1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Sammi Geraci-Yee, opera singer turned wellness guru, yogi and sound healer, now forging a mindful path in the tech world as the Director of Community Relations for Centered, the #1 Flow State app. I’m based out of Long Beach, New York, and spend the fall and winter season in New Orleans (LA), Cape Coral (FL) and/or San Miguel de Alliende (MX). You may be wondering, how did an opera singer find herself in the world of tech? Seven years ago, I realized that although opera was my passion, it rarely paid all the bills. Despite having both a bachelors and a masters degree from well-renowned institutions, a full performance schedule, and 3 day jobs, I struggled financially and was short on time to simply breathe between all of my endeavors. Arbonne, a 40 year old Certified B Corporation that specializes in non-toxic vegan personal care, beauty, and nutrition was my solution. It gave me an opportunity to run my own powerful global business with flexible hours from anywhere and create supplemental revenue alongside my demanding opera schedule.
In 2018, my opera dreams were put on hold when my mom’s breast cancer returned with a vengeance. Because I had built my Arbonne business to a significant level, I was able to focus all of my energy and time on her in our last few months together. The loss of my mother was devastating but it also realigned my values and clarified my desire to make an even greater impact in the wellness world. So I stepped away from the opera career and after 2 years of deep healing, at the beginning of 2021, I told The Universe I was finally ready for more in my life. The network I had cultivated through Arbonne brought me the opportunity to become part of a team at Centered that is bringing mindfulness to productivity. I’m grateful for yet another opportunity that is incredibly aligned with my personal values and life mission: to empower others to thrive in true balanced wellness!
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
Essentially, one too many winters in NYC and softball! As an opera singer, I’ve been “working remotely” since I was 17, often travelling to many performance opportunities for 2 – 6 weeks at a time. Additionally, my career relocated me several times within a 10 year span, spending time in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, The Villages (FL), and finally back to NYC, my forever-home. Up until 2019, my locations and travels were predominantly dictated by my career. However, after losing my mom to a 13-year battle with breast cancer in 2019, I decided to “retire” the opera career and focus on other worthwhile endeavors. Weirdly enough, it was a New Orleans ghost tour with my sisters about 2 months after my mom passed that sparked the idea of remote work as the right choice.
In typical New Orleans fashion, the ghost tour stopped at a bar that was across the way from a softball field where a game was happening. After a few moments of watching the game, I decided I would come back down to New Orleans specifically to play softball in the fall. Letting go of my ambitions in the opera world was scary, but made easier knowing I had a global network business that I could rely on and take with me anywhere. So in September of 2019, I moved out of my Long Island City apartment, kept only what could fit in my car, drove down to New Orleans – my mom’s favorite city – and signed up for 2 softball teams. Serendipitously, one of my teams played on that same exact field I came across during the ghost tour months earlier.
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
After travelling and moving so much because of my opera career, it was liberating to finally choose a location that was purely motivated by my own desires. Alongside my daily work responsibilities, I was inspired to tap into the community, connect with like-minded individuals, and immerse myself into the local scene and culture. In the space of 9 weeks, I played on 2 different softball teams, regularly attended yoga classes at three different local yoga studios, took a Restorative Yoga training, a sound healing workshop, a connected conscious breathing workshop for grief, and enjoyed many music festivals, concerts, and events. New Orleans was so fun, maybe a little too much fun, but it was exactly what I needed to support my healing journey at that time.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
Opera singing and network marketing all involve some aspect of remote work. So for my next venture, my ideal role had 3 requirements: 1) No set office hours, I work when I want as long as I excel at my goals daily; 2) I can work from anywhere; 3) I want to work with someone because I believe in their mission, not for someone that I didn’t share any values with. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would find it. But for the past few years, I’ve been leaning into a lot of self development and the idea of co-creating with The Universe. I harnessed that power and manifested an opportunity that was perfect for me in less than a month. It also doesn’t hurt to have a powerful network at your fingertips that’s all too eager to help you get to your next destination.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
The best aspect of remote working is the ability to create my own schedule, which ironically can also be the worst aspect for me. I love working and filling up my schedule. But over the years, I’ve learned not to over book my calendar with too much work and not enough playtime. At the same time, new surroundings can be a tempting distraction. Finding that healthy balance between work and play can be a challenge but I’ve found that developing and sticking to a routine (that you can easily pack up and travel with) is key.
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
Centered is hands down my favorite productivity tool to get my work done anywhere. I loved it so much that I had to work with them to share it with the world. Centered combines 3 of my favorite things together – productivity, mindfulness, and music – into one cohesive tool. It helps me to tap into my Flow state and my best potential so that I can stay focused, navigate successfully through all the increasing distractions, and get my work done with ease, grace, and joy while also feeling the connecting energy with a community that is in Flow with me. At the moment, we are currently working towards releasing Centered v2 in the next few weeks. If you are intrigued, I would love to have you join our waitlist HERE.
Another one of my tools is Zoom, which has been my go to video conferencing platform for the past 6 years. Funny enough, in the years before quarantine, people were extremely hesitant to jump on a Zoom with me because they didn’t know what it was. Now grandmas are zooming and I love it! Another tool that I swear by is Google Workspace. I love having all of my documents, spreadsheets, and presentations all in one place that I can easily access from any computer anywhere in the world.
The last tool that I want to share is the voice memo! In a world where people are inundated with emails and messages daily, I love to stand out amongst the crowd with a voice memo message. It makes the reachout meaningful and allows the receiver to hear the emotions and authenticity in my voice. Evenmore, it’s so much faster to leave a 60 second voice memo than to take 2 – 3 minutes to write out a message that looks lengthy and intimidating. Now if only Slack would integrate voice memos into their platform!
7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
Two weeks after my mom passed, I booked a flight to the other side of the world, Chaing Mai, Thailand, for the following week. Upon arrival, I rented a scooter to get around town. I’ve never ridden a scooter before and asked the guy that rented it to me if he could show me how to use it. He looked at me like I was crazy, but obliged and after a quick lesson on how to operate it, I headed back to my hotel. That night I headed out to meet some friends for dinner. I put on my helmet, got on my scooter, turned it on, and realized that I had no idea how to back out of the spot that I had pulled in to head first at my hotel. The man forgot to teach me this part. I admit I was slightly impatient because it’s actually not that hard, but after a few seconds of not knowing how, I decided my next possible option was forward over the curb and the grass to eventually make my way to the actual street. I think the hotel concierge said a prayer for me.
After successfully riding for a few miles getting up to a good speed, I slowed at a popular intersection for a light. Another vehicle or pedestrian spooked me, and I temporarily lost control of my scooter and it fell over underneath me. Thankfully, I’m agile and I was able to spring to my feet so I didn’t fall with it or get stuck underneath it. A few concerned bystanders came to my rescue and helped me to pick my scooter back up again and I was off to meet my friends. The best part of the evening was later that night after the city went to sleep around 3 am. One of my friends and I went on a hunt for some late night delicious Thai food. We each rode our own scooters so I could practice my newly acquired skills. The Old City is a 1.5 KM square, and the streets were practically empty, so we made our way several times in and around that square at exciting speeds. It was truly exhilarating and an experience that I will never forget.
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
Routine and disciple is everything! But even more important is your gut health!! If your gut health is wonky, it will be a challenge to stay disciplined in your routine. As science and medicine is slowly discovering, everything is connected to our gut. Our brain, our emotions, our energy levels, and most important especially right now, our immune system. Fun fact of the day, 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut!! The best thing you can do for your gut health is take a probiotic daily. Here’s the one that I recommend. And here’s why I love it. It’s a blend of probiotic, prebiotic and enzymes that support the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and lactose which in turn helps the digestive system function normally. It not only primes my system for all the nutrients it will receive for the day, but it also helps me to digest anything that may not agree with my system like tacos from the random street carts in Mexico. This particular one comes in convenient individual stick packets, and there’s no need for refrigeration, so it’s ideal for travel. Another one of my wellness secrets that I love sharing is my wellness tea: ginger root, turmeric root, and lemon. If you like sweetness, find a locally sourced honey to add to it. I swear by this tea for both it’s inflammatory and immune boosting properties.
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
Honestly, 3 months ago I never would have thought that I’d be working with a tech start up company as their Director of Community Relations but here I am and I’m loving it. My journey has always been about seeking out joy and happiness as I continue in my mission to empower others with sustainable healthy living and thrive in true balanced awareness. Any venture that I attract will always involve people and things that align with my mission and values. And it will always be about where I can tap into my strengths to make the greatest impact and empower the most people in the shortest amount of time.
It is through Arbonne that I discovered my unique ability to grow and elicit positive change in people. Now it’s through Centered, I’ve been given the opportunity to grow a SaaS company that will help people to navigate through this current world of distractions and social media addiction and help them to do something great. So far, it’s been one amazing journey. I started with the hopes and dreams of being center stage at the Metropolitan Opera, then my journey took a turn for the best and landed in the world of wellness and empowerment. It can only get better from here and I’m so psyched to see what The Universe has in store for me and how we will co-create my abundant future together.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
Remote work has certainly taken a turn since the pandemic. Prior to it, remote work was something only the lucky could arrange. Now more and more people are tapping into the opportunity to do so, and the landscape is transforming before our eyes. From Remote Work Visas that are now available in many countries, to SaaS companies that aim to provide ease within the WFH environment (like Centered), to the growth of Remote Work Communities, I believe the pandemic has shifted our perspective on work and play. The constant obsessive focus on work and over productivity that once pervaded the American culture has taken a back seat. Many of us, myself included, realize that play is such an important aspect of being human as well as what sparks the creativity and our best potential to thrive well. As we step into our new normal, our new paradigm, I am excited to see the world, especially the United States prioritize health, well-being, and mindful productivity to inspire happiness and abundance as we find ways to balance our work alongside it all. Many of us, if we haven’t already, will discover that office life is not always necessary and changing up location will foster the play and the creativity we need to truly thrive and be well.
11. Where can we follow you on?
Join My Facebook VIP Group: Healthy & Happy with Sammi
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SammiGeraciYee (for videos of my singing)