After working in the public relations business for several years, she decided to launch a product that matched her interest in environmental sustainability. So Julie Geisinger, ’03, a marketing assistant at Olympia Entertainment, founded Free to Be LLC in 2010 and is now selling an eco-friendly line called Free to Be Yoga Tees—available at various retail shops and online (freetobeyogatees.com). “This has been very exciting,” says Geisinger. “The people from the metro Detroit area are thrilled by the concept and they are giving me a lot of support.” Some of her t-shirts are made of organic bamboo—“one of nature’s most sustainable materials,” says Julie. Others are made of organic cotton blended with RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate). “They are made from plastic bottles, which are melted down and spun into polyester fibers,” explains Julie, who notes that they also come with inspirational quotes. Her best selling shirt features a Ghandi quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That quote summarizes her personal motto. Another design features a peace symbol with another Ghandhi quote: “In a gentle way you can shake the world.” A native of Bloomfield Hills, Julie chose to attend MSU when she and a friend visited the campus and fell in love. “It was the best decision I made,” she says. “My years at MSU were awesome.” She focused on sports marketing and landed two internships with the Detroit Red Wings. She then worked for six years at Olympia entertainment, marketing concerts, Broadway shows and other family entertainment. But she had always been interested in the environment, considers herself to be the “Queen of Recycling” and wanted to do more to shake the world. The idea for the eco-friendly t-shirts struck her while performing yoga, so she calls them Free to Be Yoga Tees. “I wanted to create something that was environmentally conscious, comfortable and expressive,” she sums up.
CARRIE (REZABEK) DORR: PURE BARRE
Many women who want to reshape their bodies are trying Pure Barre (purebarre.com), an exercise system that uses small isometric movements along with the ballet barre to target areas women struggle with—hips, thighs, abs and back of the arms. One fan is supermodel Erin Heatherton, who is quoted in US magazine saying that Pure Barre is “so awesome and hard it’s inspired me to change my workout.” Since 2009, Pure Barre has opened 115 new franchises in 30 states (more are in the works). The exercise method, which comes complete with an extensive line of DVDs, at-home barres, skincare, food bars, apparel and accessories, was founded by Carrie (Rezabek) Dorr, ’96, who developed the system after opening her first studio in Birmingham in 2001. “It has become really popular mainly because it really works,” says Dorr, a lawyer now living in Denver, CO, with a vast amount of experience in dance, pilates and fitness. “It’s a solid program.” She created the program because, she explains, “I was a dancer and choreographer with a business degree and a law degree and wanted to spend my life doing something I was passionate about—which was not being an attorney.” Originally from Plymouth, she attended MSU and obtained a business degree. “I loved MSU and I’m proud to be a Spartan,” says Carrie. “I had some great profs at State. My favorite class was GBL 395 (Law, Public Policy and Business). My experience at MSU has definitely helped me along my journey.” For the future, Carrie plans to continue growing in the U.S. and internationally, and to further develop the product lines. She was expected to give birth in December. “I’m working on some green and white onesies,” she notes.
NOEL PAUL STOOKEY: ONE & MANY
Before the Beatles swept the world of popular music in 1964, the top musical group in the nation was arguably Peter, Paul and Mary. In November 1963, the folk trio had three LP albums in Billboard’s Top Ten and six of their singles attained gold status (more than 1 million copies sold). One member of the trio, singer and songwriter Noel Paul Stookey, attended MSU for three years prior to the group’s founding in 1961. A half century and 45 albums later, at age 75, he is still going strong as a solo artist. In 2007 he released three new CDs and recently released One & Many to celebrate the trio’s 50th anniversary. “Folk music carries its own instruction,” says Stookey, who lives in Maine. “The lessons I learned are not just about lifestyle, but also about developing spiritual curiosity. I’ve been incredibly guided by the legacy of this music.” Growing up in Birmingham, Noel chose to attend MSU, where he learned some life lessons. “MSU taught me that I could do well if I focused,” he says, citing a history course where he managed a B after flunking it the first time. Noel says he blossomed outside the classroom, where he honed his skills as a jazz singer, entertainer, raconteur and emcee. He emceed such major events as the Water Carnival and the Homecoming Dance. He and his group, the Corsairs, recorded a song on one side of a 45—with a song by football player Clarence Peeks on the other. A member of Delta Upsilon, Noel recalls serenading dorms, fraternities and “lots of open windows” to get a fraternity brother elected class president. “My reputation was such that as a junior, I was third in voting in the Ugly Man Contest,” he beams proudly. He left MSU after his junior year when his family moved to Philadelphia. Two years later, he moved to Greenwich Village, met Peter Yarrow and Mary Travers, and formed one of the most iconic music groups of the era. “I operated mostly outside of academics,” he muses of his college years. “I’m not proud, but it shows there are alternative ways of finding opportunities in life.”