People With Purpose: Iris Jacob

Friday, May 25th, 2018

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. First up, S’well Account Executive, Iris Jacob.

Q: Tell us about a recent experience that felt purposeful to you.

A: I had the opportunity to spend three days in Houston helping with relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey, that struck in August 2017. Many people forget that victims of hurricanes struggle for years after the storm. I chose to work with All Hands & Hearts because they do immediate hurricane relief and then dedicate a certain amount of months/years afterward in neighborhoods that need it the most. For this specific project, they dedicated 2 years.

Q: What inspired you about this experience?

A: I go day to day with a roof over my head and food constantly available. I have the luxury of going home after work and just relaxing. This experience made me recognize the reality that there are people nearby who are displaced from their homes for months or even years. We were working on schools made out of trailers, making sure that the trailers were mucked, gutted, rebuilt and sanitized so that the kids could come back to a safe, dry school without the risk of infections due to mold.

One woman we met explained that her house was destroyed in the hurricane – it had been 6 months and they still had not finished rebuilding. She let us know that many people either have to couch-hop or stay in hostels. She kept saying: “On behalf of me and the state of Texas, we just want to thank you for coming all the way from the Big Apple.” It really puts things into perspective and made me ten times more grateful for what I have. I just want to get back out there and do all that I can to get people back in their homes.

Q: What program(s) do you support? Why?

A: I’m a supporter of All Hands & Hearts for the reasons mentioned above. I’ve worked with them before when Hurricane Sandy hit New York. I like to work with children and have worked with an orphanage in Mexico too. It was one of my favorite and hardest memories. Children are a soft spot for me, and if I could adopt them all I would. In the meantime, I like to help where I can. I support Love146 & A21 as they advocate for women and children affected by human tracking and provide them with safe houses and rehabilitation.

Q: What does purpose mean to you? What tips do you have for living a purposeful life?

A: Everyone’s purpose is different. You know you have a purpose when you are so full of excitement and nothing will stop you from seeing your vision come to life. Every hurdle may be put in your way, but you keep pushing past each of them to get there. It’s what makes you get up every morning. Some people are born knowing what their purpose in the world is, and others find it as they live life.

I think purpose is hard to explain, and I don’t think I’m wise enough to even give a tip on living a purposeful life, but I do know that we should be kind. We should care about the person to our left and the person to our right, extending a helping hand even if we don’t know them. We’ll never know when we’ll need that returned to us. Everything we do we should do with determination and excellence, because we never know where that will lead us or what door it will open. We just need to be the best versions of ourselves and surround ourselves with people who have the same positive energy and drive for life.

Q: What do you plan to do next that is full of purpose?

A: If I could dream big, I’d like to take a month or two off and go stay at another orphanage, immersing myself in the community and giving back all I can. In the meantime, I want to keep finding time to work with All Hands & Hearts at different disaster relief locations and local organizations that need an extra hand.

See more ways #TeamSwell gives back following along with us at @swellbottle.