Since graduating from Germantown Academy in 1995, Sarah Curtis-Fawley has not followed a conventional path. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1999, her interest in community service and human justice was put into play as she took a position as a research director for the MacArthur Foundation, investigating issues regarding violent adolescent offenders, which required her to visit jails in several states. After seeing some of the injustices of the youth justice system, Sarah applied for and was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to study restorative justice in Australia.
“One of my most memorable experiences from GA was when I worked with Peter McVeigh and a group of other students to host the First and Second National Conferences for High School Students Against Hunger and Homelessness,” Sarah remembers. “These were very ambitious events as we hosted several hundred high school students for a weekend of workshops, speakers, and events about the issues of poverty and homelessness. I still remember sleeping overnight in the gym surrounded by my friends and feeling so proud of what we had achieved. I took these experiences and used them as a guide to what I wanted to do in the future.”
Once in Australia, Sarah not only found her research challenging and the countryside beautiful, she also found love! Sarah and Chris were married in 2002 and she spent the next seven years in Australia working for non-profits and the State Government on issues of mental health, homelessness and housing. In 2009, the couple decided it was time for a change so they sold everything they owned and moved to the pacific northwest of the United States. “We were really excited about the move, but what Chris missed the most about Australia – besides his mates, the beach and Cricket – was meat pies, the iconic Aussie meal. I began making them for him, our friends and family loved them, so a business was born!”
Pacific Pie Company specializes in handmade, Australian style savory pies, pasties and sausage rolls. The couple moved to Portland, Oregon because they are passionate about the outdoors and living sustainably. “There are so many things to do in Oregon - mountain biking, hiking, skiing, white water rafting,” said Sarah. “Plus Portland is a very 'green' city, which made it a good fit for our business model. Pacific Pie Company sources the majority of its meat, produce, dairy, and flour from small local family farms. Supporting small scale agriculture is a really important value for us, and we are proud to be able to help these farmers stay on their land.”
Sarah credits her time at GA to all the successes in her life. “I learned to stand up for what I believe in, explore new ideas, to think both locally and globally, and to speak and write with confidence.
“Owning a small business is very challenging because you have to wear many hats – from CEO to janitor and everything in between,” Sarah continued. “I like to think that my amazing teachers and mentors – Peter McVeigh, Judy Krouse, Dwight Peterson, Tony Garvan, Kendall Mattern, Doc Drewniany, and many others – provided the great start in life I have experienced.”
Sarah hopes that while people shouldn’t stop traveling to Australia, they CAN find a little taste of Australia at the Pacific Pie Company for years to come. Visit her site at http://www.pacificpieco.com/.