At my college reunion over Memorial Day weekend this year I was standing with a group of friends when a really cute, clean-cut guy started walking towards me smiling as if he knew me. As he approached I quickly flipped through my internal Rolodex trying to find him in there somewhere. It wasn’t until he got close enough to realize I didn’t recognize him that he said, “Kate, its Tyler Gage.” My mind static suddenly focused in on one, clear frequency and I remembered him immediately. Except the last time I had seen him, five years earlier, he had long hair, played Varsity soccer, was possibly the most spiritually open person I’d ever met, and was super “Californian”, complete with a lot of “dude” and a bit of a Valley guy vibe. Soon after meeting Tyler during my senior year when he was a freshman, he disappeared and I hadn’t seen him since.
The dapper, confident young man in front of me that day was still open and incredibly present, but nonetheless transformed. Between a chat on the green and a few meals on his trips through New York, I came to learn that Tyler had stopped playing soccer and left Brown to live in South America. There he began to study shamanism and became deeply connected with and inspired by the indigenous people he was hanging out with. His travels and adventures led him to Ecuador where he discovered a tea made from the guayusa leaf and a little over a year ago Tyler started Runa Amazon Guayusa. (Runa means “fully living being” in the indigenous Kichwa language.)
Tyler is one of the most effective, visionary, socially, and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs I know. Being a young entrepreneur myself, it can get a little old when people coo about my age in relationship to my business. But I find myself doing the same about Tyler. He’s a twenty-four year old president of an up and coming beverage company (which will be on shelves in Whole Foods this fall). He’s partnered with the Ecuadorian government, as well as other influential and powerful investors and advisors. He’s leading employees, farmers, suppliers, advisors, partners, and more. And he’s managed to do it all with sustainability and consciousness as the heartbeat of the organization. Plus he’s a student of Shamanism and his spiritual beliefs infuse his business practices. How amazing is that?! Guaranteed you’ll be seeing more of Tyler and Runa in the future. The other day Tyler swung through New York on his way from Ecuador to Providence and we had a chat in Central Park about the amazing things that he’s up to. Enjoy!