A Black Dress, A Green Scarf… A First Impression, A Lasting Experience

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Heading to the Natural Products Expo East, in Baltimore, Maryland, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As representatives of Protect Our Breasts, we went with our mission in mind: to impact change in the marketplace and bring safer alternatives to our peers. Our goal is to help protect them from a breast cancer diagnosis later in life by focusing on the chemicals in everyday products that are linked to the disease. I had so much confidence in what we were doing, but I wasn’t as prepared for the level of support that industry professionals would have for it too. The fact was that we were the ones at Expo East people wanted to talk to. The Expo consists of hundreds of progressive companies, who like us, want the world to see that natural and organic products support a healthful and sustainable lifestyle. Innovators and Influencers wanted to associate themselves with us and our mission.

As members of the POB executive board, we are known for our black dresses and green scarves – a statement that we are not pink, but green for environmental toxins. I was told that we would be recognized, but it was only when I experienced it myself that I fully understood. Every time I was acknowledged, I grew more proud to have on that green scarf. The pride came from my deeper understanding of the weight these outfits hold amongst some of the most influential people in the health and wellness industry. They represent professional millennials and Gen Zs changing the marketplace for the health of generations to come. When someone knew who we were, they made sure to come up to us with positive feedback. For those that didn’t know, they made sure to find out. Our green scarf has become an indelible imprint of what we stand for and with it comes a great responsibility for doing this important work.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have represented POB at the Expo East. I met amazing people that shared their stories of how breast cancer affected their lives. These heartfelt conversations are some I will always remember. To conceive that I am a member of such an important organization, solidifies my reasons for wanting to be a part of POB to begin with. My first impression certainly was a lasting one.

-Gillian Connors

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