Olowo-n’djo Tchala, Founder & CEO of Alaffia
Olowo-n’djo Tchala is the founder and CEO of Alaffia. Born in the village of Kaboli, Togo, West Africa near the border of Benin, Olowo-n’djo grew up sharing an 8’x 10’room with seven siblings and his mother. Although they did not always have enough, his mother, Ina, instilled in him the importance of kindness and generosity by always sharing what they could. Unable to afford school fees, Olowo-n’djo dropped out of school in the sixth grade to help support his family. In 1996, Olowo-n’djo met Prairie Rose Hyde, a Washington state native, during her Peace Corps service. The two fell in love and returned to the U.S. to be married after her service ended. Picking up his education where he left off, Olowo-n’djo returned to school and later earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational theory at the University of California, Davis. Determined to make a difference in his home country and grateful for the opportunities afforded to him in the U.S., the idea for Alaffia was born. Olowo-n’djo and Rose wished to foster sustainable communities in both Togo and Olympia, Washington through the fair trade of indigenous resources such as shea butter and coconut oil.
Today, Alaffia directly impacts over 11,000 individuals in West Africa, sells goods in 11 countries including the U.S., and funds Alaffia Empowerment Projects which have included 4,463 healthy births, planting 57,575 trees, donating 7,482 bicycles to Togolese students, building ten schools and providing school supplies to 32,842 students. In Tumwater, Washington, Alaffia is operating in a 102,000 sq. ft. warehouse with a team of 135 employees.
Dr. Conerly is an on-line contributor to Forbes and the author of The Flexible Stance: Thriving in a Boom/Bust Economy (2016). He also wrote Businomics (2007), a book about economics for business leaders. He is co-author of Thinking Economics, a multi-media high school economics curriculum used in 34 states.
He has been interviewed on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN and local television and radio stations across the country. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, and USA Today. He has spoken to business audiences in four countries and 31 states.
Dr. Conerly is chairman of the board of Cascade Policy Institute and a member of the Oregon Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.