[quote style=”boxed”]I worked nights for 8 years and learned that my body enjoys life much more when I live on a day schedule. I was afraid to take a day-shift position for years because the work pace was so much more intense. Once I finally changed to days, I found that I was able to keep up and do well; so my fear of the unknown had kept me stuck in a situation that wasn’t the best for me. That’s a pretty important lesson to learn and relearn and relearn. Do not let fear keep you from moving on to something better![/quote]
Rachel Smith is a registered nurse in Austin, Texas and has worked in pediatrics since she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998. She currently works for ‘Specially for Children in the rheumatology department, which is affiliated with Dell Children’s Medical Center. She has a passion and love for helping children in need.
When Rachel Smith is not at work, she enjoys time with friends, music, dancing, hiking and traveling.
What are you working on right now?
I am working with an amazing team of people to start a nonprofit called Halfsies. Halfsies is a social initiative that connects the dots between excess food, food waste and hunger issues. The goal is to provide financial support to local and global nonprofits already doing great work in fighting poverty and hunger with the larger vision of sustainable change. The way we plan to do this is by turning the act of dining out into a charitable giving opportunity. Participating Halfsies restaurants will offer restaurant-goers the option of a half-portion meal at the regular price. A percentage of the difference in the food cost will be donated by the restaurant to Halfsies, which will then be distributed to our current nonprofit partners with 60% going to our local nonprofits, 30% going to our international nonprofit partners and 10% to Halfsies administration costs. The choice to ‘go Halfsies’ will achieve 3 things: 1) reduce food waste which is a drain on our energy resources and has damaging effects on our environment, 2) provide a healthier portion size to the customer and 3) feed and care for others living in poverty. We are currently ramping up to launch Halfsies in Austin in mid-April. We plan to start with a pilot program in select Austin restaurants and refine our processes before bringing additional restaurants on-board. We also have plans to launch in New York later this year.
Where did the idea for Halfsies come from?
The idea for Halfsies came about while I was travelling for work. I had no way of storing leftovers and became frustrated with the amount of food I was wasting each day. I wanted to have the option of ordering a smaller portion and thought it would be perfect if my unused food could be used to feed someone who was hungry. From there, the idea of Halfsies grew and the core founding team was created to make Halfsies a reality.
What does your typical day look like?
I work full time as a pediatric nurse for ‘Specially for Children, Pediatric Rheumatology. My typical day is spent administering medication to and serving children with chronic disease. I love what I do as a nurse because I know I’m making a difference in the lives of my patients and their families. The great thing is that Halfsies will serve many more children and families than I could ever serve as a nurse.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Honestly, I share them with close friends. I really did not see the potential impact that Halfsies could have until I shared the idea with one of my close friends. After she spent time working in Africa, she witnessed poverty and hunger in a way that deeply affected her. Once the idea was combined with the experience of witnessing extreme need, we had the motivation to make Halfsies come to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
People giving up something they have to help someone who has not. I’m excited to see that the trend of turning consumerism into charitable giving is really catching on, starting with businesses like Toms Shoes.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve actually been really lucky and (fingers crossed), I can’t really say I’ve had a bad job. I’ve enjoyed every job I’ve had and the great people I’ve worked with has always outnumbered the difficult ones.
I worked nights for 8 years and learned that my body enjoys life much more when I live on a day schedule. I was afraid to take a day-shift position for years because the work pace was so much more intense. Once I finally changed to days, I found that I was able to keep up and do well; so my fear of the unknown had kept me stuck in a situation that wasn’t the best for me. That’s a pretty important lesson to learn and relearn and relearn. Do not let fear keep you from moving on to something better!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Everything I’ve done has led me to where I am today, so I can’t say I’d make different choices regarding my work. But if I had it to do over again, I would want to learn at a younger age to place much less importance on what others think. I would learn to approach life with courage and to step out and take more risk without fear of failure. I’m learning these things now, but looking back, it would have been awesome to have those beliefs earlier on in life.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur, but one thing I do over and over is seek counsel from others who have results that I want for myself. I want to be teachable and not be so prideful that I think I don’t need anyone else’s help. I also remind myself frequently who I am and why I am doing what I am doing. If you stay focused on the reason you are doing something and the dream that motivated you to take that first step, you will be much less likely to give up when you encounter obstacles.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m currently reading Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. It has great information to help people stop procrastinating, do the most important things that have the greatest impact and to stop wasting time on things that add little or no value.
I also really like the book Start Something that Matters by Toms founder, Blake Mycoskie. It proves that you don’t have to have an advanced education or tons of money to build a great business. If you have a big dream, are willing to take risks and be taught, you can accomplish amazing things; especially if that dream goes beyond helping yourself.
What’s on your playlist?
I love music, but I don’t keep up with the newest artists. A few musicians I enjoy are Sara Bareilles, Weezer, Otis Redding, Black Eyed Peas and of course, Adele!
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @WastedFood: Jonathan Bloom is an author, blogger and food waste lamenter, as well as someone that I’ve already learned a ton from when it comes to understanding the devastating impacts of food waste.
- @ideagardener: William Rosenzweig is an entrepreneur, investor, teacher and gardener. He is also the managing director at Physic Ventures, which is focused on investing in health and sustainability.
- @MarcusCooks: Marcus Samuelsson is a Swedish chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem in New York City and three other restaurants. He is a huge advocate for sustainable living and works closely with developing countries in need of food resources.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Today! Two of my 7-year-old patients recently drew pictures of me and they’re AWESOME! I laugh out loud every time I show them to someone. They drew me with jazz hands and peg legs. Love it!
Halfsies Website: www.gohalfsies.com
Halfsies Email: [email protected]
Halfsies on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gohalfsies
Halfsies on Twitter: @gohalfsies
Halfsies on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/gohalfsies
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.