Meet our featured Woman of Wisdom, Sara Renshaw, Founder – The Green Maya Project in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
What/who inspires you? Mother Earth inspires me. Nature is imperfectly perfect. She has 1000’s of years of wisdom and knowledge that she graciously shares with us when we are quiet enough to listen.
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened on your journey to Wisdom? That there is a reason for every speed bump or roadblock that I have come upon. It seems awful while going through it but looking back, it always surprises me how that situation is connected somehow to the present moment.
What’s your typical day like now? How is it different from your daily routines in the past? Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom focused on my children’s needs first. Now that my children are grown up and moved on, I can spend my days focusing on my second love, my work. I don’t have a routine, but I do make sure to take time for my health with mindfulness practices, exercise, and healthy food. If I have clients in town for a retreat, I am producing and participating in the experience. When I do not have a retreat happening, I spend a few hours a day on the computer.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? I enjoy spending authentic time with women and watching their ah-ha moments when I can help them to reconnect with what matters to them. Their unique gifts—validating their stories and sharing personal experiences that have helped me on my journey.
What advice would you give a woman over 40? I am 43; I can’t really answer this yet. I still need the advice!
What, if anything, would you have done differently in your life? I would not change anything. My past has made me who I am today. Each challenge and mistake that I made has taught me something important, especially in the most uncomfortable moments. I choose to walk through the fire, shake it off and grow from those experiences.
What things are most important to you now? Why? How have your dreams and goals changed through your life? Saving our home, Planet Earth, is the most critical thing to me. I am a concerned mother for all children’s futures on a planet with contaminated air, polluted water, chemical food, and climate change. My dreams have not changed; they have only transmuted through professions.
Tell us about any community projects you are involved in and why you support them? I work with a local group named Amigas Del Manglares, or The Women Friends of the Mangroves. These women are protecting the mangrove forests on the coasts of Yucatan Mexico. Mangrove forests are incredibly important to the ecology of the entire planet; they act like the lungs of the planet. A portion of every sale from my company goes to the amigas. Plus, I take my guests to learn firsthand about mangrove reforestation with the organization.
If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why? Climate Change, Plastic Pollution, Industrial Agriculture, Fast Fashion…sorry, did you say 1 problem
What advice would you give your younger self? I would tell her to trust the process. Relax emotionally, slow down. Pick up yoga and meditation ASAP.
What do you do for fun/relaxation? I like being outside in nature. Bird watching is a favorite activity of mine. I enjoy swimming in natural bodies of water and trekking through the jungle. Snowboarding is my favorite winter activity. I also really spending time with girlfriends for a recharge.
What’s next for you (or what’s left on your “bucket list”) public speaker for environmental events
What’s your ‘secret’ indulgence? Not much is secret; I am transparent once I get to know you. If I don’t know you well, then everything is secret.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why? A Radical Awakening by Shefali Tsabary . I believe that the divine feminine is calling on all women to reconnect with their purest potential to help establish a balance with the masculine. This book starts us from the beginning of being a girl/woman to finally being able to embrace everything about ourselves. “Who cares if I have cellulite!”
Let’s talk more about your business…How did you get your idea or concept for the business? I was running my sustainability consulting firm in Los Angeles, California. It was 2011 and I was still considered a tree hugger. I was knocking on doors only to hear “how much is it going to cost?” The constant rejections from businesses that could not see the economic benefit of reducing their company’s environmental footprint. I went on a holiday to Mexico to disconnect from the corporate grind. I visited a protected biosphere on a nature tour with a biologist guide. We were walking through the jungle, looking for wildlife and sitting quietly in on a majestic lake. I was 100% in the present moment, and later that evening, the thought came to me, if more people could experience nature like this, then maybe they would be more open to caring about the planet. A year later, I partnered with the biologist guide, and we started an ecotourism business together. I was running the business from LA, and he was on the ground with the guests. In2018, I decided to move to Mexico permanently and run the business locally. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with my partner. I found out that he was stealing from our company, and I had to get out of that situation. I spent the next 6 months building my new ecotourism business without a partner and living alone in another foreign city. I was ready to launch the brand new Green Maya Project in March of 2020, and then the tourism industry took a direct hit. The pandemic asked me to look at my initial intention and reconnect with my purpose to “save the planet”. I was sitting in meditation one day, and I heard the message, heal the women, heal the planet. Then I created the Reconnect Retreat for Women to share tools, resources, and experiences in this special location on earth that continue to help me on my journey. My intention with the retreats is to help women reconnect to their purpose and their purest potential for the benefit of the planet.
When and why did you start your business? My business is an evolution. I started sustainability consulting in 2011, an ecotourism business in 2014, and finally, The Green Maya Project in 2020. Everything is about reducing the environmental impact of humans on planet earth and helping women to reconnect.
To what do you attribute your success? Authentic friendships with other women, quality time in nature, health, and wellness first.
What is unique about your business? Everything! I like to surprise and offer something unique even if it’s a night out with the ladies.
What made you choose this type of business/career? It all started when I co-founded the outstanding African Water Organization, Drop in the Bucket, and I learned about the global water crisis that will affect all of us in every corner of our planet.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? It wasn’t a strategy per se; it just happened. Having a mentor show up for me has changed everything.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it? Nothing is a failure; mistakes are made but it’s an opportunity to learn and do better the next time. I have learned that this is the cycle. We have “failures” to keep getting better.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out? Hold on tight! The journey of an entrepreneur is no joke. It’s hard work and reflection every day. Remember always to put your health and wellness first.
What’s been the best advice you received as a business owner? The best advice came from my mentor; she told me to believe in myself and get rid of my previous dishonest business partner.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to share with our readers? We live in a time of opportunity to recreate how business is done. We do not have the natural or human resources to continue to do business as we have for the past 100 years. The younger generations care about things like equality, inclusion, and the environment. The time is now to try out your wildest professional dreams. Every business must include the people and the planet in their business plan. If any company is not considering the impact of each, they will not succeed past the next 5-8 years.
Learn more at her website www.greenmaya.mx
Follow her on social media:
IN: Sara Renshaw
FB: Sara Renshaw
The Green Maya Project