Lisa Gervais is a City of Newburgh resident and business owner of The Healing Arts Studio. Read about her Newburgh journey, the inspiration she has received from others, and her efforts in the City. Thanks Lisa!
Tell me a little bit about your background and how you ended up living in the City of Newburgh?
I was raised in Marlboro and left for California after high school. I returned to NY and moved to Newburgh because my Mom and sister had moved to Newburgh while I was in California. I stayed long enough to study Polarity Therapy in Massachusetts and Kundalini Yoga in NYC. I also worked with Jason Elias, a well known acupuncturist and herbalist in the Hudson Valley, keeping his herbal pharmacy and making herbal tinctures & tonics. I found myself returning to San Diego in 1999 and opened a yoga center while working part time at Whole Foods Market. I returned to Newburgh again in December of 2006 and went to aesthetic school in NYC in April 2007. After aesthetic school I began to envision a center where energetic healing therapies, skin therapy and yoga with a supportive retail area, could work together to introduce people to alternative ways to balance body, mind and spirit. I did not pursue my vision right off but started a skincare business, renting one treatment room in my friends salon. I used my skincare business as an incubator for my ideas, developing energetic skincare treatments and incorporating aromatherapy in all my work. Because I was in a salon I had plenty of opportunities to introduce people to alternative healing modalities and engage in conversations about health concerns and lifestyles and belief systems. I saw there was a great need for this type of healing.
You live and work in Newburgh, why did you choose to start your business here? What attracted you?
I made my commitment to live and work in Newburgh after aesthetic school and realized that my vision was tied in with the energy of this place. There is a wide open feeling of expansion and possibility, like a new frontier. I am also attracted to the Hudson River, Mt. Beacon and the incredible clouds that form over the river corridor. I’m in awe every morning when I look out at the river and clouds! Storm King is also so magical! I feel very connected to the elements here, watching the clouds coming up behind Mt. Beacon and the river going by is my meditation. That connection and beauty is very important to good living.
How long have you been admiring the building your business is in? And what makes it so special?
I started a love affair with the building in the early 80’s. Every time I came home from California I would drive by and admire it. My whole being would light up when I saw it. I drove by many many times over the years. I cannot tell you why, the architecture was interesting and the windows are incredible but, that wasn’t the only thing drawing me in. After securing the space in December 2011, I realized that my future self already knew I would be manifesting my vision in that place. The vision that had yet to enter my consciousness that early on.
Tell me a little bit about your business and what services you offer in Newburgh.
I’m working on co-creating and collaborating with like minded people to bring energy therapies, art, workshops, meditation and movement to individuals and the community who want to explore their higher self, expand human consciousness and create a supportive environment that feels good. Personal empowerment on many levels that spreads out into the community. We have lot’s of variety, with a great group of therapists and interesting workshop presenters. We also are developing weekly and monthly events based on energy management and movement. We also are involved with Peace Across the Planet, a non-profit peace project to bring awareness to creating Peace individually, communally and globally through monthly gatherings.
What organizations are you involved with in Newburgh?
The first organization I got involved with is the St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Auxiliary. I was invited to work on a committee and later asked to become a board member by Chip Pelella. I was recently invited to join the board of a new business organization, the Newburgh Professional and Business Association. We began meeting after Mayor Kennedy created action committees and we are now ready to launch membership. We have a membership kick off coming up next Wednesday, May 15th at the Karpeles Museum on Broadway, starting at 5:30pm. Anyone wanting to learn more about the NPBA mission and member benefits can stop by the kick off or check out www.newburghpba.org and the facebook page.
Who have been your local mentors, and what influence have they had on you as a businesswoman?
The very strong and amazing women I met through the SLCH Auxilliary and SLCH. They are great mentors, leading by example with wisdom and grace, running their own business but volunteering with love and care for something beyond themselves. I consider many people mentors without them realizing it, like Michele Rider, a lawyer with a full time business, who brought Girls on the Run to Newburgh. Rev. Naomi Fay, a great friend and spiritual mentor. Michele Basch with a full time job and proprietress of the Wherehouse with her partner Dan Brown. I must mention Michael Gabor and Gerardo Castro of Newburgh Art Supply, and Barbara Ballerina of Caffe Macchiato. I have visited and watched these businesses grow while I was growing my vision, waiting for the right time to launch. They have created an energetic foundation for many good things to come about in the city of Newburgh, where my business is located. There are many other business in the area but those are the folks I connected with.
Have you seen Newburgh develop in the time that your shop has been open?
Yes, organizations like the Greater Newburgh Partnership have formed, Mayor Kennedy’s action committees have created movement and action on a citizen level and the NPBA sprung from that. New people who live and work here are stepping forward to get involved on a political and volunter level. The Mural Project and the new Lightbulb Project are great examples of different elements coming together to create a more cohesive energy. Artists, film makers, performers and entrepeneurs are moving here from other areas of New York to live and work here! We now have Newburgh Food Co and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) coming to the city, wholefoods are happening!
What are you looking forward to for the future of the City?
People coming together to collaborate, taking action, creating movement and harmony and co-creating exactly the kind of place we want to live in with beauty all around us.
What advice would you give other people looking to live and/or start a business in the City of Newburgh?
Create a vision, believe in your vision, let nothing stand in your way and rise to your highest potential!
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story!