The Art of Giving
An Interview with Jennifer Bourgeois
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Jonesboro, a small town in north Louisiana; where there were less than 4,000 people in the whole town. I’m definitely a country girl at heart. The tea was sweet and our accents were sweeter. ( wink)
There I learned to value family, friends, and faith.
Do you have any siblings?
I have one brother and one sister. I am the oldest as well as the shortest. They describe me as bossy, but I like to use the term 'leader.'
Name one quality your parents instilled in you at a young age.
The one quality that my family instilled in me is generosity. For as long as I can remember my parents and grandparents were giving of their time and resources to bless and serve others. They volunteered time at community events, coached sports teams, and donated money to countless organizations.
I watched them prioritize their life so that it was less about themselves and more about others. I remember when I was a little girl, my mom was going to the local nursing home to sing Christmas carols. She wanted me to go with her, but I wasn’t fond of nursing homes. They smelled funny and I got nervous that I was locked inside. She made me go anyway. That day, watching how happy our singing (I’ll be the first to admit, my divine gifting is NOT singing) made the residents brought me such fulfillment.
It sparked a passion in me to serve others -- to always make it about them, not me.
I went on to volunteer many hours at nursing homes in my young adult life. I served as the Sigma Kappa Sorority philanthropy officer in college. We supported gerontology so I became an expert Bingo “caller”.
As a result of my family’s example, serving and helping others is something I’m very passionate about. It’s the reason I chose my career and founded 'A New View.' My goal in life isn’t to make more money so that I can have more, but so that I can give more. I want to be like my parents and grandparents and give generously of my time and financial resources!
That’s so sweet! Tell us more.
Growing up, my family was very close. Both of my parents are “ only children” and my grandparents lived in the neighborhood across the street, so I was always with my immediate family. They were ALL at every recital, awards banquet, homecoming presentation, etc. Some of my fondest memories are family dinners— all 7 of us would sit around the dinner table and eat delicious home- cooked southern food. Quality family time is the one thing I miss the most, now living 4 hours away.
What is your passion? How long have you been in business?
My career in healthcare started 10 years ago when I began practicing as a pharmacist. I love helping my patients learn more about their medications. What I quickly realized is how many people are taking medications to treat diseases that are a result of poor diet. In fact, half of American adults have at least 1 chronic disease that can directly be related to poor quality of nutrition and eating habits. I recognized a need to help others with disease ‘prevention’, which is why I started my own business.
Why is it important for clients to buy what you sell?
As women we make our kids, husband, job, and everything else a priority, but for some reason can’ t do the same for ourselves. We go, go, go and give, give, give. Suddenly, we find ourselves exhausted, burned out, stressed, and overweight/ underweight. Our cup is empty and we have nothing left to pour.
My business empowers others to make their health a priority. We use customized holistic systems to help clients achieve their health goals, as well as an encouraging community of support.
My goal is to help every single person fill their cup with the nutrients needed to thrive!
Name a challenge you may have faced that took you by surprise. How did you deal with it?
Last year I received a health diagnosis that made me realize I was not making my health a priority. I knew what I should be doing, but Iwas so busy ‘momming’ 2 little girls, ‘wifeing’, and working full time that I neglected my health. I was skipping meals and relying on sweet tea or coffee for energy. This experience started my journey to transforming my own health and wellness. I committed to make the nutrition and lifestyle changes necessary to regain control, and now I want to empower other women to do the same.
What specific advice do you have for young women who want to be their own boss?
There’s no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.
Success is the accomplishment of a purpose. As we climb the stairs—flight after flight, each step more exhausted than the one before, sweat dripping, pausing occasionally to catch our breath—may we never forget our purpose! Our purpose is what drives us! It’s in the actual “stair climbing” that you grow as a person and find your grit and determination. Then once you reach the top, you appreciate what it took to get there—every step, every bead of sweat, and every breath.
Why do you think it's important for Women to Support each other?
As women, we constantly seek approval—approval from our spouse, kids, self, friends, boss, and social media. We need to be validated and want to be loved. This is just the way we are wired. It’s so important to surround ourselves with people that support and encourage us, that build us up, and that inspire us by their example. The people we surround ourselves with have the biggest influence on our life. According to Darren Hardy, “the people you habitually associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
Do you want to be successful? Then you need a community of women supporting you! And this is equally true that we have incredible power to influence the success of those closest to us. So be the friend who chooses positivity and lead by example. Chase your own dreams and inspire those around you. Take a few extra minutes to not just 'like' a post on social media, but to leave a comment. Be that friend. Genuinely focus on leaving others better and suddenly you will look up to find the most amazing tribe of women supporting you back.
Women can never have too many shoes, too many friends, or too much support.
I truly believe there’s room for us all 'at the top.' To get to the top we have two choices: we can go alone or we can bring others with us. I personally believe that it’s going to be a lot more fun when I’m celebrating with all the other women who are at the top beside me. We can all be successful!
I love that THIS is what ELLA represents—women supporting women. This organization allows each of us to share our story in hopes of connecting with other women and encouraging them as they walk a similar journey.
To you, what does it mean to be self-employed? Name a few advantages of being self- employed.
Being self-employed has allowed me to not only live out my purpose, but also to make additional income without spending more time away from my family. I currently work full-time. If I want to make more money in that setting then I would have to trade more of my time—time that is extremely precious to me since I have 2 young children. My business allows me to work from home when it doesn’t interfere with my family time.
What advice would you give to mother's who are balancing motherhood and career?
Godspeed! Haha! No, seriously, this is a question I get asked often.
First, I would tell them, you can’t do it all. There’s no way you can work full-time, date your spouse, raise kids, volunteer on committees, lead small group, cook 3 meals a day, workout, and keep your house immaculate. You will absolutely lose your mind if you put that kind of pressure on yourself to do 'all the things.' My house is often cluttered, my closet isn’t organized, and the back seat of my car is a hopeless mess but I’m okay with that! You have to decide what’s most important and prioritize your priorities. Schedule your priorities first, and then fill in the remainder of the space with other activities. Such as spending time with my husband, snuggling with my girls, or reading the Word. Guard that time you set aside and don’t over schedule yourself. Leave some white space.
Second, you will need a village. I have a group of friends that help me get my youngest daughter to class on Tuesdays and transport my eldest to Girl Scout meetings. My nanny is the most amazing lady who does a little bit of everything that we need depending on the day and time. My husband helps a lot with household chores and cooking. Truth be told, he washes more clothes and dishes than I do.
Finally, it takes a lot of grace. Grace from your boss when your kids are sick. Grace from your husband when you have to work late. Grace from your kids when you can’t attend the field trip that falls on your work day. Most importantly, grace with yourself. It’s okay that you want to have a career and be a mom—you can do both and do them well. However, there’ s no such thing as balance; it’s more like juggling. One day work will require more and the next day it will be the kids who need more. You have to throw the “ career ball” up and let it float for a minute while you hold on to the “kid ball” a little longer. Sometimes you will drop the balls. Trust me, it happens to all of us. That’s okay! GRACE! Pick them back up and keep juggling.
Mamahood: where you lose your mind and find your heart.
Tell us about ' A New View.'
Our project is called 'A New View' and our purpose is to serve others by collecting used eyeglasses and donating them to the Lions Clubs International Recycle For Sight program. Sight is one of Lions defining causes, which is why they started the Recycle For Sight program. Throughout the year, they collect used eyeglasses (prescription and reading glasses, sunglasses and plastic and metal frames) and deliver them to regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers (LERCs). LERC volunteers clean, sort, and package the glasses. Recycled glasses are then distributed to people in need in low and middle income communities where they will have the greatest impact.
What made you decide to get involved?
When my eldest daughter turned 13-months, we learned that she had strabismus, along with some other vision impairments. At a time in our life when we could have chosen to worry about this diagnosis, we chose to focus our energy on something positive. The Lord, in his perfect timing, placed a service project on my heart--A project that would involve my family, be close to our hearts, and impact our community. With the help of many wonderful people, our dream of starting this project became a reality in February 2017.
Tell us about the work you've done with the 'A New View' so far!
After establishing the project, I worked with a graphic designer and photographer to design our logo, flyers, and social media graphics. A friend made and donated our main receptacle box and the others were donated by the McKinney Lions Club. I am currently working with many volunteers to organize a collection drive in local elementary schools this fall.
Why should other business owners get involved and how?
Please consider donating your own eyeglasses and helping us collect them from your friends, family, and neighbors. We currently have receptacles (drop boxes) throughout the United States and have collected around 1,500 pair of glasses. We would love for you to place a receptacle at your business or organize a collection drive in your community. Our hope is that 'A New View' can serve others by not only collecting used eyeglasses but also providing more receptacle locations and spreading awareness of the Recycle For Sight program.
What’s next for you?
I’m looking forward to a family beach vacation next month when I can relax and enjoy quality time with my entire family. I can’t wait to see what’s next! 10 years ago, when I moved to Texas, I never dreamed I would start my own business and charity. I had just completed pharmacy school, got married, and moved all within a 2 week period. The future looked bright, but I envisioned a pharmacy career and healthy babies’ years down the road. Life brought us unexpected situations that propelled our purpose and lit our passions on fire. It became clear that we were called to bless and serve others through 'A New View' and our wellness company.
'A New View' will continue to collect eyeglasses through our current social media campaigns and receptacle locations. I am organizing a nationwide collection drive for fall 2019.
This will allow us to partner with elementary aged children and their parents to lead collection drives in their respective schools. Our goal is to collect 3, 000 pair of eyeglasses this fall, and I am confident we will exceed that goal.
Our wellness company is approaching one year in business and we couldn’t be more grateful for the financial provision and personal fulfillment. We will continue to help others transform their health. This next year I will focus more time on helping women create their own wellness businesses— teaching them about wellness and wealth creation. We have been blessed beyond measure with this opportunity, so we want to pay it forward.
You never lack passion when you're on a mission to bless others.