Founder & CEO of Socially Conscious Brand Sseko Designs

Liz Bohannon
Speaking Fee: Varies.

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Liz Bohannon At A Glance:

Liz Forkin Bohannon is the founder of Sseko Designs and the author the book Beginner’s Pluck: Build your life of purpose, passion, and impact now. Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that works to educate and empower women. By providing employment and educational opportunities, Sseko enables women to continue their education and become leaders in their country.

In 2009, Liz Bohannon set out on a mission. Armed with a master’s degree in journalism, and a curious mind, she traveled to Uganda to better understand the social and economic challenges for women. She discovered that women did not want charity, but a more sustainable solution that would provide them with an education and respectable jobs. As Liz dug deeper into this problem, with an open mind and fresh perspective, she found a way to create a business that would provide a marketplace solution.


Ten years later, she is sharing the story of how her company, Sseko Designs, grew from three women making sandals together under a mango tree, into an international fashion brand that provides employment, educational opportunities, and entrepreneurial training to hundreds of women in Uganda and across the globe. By providing employment and educational opportunities, Sseko enables women in East Africa to continue their education and become leaders in their country and our world, as well as providing hundreds of women in the U.S. to build their own Sseko business and make an impact. 


Liz’s story is filled with lessons for success that are grounded in the principle of having a beginner’s mind, which she sums up in her new book, Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now. In it she shares uncommon ideas toward success like, Own Your Average, Stop Trying to Find Your Passion…Create It, Dream Small, Be Good with Good Enough and 10 other guiding principles that she uses with her own employees and Sseko Fellows to help them build their own successful careers. 


Liz continues to channel her inner beginner as she manages employees across multiple continents, and it is because she is leading with this beginner’s mind that she is able to be a more courageous, creative and effective leader. 


Using her unlikely story of a journalist-gone-shoe-maker, Liz shares her passion for social enterprise, conscious consumerism, social justice, creative leadership and gender-equality, all seen through the lens of a beginner’s mind, wrapped in a decade’s worth of experience. The Sseko story has been featured in dozens of publications including, Vogue Magazine, Redbook Magazine, O Magazine, Inc., Fortune and others. Sseko has appeared on national broadcasts including ABC’s Shark Tank and Good Morning America

Among other notable honors, Liz was recently named a Top Three Transformation Leader by John Maxwell, Forbes listed her as a top 20 public speaker in the U.S. and Bloomberg Businessweek named Sseko as a top social enterprise to watch. Liz now splits her time between Uganda and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband Ben run Sseko Designs and raise their two young sons.


    How often do we dismiss someone’s success by calling it “Beginner’s Luck?” What if the very fact that they were a beginner is just what gave them the advantage to succeed? What if there is a method to a beginner’s mind that creates success? What a beginner may lack in experience, track record, know-how, and connections, they make up in nerve, curiosity, spirit, courage, and a willingness to acknowledge they don’t have it all figured out, which ultimately leads to an iterative approach to achieving success. In this speech, based on her new book, Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now, Liz takes her 10 years of experience building her company and shares uncommon ideas toward success that come from a beginner’s mind like -- Own Your Average, Stop Trying to Find Passion, Dream Small, and Be Good with Good Enough. This goes against the grain of all that we are taught as kids (aren’t we all supposed to dream big and think we are special?), but Liz explains that once you can let go of the “…visions of grandeur of what it will look like when you finally strike gold and find your passion, only then can you get down to the business of learning how to build it.” Liz will guide your audience to a new roadmap for success that focuses on the acts of doing instead of dreaming and ultimately attaining even the most challenging goals.

    -Use the principles of a beginner’s mind to achieve any goal.
    -Shake yourself out of analysis paralysis
    -Get inspired to go beyond dreaming and start doing.
    -Focus on creating your passion rather than waiting for it to find
“Liz Bohannon is truly a transformational leader. Her belief that each person was created for a purpose is evident in the way she leads, inspires and motivates others to build a life of passion and purpose. Her honesty, grit, and commitment to justice ignites others to create a positive impact in the world and be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

— The John Maxwell Team

“Inspired journey meets strategic thinking meets hilarious storytelling… Liz is the full package, and her accolades hardly prepared me for how amazing her art of presenting would be at Athena. We positioned Liz as the kick-off speaker for a two-day conference, and she set the tone with passion and inspiration immediately with an engaging, authentic story of how purpose is not found but exists inside us. Our conference attendees have had nothing but glowing comments for her – it’s incredible to witness someone who can change the lives of so many in such a short period of time.”    

— Sara Close, The Athena Conference

Liz Bohannon is an amazing storyteller, communicates with passion, and shares wisdom that is applicable. Her talk was among the highest-rated from our entire event and one of the most requested by our global community. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more inspiring!”  

— Lori Hermann, Executive Producer of the Global Leadership Summit

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