We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Ortiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, what principle do you value most?
I value community. For me, community is synonymous with connection. And connection is everything! Throughout my entire career in both advertising and the non-profit sector, although many believe in the “who you know,” my experience has always been “how you connect.” True success lies in authenticity. For over a decade, I have worked as a counselor/advocate/educator for people dealing with severe trauma, mental health issues, addictions, incarceration, disenfranchisement, and compassion fatigue that created huge disconnects from their purpose. It was in reconnecting them to themselves, their motivation, and their greater support systems within their communities that created such rejuvenation and desire to be part of something greater than themselves.
My business is dedicated to the principle of community through fundraising and service. The connection to the agencies and programs selected each month are a reflection of connection through service and transformation that energetically fuel healing and beauty within humanity.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Inspired by artistic expression and homemade fun, what started as creative flow evolved into a greater desire to contribute to my community through social change. Soaps 4 Causes was born as a small female owned business that wholeheartedly supports local organizations empowering others seeking to reconnect with the world and themselves in ways that transform lives. Every month, a different organization is showcased on my social media platforms as we FUNdraise for their mission. 20% of all purchases through the website are donated directly to the selected organization, so not only will a sale support a small Angelena owned business, but in the spirit of community, humanity, and healing, a noteworthy organization’s cause will be uplifted as well.
My journey is far from done, in fact, as I celebrate my 40th birthday this month, I feel as though life is just beginning for me. After over a decade of committed service in the non-profit sector, I resigned from my position to apply a more holistic approach to my life and healing. I was so fearful about money and how I was going to pay my bills, but something within me calmed me and pulled me to starting a business that connects my passion for social advocacy while nurturing my creativity and healing. Money and healing are mindsets, and once we align with who we are currently and where we are headed, the sooner the things we desire can claim us.
I grew up in South LA, raised primarily by amazing matriarchs – my mother and grandmother. I am a proud Mulatta! A daughter of an immigrant mother (Central American) and a strong daughter of a Creole (Black & French) father.
I am a first generation post graduate – M.A. in Forensic Psychology, and I pride myself at being an empowered social justice advocate. I have had the honor of working with individuals & families dealing with inter-generational incarceration, systemic disenfranchisement, countless probationers and parolees striving for a better life, survivors of abuse and violence, souls afflicted with various addictions both in treatment and at needle exchange programs (harm reduction at its finest), and in-custody men (at Twin Towers Correctional Facility) seeking profound personal enrichment and a second chance. And throughout the years, I’ve longed to be of even greater service to my community and the men, women, and families I continue to serve, while sustaining adequate abundance and success for my family.
I am a person of great faith and joy. I believe in humanity and our collective resilience. I hold an abundant space for compassion, authenticity, and unconditional love that, we as inhabitants of this planet, deserve to give and receive daily. My life experiences were definitely not rosy, as I too, have suffered tremendous trauma and victimization, but it is my resilience that sets me apart. We all have it in us to succeed, but not all of us are able to tap into that without assistance. I was fortunate to find people along my path that were willing to take a chance on me as I showed them that I was willing to take as many chances as needed on myself. So, SOAPS 4 CAUSES has afforded me an opportunity to give back “what has so freely been given to me,” in the form of constant blessings, creativity, and love.
Whether I’m creating and cultivating a new line of soaps or coaching/mentoring people in search of energetic reconnection to their purpose, the legacy I choose to leave behind is one of equity, awareness, and inclusion. May my story be one that inspires others to take a risk and believe in their authentic ability to succeed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ironically, as much as I thrive on connection, I tend to be a bit of a hermit. I do have a few staple places that I enjoy that help recharge my batteries. I’m a outdoorsy gal so I love a good hike to Eaton Canyon Falls, Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail, Cobb Estate Trailhead to Inspiration Point in Altadena, and maybe a fun romp with my dog at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. When visiting DTLA, you’ve got to stop by KazuNori on Main St. for some great sushi and maybe take a stroll down DTLA flower district to take in all the incredible floral scents. The Grand Central Market is an eclectic must see, just like Angel City Brewery, but my favorite Mexican restaurant is Chichen Itza on Grand near 37th. For some amazing views of all LA, you can’t go wrong with a cocktail at Spire 73 – Rooftop Bar after a relaxing day riding the swan paddle boats at Echo Park Lake, or even a savory glass of wine and charcuterie board at The Cellar in Pasadena.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been very fortunate to have had incredible mentors and family support me along my journey who each helped elevate me in different areas of my life. More recently, I have had the pleasure and honor of working with a transformational coach who has helped me build my businesses and expand my consciousness in ways I could never imagine.