Juliette Winningham is the Founder and CEO of the FreeBird Foundation of Evergreen, Colorado. Winningham is interested in helping underprivileged communities and in enriching the lives of children and young people around the country and around the world.
Her foundation has recently released the first volume in a 30-book children’s series called Bruno’s Amazing Adventures by Juliette Winningham and Nicolas Kistler. The first entry, Rocky Mountain High, explores issues regarding hiking and camping safety. The goal of these books is to present useful information in an upbeat and child-friendly fashion.
The book series explores the close relationship between children and pets. Bruno, the main character of the series, is a Bernese Mountain Dog. The series is meant to emphasize the meaning of pets in children’s lives as well as relating important safety and health information.
Juliette Winningham left corporate life where she was involved in the energy industry. She believed that her talents would be better used in her foundation, helping needy and underprivileged people everywhere.
With the release of Bruno’s Amazing Adventures, the FreeBird Foundation hopes to raise money for its most cherished causes. The books will provide much-needed education and entertainment for young children and their families.
Winningham’s dedication to public service is an inspiration to business people everywhere who may be looking for ways to give back to the community.
How did you get started in this business?
I worked in the energy industry for years. While I found the work to be rewarding, I decided that my talent would be better used in the nonprofit world. I was inspired to create the FreeBird Foundation because I wanted to help needy children and families. I believed that my writing talents would help to spread the word about my foundation and about topics related to children’s health and safety.
How do you make money?
Since I am the Founder and CEO of a nonprofit foundation, I am not as concerned about making money. I do want to fundraise as much as possible to further our aims of helping children. The most important thing that our foundation is doing to raise money is to produce our book series Bruno’s Amazing Adventures.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Foundations are not profitable businesses, but we have started selling books and gaining charitable donations. I have been able to give our organization some seed funding, along with business colleagues who believe in our mission.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I was worried at the beginning that we would not be able to keep the foundation running without large donors. I self-funded the foundation at the beginning, but I would not be able to fully support the foundation by myself. That was the inspiration for creating the book series.
How did you get your first customer?
Nonprofit foundations don’t really have customers, but we have been advertising our books online and through social media avenues where parents will be able to find our products.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
We have been marketing our books both on social media and on our website. I hope that we will be able to attract enough business to make the book series successful. Taking into consideration the difficult environment we find ourselves living in today, I hope that parents will be able to use our books to provide education and entertainment to their children.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I had to part ways with a supplier that we had been doing business with for years. Their prices were too high, and as a nonprofit, we are always watching our expenses. I hope that I will be able to do business with that supplier at some point in the future if they can get their costs under control.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
In the business world, I learned a great deal about networking and making deals. I also had a scientific level of interest in energy topics. My business associates valued my quick thinking and my ability to make deals across a variety of sectors. I also have a sense of commitment that means that I follow through on my obligations.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment was selling the first copy of our book. I had some doubts about whether we would be able to raise money on the book, and as the orders came in, my optimism grew.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
My book series is planned to have 30 entries. I hope that parents collect the entire series to share with their young children. I hope that in the future, we will be able to use our proceeds to donate to needy families around the country.
What business books have inspired you?
Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson was deeply inspirational for me. Steve Jobs was a transformative figure in technology. His seemingly simple ideas radically changed the way people interact with the world.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self that it would be possible to leave corporate life and make a go of it as a nonprofit foundation. I have always wanted to be a force in the nonprofit world, and I believe that I will be successful in helping families and children.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, if a business or nonprofit leaders are interested, they can contact me through my foundation.