The Magical Woman Who Changed the World

August 31, 2018

There is a magical person, a woman you likely haven't met, who has not only changed your life, she has changed the world you live in.  We want to honor this woman today.

Jana Gay was one of our first hires at The Renewal Workshop.  She applied for our Chief of Staff role. In her initial interview she said, “I am going to give you the answer you need to hear, not the one you want to hear.” We knew that this woman was meant to be in our lives. In her first week, she said, “You don’t need a Chief of Staff, you need someone to build out all your systems.  Luckily I have done that for the past 20 years.”

And off she went.  Jana took some excel files, back of the napkin sketches and conversations and designed the first circular economy enterprise platform.  We have a pretty bold vision here at The Renewal Workshop, to create a circular system for the apparel and textile industry. In order to do that you need systems and software to behave differently than all the ones designed for the linear economy.

In a linear system, everything goes one way - make, use, dispose. What we needed was a system that operated with closed and open loops, that allowed products to get created, used and go on to their next use.  This required a deep knowledge of how natural and digital systems work, it required translating circular from an idea to an operating system. Jana architected that.

The Renewal Workshop runs on the world’s first circular operating system for the apparel and textile industry. It was a radical request and while in its first draft, it works. It is a foundational piece of our ever-evolving commitment to changing the apparel industry from take-make-waste to a continuous, circular flow of material that protects the environment and provides meaningful work.

An amazing feat like this really can only come from someone who is truly magical.  Jana proved that title constantly. She made sure our chakras and our internet were performing at their best.  She leveraged her motherly patience with us as we asked the most tedious questions about data flows and SQL servers. She embodied our value of love and light, with her warm smile, quirky humor and crazy brilliance for computer and natural systems.

Jana is taking leave to spend time healing from a yearlong battle with a very rare form of cancer. She has endured an intense surgery followed by chemotherapy. Throughout all of it, she still cared for us and this work, supporting a major rebuild of the system, launching thenorthfacerenewed.com, and relaunching this site. She has cared so hard for all of us and now we are so happy she is going to put her magic into caring for herself. 

Jana is our gift. And she is your gift.  The world will one day run on a circular economy and she is the woman who designed it. We love you Jana – heal as hard as you have cared for all of us and we will try and do you proud.

 


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