Brenda Palms

A powerhouse of optimism and integrity, Brenda Palms builds businesses and nurtures organizations that employ folks with a criminal record and in doing so provides a whole lot more than a paycheck. Otherwise known as “the bee lady,” Brenda is the founder and CEO of Sweet Beginnings – an urban beekeeping social enterprise whose honey is now carried in stores across her home state of Illinois. All of this blossomed from her work with the North Lawndale Employment Network where she is – yet again – both founder and CEO and has grown the organization from two to 53 employees with a multimillion dollar budget. 

Brenda’s got the good stuff and she’s sharing it with audiences on CNN and TED. She’s racking up MacArthur awards and getting noticed by banks. With a mic in her hand, Brenda reminds all of us what’s possible when we believe in each other’s fundamental goodness and act accordingly.   

Honeybees do not discern between weeds and flowers, as they are only interested in drawing the good out of that plant source and transforming it into something sweet and new.
—Brenda Palms

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