News on Sunday

Joe-Ann Chavry : a former laureate who does not flinch to follow her dreams

She truly represents the modern hard working women who dare to follow their dreams and passions despite the pressures and demands of daily life. Joe-Ann Chavry, former laureate of cohort 2006, works as a full-time Business Development Officer while holding a side business as baker and practices Cross-Fit. She shares with News on Sunday how she juggles these three roles.  

21st century women are those who do not have cold feet to pursue their goals and who aspire to more achievements. Indeed, they do not settle for less and always hold higher visions whether it is for the professional or personal pathway. Our interviewee this week is a young woman who feels complete, as she dedicates her time to what she loves to do the most, regardless of the hassles that life can hold. 

Joe-Ann Chavry, former laureate of the Year 2006, has had an atypical pathway and is certainly one worthy of inspiring other women. After her secondary studies at the Loreto College of Port Louis, she flew to Melbourne on the State Scholarship to study for a degree in Media and Communication. In 2012, the laureate came back to her motherland and worked in the communication and advertising field. Despite dedicating herself completely to a full-time job, the young lady could not deny her passion for baking. 

Joe Ann

“I guess that I first got interested in baking by watching my grand-mother bake, as I spent school holidays at her place and also by observing my mom who was a regular baker. Much later in life, I realised that I was spending a lot of my free time trying out bakes and really enjoyed cooking for my family and friends. That’s also when I realised that there might be something to dig further into. I also have a serious sweet tooth; and that combined with my interest in arts, namely drawing and painting mostly, I started putting together cakes and bakes in creative ways. This led me to think that baking cake was my thing,” she said. 

A Cup of Joe

In 2017, Joe-Ann decided to launch her side business in baking. “I enjoyed being creative and decided that I would rather put my time and energy into something that I truly enjoy, that is baking. The need to go back to being a creative person led me to launch ‘A Cup of Joe’,” she explained. However, the young lady had to make sacrifices along the way by leaving her full-time job at an advertising agency and dedicate herself fully to her baking business. 

Joe-AnnDespite the ups and downs, Joe-Ann managed to make A Cup of Joe a success in the baking industry. However, currently, given that she has a full-time job, the talented baker only takes about five orders per week.  “I obviously take fewer orders at times, depending on the complexity of the order in terms of design and flavours. It might not look like a lot but it certainly takes time. Since I practice custom cakes, orders are usually very different from one to another and it takes time to understand each order, propose something unique and different, source ingredients and put it all together.”
The passionate woman is someone who does not deter in front of challenges and changes. She decided to embark on a new professional career as business Development Officer in 2018. “What motivated me to embark on this career path is the very basic need to be financially independent. With time I have started enjoying the geeky side of the job, which involves learning and understanding software components, amongst other things. Also, I am always quite keen to learn new skills,” she utters.

Cross-Fit enthusiast

Besides her already tight schedule, Joe-Ann still finds time for another passion which allows her at the same time to take care of herself. “I think I first fell in love with Cross-Fit after having watched the Netflix documentary ‘Fittest on Earth: A Decade of Fitness.’ What I loved the most about it then and now is how the athletes would push their limits. The level of determination they were putting into the workouts was just so impressive, reminding me of gladiators, who don’t stop when they are tired, but stop when the work is done. I guess that it also reflects my perception on how life should be handled.”

How can she manage it all? “I am fortunate to have a full-time job, which allows me to manage my time and schedule; thereby allowing me to take care of A Cup of Joe and to practice Cross-Fit,” uttered Joe-Ann. In between all that she does, the all-rounder still finds time for her family and friends. “One always finds time for what matters to them. Admittedly I wish I was better at catching up with family and friends, but I try to meet them regularly.” She shared that her family fully supports her in her choices. “My family has always been supportive of what I wanted to do. So even though they do hold opinions in regards to my various activities - which they occasionally share as well - they have never imposed anything on me, fortunately. So, I’d say that they are supportive.”

Her advice

Joe-Ann does not hide that she did have doubts while embarking on three different pathways at one go but her determination took over. “Yes, at first, it was tough to leave my full-time job at an advertising agency to start baking. It was like jumping off a cliff with no backup plan. Then it was also difficult to decide to go back to working full-time in a company. I felt that I was letting A Cup of Joe and my art down. Then, going into Cross-Fit was more organic. It was something I had always wanted to do, although sometimes baking and Cross-Fit do clash in the sense that I need to keep a very tight schedule and juggle between both to meet deadlines, etc.,” she shared. 

Her advice to Mauritian youth who hesitate to embark on their dream pathways: “I think that if people feel like they have a calling towards something, and that that calling keeps banging on the door, they need to answer that calling. Don’t cultivate limiting thoughts and give that dream pathway a go, because if you don’t try, you will never know if it is meant for you or not. This life is just too short to live with ‘what ifs’ and not try to do things that truly make you happy. The fear of the unknown is always there (as it is still for me), but again, I honestly believe that if you do something with the heart, and good intentions, and are ready to put in the hours, it has to pay off.” Joe-Ann’s projects in the pipeline include finding ways to bring together her passions for fitness and baking and to be able to make a solid living from them. 

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