Interview by Derek Grosso
Name: Esther Salata
Profession: Owner/Founder of Benesafe Solutions LLC
Neighborhood: Westerville / New Albany
Education: Masters of Science: University of Michigan (Conservation Ecology), Bachelor of Science: John Carroll University (Environmental Science & Biology)
Community Involvement: Columbus Young Professionals, New Albany Chamber of Commerce, Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, Green Columbus, Girl Scouts of America, Mercy for Satos, Center for Animal Health & Welfare, National Association of Interpretation, National Aerobics & Fitness Trainers Association
Quote: “See that no day passes in which you do not make yourself a somewhat better creature.” – J. Ruskin
Connect: LinkedIn | LinkedIn (company) | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
Give us a snapshot of your path: From a young age, I was fascinated by the outdoors, recycling, plants, and animals. I enjoy helping others and seeing progress being made. I will always feel that my calling in life is to make the world a somewhat better place. In college and grad school I studied Environmental Science and Biology and focused on Environmental Education in my career. I am passionate about educating others on why it’s important to protect and conserve our environment. Besides my education and career, my path also includes lots of mosquito bites. I am what you call a “mosquito magnet”, I was tired of being bit up by mosquitoes in my yard and was frustrated with the ineffectiveness of the personal sprays, candles, and other devices we were using. I wanted to treat the entire backyard for the problem without using harsh chemicals. After difficulty finding a safe and natural solution in our local hardware stores, we decided to create our own product that not only kept us safe but also kept birds, bees, and our dog Benny safe, hence Benesafe.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
Usually, it’s my dog that gets me up, which is fine because I’m a morning person. I love waking up early to get work done, I’m most productive in the mornings. What gets me through the week is setting goals for each day, week, and month. I don’t always accomplish my goals but it gives me a guideline of what I should be doing. I always have to remind myself that “Rome was not built in a day” starting a business takes time, energy, and most importantly takes a lot of self-growth and reflection. I take time to work out, go for walks, and spend time with friends, overall, work-life balance is a priority for me. I work hard so I can play hard!
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I am honored to have many mentors who continue to shape the way I run Benesafe Solutions. I feel like I gain more mentors along the way with the people I meet. I’m amazed at how helpful people are, surrounding yourself with people that want to see you succeed makes all the difference. The important advice they give is to always keep improving and keep moving forward even with setbacks.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I love going outside to unwind; either my backyard or a park. My favorite natural spot in Columbus is the Hoover Reservoir Park. I enjoy having friends over or going somewhere for dinner. Food and good company is always a great way to relax.
What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
The North Market, Budd Dairy Hall, Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar, Uptown Westerville, German Village, any farmers market or place that I can take my dog. The list keeps growing as I keep exploring the area.
When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
As a kid, I loved dogs and wanted to be a vet, I then wanted to be a pediatrician, dentist, work in public health, and then naturalist. Founder of a plant-based insect control spray company was never on my mind but I’m really happy and proud to be where I am today.
What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Podcasts include: Seneca’s 100 Women to Hear, Seneca Women Made by Women Podcast, Eco Speaks Cleveland, Conquering Columbus, The Maker’s Market Podcast, How I Build This
What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I’m humbled by this award. I represent a group of individuals who are making positive changes in our community. It’s incredible to be recognized for the efforts I am putting in towards making Columbus a better place. I’m truly honored to be a part of this community, thank you Columbus Young Professionals for opening the doors to this opportunity.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
Columbus is happening! I am amazed at the food and drink scene as well as the events that are always going on around town. I love the diversity and the progressiveness of the city. I’m proud to be here.
The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2022 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Spectrum for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2022” »