Ben’s shared passion for community service and the hospitality industry prompted him to start EGBOK. When he visited Cambodia in 2006, he was struck by the warmth and hospitality of the country’s people. During his travels he recognized that, despite Cambodia booming in tourism and economic growth, deep down it is a country rebuilding itself from the Cambodian genocide. During his travels, he began to ask himself how a developing country like Cambodia can utilize this growing hospitality industry to alleviate poverty in local communities. Ben realized that he and others could use their backgrounds in hospitality to make a difference for the underprivileged young adults in Cambodia. A year later, while still a student at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Ben founded EGBOK.
In 2009, Ben moved to Cambodia and began teaching hospitality classes at various orphanages in the Phnom Penh Province. Later that year EGBOK incorporated in Chicago, Illinois and in January 2011 received its US federal tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) status. EGBOK began expanding its programs to the Siem Reap Province and eventually set up a team, school, and Living Centers in the Siem Reap city center. In 2012, EGBOK expanded to our new facility and began offering additional services to the rural underprivileged communities in Cambodia. Ben now serves as a volunteer Board Member and mentor for EGBOK. He is the General Manger for Sonder in his hometown of sunny San Diego.
After having lived in Cambodia for two years, Sigrid joined EGBOK in 2015 with an extensive background in both education and hospitality. She previously worked at the Singapore Helm Institute of Education (SHINE) as their Business Program Manager while volunteering at EGBOK as a TESOL certified English teacher. Prior to moving to Cambodia, Sigrid worked at The Ritz-Carlton in Singapore. Her passion for helping Cambodian youth through hospitality and education is what brought Sigrid to EGBOK.
Originally from Gmunden, Austria, Sigrid received her diploma in Hotel Management from a hotel school located in Klessheim, Austria.
Ben has over nine years’ experience in the non-profit sector. Originally trained as
a tropical marine biologist, Ben has a Masters in Environmental Science from the
University of Sydney and numerous scientific publications. He also holds a
postgraduate degree in business management and is a proud member of the
World Economic Forum’s, prestigious Global Shapers Community. Having spent
the past five years supporting community development, education, healthcare
and environmental conservation projects in rural Cambodia, Ben joined the
EGBOK team with a strong understanding of the Kingdom’s challenges relating to
poverty and a dedication to empowering the nation’s leaders of tomorrow.
In his spare time Ben is a keen triathlete who enjoys the challenges of endurance
sports; as such, he is on a mission to complete his second IRONMAN triathlon in 2018.
ADMINISTRATION AND ACCOUNTS SUPERVISOR
Dara has over 5 years of professional experience working in the accounting field at a travel agency in Phnom Penh before he joined the EGBOK team.
He is originally from Kandal Province and he earned a Bachelor degree in Accounting at Vanda Institute of Accounting. During his studies he did an internship of computerized accounting and attended several seminars and trainings mainly for Microsoft and accounting software applications. He also volunteered as an English teacher for children at a church in Phnom Penh during his second year at the university.
At EGBOK Dara is in charge of administration, accounting and relationships with authorities.
ADMINISTRATIVE & HR OFFICER
She's originally from Kralanh district, Siem Reap province.
After graduating high school in 2013, she received a scholarship from Pepy Empowering Youth for two years. She was provided training in soft skills, English language and computer skills. During her studies she worked as a volunteer to survey on school drop outs and hygiene at local community schools. From 2013 - 2017, she pursued her bachelor degree in accounting at Vanda Institute. Prior to joining EGBOK in July 2017 Bunty gained experience as an accountant with a local non-profit organization.
Kandara brings her experience in business administration and project coordination to support and manage EGBOK’s project and program operations. Kandara focuses her efforts with EGBOK on strengthening relationships with the communities in which we partner, recruiting students for our training program, and supporting the students through their transition into life at EGBOK.
Kandara is pursuing her Masters degree in Business Management at Build Bright University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Asia Euro University as well as an Associates degree in Financial Management and Accounting from Build Bright University in Cambodia. Kandara is from Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Dara’s diverse professional background includes working in a number of different capacities in the hospitality sector in Cambodia as well as working with various organizations that support local youth through hospitality training and employment. His experience brings an optimal perspective as he focuses his efforts with EGBOK on creating and strengthening our partnerships with hospitality businesses in Cambodia, managing student employment and internships, and overseeing student hospitality training. He is also a ASEAN National Master Trainer in Food and Beverage Service certified by Ministry of Tourism.
Dara holds a Master in Entrepreneurship Management and a Bachelor in Project Management and Community Development from Build Bright University in Cambodia. Dara is from Kompong Speu Province, Cambodia.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER & MARKETING ASSISTANT
Originally from Siem Reap, Sopheak joined EGBOK with extensive experience in marketing and design, having previously worked in Phnom Penh for various marketing agencies and NGO. He holds a bachelor degree in IT and Computer Science from Royal University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia and a Diploma in Computer & Graphics Design from IT Academy Step Cambodia.
Suon has worked in the Cambodian hospitality and tourism industry for over 10 years. Since 2007, he has also worked in the education field as a Khmer-English teacher. He brings his valuable hospitality and education experience to his role of Hospitality Trainer in EGBOK’s Education Department, where he leads our practical hospitality lessons and prepares the students for their internships and future careers.
Suon is currently earning his bachelor degree in English at Cambodia Mekong University in Siem Reap. He is originally from Banteay Meanchey Province.
SOCIAL WORK SUPERVISOR / STUDENT SUPPORT SUPERVISOR
Sophany has over 6 years of professional experience working with young people at various NGOs. Her roles have included social work management, community development, education and vocational training, and professional counseling.
At EGBOK, Sophany is responsible for overseeing the social work department. Her duties include supporting students in order to enhance their overall well-being and ensuring that their basic needs are met. She pays particular attention to empowering the students to be strong and responsible people in their lives and careers.
Sophany graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia. She is from Prey Veng province.
CAREER & ALUMNI DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Tep is originally from Prey Veng province and has lived in Siem Reap for 10 years. He started as a volunteer English teacher and was subsequently promoted to English and Life Skills Trainer at Salariin Kampuchea. Before joining EGBOK, Tep worked as a Social & Education Manager at École du Bayon.
STUDENT DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
Seiha brings to EGBOK his experience as a Social Worker. Before joining EGBOK as our Student Development Officer, Sehia worked for two years with another NGO in their social work department. At EGBOK, Seiha focuses on the life skills component of our program, which includes conducting weekly workshops to teach students the skills needed to live independently. He also assists with social work matters such as one-on-one counseling and assisting students with transitions.
Seiha graduated from Build Bright University with a Bachelor’s degree in English for International Business and is currently pursuing his Master degree. Seiha is from Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia.
Narong joined EGBOK in October 2012 as a part time housekeeper. She ensures that our facility is kept clean and tidy so that students can focus on their studies. In the afternoon, Narong works at a local café in Siem Reap. Originally from Battambang Province, Narong spent many years living in Phnom Penh and Kampong Chhnang Province before moving to Siem Reap. Narong has two sons and hopes to own a small business one day. Her favorite thing about working at EGBOK is watching the students learn throughout the year and receive jobs after graduating.
Po has been working with EGBOK since 2012 as our gardener and security guard. He has a passion for gardening and also works as a groundskeeper for a boutique hotel in town. Po has nine children and recently saw his son-in-law graduate from EGBOK. His favorite thing about working for EGBOK is helping other Cambodians to be successful. Po grew up in Siem Reap and has worked as a farmer and gardener.
Ly Pock Heng
Heng brings to the team 9 years of restaurant management experience working in hotels and restaurants throughout Siem Reap. Heng spent 5 years with Borai Angkor Hotel and Spa, working his way up from waiter to restaurant supervisor. He then went on to serve as restaurant manager for both Blue Moon Café and Temple Bakery before joining EGBOK to manage Spoons. As Spoons restaurant manager, Heng oversees the restaurant’s operations as well as the recruitment, training and management of Spoons staff.
Heng has received specialized training in wine service and restaurant management He was born in Battambang and moved to Siem Reap at the age of 19.
Sombor is thrilled to share his passion for Cambodian cuisine as Spoons’ Sous Chef. He has been working for five years in the kitchens of some of Siem Reap’s most popular restaurants including Café Central, The Sun, and 55 Kitchen & Bar. He one day hopes to become Head Chef of his own restaurant. Sombor is originally from Siem Reap.
Phary has been cooking for over five years at various restaurants in Siem Reap, including Mission Bar and Khmer Queen Restaurant. Her passion for cooking extends to every style of cuisine, and she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with new flavors. Phary grew up in Battambang Province.
Songim joins the EGBOK team as a cook for Spoons. He has 3 years of cooking experience in various properties in Siem Reap including Jasmine Boutique Hotel, Popular Boutique Hotel, and Rambutan Hotel + Resort. At Spoons, Songim will assist in the kitchen with meal preparation.
He is originally from Siem Reap.
Sun Sam Oath
Sam Oath is originally from Siem Reap and graduated from Sala Bai Hotel & Restaurant in cooking. During her studies, she honed her cooking skills at Le Resident Ankgor and Raffles Grand Hotel. Before joining Spoons, she worked as a Cook for Borei Angkor Resort and Spa and Annadya Restaurant & Bar. Besides cooking, Sam Oath has also previously worked to protect the Angkor monument sites at the Apsara National Authority.
Originally from Siem Reap, Rath graduated from a tourism and hospitality college. Before joining Spoons, he worked at several restaurants in the positions of Server and Cashier.
He's orginally from Banteay Mean Chey province. He got a vocational training in merchanic from 2012-2013 in Battambang province. Then in 2014 he moved to Siem Reap and worked as security guard at Sala Bai. In 2015 he got a training at Marum in Service & Cook. After graduated, he worked at Nest Cafe & Restaurant as cook and in 2016 at Billina Boutique and after that he joined Spoons.
Before joining Spoons, Chhit worked in the construction and carpentry sector. He is originally from Siem Reap.
Joining Spoons team in 2017, Sophan is originally from Siem Reap. He also currently has a short Electronic course.
He's originally from Banteay Meanchey province. After graduated high school in 2012, he went to Paul Dubrule Hotel and Tourism School doing Restaurant & Bar Management from 2012-2013. He went to Thailand for internship for 2 months. In 2014, he worked as server in main dining at Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra for over 2 years then he was promoted as F&B Captain working in French Fine Dining for over one year. After that in June 2017, he joined Spoons.
Borey joins the Spoons wait staff, bringing with him ten years of experience working at Blue Moon Café and Pacific Hotel in Siem Reap. He is originally from Battambong Province and lives in Siem Reap along with his wife and six-year old son.
Saven joins the Spoons team after several years working in hotels and restaurants including Angkor Miracle Hotel in Siem Reap, and Glorious Hotel and Spa in Kampong Thom Province, where she is originally from. Saven studied at Sala Bai Restaurant School, graduating from the Restaurant Program. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and five year old daughter.
Tola joins the Spoons team after having built his Food & Beverage skills at Little Red Fox Espresso for the past two years. He grew up in Siem Reap and is always happy to share his favorite places in Siem Reap with the team and visitors alike. Tola enjoys music, spending time with his friends and chatting with customers from around the globe.
Sokhean joins the Spoons team after several years in the hotel industry in Siem Reap. She is originally from nearby Thnol Ta Seth village, and moved to Siem Reap in 2009 with her sister. She began working at Royal Angkor Resort and Spa, and then after two years moved on to Angkor Palace Hotel and Spa where she remained until joining Spoon. In her free time, Sokhean is an avid tennis player and enjoys spending time with her two sisters who live with her in Siem Reap.
Sokhak joins Spoons as a waitress after having previously worked in restaurants and travel agencies around Siem Reap. Aside from working at Spoons, Sokhak is pursuing Chinese language studies at Chong San School. She is originally from Kratie Province and moved to Siem Reap with her family at the age of ten. When not at work or school, Sokhak enjoys reading and practicing her Chinese.
Sreyleab comes to Spoons with over four years of hospitality experience under her belt. Prior to her arrival, she worked in food and beverage at the Royal Angkor Resort and Angkor Way Hotel. She is originally from Kompong Thom Province, and aspires to one day own her own restaurant.
She's originally from Siem Reap. From 2011 - 2015, she was trained in Khmer traditional weaving and sewing skills at Kamonohashi Project. She was the EGBOK fourth school year (2015 - 2016 ) student in Housekeeping and F&B. After graduated, she worked at Angkor Village Resort in F&B for 7 months. She joined Spoons in June 2017 as Server/Bartender.
Spoons Operations Manager
Michael Sands has worked in the restaurant industry in Chicago for 32 years. He has worked for leading restaurant companies in Chicago including Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Francesca Restaurant Group, and Goddess Restaurant Group. He has a very strong passion for food and beverage, service, and especially training. As the General Manager of several top restaurants in Chicago, he was very involved in the training of all new front of house staff. In the course of his career he has opened 14 restaurants. His strengths are operations, systems and controls, and service and training.
Michael will lead the planning and implementation of all operational functions of Spoons, while grooming a Cambodian team to successfully run the cafe. Additionally, Michael will work closely with EGBOK's Education Manager and Executive Director enhancing the Food & Beverage training for the students.
ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRPERSON
Barbara has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and presently operates B. Lang Consulting, a public speaking and professional development coaching business promoting a hospitality mindset – an awareness allowing each of us to be of benefit and service to those who cross our paths. Barbara began volunteering at EGBOK in 2010 and continues today as the chairperson of EGBOK's International Advisory Board.
Barbara holds a Bachelor's degree in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and a Master of Professional Studies in Food Marketing from Cornell University's Department of Applied Economics and Management. Barbara presently lives with her husband and fellow EGBOK volunteer, Dave, in Ithaca, New York.
Annie’s nine years of experience in the non-profit realm has been primarily focused on fundraising and international development. Her development roles include working for organizations such as Chicago-based Designs for Dignity, fundraising for children’s and women’s rights in New York City with the US Fund for UNICEF and UNFPA, education research in Argentina, community development in Ghana, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Annie perviously worked with EGBOK from 2010-2013 leading our fundraising and development.
Annie holds a Master of Art’s degree in International Affairs from The New School in New York City and received her Bachelor of Art’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University. Annie is from Chicago, Illinois.