Community//

Gary Shinner and Jill Portman of Good Pharma: “Succinct, simple & clear messaging”

Your brand is WHY your company exists to substantially change lives for the better. Your product is WHAT supports the company in achieving its primary goal of life enhancement. The more innovative and solution providing your solution is, the more value that is created. With Good Pharma, we focus on “Natures Pharma” solutions that support […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Your brand is WHY your company exists to substantially change lives for the better. Your product is WHAT supports the company in achieving its primary goal of life enhancement. The more innovative and solution providing your solution is, the more value that is created. With Good Pharma, we focus on “Natures Pharma” solutions that support self care in realizing the best version of yourself.


As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Gary Shinner and Jill Portman of Good Pharma.

Leaving their corporate careers of finance and real estate behind, Gary Shinner and Jill Portman began their entrepreneurial journeys developing and launching Mighty Leaf Tea. After spending 15 years building the brand to become the leading global premium tea company, they sold Mighty Leaf to Peets Coffee/JAB Holdings. Their hearts and interests continued in the ‘better for you” category helping mission based companies and non-profits. Their achievements notwithstanding, a longstanding vision still remained top of mind. Throughout their Mighty Leaf years of travel through China, India and Europe they discovered local rituals utilizing nature’s powerful ingredients contributing to optimal living. They experienced “food as medicine” in proactive ways profoundly changing their lives forever and became compelled to share their experiences.

Their “unfinished business” of bringing their vision to life manifested in establishing a wellness company harnessing nature’s powerful ingredients from centuries of global wisdom. Gary and Jill’s innovations combined this wisdom with modern science to create an alternative to the pill & instant powder culture in a delicious fresh brew coffee and tea platform. After three years of research and development, Good Pharma has now been born to be the alternative wellness revolution for a better you and a better world.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

We created Good Pharma for one reason: we care. As founders of Mighty Leaf Tea, and being fanatically healthy, we crafted teas out of our love for a tasty drink that’s good for you. Throughout our Mighty Leaf years of travel through China, India and Europe we discovered indigenous rituals utilizing nature’s powerful ingredients supporting optimized living. We instantly had the vision that these ancient practices have a place in modern society today and in the future. We experienced “food as medicine” being consumed in proactive ways profoundly changing our lives forever. After we sold Mighty Leaf Tea, instead of kicking back, we realized during our meditation retreat in Rishikesh India that we had some unfinished business. We became energized to share that “nature’s pharma “ not only keeps you healthy, but further, it gives you the gifts to be the greatest version of yourself, in mastering mind, body and spirit. We challenge the conventional health care mindset. Good Pharma was born to be the alternative pharma revolution for a better you and a better world.

Committed to providing people with powerful blends of ingredients in a tasty nourishing practice, we set off on a journey. Over the last 3 years we’ve foraged across the globe for the most effective functional mushrooms and plant-based adaptogens we could find. We conferred with keepers of ancient medicinal knowledge, including

Traditional Chinese Medicine, Indian Ayurveda and applied modern science to deliver precision potency [link to Our Science] — maximum health boosting benefits to anyone willing to embrace the idea of alternative pharma. Nature’s pharma.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We were on a sales call during our Mighty Leaf Tea days pitching a major hotel chain. In the elevator on our way to the appointment we struck up a conversation with another group pitching the hotel. So which company are you with we asked… My Tea Leaf they replied, (which we’d never heard of) sounding identical to Mighty Leaf Tea, their appointment was the same time as ours! Apparently it was a double booking, with the hotel chain thinking it was one company! Our hosts were gracious in visiting with each company back-to-back. The happy ending to the story is that both companies got the business and they changed their name…Not sure there’s a moral to this story. ☺

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Good Pharma delivers an efficacious sustainable ritual alternative to dietary supplement powders and pills; a delicious experience integrated into your daily coffee and tea routine…a ritual you crave, not forgotten after a few weeks.

Natures most powerful healing ingredients aren’t always known to be the most flavorful on their own. We knew we had a challenge to create rich tasty coffee and tea drinks, so we focused on working with these botanical flavors instead of against them, in creating lifestyle beverages that have powerfully effective functions you notice that support you being at the top of your game. The results are drinks that taste delicious AND pack a life changing functional punch.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now?

After 3 years of research and product development we’re unveiling Good Pharma in January 2021. How do you think that will help people? We bring efficacious life optimizing benefits such as cognitive enhancement, improved sleep, and immune function support through our proprietary RXtracts™ process blended with a selection of tasty hot, pour over, fresh brew Coffees and Teas.

Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

They’re quite different really, but inextricably linked together. Your brand is WHY your company exists to substantially change lives for the better. Your product is WHAT supports the company in achieving its primary goal of life enhancement. The more innovative and solution providing your solution is, the more value that is created. With Good Pharma, we focus on “Natures Pharma” solutions that support self care in realizing the best version of yourself.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

Your reason for existence is communicated through your brand. In making that heart felt connection with the consumer, you begin a lifelong relationship of trust and loyalty.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

  • Reasons to believe that transcend the product itself. Embody a mission and a solution to improve life.
  • Succinct, simple & clear messaging.
  • Accessibility with value based cost for the consumer.
  • Fail early by utilizing consumer research, fast prototyping and trialing product prior to scaling
  • Pivot quickly. Have your ear to the ground listening carefully to the needs of your consumer.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

Amazon. Why? Because this brand saves you time, your most precious resource. Time is what they sell. Identify your company’s value add, and determine how it makes a life changing difference.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different? Building a brand is longer term, but ultimately connects to a sustainable sales build. So too is its measurable results determined by brand loyalty. One leads to the other.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

As an innovator and challenger to conventional health care, Good Pharma’s vision of self-care resonates in these challenging times, and relies on social media to spread the word. Good Pharma is an activist brand to embrace…a movement.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

In our case, practice what we preach. Thrive on practices that energize and balance, to be your best in life’s performance.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Well, it happens to be exactly what we’re embarking on at Good Pharma. We’re activists bringing tried and true “ancient” healing ingredients into our future with “natures pharma” embodying an approach to health care steeped in empowerment and being proactive in living your best life possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso

By being ones best, your gifts rise becoming more apparent. This notion of self-care, which in essence is a form of selflessness, is at the heart of what we do at Good Pharma.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

There are numerous, but one person that rises to the top is Bono. He’s a challenger brand that merges business with activism, and real impact with art. We at Good Pharma thrive on these ideals. It’d be my honor to brainstorm over a beer with Bono one day!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@mygoodpharma

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Who Should You Trust Your Health To?

by Sarah Gross
Community//

Who Should You Trust Your Health To?

by Sarah Gross
Community//

Tips From The Top: One On One With Jill Baskin, Chief Marketing Officer of Hershey

by Adam Mendler
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.