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Podcast
2 mins

A conversation with Keen’s Brand Protection Heroes

A conversation with Keen’s Brand Protection Heroes

We can all agree that environmental sustainability is key if we aim for a better future. Keen not only promotes sustainability but takes action upon it. A great example is the amazing footwear they manufacture for adventurers. 

Not long ago, we discovered Keen’s employees are adventurers as well. We talked to Ellen Sheedy, General Counsel, and Jennifer Carman, IP & Global Brand Protection Manager at Keen. 

You can listen to their full conversation on our podcast or read on for a glimpse into their journey. 

Key takeaways:
  • Keen’s business overview. 
  • Challenges faced as brand protection heroes.
  • Advice for aspiring IP experts. 

The following is part of the transcript of Heroes of Brand Protection podcast, Episode 12 featuring a conversation between E. Sheedy, J. Carman, and Daniel Shapiro, Red Points’ VP of Brand Relationships. 

Q stands for questions from Daniel Shapiro.

Q: For those that may not know about your business, can you give a brief overview?

Keen is a family-owned, values-led company. We’re based in Portland, Oregon, and we have operations in Canada, Japan, The Netherlands… Our products are sold around the world through a network of distributors and retail partners. 

We sell a lot of outdoor footwear: hiking boots, the Newport sandals (a hybrid of beach sandals, water shoes, and hiking boots), shoes, etc. 

One of the coolest things about our headquarters and stores are the repurposed items. Also, the whole headquarters was renovated only using one dumpster. 

Q: What’s the hardest thing you have to do as a Brand Protection Manager?

The biggest thing is staying on top of the complexity. Every day is a new adventure, which is great, we’re learning all the time. There are always new things popping up. Keen is extremely entrepreneurial, and as a private family-owned business we can be very nimble and very quickly. We own manufacturing facilities in Portland, the Dominican Republic, and Thailand. So whether it is opening a new manufacturing facility, entering into a new collaboration with either an industry leader, or celebrity, or a non-profit organization… Keen is always moving. 

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?

One piece of advice that I would give somebody is to always ask more questions. Especially for someone interested in the legal field: keep asking questions. Sometimes it takes a while to get all the information from someone, sometimes they don’t understand all the things that you’re thinking about, etc. I tell people in my team all the time to go back and ask some more questions, to get a little bit more information to learn more about the situation. Then we can figure out what the real issues are.

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