“If you do you, you will see the results in other people.”
Manuel Gorrin is the kind of guy who will get up at 5 am and still ask you, “How is your day going so far?” The man exudes optimism and by the time you finish speaking with him, it is hard not to feel the same way. As a trained chemical engineer with a focus on environmental studies, Manuel feels passionately about finding solutions rather than focusing on problems. Manuel has great advice on how to get your dream job (by doing way more than just dreaming). He also talks about what it’s like to work for Nature’s Path, and his ambitious plans to make the world a more organic place.
So you have been up since 5 am and you still sound pretty chipper:
I go to the gym everyday – weights and cardio from 6 to 7 am. I don’t like to see it as a routine because I get bored with routine. [By doing this], I have more energy and I am better at work. If you go to the gym you will be rewarded. I don’t like the gym environment, but it has become a part of my lifestyle. It’s part of the diet, like drinking water or eating vegan cake! I’m listening to my body a lot.
As the Manager of Sustainability for Nature’s Path, you decide who wins the sustainability award. Do the nominees inspire you to go that extra step?
Absolutely! They are changing their lives and our lives. The changes they are making are for all of us. One single action impacts everything. Sometimes I am really busy with my goals to accomplish by the end of the month, but my team members can help me reset and get back in touch with our mission.
Can you trace back to when you first became environmentally conscious?
I have been environmentally conscious since I was a kid. I wanted to be outside all the time. I am from Maracay, which is known as the “Garden City” of Venezuela – everything is a garden or a park, so that was my normal environment. I was always half an hour from the beach, a tropical forest or the mountains. I would be mad at people throwing garbage out of their windows. I thought I would become a park ranger.
I was also influenced by my parents and the values of my parents. My mom was an architect, and my dad was a vet. They were always thinking about nature, the animals, or art. My mom has been a vegetarian since she was 14. She didn’t force me to eat vegetarian, she cooked meat for me, and gave me non-plant-based options. She told me I would be ready when I was ready. She was not judging me, she wanted me to make the decision.
She knew I would make the connection. When I became vegan, she went vegan with me at the same time.
Do you take the same route as your mother when it comes to letting others be ready on their own time?
I became vegan three years ago. I don’t mention my veganism that much. I just let it be normal.
I don’t want to judge people. I didn’t know the benefits. I wasn’t seeing the whole picture. That’s why I don’t need to change people’s minds. You can help them to make the connection by being yourself and by being an example. That’s what is happening with some of my friends.
My move to veganism was fueled by health reasons rather than ethical reasons. It then became my lifestyle. I met Nature’s Path at a vegetarian expo to explore brands. I didn’t know about them at the time, but I liked them. I reached out to the recruiter and I got a call a year and a half later. I was helping with the health and wellness week which was my first introduction to the company. Nature’s Path is a vegetarian company. A lunch and learn [for example] only has organic, local and plant-based meals.
Let’s find out more about your path to Nature’s Path.
I applied for 100 jobs. I still have the spreadsheet with 100 rows. I had my top 5 within Canada. Nature’s Path for me was a family owned, independent organization that became my number one option. That’s why I moved to Vancouver. I wanted to work for a company that is different and stands up for what they believe in and help their team members to become whatever they want.
Once I got an interview, it was more of a chat between friends. Jason Boyce connected with me. It took three months for them to hire me. I applied for a coordinator role. I had six years of experience, but I wanted to prove I was more than that title. I just wanted to work for Nature’s Path. They tried to adapt my experience for the role as a specialist. They valued me. Six or seven months later, they promoted me to a senior specialist. Things are moving fast!
It’s a beautiful story to tell. It’s not a normal situation, but when you are clear with your expectations and connected with what you want, everything comes your way.
You certainly were determined with your job hunting!
I only have two years in this company and it has been amazing. There is no gap between Manuel doing his work and Manuel the person.
What do you enjoy about working for Nature’s Path?
Our work is to be advocates for the company. That is my work: to make that tangible, understandable, easy to digest and possible. By doing that we will be more engaged with our members. It is a movement more than a company. We are 700 so far and we are growing. We are becoming the big company that we were not. It’s really cool to see that and working with the founders right next to us is amazing. The co-CEOs are still here, coming to work, giving advice, giving meetings. You don’t need to read about them in a book – you have them right there. That’s really empowering.
One cool aspect of Nature’s Path is that we don’t have a sustainability department because it is embedded in each of our departments. There is no green team. It’s everybody. Like, for real.
Do you continue to set goals for your sustainability efforts?
I want to become an official planet advocate. That’s what I am calling myself. I am an activist to protect the planet. I would like organic food to be a normal condition for human beings. I am a board member of the National Zero Waste council in Canada [at] only 31. I am the youngest director, so my challenge is to bring fresh concepts. Working for an organic company, you can walk the walk. That is another perk of working for Nature’s Path. You can help other companies to become organic and sustainable.
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