“Puerto Rico: The People”
Mariela is the CEO & Founder of Jibaro. Jibaro is a lifestyle brand dedicated to celebrating and promoting authentic Puerto Rican culture, heritage, and principles. The Jibaro brand shares the story of Puerto Rican culture and roots through high quality apparel and home good products that are creatively designed. They value craftsmanship and pride themselves in providing their customers only the most authentic and highest quality products and deliver the best customer service possible. Further, Jíbaro donates 10% of its profits to charitable partner organizations that are focused on the economic and social advancement of the Puerto Rican people and the ecological protection of the island. By selling their merchandise you are also helping them increase their donations to their partnering non-profit organizations.
Watching hurricanes pummel her native island of Puerto Rico last fall, Fort Mitchell resident Mariela Oyola-Brauch knew that she would be stepping up her company’s efforts to provide support to the people there.
Founder and CEO Oyola-Brauch is celebrating the first anniversary of Jibaro, a lifestyle brand with a mission to celebrate and promote authentic Puerto Rican heritage. The company sells men, women and kids apparel including shirts and hats, and decorative items for the home, donating ten percent of all profits toward nonprofit organizations based in Puerto Rico.
In addition to founding her own company, Mariela has become an organizer for Puerto Rico events throughout the Tri-State area.
Only a week after the hurricane devastated the island, Mariela used Jibaro’s Facebook page (#JibaroRoots) to reach out to all Puerto Ricans living in the USA who had not been able to communicate with their loved ones, due to lack of electricity and inconsistent internet and cell phone services.
With the help of Mariela’s family living in Puerto Rico, they were able to locate almost 30 elderly people in 10 different towns and send videos and messages confirming their safety back to concerned family members. In addition, Mariela recently helped organize a major hurricane relief effort with leaders at Madison Avenue Christian Church, identifying and partnering with PANI (Programa de Adolecentes de Naranjito, Inc.), who will be using the fundraising proceeds to help increase psychological and counseling services for children and adolescents in Naranjito, Puerto Rico.
Mariela also separately collaborated with Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati and Cincinnati for Puerto Rico, to raise and donate funds towards the recovery efforts. Most recently, she managed a project with Water Mission (Watermission.org) to begin the restoration of an inoperable water well that serves over 300 families in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. Through her efforts, over 1,000 individuals who have been without a functioning water source for over 5 months, will soon have a sustainable solar-powered well.
Migrating with her family to Bronx, New York at nine months old, Mariela returned to Naranjito, Puerto Rico to be closer to family members. After obtaining a Chemistry degree from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus and a master’s degree at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Mariela worked as a chemist for almost ten years, developing and innovating consumer products for Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s most prominent marketing and manufacturing companies.
Mariela’s passion to serve those in need led her to work at Crossroads Health Center, an inner city medical clinic, and as a Spanish medical interpreter at the local hospitals. Along with being a fulltime mother, Mariela is an active volunteer; who has mentored a young girl for 10 years, participated and led numerous domestic and international service travel to trips to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central and South America.
Jibaro has sold its merchandise to customers located in 27 U.S. states and 45 towns in Puerto Rico. Jibaro has donated over $1,500 to non-profit organizations since its founding in March 2017 and currently has over 5,000 Facebook followers.
Mariela Oyola-Brauch received the Impact 100 Wendy H. Steele Award for volunteering excellence through her leadership with the Hispanic Network Mentoring Initiative and her active involvement in the community.
LOCATION: Continental Room
MENU: Chopped romaine with cherry tomatoes, parmesan & Caesar dressing; Regular Entrée – pork chop with whipped potatoes, braised cabbage & mustard sauce; and vanilla cheesecake.
Alternate Menu: Vegetarian Entrée – fried feta with whipped potatoes, & braised cabbage or Salad Entrée – Mediterranean shrimp salad with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, olives, feta & herbed vinaigrette (GF).