Forbes Executive Started His Ascent at UW-Green Bay: Dave Owino is One of Three Siblings Honored as a ‘Distinguished Alumni’

Dave Owino followed his sisters to UW-Green Bay from their native Nairobi, Kenya. He and his sisters—Peres, an award-winning Kenyan-American storyteller and Rita, a healthcare executive and consultant—were all named Distinguished Alumni Award Winners, Thursday, April 20, 2023 at an awards ceremony on the UW-Green Bay campus.

And while Peres and Rita made it to Green Bay rather uneventfully; Dave’s journey was far more challenging.

On August 7, 1998, he was on his way to the American Embassy in Nairobi to secure his VISA needed to travel to the United States to attend college. Realizing he was missing a required document, he turned back, and was 3-4 blocks away when he felt the ground vibrate beneath his feet. A look over his shoulder revealed the embassy crumbling and people fleeing in all directions from a bomb. It was later determined to be a terrorist attack linked to al Qaeda. In the aftermath of the attack and a simultaneous one at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 224 people died and more than 4,500 were wounded.

With his trip to the States put on hold, Owino and his family members were grateful he was able to walk away without injury. And in Spring of 1999, he made his way to Green Bay, this time uneventfully.

On accepting the Distinguished Alumni honor, he was able to pause from his high-paced life as a vice president of Business Development at Forbes Marketplace and reflect on his time at UW-Green Bay, and his rapid moves through corporate world to Miami, Florida where he now resides with his wife and their two children.

Speaking about his time at the University, he said friends at the International Center, and staff working there helped him to acclimate to life in the United States. In his acceptance speech, he commended his parents on their self-sacrifice. And he expressed his sincere appreciation to UW-Green Bay Prof. Ismail Shariff (who passed away in Jan of 2022 after battling cancer).

“Life in the U.S. is very complicated and difficult for a minority immigrant,” Shariff said. It was the motivation for Owino to work twice as hard.

“I attribute hard work, staying confident and staying true to myself,” Owino said. “Racial and cultural discrimination have and continue to be the biggest obstacles minorities face.”

The economic (Business Administration ‘03) major began his post-graduate journey at Schneider Logistics, managing the Northeast Market for all General Motors deliveries. Owino then took the position of affiliate manager at a small digital marketing startup in Florida to “escape Wisconsin’s brutal winters.” Learning the ins and outs of the digital marketing space, Owino led a team that built the Flexoffers Affiliate Network, which was later sold to Bankrate to power their partnership network. This network currently generates more than $50 million in annual revenue.

At Forbes Marketplace—the commercial/performance marketing arm of Forbes media, Owino and his team members are responsible for identifying leads, networking and acquiring new clients and business opportunities. There, he has been instrumental in leading the teams that secured brand partnerships for the award-winning performance media brands—Forbes Advisor, Forbes Health, Forbes Home and Forbes Wheels.

Our team does all the research to provide consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions,” Owino explains.” Our goal is to make smart decisions simple.”

Story by Sue Bodilly ’87 ‘04

You may also like...