by Jim King
Please allow me to introduce ChangeU’s very own Champion of Champions at ChangeU, Becky Turner Martin. Becky serves as Executive VP at ChangeU. In that position she serves as the role model for everyone at ChangeU. Becky is the founder of Women Sewing by Faith (http://www.interwoven.us/), a collective of international faith-based cooperatives sewing for solidarity currently sourcing from Bolivia, Haiti and Tanzania.
There will be a little information about WSBF in this post. However, no one can tell that story better than Becky. So we are reserving the complete WSBF story for Becky to tell in a future blog post. This blog post is going to share the many things that Becky has done that makes us so proud to have her as our Executive VP.
First of all, as you read this blog post, remember that Becky is a VERY young lady. She graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations with Honors in 2009. When you read all that she has done to make a difference in the world and to create change in the lives of the disadvantaged around the world, remember: 2009!
After Becky’s graduation from USC, she spent a year in Bolivia working for a USAID sub-contractor. While in Bolivia, Becky had an assortment of duties with the sub-contractor. She conducted training courses and seminars to local NGOs and indigenous communities. She had numerous administrative responsibilities. She also had responsibilities related to a software product that was applied as a property rights management tool. These responsibilities brought Becky in contact with numerous human issues as well as many groups addressing these issues. Becky’s time in Bolivia also brought her in contact with many individuals trying to make a difference in their own lives. These encounters led Becky to found Women Sewing by Faith (www.interwoven.us). In this effort, WSBF initially sourced handmade products from a women’s sewing cooperative in Bolivia to be sold primarily in the United States. Through WSBF, the artisans have realized access to markets previously unavailable to them.
In January of 2012, Becky embarked on a journey to earn a Master’s in Humanitarian Logistics and Management at the Universita della Svizzera Italiana. Later that year, Becky went to work with a U.S.-based company specializing in global water treatment. This was followed by a graduate internship in Geneva, Switzerland, with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) where she had responsibilities related to software and logistics. Through these two positions (U.S. & Geneva), Becky established connections with numerous change-focused organizations and many change-focused initiatives.
Immediately following Becky’s time with OCHA, she completed her master’s degree and immediately after that began a year with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Logistics ORISE Fellow and Development Associate for the Emergency Response & Recovery Branch of the CDC. In this role, she was assigned to post-disaster Haiti. Becky has responsibilities related to health, education, energy, agriculture and other areas. She was also once again exposed to sewing-cooperative artisans. It was due to her time in Haiti that Becky expanded her Women Sewing by Faith sourcing to Haiti. Thus, these Haitian artisans, like those in Bolivia, were able to access previously unavailable markets – and, thus, better provide for their families at a very, very tough time to do so in Haiti.
After Haiti, and while serving as a software-industry consultant for implementations in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua, Becky served as a Humanitarian Consultant with the Humanitarian Logistics Association where she did research, analysis and writing related to humanitarian logistics’ operations and supply chain. Her time in both of these positions further solidified Becky as a change agent and difference maker.
Currently Becky is serving as an Emergency Management Specialist with the Global Rapid Response Team for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This team serves as a “deployable asset to help CDC experts respond to global public health concerns.” (http://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/healthprotection/errb/global-rrt.htm)
Becky is currently stationed in a southern African country – making a difference and effecting much-needed change.
In her “down” time, Becky often travels the world – and continues with her difference-making. While on vacation in Tanzania, Becky encountered a women’s sewing cooperative. Now, Women Sewing by Faith has a third location for sourcing product: Tanzania. And now the ladies in that cooperative, like the ones in Bolivia and Haiti, have access to markets which were previously unavailable.
For the final content paragraph of this post, I would like to share part of a tribute to Becky written by her friend, Camila Thorndike (who also referred to Becky as “indomitable and awe-inspiring”), posted on Becky’s Facebook thread on March 2, 2016:
“This lady lives with the most graceful faith I have ever seen. Her sincere dedication to the least of these, combined with dozens of escapes from death, could convince anyone of a higher power for good. As a teenager she ran to safety from white supremacist stalkers across bridges and through ravines. After surviving a plane crash in the Amazon she knew enough about the mechanics of explosion to rush everyone out within 90 seconds. In Bolivia she fought and won against a recalcitrant embassy to get back home and survive antibiotic-resistant Typhoid. No doubt she’s aided along the way by the gratitude of countless lives she’s saved, from the hundreds of children receiving vaccines in Haiti to the drugged girl in an American bar she literally wrestled from a would-be rapist.”
2009? Seriously! It is hard to believe, but it is true. Becky graduated from USC in 2009! She has served in all of the listed roles/positions, has effected change in the many mentioned as well as many unmentioned locations, and has made a difference in innumerable lives since 2009! What a great role model for those wishing to make a difference, to be a change agents. There can be no doubt why Becky Turner Martin is our Champion of Champions at ChangeU!
Dr. Jim King is the President of Change University. You may read more about him at the bottom of the page at this link: