TWB Team Retreat

TWB has many champions – our trained women, our donors, our partners, our volunteers, our team. While I get to interface with all of our champions, I had the opportunity to be with our senior staff on our team retreat in Colorado last week.

To say our team is uniquely committed would be a gross understatement. Our team is the most fiercely dedicated, uniquely qualified, courageously enduring, and compassionately driven team I have met. It is a privilege to work with a team of this caliber – and to build and shape TWB with them.

Their commitment to TWB has a kind of JFK “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” tenor to it. I was amazed, and humbled, by it. This was certainly not the first time I’ve felt both awe and gratitude for this team, but it certainly was intensified by being in person with them.

We discussed everything – from gas reimbursement policies, to grand visions for US expansion. We mapped out in detail our plans for 2017, yet dreamed well beyond. We revised plans and refined methods and solidified our priorities.

At our core and in our services, we are women-centric. We strive to provide women with:

  1. An educational foundation
  2. Sustainable and gainful employment 
  3. Opportunities for improved health

Number three has a subtext that applies to our individual bakeries – TWB bakeries will provide nutritious options to a community that otherwise would not exist.

Comprehensively, The Women’s Bakery, we confirmed, exists to provide women an educational foundation for their sustainable and gainful employment, which can result in opportunities for improved health.

While we achieved many tasks, substantiating these priorities was among our most important. These priorities are our why. They serve as both our guiding principles and long term goals.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, we have revised our 2017 goals in Rwanda – we will dive deep into the operations of our individual bakeries, analyzing their breakeven and profit horizons. We will also test our markets, listening more intently to our customers – what do community members desire and value in their bread? We presume it to be nutrition, but it may be cleanliness, or even technology (that is, bakery machinery). We will maintain our emphasis on nutrition, but we may approach it differently and in accordance with customers’ desires.  

We are excited – trepidatious, yes – but excited about our US expansion and the possibilities for TWB therein. Our priorities will remain the same with our US target populations, currently refugee and immigrant women, but our mediums and methods may vary dramatically (and excitingly).

I am continuously awed by my team. Here’s to building TWB and changing the world, one piece of bread at a time.