For some students on campus, it might be difficult to imagine what they will be doing twenty or thirty years from now. Most freshmen are just beginning the journey of finding their passion, and many seniors are preparing for life outside of college. But Trinity has educated roughly 200 classes of successful leaders throughout the country and internationally. Ellin Carpenter and Matthew Smith are two examples of Trinity grads who have used their education to find success in the business world.
Carpenter and Smith met as freshmen in North Campus. She played tennis and was a cheerleader. She also loved the arts, was an editor of The Ivy, and had dreams of working as an architect or interior designer in her future. Smith, who was a history major, holds alumni status as a brother of St. Anthony Hall, and played lacrosse and ran cross country. The two are now focused on creating and marketing unique, all-natural products that help individuals lead healthier lives.
They married about a year after their graduation in 1982. Soon, they were back in the classroom studying to get their master’s degrees at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and The Medill School of Journalism. Having both grown up in New England – Smith in Massachusetts, Carpenter in Connecticut- life took them on some pretty exciting journeys. After completing their graduate work in the Midwest, they moved on to New York City, where they learned how to build successful brands in a variety of industries: Smith started on Park Avenue, working in marketing and product development for big multi-national companies like Unilever and Nestle. Carpenter started on Madison Avenue working at Oglivy & Mather Advertising, then moved down to Wall Street where she spent time in banking, eventually founding her own firm called The Marketing Roundtable.
The pair shared with me how their success in corporate America led them to the entrepreneurial world of a start-up. Smith told me how he has spent his career creating “innovative products that satisfy peoples’ desire for delicious foods.” He has worked with Breyers Ice Cream and Nestle Chocolates, as well as Good Humour, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Ragu, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Gerber’s Baby Food. He explained to me how grocery stores and restaurants today are full of foods that are loaded with refined sugar. This helps manufacturers keep processing costs low. However, the average American consumes almost 160 lbs of refined sugar each year. This is 25 times more than 25 years ago, and almost 40 times more than the 1920s! He now chooses to focus on developing and marketing products that do more to support healthy living.
Smith yearned to create a product that was truly “good for you.” He saw that dream take shape when he was asked to join the team at Panacea Scientifc/Healthy Living as Chief Marketing Officer. He says, “Here I had the opportunity to pioneer products that have the potential to revolutionize the way we live…even the way we chew gum.” Smith and his team at Panacea Scientific/Healthy Living saw an opening in a crowded field. They believed that people would pay a bit more for a better product. Think Starbucks, Vineyard Vines and Apple: products which cost more than others, but some believe taste better, are more comfortable or are more efficient than their competitors. And so a health and wellness start-up began.
Their mission is to help people lead healthier lifestyles by providing natural, easy to use products and solutions that promote core health and achieving a healthy body weight. Their products include an all-natural gum that freshens breath while helping one lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and a capsule that helps one control your blood sugar, and may even prevent hangovers.
As Smith worked on the Panacea Scientific projects, Carpenter became more involved with the products as well. The gum product in particular really piqued her interest. She told me, “I’ve always loved to chew gum in between meals. I thought it would keep me from snacking but regular gums just made me hungrier.” And so, she worked with the Panacea Team and medical professionals to craft this new kind of gum for all audiences. The gum contains a natural ingredient, Garcinia Cambogia, that helps calm your cravings in between meals. It is a natural ingredient that is proven to raise seratonin levels in the brain and body, creating a feeling of satisfaction that calms the body’s craving for food. There’s even a touch of green coffee bean to boost metabolism.
She shared some of the challenges that led up to building of this brand. The original name for the brand was “Chomp Skinny.” The all-male management team thought this would appeal to guys who like to chew gum while they workout. Carpenter knew this gum would have a broad appeal to women – young and old – who care about eating healthy and struggle with the temptation to snack in between meals and late at night, and she knew that the name would not resonate with women. Putting her marketing research expertise to work, she invited women to a series of informal roundtable gatherings to learn how they feel about chewing gum and healthy eating. The results were universal. They were ready to order “Sweet FulfillMent” by the case. The name was inspired by the feeling that women described when successfully resisting unhealthy snacking temptations. They’re all about being healthy, not skinny. Still, the gum can be used by anybody. Guys love it, too!
I recently spoke with Tommy DeAngelis, a freshman at Trinity from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who discovered Sweet FulfillMent at our own Trinity Bookstore check-out counter when he was buying his textbooks. As DeAngelis says, “I was looking for some gum and I saw this. I thought it looked different, looked natural, why not give it a shot.” He says he enjoys it because help likes knowing this is an all natural “guilt free gum” without harmful sugars or extra processing.
When I told Smith and Carpenter about Tommy, they smiled. Ellin said, “Looking at Trinity today, it’s great to see how many more options students have for maintaining healthy lifestyles. Now, Trinity seems to have a much more health-oriented vibe. Seeing people embrace our all-natural products here in this special place is so gratifying because it means they are making healthier choices for themselves.”
When Smith and Carpenter moved into North Campus, they couldn’t have known that someday they would fall in love and go into business together. But that is exactly what happened. Now they are both working together to promote naturally healthy choices and help support people who want to lead healthy lifestyles. They truly loved their time here at Trinity and their education has brought them far.