george jage, world tea expo, gail gastelu, the tea house times, world tea awards
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CH-CH-CH CHANGES by “Momma G” Gail Gastelu

Thursday, June 12th 2014 @ 11:46 AM

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Talking changes and a tribute to George Jage.
(Click to play video and read on..... If you are on a mobile device, you will need a flash browser to view video - a thank you message to George.)

If you have been following my blog, you must know by now that I am facing an empty nest in September.  Anticipating this change has been a bit stressful, compounded by everyone I know and even strangers alerting me to the fact that my children will be out of the house. I know this! I do not need the constant reminders! But change can be good for all of us.  And I am personally ready to move forward with some things I have been holding back, personally and in business….you will just need to keep watching because I cannot explain it all now.

On top of this, there are some other big business changes happening that have added to my heartsickness.  If you are not already aware, George Jage, founder and director of World Tea Media has left the business and is pursuing an exciting new opportunity with another trade show – for a completely different industry. 

George and his wife Kim sold World Tea Media (World Tea Expo, et al.) to F + W Media a little over two years ago. They stayed on to guide the business into new hands.  Kim left awhile back and now George is ready to move on.  While I am ecstatically happy for them, I am also very sad to see them go since we worked so well together not just in a marketing partnership capacity but on other projects important to all of us and the industry overall.  It was an amazing, rewarding, strong relationship fueled by a passion for helping others grow and connecting people in every way possible.  And, the most recent planning of the World Tea Awards put us in constant contact. It will be hard to cut off this daily interaction with someone who was an incredible driving force for the entire tea industry.

I knew this was coming, but it does not make the change easy to take. For me it has been a very difficult week, post-show.  I am just plain sad. George and Kim have become family to me. They and their sweet family are very close personal friends to me. I spoke to many exhibitors after they received the news and they too are saddened.  We are all VERY excited for the Jages, but sad because they too have come to love this great couple. 

I speak on behalf of all exhibitors when I tell you that George will be terribly missed. He has a unique energy and respect for the industry. He paved the path for all of us to grow together. He never missed a single detail. Never forgot to introduce people. Never forgot to mention a sponsor. Was always the utmost professional on the show floor, at all gatherings and recognitions and in every way he represented the show and tea overall. 

Now it is time for me to step in as Momma Bear. Yes, people call me Momma Bear a lot.  Well, I just cannot help it!  I’ve been a mother for 22 years and it is the most important job in the world. Sometimes fierce protection of my peeps, motherly support and advice seeps into my business and through to my business friends. I do think it is OK, however, because after so many years, many of us consider the tea community family and friends.

So, here it goes. George Jage paved the way for all of us to grow. Think of it this way. Poppa helped raise us, raise our community. He nurtured us. He helped us grow into mature individuals, mature businesses. He helped educate us. He held our hands when we needed it. He pushed us when we needed pushing. But he loved us unconditionally as a parent would. And now the time has come for Pop to push us out of the nest. Just like I am experiencing with my grown children.  He did a great job. He drew out the leaders. These leaders will take us into the next great thing. We will now join hands together to move the tea industry further into the greatness and growth that George worked so hard for. He expects us all to carry the torch forward, never give up, continue to grow our community, and continue to connect people worldwide to the incredible benefits of tea and the way that it fosters bonding, human connection, and positivity on every level.  So, momma says, keep on keepin’ on! And George needs to see us all stay the path.

I remember years ago someone interviewed George and asked him about being in the tea industry. He replied that he is in the Trade Show Industry.  After all of the years that he spent building up our community with the show, tea championships, education, and other great things, I began to think that he truly was in the tea industry. Well, he certainly immersed himself in the same way the rest of us did.  But I always wondered when he would start another show. He and Kim added/started Healthy Beverage Expo and I know it has been a very positive experience for him/them.  But now that our community has matured, he is ready to take on some more excitement – what he does best – the trade show business!  We cannot hold him back. We need to let Pop go on to spread his wings too. Starting something new is always exciting. Challenges are exciting! New challenges can be very fulfilling.  I know George will find success in everything he does and I truly think he will enjoy the challenge of bringing a new show into the limelight and pave the path to success for many more people in years to come. 

Please join me in spreading well wishes and only good thoughts and support for George and his family. (Scroll down and share this!)

Read more about George via World Tea News here and here and here.  Read my 2014 World Tea Expo recap here.

For the Love of Tea. . .



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GAIL GASTELU is Publisher of The Tea House Times, Producer of continuing education and among other numerous products and services to connect businesses and consumers to everything tea. Gail lives in NJ with her husband and two children. Her motto is "Just Do It!"  Learn more about Gail's work here.

Gail is RINGLEADER of this fantastic group of Guest Bloggers!  Enjoy stories of our careers, tea experiences, and overall joy for tea.

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