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Marygrace Sexton of ‘Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company’: “Prayer first thing in the morning”

Prayer first thing in the morning — Take time to center yourself each morning. Spend some time with your thoughts and express gratitude for all you have. I find morning is a terrific time to do this — and can set the tone for the rest of the day. As a part of my series about the women in wellness, […]

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Prayer first thing in the morning — Take time to center yourself each morning. Spend some time with your thoughts and express gratitude for all you have. I find morning is a terrific time to do this — and can set the tone for the rest of the day.


As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marygrace Sexton.

Marygrace Sexton is the Founder and CEO of Florida-based, clean-label juice company, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juices, producing only the highest quality, authentically fresh juices for the past 30 years.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

Starting our own line of fresh juices was actually my husband’s idea, but the demands of being a citrus farmer didn’t allow him any time to see the vision through. One day, I was walking in the orange grove, pulling my very young daughter Natalie behind me in a red wagon, when the inspiration struck me to start the business myself, with his help! Reflecting upon Natalie and other mothers who, like me, cared about their families’ food choices, I became determined right then and there to bring this business idea to fruition. It would be a juice company that stans out from the rest by offering an authentic juice, free of preservative and added sugars. On that crisp fall morning, in the middle of the grove, I began my labor of love, and named it after its inspiration, my daughter Natalie.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

As a woman of deep faith, I have always been thankful to God for the gifts in my life. In the beginning, I always turned to my faith and my family to see me through the tough times. It was only when I met an exceptional Executive Coach, Dr. Day, several years into my career, that I realized the value of having a gifted mentor to bestow important business insights. He’s been an inspiration to me to be a better manager of people and to help mentor others.

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

Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always encouraged people to work hard, go the extra mile, and push themselves to their limit — never realizing that a lot of people don’t have a driving ambition to be a manager or a CEO. It was Dr. Day who taught me that not everyone wants to be a manager or CEO — and that they can be very comfortable and very valuable right where they are. It wasn’t my job to propel the career growth of others, unless that was something they truly wanted. This was an important lesson for me to learn and I am grateful to this day that Dr. Day helped me realize this.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ll always be grateful of my first boss, Dr. Barkett, who gave me an opportunity as a hygienist working at his dental office. He taught me the value of having a great work ethic and it’s stuck since that first work experience. My family has also been behind me, lending their support. Sometime, that helps manifest itself in the funniest ways. My brother Bill, concerned that I was too focused on the business, once anonymously left a bike in my driveway. He knew I would find it. And he also knew I’d missed bike riding, something he and I did so much of as kids. It wasn’t long before I was back on the bike, engaging in another activity aside from the juice business. I’ll always be grateful for that simple gesture.

Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

Authentic Nutrition is the foundation of a healthy diet and the concept needs to be understood and made more relevant in our society. The truth is, processed foods do not assist our digestive systems the same way authentic foods do. That’s why our focus at Natalie’s is to inform our customers about the importance of knowing exactly what they’re eating and drinking. It’s also why we list the ingredients of our juices on our labels. All of our juices have fewer than 4-ingredients and are minimally processed.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Prayer first thing in the morning — Take time to center yourself each morning. Spend some time with your thoughts and express gratitude for all you have. I find morning is a terrific time to do this — and can set the tone for the rest of the day.

Exercise — A workout session in the morning, before the demands of the day grab your attention, is also a great habit to get into.

Nutrition planning for the day — Think about what foods you’re going to eat over the course of the day. Remind yourself the importance of taking in authentic, non-processed foods and make sure your choices are balanced.

Love others as you love yourself: Express gratitude towards others around you. Let them know you appreciate through personal, in person actions.

Turn the technology off — listen for silence: We’re spending too much time focused on our electronic devices and not enough time enjoying the authentic sights and sounds that surround us in the natural world. Be mindful of your screen-time and build some solitude into your daily routine.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’d like to eliminate the negative influence technology has on people. Towards that goal, I have actually founded a non-profit organization called A-GAP which encourages young people to put down their electronic devices and find well-being in community-minded, face-to-face, group activities while discovering the power of contemplation and creativity projects.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

In many ways, I am glad I didn’t know a lot of things when I first started out. That way, I wasn’t scared to make some of the moves I did! But over the year I’ve learned to value these traits:

  1. Tenacity — stick by your beliefs and use that faith to move forward in the tough times.
  2. Life health — no matter how busy you get, make time for your health.
  3. Don’t mismanage your time — don’t let the small things consume your day.
  4. Too much fun is overrated and none productive — balance your recreation time.
  5. You are in your productive years — don’t be afraid to make mistakes and build a great life for yourself.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health — I call it Soul Survival — it’s the most important factor for overall health. And right now, our souls are in danger because of the relentless input of unnecessary noise emanating from our online connections. Our addiction to our phones, to check email, post to social media and consume entertainment is what I see as our number one mental health problem. I urge everyone to step back and see how much “connectivity” is dictating their lives.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/nataliesoijc
https://www.instagram.com/nataliesoj

and at our non-profit A-GAP:

https://www.instagram.com/agaplife/
https://www.facebook.com/AGAP.life.2018/
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