Meet Jennifer Bouani (35) Author, Bouje Publishing
Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include?
It started back in 2004-2005 when three sources of inspiration hit me in a single year. To put it in context, outsourcing and globalization were at the top of people’s minds. In fact I was witnessing it first hand in the company where I was working. Our company had begun outsourcing some of our most interesting IT projects to India, and my college-educated colleagues were being left behind. It disturbed me because my colleagues were smart, responsible people with a first-rate work ethic who had dedicated a lot of long hours and intellectual property to the company. I was tempted to think that all of this outsourcing was unfair. However, I knew that I shouldn’t blame the company and its managers for trying to lower costs to compete and survive. Where would my colleagues go when the company decided to outsource everything, I wondered. Another company? Perhaps, until that company figured out that it, too, would save more by outsourcing. We were now living in a new global world and that was a fact. It was apparent that eventually my colleagues would have to change careers.
At the same time, I finished my second Ayn Rand book, Atlas Shrugged (I had read The Fountainhead years earlier) and was moved by the strong, purposeful heroes who possessed extraordinary ambition, independence and honesty. They made me look at the world and mankind in a different light. Atlas Shrugged showed me how these heroes (our producers) are not only the engine to the American economic system, but that capitalism in its purest state is the most moral economic system known to man.
The third inspiration, probably the kicker, was my daughter coming into my life. For the first time I had someone else’s future to consider. I tried to imagine what “making a living” would entail for her generation in this new global world. Already I could tell from the outsourcing I was witnessing at work that spending a lifetime at one company was unrealistic. But I was just beginning to realize that a college education towards one specialized degree would probably not be enough, either, and that she would likely need to adopt several careers in her lifetime. In order to survive, she was going to have to learn and practice a deeper level of creative thinking and
information seeking. In order to compete, she was going to have to understand the fundamentals of business and economics. So, these three sources of inspiration hit me at once: globalization, a deeper appreciation for capitalism and my daughter’s future. My generation’s educators had trained us to be good employees. My daughter’s generation, however, will require a radically different education if they are to compete in this global world.
So I naively went looking for a series of kids’ books (something fun and adventurous) that taught business concepts at their level. I knew she was too young to understand the messages (she was only an infant), but I wanted to collect them and put them on a shelf to be brought down and read at the right moment. I searched everywhere, but found nothing that came close to what I was looking for. Surely, I wasn’t the only parent who was looking for this, I thought. So, I decided to write the series myself. That’s how the Future Business Leaders’ SeriesTM came to be.
Tell us about the company you work for or own?
Bouje Publishing is an Atlanta-based publisher that specializes in teaching kids business concepts and entrepreneur skills. Bouje, pronouced /bōōjsh/, publishes the Future Business Leaders’ Series™. Today, the series is sold in over 12 countries and translated into Korean. The books have also won 2 National Awards, Disney’s Iparenting media award for best book 2007 and USA Book Awards 2009. Bouje Publishing’s President has been named 2008 Top 10 Small Business Entrepreneur by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and 2009 Top 5 Small Business Entrepreneur by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Bouje Publishing’s philosophy is summarized as:
A child who masters the fundamentals of entrepreneurship sets the foundation for his success; a community that fosters this education exponentially increases prosperity, freedom and peace for all.
What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
Working with kids from all walks of life by helping them understand the business world, money economy and how to succeed in real life. Mentoring parents and educators on ways to introduce kids to entrepreneurship and business concepts. My volunteering work includes Junior Achievement, Heart2Hearts, Shepherd Center..
Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?
Indeed, I’m working on the music that will accompany the book series which one day I will hope to turn into a movie and I would be interested to meet children’s movie producers.
What are some of your favorite ways to network?
I use Facebook and Twitter as well as our own social network targeted towards educators and parents.
Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another? If not, is this something you think would benefit your career and is there anyone you would like to have as a mentor? Absolutely, I would like to meet someone in the media industry who can guide me and help me grow.
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career?
How kids as young as nine can get so excited about learning real life lessons and turning what they learned into starting real and profitable businesses.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Listen to music, read, spend time with my family and travel.
Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Go in the direction of your dreams, do not compromise your principles, and never give up on your ultimate goal.
How can our readers connect with you?