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Meet Trailblazer Tristyn Donovan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tristyn Donovan.

Tristyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I actually did not attend a full University, I tested out of High School and started community college at the age of 17 in Austin, Texas. I quickly decided that I wanted to travel to delve deeper into what I was truly passionate about before financially committing to a four years degree. I moved to Southeast Asia to the Philippines a few weeks after turning 18, upon my arrival I was immediately introduced to the environmental issues that invaded their villages. Shortly after, I began to volunteer my free time cleaning up the plastic pollution on every beach I could find. I began to realize how interconnected all of the components of living a sustainable lifestyle truly were from the products we put on our skin to the packaged food we were consuming. I wanted to create a tool to help families of all income levels transition to a more self-sustainable lifestyle, that’s when I thought of ModernSustain. A curated marketplace for sustainable solutions from LED lighting to water conservation appliances to indoor gardening.

With more awareness being brought simultaneously to climate change and the green market, more solutions are surfacing. The products that I have been mining for the past few years that have remained in pre-order stages are now being put into production, and with more consumers voting with their dollar, these products will become more affordable. My long term goal with ModernSustain is to build an automated marketplace that simplifies the metrics of transitioning to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, providing a variety of solutions for all consumers despite their income levels.

Since arriving back in America in 2016, I have practiced living plastic free for nearly four years now. I was always told if you can find a root issue you can find a root solution. Diving deeper into the fundamentals of consumer consumption you can see that true simplicity is key to living a mindful, conscious lifestyle. It’s fascinating when one simple ingredient like baking soda can contribute to making five new household products from toothpaste to DIY Comet diverting hundreds of plastic pollution items from your household and the landfills. Which also results in a more financially responsible household investment.

I embody my beliefs to the core of my being to inspire others, despite how discouraging somedays can be. Because I know how time sensitive implementing these environmental factors truly are to our planet. I understand how detrimental our actions are, and I want to drive as much awareness as I can before it’s too late. We are running out of time, the planet needs us. All of us. Remember “When small acts are multiplied by a multitude of people, that when change takes place.”

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?
The furthest thing from smooth, but nothing good comes easy. If it’s difficult, it just means there is something worth loosing and you should work that much harder to achieve it. I would say the biggest struggle that I haven’t only dealt with once but is a consistent recurring challenge, are the perspectives of a large percentage of our species believing that because plastic pollution is in nearly every aspect of our current infrastructure of our society that it can not be fixed, mitigated or exiled. Which is not the case. Healthy globalization can not happen without simultaneous technological and chemical advancements. If every country on this planet lived like an average American, we would be using the amount of recourses equivalent to four planets. Plastic comes from petroleum, which is a finite resource. Which means eventually it has to inevitably run out. If a mass majority of our infrastructure depends on finite resources like such, then we will be facing a catastrophic global issue if we do not transition to more sustainable alternatives.

In order for me to persevere through the many obstacles, I endure is solely dependent of my mindset. I do not allow external factors to determine my internal status, to be solidified in your goals & passions that the little things can not shake your focus. By any means, Do not suppress the feelings that come along with obstacles but to allow them to flow through the process and learn to navigate the situation so when it happens again you will know how to approach it, learn from it and move forward. Do not focus too much energy on the issues but rather divert that energy to finding a solution. Attaching yourself to not a single project, job, or person but attaching yourself to the passion that drives your dreams.

We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a brand, organization or service provider? What sets you apart from others?
In my day to day life I drive awareness to plastic pollution by providing small swap solutions that have a large lasting impact via my social media platforms. For example, switching to biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes or compostable floss to reusable produce bags and buying in bulk. I do my best to simplify the metrics of transitioning to a more self-sustainable lifestyle to make them fun and easy! In addition to that, I am an ethical model represented by Role Model Management, a modeling agency that focuses of sustainable brands with ethical practices. Providing a platform for models who are changing the world! My most recent work that I am most proud of is with Timberland, the #Natureneedsheros campaign. It is currently nationwide in all Journey storefronts driving awareness to the importance of conscious consumption and production! I would say I am set apart from others in my space because I do not compete with others. I do things with my own vision and style, I do not compete with others but praise them for the good they are doing because there needs to be more of us in the space so I try to inspire others as much as possible versus belittling the good they are doing. That seems counterproductive to me, rising together will be much for effective in the retrospect of my goals than rising alone.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, you become the five closest people to you. Choose wisely. When you begin your entrepreneur journey, your true friends will surface and other friends (you thought were friends) will fall away. Trust that process, for the people who truly support you, will show you. As for mentors, find people you want to grow to become. Listen more than speak, and know that as they have made mistakes so will you. It is apart of the process. Look at failing as a first attempt in learning, and keep going. Ask for advice, ask for help. Optimize your resources. Work hard, you will see as much result as you put in effort. Don’t forget that.

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Image Credit:
Photo: Timberland Campaign #Natureneedsheros

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