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Life and Work with Kristiana Tarnuzzer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristiana Tarnuzzer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristiana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Having a birthday that falls on Earth Day, it was basically predetermined that I should be environmentally conscientious and socially responsible.

I am of Ukrainian descent. My grandmother was a seamstress and embroiderer, her skills were unparalleled. I’ve witnessed firsthand the care, attention and time she put into every article she handcrafted, and it’s forever embedded in me just how invaluable it is to own an article of clothing handmade with such heart by a local artisan, and to support their culture and heritage.

I’m a philanthropist at heart and always stood by the belief that even one person or one small act can make a huge impact. In my “younger years,” I’ve had the opportunity to organize and partake in mission trips to India and Portugal, work with the sustainable organizations Habitat for Humanity and Heifer International, co-found an NYC based Charity Organization with the focus of raising awareness around locally based causes, and sit on the Board of a Global 501c3 dedicated to empowering artisan women through employment and education.

As I started my own family in my 30’s and experienced the balancing act of having a full-time career and two children (Luka and Kosette), the ability to give back in the same ways I once did was becoming increasingly challenging. The time to research events and causes, let alone participate physically, was becoming more limited. The most simple and immediate way for me to continue to support these causes has become attending and supporting fundraising events and purchasing brands with a positive impact. So often, I receive inquiries about the products I own, events I attend or causes I support… it made me realize that there is a community of individuals out there just like me who want to do more, but are often times limited to offer due to challenges such as time constraints, lack of awareness… and sheer laziness.

And so, at the ripe age of 40 (wink wink), I’ve made it my mission to untap all of the good these people have to offer by launching The Cause Bar, a simple, turnkey platform to enable you to make an impact through discovering and selecting these brands, and learning about the causes they support. I do this through highlighting the ways I incorporate these brands into my everyday life, hosting interviews with the brands’ founders and industry change makers, and by documenting my experiences at charity events most often in LA and NYC.

My hope is that The Cause Bar leaves my reader feeling more educated, empowered and inspired to “do good” in whatever way you choose.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Hell, no! Am I allowed to say that? 🙂 I created The Cause Bar at what many would say couldn’t be more ill timed. I was in the midst of a huge transition in my life. Our family was about to embark on a cross country move from NYC to LA at the beginning of 2018. Aside from focusing on trying to make the move as seamless as possible for my family, I made the decision to put my full-time career on hold to manage the move and be there 100% for my kids. Gone was everything I was familiar with – my roots, my family, my lifelong friends, my job. I’ve become a stranger in a strange land, with a whole new agenda in front of me.

There have been really tough days along the way, when I’ve felt lost, insecure and doubted myself as a mom and an entrepreneur. The Cause Bar has remained my constant for me during this transition – my go to for when I wanted to feel like myself again. There were many nights when I’d escape to my room after the kids were down for bed and my husband was home from work, to just go and work on the development of The Cause Bar. Those slices of “me time”, when I worked on my passion project, fueled me through these tough times.

Along the way of this (still very new) journey, I also realized that it’s those moments of true discomfort, frustration, and the unknown that you uncover new layers of yourself. These moments helped me become more confident and creative, and I think a better mom, wife, and friend (but you can ask others about that one 🙂

I’ve also learned to take pauses a little more, to take in my surroundings. LA has been amazing for that… we are surrounded by beauty everywhere, it’s hard not to stop and almost have your breath taken away for a second. We’re also surrounded by millions of creative spirits – everywhere I go, every day, I meet someone who inspires me.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Cause Bar – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My work, as it lives today, is really intended to be a catalyst and a resource. I’m proud to introduce and support these brands, industry leaders, and organizations that commit their entire lives and missions to change our world for the better.

I think what sets me apart from others is bringing this to life in a fun and realistic way. I believe there has been, and still often remains, an old adage that philanthropy and charity are old, stuffy and stagnant. My hope is that I can change this perception through showing that there are so many beautiful, high-quality brands out there with an ethical, charitable or philanthropic angle and that there is a multitude of organizations and events that support amazing causes that are fun! I’ve been to movie premiers, food & wine tastings, shopping events – with so many more to come!

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
Absolutely. My Ukrainian heritage has taught me a real appreciation for celebrating and respecting local cultures and customs. My parents were avid travelers, so we were always on the road – this is something I’ve continued to do on my own, and now with our family as well. I think it’s really important to introduce different customs to children at an early age, to show them that places and people can be different, and that different is a great thing. I was doing volunteer work at an early age, specifically at a nursing home where I visited weekly. I found so much happiness in the joy I could bring these people, with just a simple one hour visit each week, and that feeling stayed with me forever. Playing music and sports has taught me the importance of dedication, and to recognize when I should take something on single-handedly or go at it as a team.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kristiana Tarnuzzer, Mark Tarnuzzer

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Mencel

    July 19, 2018 at 15:06

    Great feature on an incredibly hard-working mamma. Inspiring to hear her story and her passion for change.

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