Kunthearath Nhek-Morrissey is a first-generation Cambodian/Vietnamese immigrant with over two decades of experience in the corporate business world. Her resume includes work in supply chain and international logistics spanning manufacturing, retail, agriculture and technology. She has held senior supply chain positions at Starbucks, Amazon, Bunge and now, Big Heart Tea Co.
Our favorite sustainability babe is cool and calm and everything you want in a friend as well as a business partner. Mother of two, Kunthearath has learned that the work/life balance is less balance, more partnership. Raising children and a sustainable business have been symbiotic, and it’s not unusual to spot more than one Nhek-Morrissey around the Big Heart warehouse.
What sets Kunthearath apart (and coincidentally, makes her the ideal badass for Big Heart) is her compassion. She is driven by a love of people and belief that businesses shouldn’t operate in secret. She is legit friends with the people who make our company possible: farmers, tea blenders, printers, local shop owners. These relationships allow for transparency and having a big heart means refusing to step on others to be successful.
Making Big Heart ‘green’.
The small plastic bag inside a traditional tea box can live in a landfill for years but Kunthearath was not having that. She is responsible for the transition to one of our favorite plastic alternatives, cello. After reading a piece on BHT in the Post-Dispatch, owner of locally owned Checker Bag, Bob, reached out to Kunthearath. Before working with the Big Heart team, Checker Bag exclusively manufactured plastics. After months of talks and trial and error though, we made THE plastic guy our cello guy. Bob’s a friend now too.
Tea bags made with plastic infuse your tea with plastic. It’s bad for bodies and bad for the environment. Kunthearath transitioned Big Heart Tea Co. from traditional tea bags to a plant-based bag made of soilon. Soilon bags are fully compostable and won’t fill your tummy with polylactic acid — win, win. Kunthearath was able to make the change through direct work with our manufacturer in Japan. Each step is a relationship allowing for innovative changes, instead of backroom deals.
Organic certification is no joke. It requires a close relationship, we’re talking intimate, with each partner in our supply chain. Kunthearath has established friendships with our suppliers as well as our organic certifier, ODAFF (Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry). She manages certification inspections and all of our organic compliance. It’s hard work, but Kunthearath makes it look like conversations with dear friends because, well, that’s what she’s made it.
Taking our next steps with a smaller footprint.
Kunthearath is never satisfied with her work for Big Heart Tea Co. She knows that there is always more to do to make a positive impact on our planet and our community. Kunthearath continues pursuing relationships across the globe to find fully traceable ingredients for your tea. While cello and soilon have nearly eliminated plastic from our packaging, sustainable practices mean ensuring every step of our process leaves the earth better than we found it. There’s a lot of work left to do, but we’re certain we have the right woman for the job.