International Entrepreneurs to speak at JBU

John Brown University and The Soderquist Center for Leadership and
Ethics welcome Becky Straw and Shawn Askinosie for Leadership Week 2015. Straw will speak in JBU’s chapel service in the Cathedral of the Ozarks on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m. and Askinosie will speak on Thursday’s chapel service at 10:30 a.m.

Becky Straw is the co-founder of The Adventure Project, a non-profit organization working to create jobs in developing countries. The Adventure Project funds on-the-ground organizations that are working to provide education and job training in Haiti, Kenya, Uganda and India. The Adventure Project partners with five field
organizations that have collectively created over 500 jobs impacting close to 950,000 people. Straw received her master’s degree in International Social Welfare from Columbia University and worked for three years launching Charity: Water, an organization focused on establishing clean water access overseas.

Shawn Askinosie was a criminal defense lawyer for 20 years before founding Askinosie Chocolate, an internationally acclaimed chocolate company. This Springfield, Mo. Resident has now travelled across the world to direct trade relationships with cocoa farmers in Ecuador, Honduras, Tanzania and the Philippines. The direct trade approach enables farmers to receive the fair trade market price and earn profit from the chocolate made from their beans. Askinosie Chocolate has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The company was named Best Chocolate in the U.S. by Food and Wine and earned two Good Food Awards, one in 2013
and one in 2014. Oprah magazine named Askinosie “One of the 15 Guys Who Are Saving The World” for his Cocoa Honors program, which teaches business ethics to high school students.

As part of Leadership Week, The Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics will also host a Q Commons event on Thursday, Feb. 26 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Simmons Great Hall at John Brown University to discuss culture making and shaping in local communities and across the world.

The Q Commons event will feature three keynote speakers via simulcast: Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author; Soledad O’Brien, broadcast journalist; and Mark Burnett, television producer. Three local speakers will also present their culture-shaping efforts: entrepreneurs Matt and Meghan Feyerabend; Syard Evans, deputy CEO of Arkansas Support Network; and Michelle Viney of Northwest Arkansas Home Resource Directory, will participate.

To learn more about this event and for ticket information, visit the Siloam Q Commons page at Seating is limited.

The Soderquist Center is a premier provider of values-based leadership, organizational and team development for organizations of all sizes, including several Fortune 500 companies. Located on the campus of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., the Center was founded in 1998 by Don Soderquist, former COO and Senior Vice-Chairman of Walmart Stores, Inc. For more information visit