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 Liz Forkin Bohannon is the founder of Sseko Designs and the author the book Beginner’s Pluck: Build your life of purpose, passion and impact now.

Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that works to educate and empower women. By providing employment and educational opportunities, Sseko enables women to continue their education and become leaders in their country.

Liz graduated from the University of Missouri with a Master’s degree in Journalism. In 2008, she moved to Uganda where she met an incredible group of talented young women who were struggling to finance their higher education.

After traveling the country by motorcycle to find raw materials and learn how to produce footwear by hand, Liz hired three young women and started Sseko Designs. Since then, Sseko Designs has grown from three women making sandals together under a mango tree, to an international fashion brand that provides employment, educational opportunities and entrepreneurial training to hundreds of women in East Africa and across the globe.

Using her unlikely story of a journalist-gone-shoe-maker, Liz shares her passion for social enterprise, conscious consumerism, social justice, creative leadership and gender-equality.

Liz and the Sseko story has been featured in dozens of publications including: Vogue Magazine, Redbook Magazine, O Magazine, Inc, Fortune and others. Sseko has appeared on national broadcasts including ABC’s Shark Tank and Good Morning America.

Among other notable honors, Liz was recently named a top three Transformation Leader by John Maxwell and Bloomberg Businessweek named Sseko as a top social enterprise. Forbes named Liz one of the top 20 public speakers in the U.S. Liz’s powerful, disarmingly authentic and witty voice captivates and inspires her audience.

She now splits her time between Uganda and Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband Ben run Sseko Designs and raise their two young sons.


“Our retail leaders were touched, inspired and motivated to action because of the power of your words. The power in your talk is not just that you’re a terrific public speaker – which you are. No, what makes your communication powerful and special is the depth of your character, the clarity of your conviction and purposefulness with which you conduct your work.  Your content is smart, fun, intellectually rigorous and delivered in an endearing and compelling manner.  All in… spot on and pitch perfect. Thank you for bringing your best to our convention. And thank you for being a difference maker in this world. You’re a forcing mechanism for good!”

-John Venhuizen, President & CEO, Ace Hardware Corp

“Liz Bohannon is a delight to work with! She tailored her talk to meet our Global Leadership Summit audience needs while at the same time making it a unique and creative expression of herself.  Liz is an amazing storyteller, communicates with passion, and shares wisdom that is applicable. Her talk was among the highest rated from our entire event and one of the most requested by our global community. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more inspiring!”

-Lori Hermann, Executive Producer of the Global Leadership Summit 

“Liz Forkin Bohannon is truly a transformational leader. Her belief that each person was created for a purpose is evident in the way she leads, inspires and motivates others to build a life of passion and purpose. Her honesty, grit, and commitment to justice ignites others to create a positive impact in the world and be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

-John Maxwell

“Liz Bohannon will inspire your audience. Her story is powerful, and she can connect with young and old, CEO or entrepreneur and bridges the gap of not just inspiring, but also providing practical lessons that can be applied immediately.”

– Brad Lomenick, President & Executive Director of Catalyst

“Inspired journey meets strategic thinking meets hilarious storytelling… Liz is the full package, and her accolades hardly prepared me for how amazing her art of presenting would be at Athena 2017. We positioned Liz as the kick-off speaker for a two day conference, and she set the tone with passion and inspiration immediately with an engaging, authentic story of how purpose is not found, but inside us. Our conference attendees have had nothing but glowing comments for her – it’s incredible to witness someone who can change the lives of so many in such a short period of time.”

– Sara Close, The Athena Conference

In 2017, Liz was named by Forbes as one of the top speakers in the country: “Liz is known for her fun and dynamic speaking style and her personal stories about taking risks, building a brand with purpose, and striving for gender equality and social enterprise at universities, conferences, and gatherings across the globe.”

-Brian Rashid, Forbes

“Liz Forkin is one of the greatest communicators we have ever hosted at Plywood Presents. She has a gift of making every person feel like family, while teaching us something that changes the way we see the world forever. She is not only and incredible speaker, but she is a living and breathing example of the change we need in the world today.”

-Jeff Shinabarger, Founder of Plywood People

“Liz Bohannon’s story is simultaneously one of the most counter intuitive and inspirational ones I’ve heard. She is a world class communicator and an even better person. I highly recommend her for any event to inspire and equip people to think differently and aim higher to make a difference.”

-Craig Groeschel, Founder and Senior Pastor of

who is sseko

When You Purchase Sseko Products You Become Part of Her Story

 Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand based in Uganda. In addition to handbags and accessories, we make beautiful leather sandals with interchangeable fabric straps that can be styled in hundreds of ways. Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women to continue on to university. And it is working! Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree or has graduated from university and is on her way to making our world a more beautiful place.

In addition to our university-bound team, Sseko also employs women from all walks of life. By creating an environment of dignity, honor and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for marginalized women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.

We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.

These African sandals, made by women in Uganda are an example of how ethical fashion can help end the cycle of poverty. Fair trade and socially conscious fashion can be powerful agents of social change by empowering women in Africa and all over the world. When you support fair trade you’re voting with your dollars for a more beautiful world.

Every Sseko has a story.

THESE WOMEN will not make sandals forever. They will go on to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers, and teachers who will bring change to their country and our world. Sseko Designs uses fashion to provide employment and scholarship opportunities to women pursuing their dreams and overcoming poverty. To date, we’ve enabled 88 women to continue on to University. We provide employment (along with access to a comprehensive social impact program) to our team in Uganda. And we do it all through a financially self-sustaining model. To read these women’s stories and meed the rest of our team, click here.


Top 20 Speakers You Shouldn’t Miss The Opportunity To See

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John Maxwell Top Three Transformational Leaders of 2017

In 2017, Liz was featured by the Global Leadership Summit as a Grander Vision Leader.

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