Maintaining your relationship with your significant other requires a lot of balance, compromise and communication. But what if your partner in life becomes your partner in business as well? I sat down with Akira Biondo and Tre’ Packard, co-founders of PangeaSeed Foundation, to chat about the in’s and out’s of working with your significant other — and how their work together has strengthened their marriage.
PangeaSeed Foundation is a non-profit working at the intersection of culture and environmentalism to further the conservation of our oceans. The organization is home to Sea Walls: Artists For Oceans, a groundbreaking public art program aiming to bring the oceans to the streets throughout the world. Through PangeaSeed’s incredible impact, Biondo and Packard have had the opportunity to travel the world together while simultaneously sharing an experience they are both extremely passionate about: saving our oceans.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the power duo and ask them how working with one another has strengthened their relationship.
Briefly describe how you two met?
T: Akira and I met in 2010 in Japan when PangeaSeed was just a “passion project”’ of mine. Akira was there during a gap-year in university with a goal of being involved in an organization focusing on shark conservation/awareness. At the time, PangeaSeed was the only organization in the country that did so. We arranged a time to meet and met up at the Tokyo Veggie Festival! From then on, we continued to collaborate on projects around the world together. With Akira having a background in design and incredible organization skills, she helped bring my ideas with PangeaSeed to life in a new way. We worked on and off on projects for about a year until we decided to start dating. Then two years later in 2012, we got hitched!
What’s a quality you admire about each other?
T: Her patience with me — I react more from the heart versus the brain, and she is the opposite. She is the one that can really “talk me off a cliff.” A yin and yang-type of balance makes our relationship that much stronger. We both bring different skill sets that are valuable that the other may not possess, and when we bring them together, we can really make some sh*t happen!
A: His perseverance and steadfast passion for what we do. Running a non-profit can get tenacious, and I experience burnout quite often. Even when the work gets super daunting, Tre’ always keeps up the positivity. I also love his extreme generosity and how giving he is.
How has working with oceans helped your relationship?
Some of our most unique memories are moments that you just cannot replicate. Scuba and free-diving in remote locations around the world and sharing the same environment with humpback whales, sharks, and coral reefs is a memory we always cherish. Experiencing those moments with your partner strengthens the bond between each other. We are so lucky to share the same passion for the oceans and be a part of things that very few people on this planet will experience.
It’s almost impossible to impress this woman anymore because we’ve done so many amazing things!– Tre’ Packard
What does date night look like for a powerhouse like you two?
A: Sleeping and decompressing! We live on the beautiful Big Island in Hawaii, but we travel so often that staying home and enjoying our space together next to the ocean has become our “date night.”
What is it like working with one another and what advice would you give to others in the same boat?
A: Make enough time for yourself as individuals. We work together, we live together and we work in the same place as we work together. It’s become both a blessing and a curse because there is little to no separation between us. The workday never ends and there’s always something to do, which makes things challenging at times. It’s important to create some form of separation; whatever works for you. This past year, I took up gardening and have started to grow my own produce!
T: Communication is always important, but especially tough communication. There will always be topics that you don’t wanna talk about, but it’s key to talk through it. Akira and I are very candid with each other — focusing on honesty, no sugarcoating and always telling it how it is.
With PangeaSeed Foundation, Biondo and Packard have brought over 400 impactful environmental ocean-themed murals to 15 countries around the world. For more information or to get involved in one of their incredible projects, visit www.pangeaseed.org | www.seawalls.org