July 7, 2016
A few years ago, Kabira Stokes stood looking at her new factory, burned to the ground, as her General Manager was walking out the door. She had no idea that wouldn’t be the hardest trial of her career. Kabira is in the de-manufacturing business. Her company, Isidore Electronics Recycling, takes used electronics and gives them new life, either as refurbished devices or as components that can enter back into the supply chain. At the same time, she hires the formerly incarcerated so that they can re-enter society again. It’s hard enough to run a startup, why she would add an extra challenge of hiring ex-offenders? Turns out, her concern for social justice and her unusual philosophy of finding value in things that society discards might be what makes her business resilient and able survive the entrepreneurial rollercoaster, including the biggest challenge of all—a workers comp technicality— that is currently threatening to put her out of business.
About Kabira Stokes:
Kabira Stokes is the Founder and CEO of Isidore Electronics Recycling, a full-service e-waste recycling social enterprise that provides work opportunity for people who have come out of the criminal justice system. Kabira holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Southern California with a focus on the criminal justice system and environmental governance. She has consulted for the non-profit Green For All and worked for the City of L.A. as Senior Field Deputy for (then) City Council President Eric Garcetti. She is a graduate of Vassar College with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Spanish. Honors and awards include: CSQ’s “Innovation and Technology NextGen 10” (2016), inaugural “Smart on Crime” award by CA Attorney General Kamala Harris (2015), “Women For A New Los Angeles” honoree by the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (2015), and “50 Under 40 Social Entrepreneur” by the AMEX Foundation (2014).
Isidore Electronics Recycling website: http://www.isidorerecycling.com/
Recycling in CA: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Recycle/Commercial/