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Ben Justus

FOUNDER

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 is from San Diego, California.

 

Sigrid Baldinger

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

After having lived in Cambodia for two years, Sigrid joined EGBOK 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.

 

Sun Sopheak

MARKETING AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Sopheak has been growing her skills and experience through working with various social development organizations over the past eight years. She has experience working in social business and vocational training for women, living arts conservation, and youth empowerment through educational and entrepreneurship program experience. She is excited to join the EGBOK team as Marketing and Administrative Assistant and is thrilled to play a role in supporting young Cambodians to have a better life and future. 

Sopheak graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Field Management Information System from National University of Management in Phnom Penh.  

 
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Keo Sreynich

ADMINISTRATION & ACCOUNTS OFFICER

Sreynich brings forth her experience working in administration and finance for another NGO in Cambodia. She has also had experience volunteering at various organizations in Cambodia. At EGBOK, Sreynich is an Administration & Accounts Officer. She works to build stronger relationships with the Cambodian government and ensures that records are comliant. Additionally, she manages accounting and administrative matters relating to personnel at EGBOK. Sreynich is an integral member of EGBOK team, as she ensures that the logistical aspects of the organization run smoothly.

Sreynich graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Battambang. She is studying for a Master's degree in Accounting at Build Bright University in Cambodia.

 
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Top Kandara

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

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.

 
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Kong Dara

EDUCATION MANAGER

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.

Dara is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Business. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Project Management and Community Development from Build Bright University in Cambodia. Dara is from Kompong Speu Province, Cambodia.

 

Khoun Suon

HOSPITALITY TRAINER

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 degree in Sales and Marketing at USEA University in Siem Reap. He is originally from Banteay Meanchey Province.

 

Bunthim Malivan

CAREER & ALUMNI DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Malivan brings her years of experience in administration and project management to her role as Career & Alumni Development Coordinator at EGBOK. She assists EGBOK students and alumni with the job search process, from writing a strong CV to successful interview strategies. She works closely with EGBOK’s hospitality partner sites, ensuring that we maintain our strong relationships through internships and job placements, and plays an important role in supporting the students as they transition from EGBOK into the professional world.

Malivan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Banking from the National University of Management in Cambodia. Malivan is originally from Phnom Penh.

 

Mao Sophany

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. 

 
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Phork Seiha

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. He hopes to continue his higher education next year. Seiha is from Banteay Meanchey Province, Cambodia.

 

Nem Bonsom

ENGLISH TEACHER

Bonsom has been teaching English for over 10 years, and leads EGBOK’s basic and beginner level English classes. Prior to arriving at EGBOK Bonsom was an English teacher for Friends International, alocal nonprofit serving disadvantaged Cambodian youth. He originally comes from Banteay Meanchey Province, and now lives in Siem Reap with his wife.

 

Khan Narong

HOUSEKEEPER

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. 

 
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Kong Po

GARDENER

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. 

 
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Annie Place

ADVISOR

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. 

 
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Barbara Lang

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.

 

Spoons
 

Ly Pock Heng

RESTAURANT MANAGER

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.

 
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Mork Mengly

HEAD CHEF

Mengly brings to Spoons his passion for honoring and experimenting with the traditional flavors of Cambodian cuisine and over 4 years of experience working in the local culinary industry in Siem Reap. Prior to joining EGBOK, Mengly worked for 2 and a half years in the kitchen at Rambutan Hotel + Resort Siem Reap, followed by stints at Charlie’s Bar and Pages Café. As the Head Chef, Mengly works on developing menu items, leading the kitchen team, and delivering culinary training to EGBOK students in the Spoons kitchen. 

Mengly studied Cooking and Restaurant Management at Paul Dubrule Hotel and Tourism School in Siem Reap, where he was also born and raised.  

 

Noeum Sombor

SOUS CHEF

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.

 

Ly Phary

COOK

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.

 

Kha Songim

COOK

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.

 

Ly Borey

SERVER/BARTENDER

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.

 

Sam Saven

SERVER/BARTENDER

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. 

 

An Tola

SERVER/BARTENDER

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.

 

Peng Sokhean

SERVER/BARTENDER

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.  

 

Chan Sokhak

SERVER/BARTENDER

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. 

 

Heang Sreyleab

SERVER/BARTENDER

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.

 

Michael Sands

VOLUNTEER CONSULTANT

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.

 

Shuhei Yasuda

SALES & MARKETING ADVISOR

Shuhei has worked in the hotel management industry for 9 years, serving in both headquarter offices and overseas properties for Okura Nikko Hotel Management. His career has taken him to Tokyo and Osaka in Japan, and Bali in Indonesia. In Bali, Shuhei acted as team lead in the Rooms division, and then moved on to lead the Sales & Marketing division. He specializes in maximizing and optimizing hotel revenue through innovative sales and marketing strategies. At EGBOK, Shuhei is spearheading the sales and marketing for Spoons with a focus on building collaborative relationships in the local market.  

Shuhei graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Studies from Sophia University and is originally from Chiba prefecture in Japan.

 

Interested in joining the EGBOK team?