- By Walleska de Castillo
Lifting women-owned small businesses is a core pillar at Bpeace--and one we share with Deborah Jackson, CEO of Plum Alley Investments, who manages a syndicate that invests in promising female entrepreneurs. Bpeace honored Deborah and announced the Bpeace Plum Alley Innovation Award, given annually to a female Bpeace Fast Runner, who demonstrates innovation in growing her business, ultimately leading to a boost in job creation. Meet our 2017 award winner, Guatemalan business owner Walleska de Castillo.
One word drives Guatemalan business owner Walleska de Castillo’s growth strategy: Creativity.
While customers of her plastic container company, CASMA, were already making a brand statement by selecting her flexible tubes, rather than less expensive rigid ones, Walleska, who runs the company with her husband Christian, decided to go further by providing full-service graphic capabilities that reflected the latest design trends. CASMA’s clients gained a competitive edge thanks to beautiful and practical packaging.
But Walleska wanted to go further. She became a Bpeace Fast Runner. As she worked with Virtual and Traveling Skillanthropists and visited U.S. Host Companies, she planned how to expand her design staff, implement a consultative sales strategy, bake in KPIs, develop procedural manuals, define clear managerial roles and increase employee engagement and collaboration.
IMPACT AND APPRECIATION
The results were stunning: Efficiency increased by 30%, headcount by 14%, revenue by 43% and profits by 20%.
"We are so grateful for the continuous support, guidance, inspiration and education that Bpeace has afforded us,” Walleska says. “The introductions to qualified experts and visits with production facilities in Ohio have made a real difference in our lives and business.”
Walleska has been paying it forward. She recently shared her business successes and challenges with emerging women leaders at the Dreambuilder Forum, supported by the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala in collaboration with Bpeace and Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) network.
“Bpeace has helped us determine the kind of company we want to be and the type of influence we want to have on Guatemala," Walleska says.
Behind every Fast Runner is a Bpeace network of generous experts. In addition to Walleska's Traveling Skillanthropists David Monteith and Lee Ronald, her U.S. Host Companies included: Accel, Alene Candles, Anomatic, Lbrands, and Sonoco.