Judy Wicks

May 1947 -

Judy Wicks is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and mentor working to build a more compassionate, environmentally sustainable and locally based economy.

Growing up on the outskirts of Ingomar, a small town in western Pennsylvania, Judy developed a deep love of nature and witnessed the role of small businesses in community life. After graduating from college she lived for nearly a year in the remote Alaskan Eskimo village of Chefornak where she had the transformational experience of living in a culture based on sharing and cooperation. During the 1990s she worked with the Zapatista revolutionaries in Chiapas, Mexico, to set up a fair trade coffee venture. Her experiences evolved Judy’s vision of a global economy comprised of a network of self-reliant and sustainable local economies connected by small-to-small fair trade relationships.

In 2001, she founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, and co-founded the international Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which now includes some 50,000 local independent businesses in the US and Canada and envisions an economy that provides for the needs of all people while working in harmony with natural systems.

As an entrepreneur Judy is best known for Philadelphia’s landmark White Dog Cafe, which she founded in 1983 on the first floor of her house and managed for 26 years. Over the years White Dog grew a national reputation for community engagement, environmental stewardship, and responsible business practices.

Under Judy’s leadership, White Dog became a leader in the local food movement, purchasing sustainably grown produce from local family farmers, and only humanely and naturally raised meat, poultry and eggs, sustainably harvested fish, and fair trade products.  Other practices she implemented at White Dog included paying a living wage, mentoring inner-city students, recycling and composting, solar heated water, eco-friendly soaps and supplies, and purchasing 100% of electricity from renewable sources, the first business in Pennsylvania to do so.

Judy is the recipient of many local and national awards. Her award winning book Good Morning Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer won the 2014 Gold Medal in the category of “Business Leadership” from Nautilus Book Awards.