Thrivers in Action: Juli-Anne Royes
Updated: Apr 11
I am so excited to feature this talented, accomplished business woman who is a member of my entrepreneur community in New Jersey! Meet our Thriver in Action, Juli-Anne Royes, who has a Masters in animal and human nutritional Sciences and a Ph.D. in fisheries and aquatic sciences. In 2016, Juli-Anne started a snack food company utilizing 100% natural ingredients reminiscent of her Jamaican childhood, Juli-Anne’s Tropical Kitchen. Currently she is a project director for Pangeaseed Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to spread activism for ocean sustainability through art. Juli-Anne hopes to bring to Jamaica the first Ocean festival, Seawalls Jamaica. She is married to an Italian and is passionate about exploring the similarities between the two cultures through travel, art, music and lifestyle, which will be represented in her upcoming Italian cookbook. Learn how she has tackled some of life's challenges throughout her adulthood and how she continues to give back to her community.
Name: Dr. Juli-Anne Royes
Title/Company: Founder Juli-Anne Royes LLC / Juli-Anne’s Tropical Kitchen
Reside: Bloomfield, NJ
Tell me about your business and why you started it/what your mission is.
I am a serial entrepreneur. I am the founder of a 100% all-natural snack food company, Juli-Anne’s Tropical Kitchen, a recipe developer, yoga teacher and I am also consultant for NGOs providing scientific agricultural services to fish farmers in developing countries. My mission is to help women live to their fullest potential. My motto is “healthy food, healthy body, healthy mind.” I started my business, so that I could have more control over how I used my time, to be able to spend time with my family and to be able to contribute to projects that I love.
Tell me about your personal experience with mental health. Can be lately during the COVID pandemic or overall, throughout your life.
One of the most stressful times of my life was after giving birth. I had a very demanding job with many responsibilities as a senior scientist supporting many departments in a corporate setting. The effects of a very toxic work environment, those still very strong pregnancy hormones, and lack of sleep began to take its toll – I would get very angry; my blood pressure was uncontrollable and soon I was crying at the drop of a hat. One day I realized that I was having a nervous breakdown or anxiety attack, when I could not breathe and the world seemed really bleak. I looked at the sweet face of my baby and realized that I had to do something to regain my mental and physical health or he would not have a mother. I sought the help of a therapist. I only needed three sessions and it was the best thing that I did for myself and my family. After eight months of working in this position, I finally left the job. It was a very difficult decision financially, but I knew that being alive and healthy was more important for me and my family.
The COVID pandemic has definitely brought on feelings of panic and anxiety. Especially if I am overwhelmed with constant news. The pandemic has definitely affected my business and it makes me incredibly sad that I am not able to travel to my home country. If I do not control my thoughts, that feeling of doom can quickly appear.
Any projects or initiatives you are launching to support your mental health and the health of others?
I became a certified yoga teacher in September 2011. I wanted to be a better mother and wife, and yoga and its teachings have definitely helped to improved my relationship with myself and my family. With meditation and self-care, I am able to slow down my thoughts, become more aware of those around me and put circumstances into perspective. For five years, I taught yoga at various studios. Now I introduce the philosophy to my friends and family. I often give them classes and teach the techniques of breathing and meditation that can be incorporated into their own lives.
I am currently writing a cookbook on my travels to Italy, where I experienced the Italian culture of living in the moment. In my book, I hope to inspire others to use cooking with friends and family as a means to slow down and spend more time with the ones they love, especially in this time of COVID 19. The Italian philosophy is to work to live rather than live to work, which is how I am learning to live my life.
What have you learned about yourself/community/life in general since the lockdown and COVID pandemic?
I feel like my life growing up in Jamaica and my travels to Italy have prepared me for this moment. Although this situation is like no other, I grew up in Jamaica where I have experienced adverse conditions from lack of food and curfews due to political strife or major hurricanes that disrupted water and electricity for months. It was in a time before social media, so we had to entertain ourselves, calling friends, reading, playing music, playing games and getting lots of sleep. My friends, family, religious beliefs and the yoga teachings give me the strength and patience to be optimistic during this very unsure time. I feel that it has brought my husband and I closer, and we value our friendships and community even more.
Learn more about Juli-Anne at julianneroyes.com and connect with her on Facebook at facebook.com/jroyes and Instagram @juliannestropicalkitchen Listen to her discuss her cookbook on the podcast Cookbook Love