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November 8, 2012 / The Loop

Whitworthians working together in Spokane

by Josie Camarillo, ’14

Did you know…10 recent Whitworth alums currently work for GreenCupboards?  Today we’re highlighting three of them, all from the Class of ’11: Hannah Kinnier, Kenny Dill, and Kyle Scott.

GreenCupboards Whitworthians: Kneeling (left to right): Hannah Kinnier, ’11, Aaron Farance, ’12, Kenny Dill, ’11. Standing (left to right): Mitchell Bailey, ’11, Will Higgins, ’11, Aaron Newby, ’11, Amber (Todd) Darling, ’12, Kyle Scott, ’11, Kris Mayhew, ’10. Not pictured: Luke Laughlin, ’12.

Based in Spokane’s Gonzaga neighborhood, GreenCupboards was founded in 2008 by Gonzaga alums Josh Neblett and Sarah Wollnick, now married. They won the regional university

business plan competition with the idea of selling eco-friendly products online. With the help of their Gonzaga University professor, Tom Simpson, Neblett’s “glorified science project” turned into a profitable and rapidly growing business. The company sells over 15,000 green products on their website annually and continues to seek out new brands with which to work.

These products are listed under a variety of “eco-traits” including vegan, free trade, organic, kosher, handmade, energy efficient, and cruelty-free. The company’s goal is to become the leading online retailer of eco-friendly products.

Kinnier hails from Portland, Ore. and graduated from Whitworth with a marketing degree and an athletic coaching minor. She participated in track and cheerleading as well as working as the ASWU special events coordinator. Kinnier was also involved in intramurals.

She is GreenCupboards’ cost-per-click coordinator, in charge of non-social media and paid online advertising. “Although I am technically working a job within my major, we didn’t really study online advertising in class,” says Kinnier. “But I feel like I have been able to take the general marketing mindset that was molded during my four years and apply it to every aspect of my job.”

Dill was involved in the ultimate Frisbee club during his four years at Whitworth.  He was also a resident assistant in Stewart and still remains in contact with Landon Crecelius, ’04, a former resident director and Whitworth’s current Student Success Advocate, and with Dick Mandeville, Whitworth’s vice president of student life.  Dill is originally from Kauai, Hawaii and also graduated with a marketing degree.

“Whitworth gave me the ability to walk into something completely new and feel confident” Dill says. Everything he loves about GreenCupboards can be summed up in one word: culture. “It’s not the type of company where people just show up, put in their eight hours, and leave,” he says. Dill works as GreenCupboards’ United Kingdom sales manager.

Scott is from Everson, Wash. and graduated with a degree in speech communication and minors in leadership studies and philosophy. He played on the Frisbee team and participated in intramurals. He was also a resident assistant in McMillan, sang in the men’s chorus, and played guitar on the Hosanna worship team. “As cliché as it may sound, a Whitworth liberal arts education really does teach you how to learn,” he says of how Whitworth prepared him for GreenCupboards. “I can adjust quickly and competently to whatever the situation requires.”

Scott is a member of GreenCupboards’ merchandising team.  Reflecting on the youth of the company, he says, “There aren’t old traditions and ways of doing things.  This keeps things interesting and can become a hindrance to efficiency as there isn’t just ‘one best way’ to go about completing projects.”

Each of these three Whitworthians has a different piece of advice for current student and recent graduates who are interested in or currently working for young companies:

“My advice would be to come in with an open mind,” Kinnier says.

“Be proactive,” says Scott. “Don’t wait for a job to come to you. Actively look for tasks and complete them.”

“Get to know the people around you,” says Dill. “Whether you want to start your own business or be a part of someone else’s, college is a great place to build your network.”

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