BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (1/28/14) – WKU’s Department of Communication will host Kari Warberg Block, founder, CEO and “Farmer-in-Charge” of Earth-Kind, for its first “Executive in Residence” program Feb. 12-13.
In addition to visiting WKU classes, Warberg Block will present Building a Better Mouse Trap: Entrepreneurship and the Importance of Community at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Grise Hall Auditorium.
Warberg Block knows how important communities of support are for entrepreneurs, and — in return — how important it is for entrepreneurs to focus their energies on contributing to those communities that support them. She began her business with a pack of seeds and has grown it to a multi-million dollar operation built around the success of her product Fresh Cab, a botanical, EPA-certified product which prevents rats and mice from coming into people’s homes, farm machinery, storage units, and vehicles—an all-natural, safe alternative to poisons and traps.
“I’m thrilled to be the first Executive in Residence for the Department of Communication at WKU,” Warberg Block said. “I’m looking forward to sharing the lessons I’ve learned to broaden the perspectives and open the minds of students to the infinite possibilities present with an entrepreneurial mindset.”
In 2013, Warberg Block was named in the Top 3 for National Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the SBA’s state winner for North Dakota. She is also a member of the 2012 class for EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women program. Her company ranks on the Inc. 5000 list and has won a range of honors as a woman-owned business, a “green” business, and a community partner. She writes for Huffington Post and a range of other publications.
“As the department’s first ‘Executive in Residence,’ Kari Warberg Block will bring to life conversations about career planning, leadership development and community service, and building a sustainable business from invention to production to market leader,” said Helen Sterk, head of WKU’s Department of Communication.
In the Feb. 12 public discussion with WKU graduate Sam Ford, director of Audience Engagement with Peppercomm, a strategic communications and marketing firm that works with Earth-Kind as, Warberg Block will talk about:
- Her journey from a childhood as the daughter of a journeying salesman and her educational struggles to how she found her place as a professional
- Her experiences launching Earth-Kind from her farm and through her local farmer’s market in North Dakota
- The ways being a non-traditional college student played a role in her building a new career path for herself
- The challenges of innovating and disrupting the pest management industry
- The importance of creating products sourced and made in the U.S.A.
- Her continued focus on making sustainability a deep company priority, even as its operations have grown substantially
- The crucial role that handicapped workers have played in her company and her life
- The key influence that partnerships with universities have had on research and development for her company
- The challenges and unique opportunities for women business leaders today
- The lessons she has learned as an entrepreneur of a high-growth company and the importance of thinking big and starting small
In addition to his position with Peppercomm, Ford is a research affiliate with MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing, and co-author of the 2013 book Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. The 2005 WKU graduate serves on various committees for the University, as well as an instructor in the Popular Culture Studies Program.“Kari has been a true pleasure to work with, and I’m so glad that she is coming here to share some of her experiences, insight, and inspiring story with WKU students and the south central Kentucky community,” Ford said.
Information provided by WKU News
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