Able Made Go-Getter: Judy Wicks

Judy Wicks is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and mentor working to build a more compassionate, environmentally sustainable and locally based economy. That's a whole lot of go.

With a deep love of nature and valuing the role of small businesses in community life, Judy Wicks has used her passion to build communities. Over her career, Judy co-founded the Free People's Store, Fair Food, written award-winning book Good Morning Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer, and so much more. 

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. We caught up with Judy at White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia, and we’re proud to highlight some of her pioneering steps in our bold socks.


"I started small, rather than with a big idea, so that I could learn along the way."

What makes you a Go-Getter?

A passion for life. And parents who gave me lots of freedom.

What inspires you to create an impact?

Protecting what I love. I love this beautiful planet Earth and the other animals who share it with us. I am also passionate about justice and democracy and building a more equitable, compassionate and green economy that serves the needs of all, while working in harmony with natural systems.

What keeps driving your passion forward?

Now that I'm retired from business, I'm finding ways to contribute my skills and knowledge to help young entrepreneurs who share my values build sustainable businesses in our local economy. I'm also passionate about addressing climate change by doing what I can to lower the burning of carbons in my own life and fighting the building of pipelines by oil and gas companies, when we should instead be building a renewable energy infrastructure as fast as possible.

What were the biggest challenges opening White Dog Cafe, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenges to opening the White Dog Cafe back in 1983 were finding capital and developing a dedicated team of people.  I started small, rather than with a big idea, so that I could learn along the way and find capital from family and friends, the bank, and local government as I grew and proved my business acumen and concept. I worked closely with employees to build a workplace community that provided a sense of belonging, pride and happiness that strengthened commitment to the company and our work together. 

Who/What is inspiring you today?

I'm inspired by rising feminine energy that will some day bring an end to patriarchy. I am inspired by indigenous people and their allies who are standing up to the power of fossil fuel and mining industries to defend the land they see as sacred.


Any words of wisdom to share?

Humankind must find our place in the web of life, no longer as exploiters, but as lovers of life, living with respect for other species, each other and future generations. To do otherwise, will bring the end of this civilization.

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Photography: Kriston Jae Bethel | Hair/Make Up: Keri McBride