Michigan Businesswoman Who Endured Harassment Honored For Helping Afghan Women

By Phoebe Wall Howard
Detroit Free Press

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lori Baker is CEO of TTi Global, a staffing, training and recruiting consulting firm with more than 2,000 employees. She will be honored May 16 in Norway with the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award for being a champion of inclusion and gender equality. Baker created an automotive service center and school-to-work training center in Kabul, Afghanistan, that teaches job skills to women as well as men.

Detroit Free Press

Lori Blaker married at 18, gave birth to four boys, and ended up a single mom who dropped out of Oakland (Mich.) University. She supported her family as a typist working for her father’s auto business that began in their Shelby Township basement.

When he died unexpectedly, her life changed forever.

Now, at age 60, Blaker runs a thriving company that operates on five continents. And a team of Nobel peace and economics prize winners have just given Blaker the 2018 Oslo Business for Peace Award, which went to Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson in 2014.

“It’s kind of crazy, isn’t it?” Blaker said. “This award is absolutely unbelievable. It’s overwhelming.”

She is being honored for opening an automotive service center and school-to-work training center in Kabul, Afghanistan, that teaches job skills to women as well as men.

She also opened a general job training center in a rural area outside of Bangalore, India, that graduates hospitality workers, customer service specialists and retail sales clerks. They are two of many projects she leads worldwide to train women in business and create sustainable business opportunities in conflict and non-conflict zones.

“A hungry man is a desperate man. A hungry man is a dangerous man,” Blaker said. “And the plight of women there, in Afghanistan? In order to get aid, the government had to make rape illegal and punishable as a crime. Until then, nobody thought twice.”

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