Elizabeth Welborn, BS ‘94


Combining her passion for horses and design and dedication to sustainability and economic empowerment, Elizabeth created Stick & Ball, a sustainable fashion brand with a vision for positive change.

Elizabeth Goodwin Welborn, a ’94 graduate,  majored in International Business with a minor in Spanish while at Spring Hill College. Upon graduation, she dedicated a year volunteering with the United Way of South Louisiana where she grew up, then headed to Denver where she heard of a booming job market. Elizabeth landed a position with a telecommunications company developing the South American market. “Speaking Spanish from SHC’s intensive studies in Guatemala and Costa Rica absolutely helped to land this position.” She worked and traveled the world with this company for the next five years, two of which were living in Manila, Philippines helping to develop the company’s business in Southeast Asia. Once the Asian economic crisis hit in ’98, she was pulled back to the company’s headquarters in Denver and began developing the company’s clients in California.


A sunny, blue skied weekend of the San Francisco Bay captured her heart and she made the decision to head further West. She continued her work in telecom, this time in the hot spot of Silicon Valley. At the time, she had met another SHC alum who was running staff for one of San Francisco’s top catering companies and she began moonlighting as a chef .  Fascinated with California’s food and wine culture, she made a career departure to the wine industry where she worked in wine for the Mondavi’s and returned to school for her diploma in wine and spirits with the London based WSET. After getting married and having children, she gave up this newfound passion to work for her husband in the medical field. Although good for the family business, she longed for a more creative outlet.


Liz’s aha moment came when she revisited a former childhood passion of riding horses and spending time in the countryside,  this time at a polo ranch North of San Francisco. She was intrigued with not only the incredible sport of polo and its international and storied history, but also the strong Latin American inspired community and culture of the sport. She began heading up charity events for the club cooking farm to table dinners and inviting her friends from the wine country to collaborate. She gifted embroidered, handwoven Mexican ponchos with each ticket purchased for the chilly evenings which were a huge hit. Surrounded by all of the things she loved — horses, food and wine, handcrafted textiles and an international, chic, field side fashion, everything clicked for her to begin an America’s inspired, sustainable lifestyle brand, Stick & Ball.


The company, Stick & Ball, is inspired by Elizabeth’s passions and embraces core values from her upbringing as well as her education and experiences while at SHC. The pillars of “Integrity, Sustainability, Empowerment and Hope” are embraced in everything from design to business practices as well as a variety of social initiatives. “Many of our designs are handcrafted by artisans in economically challenged and remote areas. We pay fair wages for production, work with cooperatives that provide community education and support to women and children and try to source with a soil to soil mentality to have minimal environmental impact. Designing and producing sustainably is very important to our brand as well as educating the consumer on the importance of sustainable consumption. I originally chose Spring Hill for the Marin Biology program and care deeply about the oceans and waterways. Although I chose to major in business, I am pleased to bring this full circle with the brand to begin a 0 plastics initiative from end to end,” says Elizabeth. Stick & Ball is headquartered in Mill Valley, California where Elizabeth resides with her two children, Camille and John Hearst, her dog Bella and her three horses. The brand celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year. One of Elizabeth’s favorite things about coming to work is that her best friend from SHC, Wendy Zarzaur Johnston, joined the company as COO in 2019. “For anyone who knows us from campus, we were joined together at the hip all four years. It is so fun and inspiring to get to work together with Wendy daily. Our values are so aligned it makes most decisions as partners pretty simple.”  The biggest piece of advice Elizabeth can give to others is to “Spend time writing out your personal core values. Use these values to help to guide you in life’s big decisions, such as choosing your work or how you manage your company, your life partner and friends, your children’s education, etc.”


Throughout her life, Elizabeth has always had a deep rooted passion to create and grow things or make things better. From leadership positions as SHC, to later founding a charity for Louisiana’s ailing wetlands, making a positive difference is a natural way of life. Spring Hill College was a big part of the formation of Elizabeth’s passions and values. Through various opportunities she has been able to form a life that combines her passion with her need to do good. She writes, “my life, like so many of ours, has been a journey through which many experiences have built upon each other. I love design and have so many passions - too many to list. But if I dig deep, I have always loved helping others and that is what ultimately drives me. So, although I could say ten years ago I figured out what I wanted to do by creating my fashion/lifestyle brand, I am also truly creating a company that I hope can do a lot of good for others, a passion from long ago.”


By Catherine Edwards '21



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