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A community of passion growing in the Amazon rainforest

by Chris Grams on November 18, 2010


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A community of passion growing in the Amazon rainforest

One of my roles as a MIX Guide is to point out great stories that help us learn through example how we can enable communities of passion in and around organizations. The description for the "Enable communities of passion" moonshot reads as follows:

“Passion is a multiplier of human effort, but it can’t be manufactured. It’s present only when people get the chance to work on what they truly care about.”

So when I read Deborah Mills-Scofield's new MIX story entitled The Amazon Rainforest, 3 College Kids & a B-Corp, I thought it might be a perfect example to highlight.

Deborah tells the story of Runa, a fair trade tea company founded by three 24-year-old graduates of Brown University. Tyler Gage, Runa's CEO, spent five years working on fair trade and cultural preservation efforts with indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest and he had developed a deep appreciation and love for the region.

In Deborah's story, it becomes clear that three smart young businesspeople have figured out a way to work on something they are truly passionate about, helping people and communities they care for deeply, while figuring out a way to create a profitable business that also benefits the indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

According to Deborah, Runa's product is a tea made from Guayusa, which has a smooth taste and is high in antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids and caffeine. Runa is the first company to import guayusa beverages into the United States and they have recently signed a deal with Whole Foods to distribute Runa in their stores.

After poking around Runa's website, I can already tell these folks have created the foundation for what may become a very large and successful community of passion (clear mission, compelling stories, interesting ways to get involved).

But don't let me spoil the whole thing. Go read and be inspired by Deborah's story.

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