Rebecca Suissa founded and runs her business, Le Petit Garden. At 36, she’s been a risk analyst in the renewable energy business, and founded and sold a renewable energy start-up. She volunteers with the Friendship Circle, is a board member of Magen David Sephardic Congregation in Rockville and a mom to five kids age 12 and under.
Professionally, how did you get where you are today?
My entrepreneurial spirit. I feel like I’ve had it since birth. I started out in corporate America — energy business and finance. Now what I do through Le Petit Garden is educating the consumer about the environment and plant life and reconnecting our intention to sustainability and humanity.
I used to develop renewable energy power generation projects for GE and Samsung Renewable Energy as a risk analyst. I did that for a number of years, but wanted to start my entrepreneurial life and had a start-up, Joule Refuel, a mobile refueling service, with the aim to establish hydrogen fuel cell technology.
When I sold that business, I started Le Petit Garden. I felt that this business was more compatible with my lifestyle of being a mom. I’m really passionate about Le Petit Garden.
How do you balance your work life with your family?
I have an incredible husband. I think that we’re a team and when one of our plates is tipping, the other can compensate. He’s so supportive in terms of my dreams and aspirations and the logistics of it. Doing carpool and cooking dinner and all of it, we’re really just there for each other.
What is your role at Magen David Sephardic Congregation and how does your religious life fit into the picture?
My husband was born at Magen David and his grandfather was the chazzan and his father was one of the foundational members as well. Although my husband and I met and married in Los Angeles, we always had the intention of coming back to the east coast to be with family and part of the Magen David community.
It’s been such a blessing to be here. Both of us are on the board of directors of Magen David. It’s a place where I see my children growing up and it’s critical to me that it be the type of atmosphere I want my children engaged in. For example, one of our first initiatives since joining the board was designating a toddler playroom and kid lounge.
Religiously, we like to say we’re inclusive Orthodox. I don’t like labels in general, but Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks coined the term. It’s essentially Orthodoxy in that we have no intention of changing the Torah and believe it’s divine, and inclusive is that we’re non-judgmental. We welcome any and every Jew with open arms like they’re our brother and sister. Just accepting and reveling in the wisdom and love and unity of Judaism and sharing it with our Jewish brothers and sisters.
Is there anything else you do on top of that?
I would like to give a shout out to the Friendship Circle. Right when I moved here, that was first on my to-do list. I think that organization is one of my top priorities. It’s a Jewish organization that helps children with special needs and their families. They provide programming designed to give parents some down time for regrouping and have volunteers work and befriend the children and also help them in life skills.
We would do a mock restaurant and have the child come in and greet the hostess and order and all of those skills they can take with them. It’s beautiful because it brings together children with special needs and Jewish neurotypical teens, and creates this relationship oriented around our religion.