Bronwyn Stanford is a distinguished advocate renowned for her contributions to child and animal welfare, as well as her extensive legal career. Born and raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Stanford’s upbringing was steeped in a culture of ambition and resilience, influenced by her father, a Vice President at General Motors and an alumnus of Wharton and NYU. This foundation spurred her to excel both academically and athletically.

Stanford shone as a Division IA track and field athlete, specializing in the 800 and 1500 meters during her time at Springfield College and later at Western Michigan. Transitioning from athletics to law, she earned her law degree in 2003, embarking on a career that started with prosecuting domestic violence cases in Florida. Her legal path led her to significant roles at Carleton Fields, handling complex white-collar crime defenses, and ultimately to the Florida Department of Children and Families. There, she pioneered a state-run law firm dedicated to defending abused and neglected children, dramatically transforming child welfare services in the region.

Beyond the courtroom, Stanford is deeply committed to animal welfare. She founded CJPAWS, an organization focused on rescuing and rehabilitating vulnerable animals. Her passion extends to volunteering and fundraising for various animal welfare initiatives and maintaining a vegan lifestyle to promote health and sustainability.

Her leadership and dedication have earned her numerous accolades, including the Visionary Award for the State of Florida and the Stetson Alumni Award, marking her as a pivotal figure in both legal reform and community service.

How did you get started in this business?

I founded CJPAWS after years of volunteering and seeing the urgent need for more proactive animal rescue efforts. My background in law and public service gave me the tools to establish an organization that could legally and effectively advocate for animals. I wanted to create a system that not only rescued animals but also supported their recovery and adoption. Networking with other animal advocates and leveraging community support were crucial in the early days.

How do you make money?

 I was able to write a grant and receive a $50,000 donation initially when I started the company. CJPAWS primarily relies on donations from the community, fundraising events, and grants from animal welfare organizations. We also receive support through partnerships with local businesses that share our commitment to animal welfare. Membership programs and small fees for some of our services help cover the operational costs. Every dollar goes directly into saving more animals and funding educational programs.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

As a non-profit, our goal isn’t profit but sustainability. It took about two years to reach a point where our incoming donations consistently covered all our operational costs. This stability allowed us to expand our services and rescue efforts. Continuous community engagement and effective fundraising campaigns were key to achieving this.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

Yes, there were many challenges in the beginning. I often worried about securing enough funds and finding volunteers. I handled these doubts by focusing on our mission and the animals we were helping. Building a strong network and learning from other successful non-profits also provided guidance and reassurance.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first “customer” was actually a local family who adopted a dog we rescued from a high-risk situation. They learned about us through a community event we hosted to raise awareness. Their successful adoption story helped build trust in our mission and encouraged more people to support and adopt from us.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Social media has been incredibly effective for us. We use platforms like Instagram and Facebook to share stories of our rescues, successful adoptions, and daily shelter life. These posts not only engage our current supporters but also reach new audiences who can see the direct impact of our work.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

Deciding to expand our facility was tough. It required a significant investment and there was risk involved. However, the need to accommodate more rescues and provide better care facilities for them made it a necessary step. We decided to proceed after thorough planning and securing sufficient funding.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

My dedication to the cause and the ability to inspire others to join the movement have played big roles. Being successful means staying committed even when things get tough, and always putting the welfare of the animals first. Our community’s support has also been essential.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moments always come when we successfully rehabilitate and rehome animals that have been neglected or abused. Seeing them thrive in loving homes is incredibly rewarding and reaffirms the importance of our work.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

The future looks promising as we plan to introduce more educational programs and collaborate with more organizations. I am most excited about developing our outreach programs to teach people about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

What business books have inspired you?

“Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury has deeply influenced my approach to legal advocacy and negotiations. This book emphasizes the power of principled negotiation—finding mutually advantageous agreements based on the merits of a case. It’s shaped how I navigate the complexities of legal discussions, always aiming for outcomes that best serve the welfare of children and animals.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to start even smaller and to be patient. It’s important to take gradual steps and to learn as much as possible along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and always stay true to your mission.

Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?

Absolutely, I am willing to mentor anyone interested in animal welfare and non-profit management. Anyone looking to reach out can contact me via email through our organization’s website or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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