Testimony by Kelly K. Lochte from Texas Lutheran University (TLU) Social Entrepreneurship Program 2016 Course
“Wow! What an experience it was to have Joey come and talk about his business, VOS. Having no background in business classes, and knowing very little about how the process of creating one works, it was interesting and definitely a learning experience to hear Joey talk about the roots, rhyme, and reasons for why VOS exists. It was very inspiring and encouraging to see that there are businesses out there like VOS that are not about empowering themselves, but about empowering those around them.
What I mean by that, and what I saw most evident, is that Joey and his team are about changing the world around them the best way they know how. How I saw VOS different than other businesses is that they value who they do business with, who they employ, who they supply, and so on. They care about every single person that interacts with their business and because of their strong sense of community and wanting to bring change to the world, they are positively effecting those around them.
Tying in with international development, it was crystal clear to me that Joey and his brother, Jimmy, have a strong sense of culture, and have used their strong sense of culture to propel their business in the U.S. and in Guatemala due to their dual citizenship. Joey emphasized his love for sports, and soccer, his love for languages, and his love for people. Knowing more and more about international development, and how culture can play a role in development, I can see how important Joey’s sense of culture has been in regards to the success and direction of his business.
VOS’s motto or business co-title being “Afford to Care” is more than just a phrase, 10% of all profits goes to schools in Guatemala that provides education for 250+ kids. On top of the education they are helping provide the children of Guatemala with, they are also providing health care, have built a clinic and sponsored the medicine and knowledgeable nurses in the clinic. This portion really stood out to me, a company that makes flip-flops, is also providing employment, women empowerment, educational opportunities, recreational areas, worship temple and so much more.
What are bigger shoe companies like Chaco’s doing? What about Nike? VOS’s strong connection and dedication to the humanitarian side of its business is what clearly sets them apart and what is going to bring about further development. International development in these regards, is not just about being globally known but making sure the globe is interacting and developing and that is exactly what VOS is doing. VOS is making an effort to bring health care, education and work opportunities to an area of the world that would otherwise be stagnant in these areas of development.
Throughout the entire presentation I was very impressed with how humble yet driven Joey and his company is. The three things he left us with was 1. Believe in yourself, 2. Be versatile, and 3. Always continue to build up your network. As someone who is about to graduate and work in the fitness world, I found these three key points extremely applicable. No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing with your life, you can still make a difference and inspire those around you. Thank you again, Joey for an outstanding presentation and inspiring me to impact, and change the world around me in my future career. Go bulldogs!“
About the TLU Social Entrepreneurship Program
TLU’s Bachelor of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship is part of their business school but also partners with their math, history, theology and communications departments to create specialized areas of concentration in Nonprofit Leadership, Arts for Social Change, Mental Health Community Interventions, and Faith, Culture & Diversity. The degree is interdisciplinary and prepares students for a career in the nonprofit or for-profit social venture arenas. Click here for more information.
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