As I begin my journey as Extollo’s new President, I wanted to reach out to first thank you. You are part of a transformative approach to alleviating poverty in Haiti that has the potential to build a stronger Haiti. Secondly, I wanted to introduce myself and share a little about me and my vision for Extollo. And last but not least, to give you my email for whenever you may have a question or comment.
Throughout my professional life I’ve been privileged to be able to do what I love while helping make a positive difference in the world. From philanthropy to nonprofit work to social enterprise, I've gained opportunities to add value to organizations and companies around the world that are doing great work. Most of all, I'm thankful - and fortunate - to have worked with some of the most gifted and passionate people in their fields.
Thus, when Sherman Balch approached me about becoming Extollo’s next President, I took a long, reflective look at Extollo – its vision, its people, and its potential to significantly change Haiti for the better. Throughout my career I have been led to smaller social impact organizations that seek to change the world in a way that is much larger than their size reflects. I once heard it said this way: an organization that’s punching above its weight. For those not familiar with boxing metaphors, it’s a reference to an outsized capacity and potency.
One of the most strategic needs within Haiti is high-quality infrastructure. To realize this, Haiti needs a workforce with the knowledge and ability to build a Haiti that is stronger and more resilient. As has been proven over and over again, the difference between a minor disruption and a cataclysmic event is the fortitude of a country’s infrastructure. In order for Haiti to build back better, and benefit from a resilient infrastructure, the need for quality construction professionals is vital.
We have a big vision for Extollo. Part of this vision includes being the top construction trade school in Haiti, producing thousands of highly-trained and highly-qualified construction professionals, managing a robust alumni association that provides local construction companies with talent and gives our graduates opportunities for advancement and higher wages, and running a construction company that is regarded as one of the best in the country. And with my joining Extollo as President, Sherman Balch (Extollo’s co-founder and former President) can now focus on the strategic work of expanding Extollo’s vocational offerings and construction projects in Haiti.
Thank you for being a part of this exciting work. I look forward to watching, along with you, all that God will do in and through Extollo.
Keith Cobell has over 18 years of leadership experience in developing and managing a diverse range of social impact initiatives within companies and organizations, philanthropic institutions, and most recently social enterprises in Rwanda and Belize. Throughout his career Keith has been involved in catalyzing the power of entrepreneurship and education to impact lives and economies in emerging markets.
A graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, Keith went on to earn a Master of Arts in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, performed doctorate-level research on the topic of global philanthropy at the University of Wales/Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in Oxford, England and completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Oakland, California.