It takes a certain soul to give up a career track job for a life of service. So what makes a person realize that a life of service is more rewarding than a fat bank account?
At Blue Osa, our vision is to leave a deep footprint of goodwill in our community and the world in which we live. These five heroes and heroines are examples of what it means to serve humanity. Here are their stories.
1. Lyndsay Cabildo – Restauranteur Turned ESL Teacher
I used to work in an International cruise ship as a senior bartender and then moved onto a Branch Manager position of a French Restaurant in the Philippines at the same time managing my family catering business that I helped build. I was offered a position to work as a Banquet Supervisor at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai and it was the next logical step to make for a career move but deep inside it was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to explore the world and find out what’s out there for me. In 2010, when I embarked on my first solo backpacking I began teaching English in Vietnam. I continued my travels and taught ESL in Thailand for two years. It was not financially rewarding, but spiritually it was. I love making people smile in little ways and what I do is help others that donate and volunteer. Donating and just writing about it doesn’t cut it, it’s important to take action. I hope to help the people in my own country and I realize it’s a never ending road to learning.
2. Adam Dolle – High Powered Interior Designer to Yoga Practitioner
“Since the late 1980s, I have been a residential interior designer, and was fortunate enough to have worked with many successful people, but eventually a latent desire to direct my energy towards a spiritual and energetic life became important. Yogi Aaron was my teacher in New York several years ago and we always remained connected. While on a retreat to Costa Rica, Aaron and I stumbled upon a gated waterfront site with a rusted Century 21 sign and yelping dogs. With the retreat location found, Blue Osa Yoga Eco-Resort was born. I applied three decades of experience into nearly two years of planning with Aaron and another year of construction, employing 48 skilled workers, to build Blue Osa.
To me, Blue Osa personifies the power of the human spirit and what you can do with your life if you let go. I also serve as the Development Director for the Corcovado School, a privately funded school in the nearby town of Puerto Jimenez. If I can assist in that process in any way, by helping to build a fully functional school or getting children’s education sponsored, then I know a new generation of the Osa will have an opportunity to bring prosperity to their tight-knit community.”
You can read more about Adam’s journey here.
3. Margalit Strum Francis – Chucked a Career in Dentistry Due to Personal Tragedy
“Less than four years after I started working in a top hospital, our first son was born. The pregnancy was difficult, he was six weeks premature and his father and I were devastated at his diagnosis of mental retardation – later amended to autism. As our son began receiving hours of therapy sessions, my husband and I struggled with the intense schedules. It became obvious that our needs were suited for me to become a stay-at-home mom and the decision was made. Not long after that, we welcomed our second son into the world.
During those trying years, we began travelling. It was to bond as a family, de-stress, and educate both our sons. In travelling, I became aware that very few families actually took their autistic children, due to a lack of know-how and fear of nastiness from fellow travellers.
I started my website as a way to share valuable travel tips and encourage other families to take their kids travelling. In the four years of the site’s existence, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Hundreds of families have reached out to ask for advice to thank me. In addition, the travel industry took notice and now more and more companies contact me on a monthly basis to ask about becoming more autism friendly. It makes my work all the more rewarding.
When people ask whether I regret quitting dentistry, my answer is no. From my perspective, I just switched from one form of helping to another.
4. Grasya Bongoy – 10 Years in the Corporate World Proved Enough
5 years ago, this is my normal routine: wake up to work, work, go home. Sleep or go to the grocery store on the weekends. I’d go on vacation, and then resume the normal routine.
I did that for 10 years in different fields of work ranging from education to software development. I was living the so-called structured life with regular paychecks and all the perks. But deep inside I felt empty. Despite material richness, I found myself unhappy.
So I finally decided to leave and live away from what many people call a normal life. Yet for me, it is the natural way of life. This way of life may not be for everyone but it feels right for me.
Since I’m a freelancer, I do not receive regular work so I take advantage of the free time to do other projects. My favorite is blogging, but aside from that, I do community works too like the Noche Buena Project or the Save the Animals Project in Quezon City. I document all my community activities at grasya.org.
Why am I doing this? I cannot explain why I’m doing this. I don’t feel like it’s a special thing to do. It is great though because volunteer activities at the grassroots level help’s a country improve its way of living.. it is also a bonus that people from here (Philippines) are also going out of the country to do their own service which ripples to humanity. The future is indeed, bright.
5. Marcia McDonnell – Fast Track Accountant Longed for Fulfillment
About two years ago I was sitting on a cliff in Ireland having one of those very reflective moments thinking about my career and what I wanted out of it. At the time, I had been working at Ernst & Young, one of the big four accounting firms, in Business Advisory for the last four years and was on track to be promoted to Manager. On paper, my career looked great; I was promoted each year, managing my own team and traveling the world. My future at EY not only offered financial stability but a clear path of upward mobility.
I sat there, not really considering any of these factors, but thinking about how dissatisfied I was. Although the path ahead was promising, it wasn’t at all anything I was looking forward to. I was dreading it. I worked long hours, the travel is not nearly as glamorous as some might think, my boss, I was convinced, would have a heart attack by time he was 35 due to stress, and I was losing sight of the big picture. Not exactly the future I was pining for.
I left craving a career that would create a positive change for the world around me. I found Spark Ventures, a non-profit that focuses on sustainable solutions to lift communities in developing countries out of poverty. Spark’s model of business driven philanthropy instantly resonated with me. At Spark, we launch businesses in developing countries that create jobs in the community and generate profits that fund education, nutrition and healthcare programs that serve the world’s most vulnerable children. Our model helps to lessen communities’ dependency on foreign aid and helps them become self-sustainable.
Working with and be of service to Spark has provided me with the perfect balance of utilizing my business acumen to impact the lives of others. Daily, I’m allowed to execute on the ideals that were instilled in me while attending Saint Mary’s College. Saint Mary’s, an all women’s college, challenged women to respond to needs of our changing world. I’m fortunate to be able to work in an environment that not only does that but values social responsibility, human dignity and fosters deep respect for others.
About the Author
Jeannie Mark left the corporate cubicle in 2010 and bought a one-way ticket to India, never looking back once. Through her travel/creative website, Nomadic Chick she inspires other women to seek out the same, an impassioned life full of purpose and service.