New Leaf was founded by Sarah Saunders who left a long career in corporate technology and start-up marketing to follow her dream and create a service business that was founded around the principles of care, health and community. In doing so, she has attracted like-minded employees and a network of equally caring and supportive strategic partners. Sarah's life experiences are reflected in New Leaf's mission and core values.
Sarah was born in Toronto Ontario Canada. In her early teens her father, an executive for a Canadian multinational, moved her family to Sao Paulo, Brazil. She and her family loved the time they spent in Brazil, enjoying its people, culture, language and natural beauty. Sarah spent her teen years in Brazil but returned to Canada for her undergraduate degree in International Relations and Economics and a graduate degree (MBA) in International Business, with the last semester spent in Louvain la Neuve, Belgium attending it’s university business program in French.
After her academic years she joined Nortel in their international business internship program. She initially was posted in Washington, D.C. supporting Bell Atlantic, the telephone service company. After that, she moved to London, England to support Mercury Communications and various European telecom-operating companies. Then she was encouraged to move to Dallas, Texas. Sarah agreed knowing that Dallas’ “Telecom Prairie” was growing substantially. Sarah continued working for Nortel for another ten years, but quit just before it’s slow decline into bankruptcy. She then joined a start-up .com doing automated Internet monitoring. as a Marketing Director. She helped market and manage the .com until it was sold to a Silicon Valley leader in the same business but on a larger scale – Keynote Systems. From the proceeds of the first company, the local management team went on to start an automated food recall company. After working there for some years, Sarah used her technology background to transition into healthcare administration for a Dallas-based behavioral health company.
Sarah and her siblings often spent time at local public recreation facilities swimming, ice skating, learning crafts and playing team sports. Sarah also grew up appreciating the value of public libraries and books. Her summers were often spent reading the fiction recommended by the librarians of a small town Carnegie library. Her family was strongly shaped by her father and mother’s appreciation of their neighborhood Presbyterian Church. Her father was a church elder for many years and her mother organized many a rummage sale, pot luck dinner and plant sale. Sarah sang in the church choir and volunteered in the church nursery during services.
Sarah was shaped by her Grandparents, who were profoundly shaped by the 1930s Depression years and her parents who grew up during the Depression. Sarah’s maternal grandmother was an antique collector and amateur dealer. Sarah’s mother and father loved garage sales and auctions as does Sarah today; Sarah has fond memories of frequenting antique shops in southwestern Ontario in search of Indian Tree china settings, her father’s family’s china pattern.
This is what impressed Sarah when communicating with Texans from abroad – their can do and get-er-done attitude. Let’s say that although Sarah was not born in Texas she got here as soon as she could.
As our elders age the ideal is for them to “age in place” in their home and neighborhood, maintaining their life and preferred routine for as long as possible. When that is no longer possible many solutions can be explored that deviate only slightly from the ideal. Sarah’s grandparents were a big part of her life. Her mother was an only child and often had to care for or arrange care for her parents in a small town. Sarah saw how many resources come into play when architecting a solution of care and support: extended family, friends, neighbors, community groups, faith-based organizations, free-lance medical personnel and care facilities. Sarah and her siblings followed the same approach with her parents as they aged.
At New Leaf, every one of us shares a passion for our neighborhoods and communities. From its earliest days, New Leaf has been committed to giving back to Dallas through philanthropy endeavors, supporting organizations that nurture the elderly, families and children. Whether we’re providing free services to groups with small budgets, offering work at significantly discounted rates or even taking jobs pro bono, we use our talents to support worthy causes, reminding us that we’re in the business for the right reasons.
This holiday season we are supporting Community Partners of Dallas, providing gifts for children who otherwise would not receive anything for Christmas, because they have been moved into protective custody and are not with their families. Community Partners of Dallas provides support for abused children by providing direct resources to caseworkers. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring safety and restoring dignity and hope to abused and neglected children.
Throughout the year we also support the mothers and their young children at New Beginnings, which provides transitional temporary emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence (women and children only).