When Maiga Auguste, Founder of GEMs of The Treasure Coast, Inc., first moved to Port Saint Lucie from New Jersey, she noticed an absence of social networking events that brought together professional women. The ones she did see were events sponsored by vendors where you felt obligated to buy something. She had a vision of what she wanted and she was determined to make it happen.
"I went out into the community and talked to small businesses owned by women," Auguste said. "Everyone seemed really excited about the idea of doing a social networking event. So I started to plan one. All the ladies were advised to bring business cards and to be prepared to network. We had over 100 people at the first event. Everyone got to know each other and were encouraged to use each others services. Everyone liked it so much and felt so empowered that night that they encourage me to keep going."
The first event was in September 2015. Auguste had so much success that she decided to officially form, GEMs of The Treasure Coast, Inc., a non-profit in March 2016. Her platform is all about empowering women and giving their businesses exposure. Since that first event, Auguste has added different events that cater to different needs and demographics. She's brought in life insurance agents and financial advisers to talk about the importance of life insurance and planning for the future. She hosted a mother and daughter tea brunch. She also started a Prom Contest in April 2017. "The idea behind the Prom Contest was to reward high school girls that behave, do good things in the community, have good GPAs and participate in extracurricular activities," Auguste said. "They all had to apply. The winners would get free prom tickets, hair and makeup, luxury transportation to the prom and other things to make their night special."
For Auguste, whose day job is a law enforcement officer with the Port Saint Lucie Police Department, it's all about giving back and making a difference in her community. "I was always told by my pastor to be kind to everyone," she said. "You never know what they're battling." Auguste has personally experienced and seen many of the struggles she's working to help women defeat. That's her inspiration and her motivation.
The future of GEMs looks bright. Auguste will continue to add new and engaging events. Her five year vision includes a physical location to allow her to teach classes on social etiquette, business etiquette and other topics to help empower the women in her community. She also envisions hosting a five year anniversary celebration at one of the beautiful mansions along Jensen Beach.
Auguste has some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "You have to be honest with yourself," she said. "God will supply your needs. You can work eight hours a day to make someone else's dream come true or you can do it for yourself. If you fail, at least you know you tried. A job will pay the bills but your purpose gives you life and meaning and the satisfaction that you're doing something better for the world. Also, don't let fear stop you. It will always be there. God created each of us to do more than to work a 9-5. Our talents are there to help someone else. Everything I've been through has helped me do my job as a detective. I can relate to people in hard times because I've been through it or have seen it. Keep in mind that once you start doing things, you're going to have attacks. That's because you're getting close to something big. If you're doing good things, you're going to have a lot of people coming against you. It doesn't matter what they say. Stay in your lane and stay true to yourself."