing. I never wanted to be that person who made a fuss or tampered with the flow of business but I was starting to feel the pinch between standing up for myself and resigning myself to the indignity of a toxic work environment.
As a single mother desperately trying to carve a life out of my limited resources I felt so defeated and betrayed by a system that I had naively assumed would work for me as easily as it did for my male counterparts. Upon taking the time to assess my life and the world around me, one thing became startlingly clear to me. Even on my tiredest days, when I was engaged in work or an activity that gave me a sense of purpose and among people who valued me I was able to find the energy and the drive to achieve things and move my life forward. If I had learned anything it was that I was determined to work for a company that recognized not only my contribution but also my humanity.
When I left that job I went back to school to get my degree and do what people do when they’ve been wronged, get even by succeeding. And so, after a series of additional events including being treated and cured of Chronic Lyme, here I am, at the threshold of launching my very own business but not just any business, Generositree.com. A business that gives back and puts people first, both the people it serves and its employees. This is my chance to help forge new trails in the world of business where sexism, racism, exploitation and making money at any cost are no longer on the menu. This is my chance to create something that changes the narrative about businesses strictly being a means of fattening the bottom line and gratifying investors.
As a young girl my grandmother taught me to be on the look out for the underdogs and do what I could to stand up for them. At GenerosiTree we do just that. We’re in the business of promoting small local businesses that don’t have tremendous marketing budgets to compete with the online giants and the massive box-stores. Small businesses bring so many unique qualities and value to our communities. There’s just something about walking into a restaurant knowing it’s the only one like it in the whole world. There’s something about browsing the isles of handcrafted items at a little corner shop or stepping into that signature atmosphere of a new and used bookstore. There’s also something powerful about voting with your dollars and knowing that your money is going to help sustain your local community and benefit the less fortunate. We also help raise funds for some fantastic local non-profits we’re partnered with. Namely, IDA (In Defense of Animals), Big Brothers, Big Sisters North Bay, and Marin Advocates -CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).
As we continue to grow we will be doing feature articles to promote various small businesses and non-profits in our area so that people can learn about the tremendous products, services they provide and the life changing work and contributions they make.
In closing I’d like to tip my hat to my Grandmother and my Mother who have paved my way for hard work and compassionate eyes. And I’d like to thank my employer of old who lit the fire in me to do work that puts people and their humanity at the center of things and fights for fairness, equality and a better world for everyone.