While living in Ethiopia in 2010, Founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand ABLE, Barrett Ward, saw firsthand how extreme poverty forced young women, generation after generation, to resort to prostitution as a means of supporting themselves and their families. He saw that they needed an opportunity to earn a living with dignity, empowering themselves to end the cycle of poverty. This was the beginning of Barrett’s life’s work at ABLE.
Leading a fashion lifestyle brand might be an unlikely role for someone self-described as ‘not a fashion guy’, but that’s exactly where Barrett Ward then found himself. Barrett is now the visionary behind the rapidly growing Nashville-based company disrupting the fashion industry with a social conscience. Today, the company employs more than 300 women in Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, and Nashville.
In this conversation, Branden and Barrett unpack the importance of making an impact where it matters most, building a company based on radical transparency and second chances, and the importance of fostering an attitude of gratitude in your sphere.
“That was a seminal moment of my career — realizing charity needs to be the beginning point, but at some point that has to stop and we have to give people the opportunity to stand on their own two feet." — Barrett Ward