December 05, 2019
For many of us, who we are and what we choose to do with our lives is brought about by a blend of what we have experienced in our past and what we dream to achieve in our future. I am a firm believer in allowing one’s life experience to positively influence the person they wish to become, even when—or especially when—those experiences have been particularly challenging. Much of this life is about how we triumph over hardships, and in turn, supporting others in their journeys to rise above theirs as well.
My childhood was a far cry from what many of us perceive as ideal. Certainly no childhood is without its trials, however, there are millions of children around the world who face something far worse than most can imagine: Hunger. In a world where we see extremes in both health and wealth, there are millions of children who have nothing, not even the basic access to nutrition that so many of us take for granted. I was one of those children.
My grandfather came to America as a Mexican immigrant. He worked to support his family, just as his son would eventually do for his own family. His son, my father, joined the military at a time when service in war was almost a certainty. Those years fighting left him deeply scarred in ways I can only imagine. When his military days were over, my father worked as a gardener to support our family. Unfortunately, despite my father’s efforts, we faced extreme poverty and, too often, had very little to eat.
I have many memories of those years, all of which have tremendously impacted my life’s mission to this day. We will get into that more here in this article. There were times that I, a young child, knew I needed to take my own actions to achieve what I wanted. As a hungry kid, what I wanted was simply good food for my family. So, we spent many days collecting cans and bottles to recycle. I like to say that we were among the first recyclers in California. We traded soda cans for meals.
During those years, I not only learned the value of having a strong work ethic, but also the importance of supporting ourselves and those in need in any way we can. To this day, I do not resent those experiences, as they have shaped who I have become. As I grew older, I occupied myself with education and the pursuit of a successful career. I was determined to build a life for myself, and I spent years working hard to get where I am now—a senior executive at a growing wellness company that is determined to make a mark in the world by delivering top-level nutrition and supporting the spirit of entrepreneurism. Theirs is a mission with which I have been so proud to align myself.
In recent years, my life and my career took a turn that I can’t quite say I had always seen coming. I faced a new challenging period in my life, as we all eventually do; and as I pushed forward, I reflected back on those times I experienced hunger as a child. I had the overwhelming feeling that the rest of my time here on this earth was to be spent helping others overcome the same struggles I had once faced.
In 2018, I embraced the opportunity to join Plexus Worldwide as a full-time member of their executive team. My time with this company has allowed me to pursue my philanthropic mission—which, as you are hopefully starting to see, is something for which I am so passionate. Throughout the last year, I have come together with my fellow executive team—an incredible group of individuals, I may add—and we have created a powerful initiative that I know without a doubt will make a difference in this world. We have deemed it Nourish One™.
Here’s how it works: For every purchase of a serving of Plexus’ high-quality nutrition products called Plexus Lean™, the company, through its philanthropic organization, Plexus Charities, will make a donation to one of its partner organizations: Feeding America® and Mary’s Meals. Nourish One invites consumers to feel good both physically and morally by enjoying a product that will not only provide nourishment for themselves, but also contribute to children and families in need around the world.
Moreover, Plexus will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal per serving of Plexus Lean - each bag contains 14 servings. That means that through Nourish One, a total of 14 meals are provided with each bag of Plexus Lean purchased.* Perhaps, you are starting to see why I am so proud to have helped champion such an initiative.
The Nourish One initiative began in June 2018, and I was fortunate enough to help make the introduction to an energetic group of over 11,000 Plexus field associates, or Ambassadors as we call them. Of course, I believed the news would be well-received by our field, but I was moved to tears to see thousands of people rise to their feet in applause because they truly supported our commitment to giving back and nourishing the world. For this reason, and so many more, I am forever grateful for our opportunity to make a positive impact with Plexus and Nourish One.
With the initial presentation of Nourish One, we also announced our partnership with Feeding America—a relationship I am so pleased to have helped facilitate. We had been seeking a reputable, trustworthy organization with an authentic mission that our company could stand behind. As I thoroughly researched companies that we hoped would fit the bill, Feeding America certainly stood out from the rest.
The Feeding America network is America’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Their mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage in the fight to end hunger. As I got to know the company, its mission, and the people who spent every day doing their part to raise awareness for this profound cause, I knew this was the perfect fit. And the entire Plexus family agreed. Feeding America has been a wonderful partner, and we look forward to an incredible future together.
As a global company, Plexus has Ambassadors and customers in countries outside of the U.S., including Canada, Australia, and many more to come. The next step in our Nourish One journey was to join hands with an international partner at the same impressive caliber. So, I searched yet again for a highly-regarded organization whose mission we would be honored to support. When we discovered Mary’s Meals, I had no doubts this was the one.
Mary’s Meals is a movement to help children suffering the effects of extreme poverty in the world’s poorest communities. The organization helps to provide a meal to over 1.3 children at school each day, believing that every child deserves an education–and enough to eat. In January 2019, we announced our
Nourish One partnership with this impressive global organization, and we are proud to support their commitment to help millions of hungry children around the world.
We all have it…I believe so, anyway. This unlimited potential, the innate ability to achieve the greatest life for ourselves as we strive for excellence and fulfillment. But if we all have it, why do so many people never fully reach that potential? Often, it is a lack of resources that can prevent us from excelling. Resources like food, one of the most basic human needs to survive. How is a child, born in poverty and facing ongoing food insecurity, supposed to reach their full potential? I’m here to tell you from experience that it isn’t easy, but it is possible.
I believe, more often than not, our capacity to reach our unlimited potential lies in our belief that we can actually do so. As such, it is imperative that we all play a role in instilling that belief in each other. I want the remainder of my life to be about empowering others to realize their worth and capability to succeed. Imagine if we all had that support and encouragement from each other as we face our most serious challenges, especially as children. Think of what we could all achieve together.
In the end, I hope my legacy will be about being an advocate for health and empowering others to reach their unlimited potential, which is why Nourish One holds a special place in my heart. It has been less than a year since Plexus launched this initiative, and the impact has already been remarkable. To date, the Plexus family has helped provide a total of nearly 6 million meals to Feeding America and Mary’s Meals, and this is only the beginning.
I look forward to the day when we reach 10 million meals and beyond. The thought of playfully challenging fellow company executives to match that contribution brings a smile to my face. I hope they match and even exceed our numbers; then, through Nourish One, we will match and exceed theirs. And so on, and so forth, as we embrace the spirit of giving back in a way that makes a measurable impact on our world.
I invite you to learn more about Nourish One, and if you so choose, join us in putting an end to hunger by visiting https://plexusworldwide.com/nourish-one.
*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.
My intention in writing this article is to give readers an overview of one element of the global nutrition crisis – undernourishment. This is a fairly information heavy article, because, well, there is a lot of information to cover, but please bear with me – it is a topic extremely close to my heart and I will refer back to this overview...Read More