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Our Team

 Paula Minnis - founder

A graduate of the University of Texas, Paula worked for more than 10 years in the fashion industry in LA, San Francisco, and Dallas. Her volunteer work led her to the IRC, where she mentored Burmese refugee and mother of two, Catherin, whose story of struggle and oppression inspired Paula to create a sustainable, socially responsible business model in which women could gain transferable skills to create one-of-a-kind pieces for a living wage. Cloth napkins made from vintage fabrics were chosen as the initial product due to Paula's love for textiles and commitment to living lightly on the earth. 

GAIA's product lines have expanded in congruence with Paula's growing family - iPad cases inspired by two tech-savvy step-kids, reversible baby bib + bootie sets inspired by newborn twins in 2012. The mounting hustle and bustle in the Minnis household only seems to fuel and foster Paula's creativity and determination. She is eager that her children grow up with an understanding of Dallas' diverse communities, an awareness of need and struggle in the world, and a desire to use their unique gifts and passions to help and serve others  {}

 Lauren Jarrett - director of operations

Lauren came to the GAIA family from Southern California, where she was born, raised, and graduated from the University of Southern California. After meeting Paula and hearing the GAIA story, she traded in her flip-flops for some cowgirl boots and moved to Dallas, TX. With a background in business, fashion, and humanitarian work, Lauren found that GAIA combined her passions and strengths. She believes we are to take seriously God's call to help others and to serve our neighbors, and that the best way we can do this is by simply using the unique gifts and talents we were given. She loves experiencing the full range of the Dallas community, from Highland Park to Vickery Park, and has a desire to generate an even greater sense of unity throughout her new city. {}

To whom much is given, much is expected. Luke 12:48

Alyssa Isaguirre - production & development manager

A nomad, moving from California, to Texas, to India, and back to Texas, Alyssa finally found a home at GAIA. During all her moving around, Alyssa developed a heart for empowering women and making all things aesthetically appealing. After meeting Paula and Lauren, and hearing their passion to change and invest in the lives of Dallas refugee women, Alyssa was convinced GAIA was going to be her new home!

If not Snap Chatting and visiting the homes of GAIA’s refugee women, you can find Alyssa cheering on the TCU Horned Frogs, eating Mexican food, or exploring Dallas. {}

Buthayna - refugee artisan trainer

Buthayna joined our refugee artisan team in February of 2016, shortly after her arrival to the U.S. from Syria. It didn’t take us long to realize she was a rock star. Despite having minimal sewing experience (making the occasional throw pillow for her home or quick clothing repairs), she was a quick study with perfectionist tendencies… in other words, our dream employee. Six months later, she was promoted to Refugee Artisan Trainer, where she handles everything from welcoming and on-boarding our new Refugee Artisans, to providing ongoing training and support to the women on a day-to-day basis.

Prior to moving to the U.S., Buthayna worked as an English teacher in her home city of Daraa. She has her bachelor's degree in English Literature, and hopes to someday earn her master’s degree as well (which WILL happen, if we have anything to do with it). She is happiest with her family, and loves to see her 2 children, Majed and Juri, smiling back when she tucks them into bed at night.

There’s a lot more to Buthayna's story, as you can imagine. You can read more about her life and journey to the U.S. here.


Brooke Edwards - production coordinator

Brooke was born and raised in Dallas and returned after she graduated from the University of Texas. We fell in love with Brooke when she interned for us prior to her senior year of college, and couldn’t wait to scoop her up as a full-time employee immediately after graduation! Brooke has always loved fashion and had a big heart for helping others, so naturally GAIA was the perfect fit. She also believes in building up and investing in the community around her. When Brooke is not at GAIA, she is watching Texas football or spending time with her two adorable nieces. {

Devin McCrary - Hospitality Guru

A more specific and whimsical title for Devin would be Coordinator of Conviviality and GAIA Cottage Affairs. Devin is a native Texan, but she feels her experiences away from the comforts she grew up with define her more than her home state. Time spent in Africa, South America, and the Middle East served to radically change how she engages in a world filled with incredible beauty and incredible pain. In the fabric of GAIA, her passion to improve the way the world traditionally engages with those in need coalesces with a desire to dignify and galvanize women of every background. She is a newlywed, lover of plants and humans, retired barista, and self-proclaimed “queen” of The Office trivia. {