Giving Back and Going Global: I’m going to Ethiopia!

Chris Guizlo / January 29, 2016

When I began working at The Fearey Group in February 2014, I already felt like I knew so much about the firm and the people within it. As Aaron Blank, our president and CEO, wrote in a recent blog post, Business is personal!, we take tremendous joy at building trusting and enduring relationships with our communities, throughout our world and even in our very own office. One of the greatest manifestations of that passion toward relationships is Aaron’s dedication to giving back to struggling communities in Ethiopia.  

Aaron and his wonderful wife, Lacey, have some of the cutest kids around and their youngest Ermias takes the cake. Aaron and Lacey adopted Ermias from Woliso, a small city in Ethiopia. The people of Woliso have limited access to clean water, making it difficult for many to stay hydrated or even to maintain reliable hygiene. 

In partnership with a non-profit organization out of Denver, Colorado, Aaron and his family coordinated with other families to set  up a CarePoint site in Woliso to work toward a long-term solution. The goal: stabilize the community by providing foundational items and global philosophies. Previous efforts have secured a regular package of clothing and needed goods, as well as schooling for many of the children of Woliso. The next project is to fund $30,000 for a clean water system for the village. You can learn more about the CarePoint site here. 

The children of our CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia. We have 200 children who visit the site each day for food, shelter, clothing and emotional support. In 2014, we used social media to get our community to sponsor each of these kids until they are 18.
The children of the CarePoint site in Woliso, Ethiopia. The 200 children visit the site each day for food, shelter, clothing and emotional support. In 2014, Aaron and his wife, Lacey, alongside other parents who adopted children from this community, used social media to get his community to sponsor each of these kids until they are 18.

Aaron and his family have made two visits to Woliso, and now it’s time for The Fearey Group team to join in and make a difference. As part of the firm’s CSR program, Fearey plans to take one person to Ethiopia to gain an experience like no other and to give back in ways I can’t even begin to imagine. Last week, Aaron announced the program and I decided to put my name in the ring for a chance at something I’ve never quite experienced before. And just yesterday, Aaron announced that I have the honor of making the journey to Ethiopia to see this beautiful country, meet the amazing people and try to do my part to give back a little. I’m beyond thrilled.  

Those that know me know that I am passionate about travel. My wife and I have traveled close to 100,000 miles a year in the air every year for the past 3 years. But, I honestly can say this is one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures yet. 

It’s also one that makes me admittedly a bit nervous. As I was thinking about this journey last night, I was realizing and recognizing the privileges I am lucky enough to enjoy in my life. I have a roof over my head, a job with amazing co-workers and clients, and the knowledge that wherever I go I will have proper sanitary facilities to use and clean water to drink. The prospect of going to a part of the world where this is not a reality is something that admittedly scares me, but I know that’s not a good enough reason to step back and avoid the reality of the world. As the trip approaches this summer, I plan to blog about my feelings on this new adventure. I’ll also be blogging (and hopefully video blogging) on the journey through Ethiopia. 

My overall hope is that I personally can do something, even just a little thing, that contributes to something bigger than myself. That vision and joy of selflessly helping others while expecting nothing in return is where I want to be in my life, let’s hope this is a journey toward that vision. 

For this, I am grateful to be part of The Fearey Group and for helping me think beyond the traditional walls of the normal work environment. To be able to give experiences that matter in the world.


Comments (2)

    Abbie S. Fink avatar

    Abbie S. Fink Jan 29, 2016, 7:34 PM

    What an incredible opportunity -- and how generous of Fearey to make this happen.

    Cheri avatar

    Cheri Jan 29, 2016, 11:32 PM

    Amazing Grace leads the way. You will be so blessed as will every life you touch.


Chris Guizlo

Account Supervisor

Chris is at the cusp of what’s next when it comes to the digital world, and we’re thankful for it. When he’s not answering questions about podcast strategy or live streaming events, you can find him pitching media and writing blog posts for clients. His unique background in Washington D.C., both in political affairs and as a Communications Manager for the American Heart Association, provides a point of view that is invaluable to the work we do every day. He has the ability to immerse himself in his clients’ worlds, becoming a subject-matter expert who is genuinely invested in their business.

After work you can often find Chris enjoying a pint at a local microbrewery, taking in a Seahawks game, playing with his dog, London, or traveling around the country for airline miles.