LADIES WE LOVE | COURTNEY GARZA

Posted on March 27 2017

LADIES WE LOVE | COURTNEY GARZA

Nothing thrills us more than watching women conquer obstacles and chase their dreams.
In honor of Women's History Month, we're eager to speak with Ladies We Love!

 

If veganism had a cheerleader, it would be Courtney Garza. Larger than life and down-to-earth, Courtney promotes the magic of veganism and conscious living in a very real and approachable way. Co-founding The Harvest Hands, an event & experience company that strives to introduce communities to a more compassionate and conscious lifestyle, is just one of Courtney's many projects. She's got her fingers in every (plant-based!) pie and is a familiar face to any vegan in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.



/ PHOTO COURTESY OF BECKLEY PHOTO


Petit Vour: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. 

Courtney Garza: My biggest mission in life is to raise awareness of the things I believe people should know about, such as the benefits of a vegan lifestyle and the power of engaging in one’s community. I carry that mission throughout all of the jobs I juggle:

Harvest Hands: Co-founder of a company built on compassionate connections for locals to experience through food, events, and other local and national businesses that promote plant-based options. We’ve also recently turned it into a full fledged agency aimed at growing vegan-friendly businesses. 
VegWorld Magazine: Marketing Manager to help tell the stories of superstars in the vegan movement. 
Coffee with Courtney: More of a passion project than a job, but I definitely find it part of my mission to tell the stories of my quest to find the best coffee and cozy local shops throughout my travels and everyday caffeine stops. 
D Magazine/Dallas Innovates: Media Development Manager cross-pollinating the stories of top innovators across industry sectors in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. 
Legacy West/Food Hall: Marketing and Events Manager to raise the bar for local restaurants to be featured in one place for the first venue of its kind that provides a seriously unique culinary and cultural experience in West Plano, TX.

 

PV: How did you come to be involved with so many amazing initiatives? How do you balance them all?!

CG: As cheesy as it sounds, I’d like to say they found me. There are always certain aspects about a company and a job that I look for, and in the case of all of the jobs I currently have, they all have me in a position of business development as I seem to love being on the “ground floor” of a new project. I simply love being a part of a new concept that benefits communities and animals. I honestly think the only way I've been able to balance them all is the wonderful fact that they all intersect in one way or another and feed a passion of mine that I simply can’t have unbalanced.

 

PV: What was the catalyst for your move to Legacy West/Food Hall? How did you navigate a career change?

CG: Legacy Hall provided me with a unique opportunity to harness my skills and apply them to an innovative food concept. I’m still in the process of navigating my career change, but I’m lucky to have some amazing teams on both sides supporting me along the way. As I was transitioning out of D Magazine, I became somewhat of a consultant until they found my replacement, which helped me still be involved but slowly work my way out and focus my efforts elsewhere.



/ PHOTO COURTESY OF BECKLEY PHOTO

 

PV: What are you most excited about working on for Legacy West/Food Hall?

CG: The opportunity to be a part of concept that is going to change the way people experience food. For example, all of the food vendors will be local and they will also grow their food on-site through hydroponics. I also am especially excited to leverage my influence to introduce more vegan options in this space and help to create events that bring the community fun and engaging ways to approach a plant-based lifestyle.

 

PV: Back to Harvest Hands. You're becoming a household name in the Dallas Vegan scene. How did you get to where you are?

CG: Zak and I saw a need in the community to have fine-dining vegan experiences, which is where we started, and have built our brand on creating partnerships and experiences that people love. We’re incredibly excited about all of the amazingly positive engagement that we’ve received in just over a year that we’ve been in business. 

 

PV: Your co-founder for Harvest Hands, Zak, is also your partner. What is it like working with your partner on Harvest Hands? How do you negotiate disagreements in business decisions?

CG: I’m fortunate enough to have found a partner that is interested in and passionate about so many similar things as me! I believe we wouldn’t have even made it close to this far without the underlying mission of saving animals and helping people find healthier lives. I feel like I have always dreamed about finding a partner that not only respected what I did for a living, but also walked the path with me and having Zak as my other half in this exciting business is worth the harder conversations and decisions we face.

It has been an especially interesting process balancing the business partner/romantic partner settings, but I feel like it makes our relationship so much more dynamic. But like any relationship, when we have disagreements, we try our best to hear each other out and keep in mind our overall mission and what would be best for our brand. It certainly makes us stronger to be on the same page mentally and emotionally as we tackle those hard business decisions and make our romantic relationship a priority at the end of the day.

 

PV: What's next for Harvest Hands in terms of expanding the vegan message?

CG: We are now switching our focus to be a full service digital agency for vegan and vegan-friendly businesses. There are several other massive things in the works for us now that we haven’t announced publicly. Check back soon! ;)  



/ PHOTO COURTESY OF BECKLEY PHOTO


PV: What would you say is needed for a woman to be successful in any field she sets her mind to?

CG: Passion. Honestly, it’s what keeps me going through all the hard days. If I wasn’t truly driven on my passion for the project and what/who it was benefitting, there’s no way I could continue to do the work. Some may be able to push on in a job they don’t care about, but I’m just not one of those people. Plus, it’s so much easier to get up in the morning when you’re excited to go do work at a job you not only rock at, but just have fun doing.

 

PV: In your view, what's the most exciting thing on the horizon in the eco-vegan world?

CG: Really, food technology is what’s got me excited to be vegan in this day and age. It blows my mind how progressive the science and artistry that goes into making some truly incredible food from plants. Food that even looks, smells, and tastes like meat, which kind of freaks me out, but I appreciate what it’s doing for those who are looking for all of those characteristics in their food and for what’s it’s doing for the animals. 

I think companies like Hampton Creek, Beyond Meat, and even Memphis Meats (though it definitely creeps me out) are killing it right now. **no pun intended. ;) 

 

PV: Back to you, what do you do for fun? How do you keep sane?

CG: I love traveling with all of my heart and soul. As tiring and expensive as it can be, I always find myself planning my new adventure even after I just returned from one. But as far as my day-to-day escapes from all the craziness, I love yoga, swimming, running, and pretty much any exercise that gets me moving and focused on my body instead of endless tasks. 

 

PV: Tell us your faves! Favorite vegan beauty products? Favorite plant-based meal? Favorite pick-me-up (beauty- or food/drink-related)? Favorite vegan/plant-based restaurant? Favorite charity?

CG: My favorite beauty product has to be Crazy Rumors’ chapstick. Ever since I was little, I could never go without chapstick, so it’s definitely on me wherever I go and I just love all of the unique flavors they have that always smell and taste so amazing! 

My favorite plant-based meal is so tough as I seem to have a pretty eclectic palette! But if I would have to narrow it down, it has to be waffles. Literally any kind. Sweet or savory. I just love making waffles and eating them is pretty awesome too. ;) 

Favorite pick me up is definitely an almond milk cappuccino from this cute little coffee shop/bookstore in downtown Dallas called Serj that truly has the best almond milk foam skills I’ve ever seen. 

Favorite restaurant is definitely Champs Diner in Brooklyn. First off, they serve breakfast food all day, which is a major win and the whole atmosphere is a hip old-school diner. Literally everything I’ve tried there has not tasted phenomenal, but also has an inventive presentation (like the chick'n in their chick'n & waffles has a sugar stick as the “bone” in the middle). 

Favorite charity is the Humane League, simply because I have had the privilege of working with so many members of their team and they are superstars. I have also worked with and seen a lot of amazing work from other charities, but The Humane League continues to amaze me with their innovative ways to engage non-vegans and large corporations to reduce their meat and dairy consumption. 

 


/ PHOTO COURTESY OF BECKLEY PHOTO

 

PV: Any big plans or upcoming goals you'd like to share? What's next for you?

CG: Aside from my career plans, I’m aiming to expand on my friendships and really learn to take a step back and enjoy the people and places around me. I’m always in “go-mode” and I feel like it’s time to cultivate relationships with other passionate women. One thing that I’ve sacrificed in lieu of my success is relationships with people other than Zak. 

 

Follow Courtney on Instagram @dallascgar 
and keep up to date with The Harvest Hands here.

xx

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3 COMMENTS

  • Helen. Boyd: April 12, 2017

    A very amazing young lady. Living an exciting live with a passion she believes in bring it forward for the public to understand
    Following her with new adventures is today’s future

  • Carol Boyd Garza : March 27, 2017

    So very proud of all your accomplishments you are one of a kind young special young lady

  • Carol Boyd Garza : March 27, 2017

    So very proud of all your accomplishments you are one of a kind young special young lady

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