Maggie Bailey, the owner of We Plant it Forward, has been on a mission of service all her adult life. Her interest in the environment started early in Endwell, NY where she grew up, but it took a few years for her to rediscover her passion. She achieved her master’s of science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University and worked within the field until her second child. This was when she made the bold move away from the corporate world and took the leap into full-time family life and service work.
Quite literally, We Plant it Forward began from seed. Maggie began giving away tree seedlings she found around local Raleigh areas that did not align with the area’s manicured plans. She would harvest the native seedlings and give them away to anyone interested in adding an indigenous tree to their backyard. Not long after the first tree was planted, Maggie found herself with too few seedlings to fulfill the interest of the community. This is when We Plant it Forward was born. This year alone Maggie has gifted over 1400 native trees and has started an annual Arbor Day Festival to raise awareness about the benefits of trees and other environmental sustainability initiatives locally and beyond.
Maggie not only works to positively impact the environment but strives to build confidence in those around her. She works with all ages to teach them how to take care and nurture their surroundings, as well as to take care and nurture themselves
Maggie quoted memorable words from a mentor, “Think big because if you don’t think big you won’t have a big impact,” She followed with “I do try to think big but I also am mindful of the reality of capacity so I do not overcommit.” Maggie gave an exceptional amount of praise to her volunteers, interns, board of directors, donors, family, friends, mentors, and spiritual practice because without the enormous level of support from everyone, Plant it Forward would not be possible.
To avoid burnout Maggie starts and ends her day with meditation. She tries to keep to a routine that nurtures her spirit as well as serves others. Her ideal day keeps her meditation as bookends to the day and the middle is filled with sticking to her priorities, remembering her purpose, and never forgetting to laugh. “It’s not about me but I have to take care of myself to be able to serve others.” This keeps it from becoming all about sacrifice but a balanced relationship between work, service, and family.
Maggie strives to be a leader who leads with compassion and vision while reminding herself of the affect she has on the world and the people around her. This inspires her to keep perspective during the rough spots and maintains her drive to better the world around her. She is much more than just the founder of We Plant it Forward, she is a community member who strives to build up the place we all call home.
For more information about We Plant it Forward and how you can get involved check out the website!