Fox News Latino is proud to present inspirational stories from Latinos all around the world doing their part to celebrate the importance of Earth Day.
Have you ever watched a movie that inspired you to innovate and launch a new entrepreneurial venture? After watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie a few years ago, Rosamaria Caballero-Stafford and her husband P.J. understood they had to act.
If you haven’t yet seen this movie, please watch it soon. You’ll have sudden clarity on what will almost certainly happen to our rocky planetary home if we don’t soon modify human behavior on a massive scale. And, if you’re like most humans who have seen it, you will either feel overwhelmed or inspired into action. Rosamaria and P.J. decided to write their business plan for what would eventually become the national eco-consulting organization and brand, Green Irene. They realized that many people would want to take action; they correctly sensed that most people would feel overwhelmed. They saw the unique role they could play training many to become local eco-consultants. Think Tupperware model for the green economy and you’ll quickly appreciate their brilliant idea and its potential impact on the many customers they serve.
The daughter of prominent Cuban attorneys turned refugees, young Rosamaria grew up in New York City. Her educated but displaced parents rebuilt their lives in their new home in America, and eventually became known as pioneers in the Hispanic broadcasting and media industry. As Rosamaria helped in these family businesses, the family entrepreneurial torch sparked generations before was passed to her.
Her education was her parents’ highest priority. Rosamaria shared that her mother would rather pay her tuition bill than put food on the table, it was that important. In time, as family businesses thrived, that choice didn’t need to be made as frequently.
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After completing her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, she decided to continue her education and completed a J.D. at Georgetown Law. Her path crossed with P.J., a young Harvard Business School graduate student. They married and a few years later began a new generation of entrepreneurial ventures. They founded America’s largest green consulting company with over 700 trained Eco-Consultants in 50 states and Puerto Rico. The company:
• Is directly responsible for the start up of hundreds of green businesses across the country, united by a cohesive green brand and back-end support to “power” individual consultants’ green consulting practices.
• Trains local “ecopreneurs” to become Green Irene Eco-Consultants who become a force for positive green change in their communities; they lead families and small office occupants to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable lifestyle, saving them money while conserving energy, water and other resources.
• Has launched a line of branded products with minimal packaging, made in the USA. The low footprint distribution strategy decreases packaging waste in landfills and reduces the products’ carbon footprint.
• Is on a mission to green our world, one home and office at a time.
Rosamaria says, "We've created an opportunity, a way for people to start their own local business with a very modest amount of money. We provide an incredible infrastructure to support them so they can focus on developing their green consulting and sales business."
Green Irene-trained consultants include real estate agents, home baby-proofing specialists, college students, at-home mothers, LEED-certified professionals and many others who share the common value to do less harm to the environment. Four years after launch, Green Irene has received congressional recognition for its innovations at the CHCI Public Policy conference.
They have recently established a new division, Honest Green Wholesale, a specialty distributor of green and sustainable products. Honest Green provides distribution, sales and marketing services for manufacturers and fulfillment services for etailers, serving as a virtual warehouse for its clients.
Green Irene recently joined the Coalition For American Electronics Recycling (CAER), a coalition of U.S. companies focused on reducing toxic e-waste exports. CAER companies believe electronics recycling should be performed securely and in a sustainable manner, for the benefit of the American economy.
Rosamaria continues to exude leadership in the green economy in a variety of ways. Green Irene’s training program, including the campus consultant program for college students, continues to empower environmentally-minded citizens to start their own small businesses by becoming their community’s greening expert. Green Irene, in partnership with Green America, runs the #1 Google -Rranked directory for Green Businesses, GreenPages.org They also run the “Ask Green America Knowledgebase” (with thousands of answers on how to green your home and business) and the Green Living Makeover, a tool for Green America’s 100,000 members to take concrete steps to live a healthier, more sustainable life.
You can read Rosamaria’s childhood-to-entrepreneurship story, and the resources she recommends to job seekers and students interested in the emerging field of eco-consulting, in the pages of the Amazon bestseller titled Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them.
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