stories of our community at work

Brittany Underwood hired Praxis Mentor Sheeba Philip as President of her new for-profit benefit corporation.

Akola Project

Brittany Merrill Underwood

2014 Nonprofit Fellow

In 2019, 2014 Nonprofit Fellow Brittany Merrill Underwood created a for-profit benefit corporation to further grow her social enterprise Akola and hired Praxis Mentor Sheeba Philip as the new President. This was made possible through a connection facilitated by Praxis Board Chairman Kurt Keilhacker. Brittany shared, “We wouldn’t have been able to welcome someone like Sheeba on our team, who is considered to be top-tier talent in the industry, a firm believer in Akola’s mission, and committed to building a redemptive organization, without the Praxis network.” Akola is a globally-inspired jewelry brand that champions women around the world. The organization has recently secured $8.5M in commitments for its seed round in collaboration with another Praxis Mentor and lead investor, Greg Lernihan. This fund will be used to grow Akola’s retail brand and to expand its manufacturing base in Uganda to become the largest exporter of up-cycled cow horn made by women in crisis. The Akola brand is seeing tremendous growth potential with new wide-scale distribution wins in Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, as well as a growing e-commerce business.

Stories of our Community at Work