Herbalist, Humanist, Holist, Husband, Father, Grandfather, CEO, Seeker, Goofball
Is anyone ever really one thing?
Close Encounters of the Plant Kind
“I can’t describe it, what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking," Richard Dreyfuss’s character says as he shapes a mountain out of his mashed potatoes at the family dinner table in the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. “...This means something. This is important." Roy, who has experienced an encounter with a UFO, is obsessed with making contact and communicating with the clearly intelligent life forms inside the craft.
I'm often reminded of this scene, which so captures my own sense of awe and curiosity in my early encounters with herbs. My first contact with the herbal kingdom found me similarly entranced, captivated by a benevolence in the universe I never knew existed, and which has held my attention to this day.
But I’ve gotten ahead of myself…
A Healing Profession Was in My Genes
Like so many young kids, I loved and admired my father who just so happened to be a pediatrician with whom I had the joy of making house calls. I wanted nothing more than to follow in his footsteps. So, I did… that is, almost.
While a pre-med student at Washington University in St. Louis, a digestive issue that my father’s medicines could not heal led me, albeit reluctantly, to seek solutions from nutrition, herbs, and meditation. The combination proved positively life-changing, and a decidedly unfamiliar and unpopular decision with my father.
The Reader’s Digest version of what happened next goes something like this…
It was 1974 when I left pre-med studies and began studying herbs and meditation. Come 1979, my wife Barbi and I bought and operated our own health food store in Lexington, MA, and by 1982, I was crafting and manufacturing my own herbal formulas. In 1986, we began fermenting whole food vitamins and minerals and founded the nutritional supplement company, New Chapter, so-named to represent the innovation—a more biologically active, whole food alternative to the isolated synthetic vitamins and minerals of the day.
By 2008, New Chapter had contributed several science-backed herbal innovations and was the first 100% USDA certified organic and non-GMO supplement brand, leading to a disruption in the vitamin and mineral space. Then in 2012, New Chapter sold to Proctor & Gamble.
Through the business lifespan of 35 years, we and our dedicated team of passionate advocates helped potentially tens of thousands of people heal; we made our share of mistakes and also won some awards. Though I was certainly innovative by nature, I wasn't really looking to become a businessman, masterminding a disruptive innovation that would lead to a multinational acquisition.
Quite the opposite. Simply serving nature—and serving humanity with nature—has always been my plan, such as it was and still is. And to participate in, and contribute to, what I have come to call True Holism—a belief that we are all part of a larger whole/community/biome.
Surprised as I am to say so, in a roundabout way, I did follow in my father’s footsteps. Just like him, I made house calls. Rather, my products did by making their way into possibly hundreds of thousands of homes and touching as many lives with nature’s medicines: botanicals, fungi, algae, and microbes. For this I am humbled and gratified.
Nature inspires in me an endless curiosity, urging me to connect and cultivate a relationship with her boundless gifts for their promise of well-being for humanity, the biome, and the earth. To that end, I’ve begun my next chapter, For The Biome.
I'd be honored if you would join me in this new beginning!