Genainna Pereira laughs when she calls herself an island girl, but it’s true. She went to high school on Martha’s Vineyard, then did basic training on Parris Island for the U.S. Marines, and then was stationed in Japan for six years. After all this island hopping, she came home to Martha’s Vineyard and took over her mom’s cleaning business in 2012, turning it into Shine Bright Martha’s Vineyard Cleaning Services.
Her ten years in the Marines comes in handy when she’s running her business. “I’m not a sergeant to the employees, but it definitely helps in regards to providing leadership skills. I always try to lead by example.”
The crew flexes up to 15 people during the busy summer months, then relaxes down to a handful to cover the rest of the year. “I get to work like crazy during the summer and then things slow down a lot. It’s only really busy for five months out of the year. It’s intense during that time, though.”
Because of its desirable location on Martha’s Vineyard, hiring is not an issue for Shine Bright. “We have people coming to the island looking for work—college students, people from all over the world.” This migratory workforce flows off the island when the days start getting shorter and the weather starts getting colder.
Genainna immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s from Brazil and her family moved to Martha’s Vineyard for her high school years. “I love living on an island. When I was younger, I wanted to work anywhere else except the island, but once you move off, you miss being home. It’s a close community. The best decision I made was moving back.”
She’s now raising her two daughters on the island and enjoys being in close proximity to her own mother and brother. “I am very lucky to have family here. We get together and barbecue, just sit around the fire and talk. I am blessed. Not everybody gets to live around their family.”
When Genainna got uniforms for her cleaning crew, she also grabbed a few in smaller sizes to fit her daughters. “They love it. My daughter is so proud—every time we go to a building that we clean, she says ‘Mommy cleans the library’ or ‘Mommy cleans the bookstore.’”
The company is committed to providing green cleaning services to their clients. “I don’t like chemicals in my house, I’m sensitive to the strong smell. I have fibromyalgia and that flares up when there are a lot of chemicals around. I also don’t want to expose my cleaners to that, and it’s better for the clients and their health.”
One of the things that she likes best about her job is having time to spend with her daughters. The hectic summer schedule melts away and she has much more time to relax and hang out with her family during the rest of the year. This flexibility means that they get to travel a lot, too, with trips to Brazil, Cancun, and the Bahamas. Her 10-year-old daughter was born in Japan and in a few years they’re planning a trip back to Japan to celebrate her graduation from 8th grade. “I miss the food and the people,” Genainna said of her six year stint in Japan. “They are very nice and welcoming people.”
Genainna is committed to giving back to the community and is a proud participant of Cleaning For A Reason for the past three years. When the women battling cancer have daughters the same age as her own, it hits her particularly hard. “It’s heartbreaking. You come back and rethink your whole life. What if that was me?” In addition, the company donates cleaning services as prizes to be raffled off to various organizations who are fundraising in the community.
Because she moved to the island as a teenager, she has great relationships with a lot of her long-term clients and makes a point of saying hello to them when they come out for the summer. “They knew me from when I was a teenager, and I see their kids and their grandkids. I like to check in and see how they’re doing.”
The next time you’re lucky enough to stay on Martha’s Vineyard, make sure you don’t lift a finger while on vacation and secure the cleaning services of Shine Bright.
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