Introducing Kerrie Carbary, Business Impact NW’s newest staff addition! As the South King County Project Manager, Kerrie offers business coaching by appointment as well as holds drop-in hours at various locations on the south end and is focused on building and expanding Business Impact NW’s presence in the area. She is also creating and formalizing a volunteer mentor program for mentors who are interested in supporting Veteran and Women-Owned businesses, or businesses located in South King County. Get to know her and learn more about her experience, impact and goals in the interview below.
Business Impact NW: How did you hear about BIN?
Kerrie: In two ways. I attended school with Domonique Juleon at Bainbridge Graduate Institute (Pinchot University, now Presidio Graduate School), where we both were enrolled in the Sustainable Food and Agriculture certificate program. After we both graduated, Domonique contacted me because she had an idea for a food business networking day, which she was going to put on through her work at Business Impact NW. I was working at the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, so we were able to collaborate and co-host the first Food Biz Day.
Through my work at the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, I was introduced to a former BIN staff member. We had also both attended BGI, but had never encountered each other in our microenterprise development work together. During the next couple of years, we helped several clients in common and became friends.
BIN: How long have you been in this career?
K: I’ve been working as a business coach, then as a Program Manager and now as a Project Manager for almost 6 years.
BIN: Tell me about your previous related work experiences.
K: Until recently, I worked as a business advisor and Program Manager at the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, an organization that works to build community wealth through entrepreneurship. Previously, I worked as a volunteer coordinator for a social services organization that worked primarily with low income seniors and adults with disabilities or other health issues, with the goal of helping them remain independent in their own homes. I also owned and started several businesses, including a sustainable art supply store, a small press magazine, and am currently part of a team that is launching a business focusing on the industrial hemp supply chain. I’m excited to be able to combine these experiences in my new role at Business Impact NW
BIN: When did you join Business Impact NW?
K: July 1st!
BIN: What is your connection to our mission to grow businesses that create jobs in underserved communities?
K: My family was not one that taught that entrepreneurship was a valid thing that could become a career, although my family has a history of creating side gigs to make extra cash: my great grandmother used to rescue day-old bread that was going to be discarded, freshen it up, and deliver it to her neighbors. My grandmother accidentally started a daycare out of her home. Growing up, my dad worked in a trade with near-constant layoffs and job insecurities. I remember he loved and was excellent at building playground equipment, and wanted to start a business doing that work for schools and families. However, he quickly talked himself out of it, because he wasn’t the “type” to start a business, and was completely unaware of any help available.
As I went into business myself, I ran into similar issues. I asked for help to be told that business advising and loans were only available to businesses who had been profitable for a certain amount of time. I learned that I would have to do it myself, and not ask for help. However, I was able to create a network of other business owners who mentored me through. Later I discovered the world of organizations like Business Impact NW, and realized that work was what I wanted to do. I’ve been working with helping underserved communities build economic opportunity through business ever since.
BIN: Do you have any degrees, credentials or certifications that have prepared you for your current role?
K: I have an MBA in Sustainable Business with a focus on microenterprise development and sustainable food and agriculture.
BIN: What are you future goals?
K: To learn how to play the guitar, grow enough vegetables in my garden to share, and to know at the end of the day that I’ve done good work.