The S’well team works daily to create products and a culture that makes the world a better place. But so do many of our team members, who go above and beyond, spending their time outside the office giving back and doing good. We’re proud to share these stories here in our People With Purpose column, and hope they inspire you as much as they do us. Next up, VP of Finance, Global Controller, Gregory Schmitt.
Q: Tell us about a recent experience that felt purposeful to you.
A: I am involved in several charitable organizations that have the main goal of inspiring, educating, and empowering some of the world’s most vulnerable and underprivileged children through music and art. Most recently, I was in Haiti visiting a few orphanages that one of these charities serves. I noticed that, by just giving some of my time to the children (listening to what they had to say while they took an art class), I was having a positive impact.
Q: What inspired you about this experience?
A: Seeing these children, who have absolutely nothing (not even a blanket to sleep with), but still have an amazing zest for life and learning, had a huge impact on me. I wanted to adopt them all.
I realize it’s a cliché to say that we take many things for granted in life. However, spending time with these children really puts things in perspective for me and also reaffirms that I should be giving back any way I can to those less fortunate than me.
Q: What program(s) do you support? Why?
A: There are several programs that I support. The two that I’m most involved with are the African Children’s Choir, for which I have been on the New York Advisory Board for seven years and Les Couleurs, for which I was the President and Chairman of the Board in 2017. Both of these charities focus on inspiring, educating, and empowering underprivileged children. They work to help these children become “Change-makers” that give hope and inspiration to other children.
I have seen many incredible success stories of children that were in the African Children’s Choir and have subsequently grown up to become doctors or even CNN news correspondents. Without the work of the charity, I believe that these individuals’ lives would have turned out much differently.
Q: What does purpose mean to you? Or what tips do you have for living a purposeful life?
A: Without getting too philosophical about existentialism, purpose to me is quite simply “the reason for our existence.” I don’t think we are just here for a finite period of time and then we are dust. I believe we are all here for a greater meaning and what we do in life not only has an impact on our current environment, but also has impact elsewhere/afterwards, wherever that may be. When I look back on my life, I want to be able to know confidently that I made a positive impact.
As for tips for living a purposeful life, I would say the number one thing is to make a conscious effort to set aside time to give back. Budget this time when you plan out your week/month and stick to it. Life goes by so fast and unless we set the time aside and seriously commit to it, life’s other priorities take over.
Q: What would you like to do or do you plan to do next that is full of purpose?
A: I would like to continue to grow the current charitable organizations I’m involved with and get more people involved. Eventually, I’d like to start my own charitable organization with friends who are also passionate about giving back, using the knowledge we’ve gained from our many experiences.