Michael Houlihan is the co-founder of Barefoot Cellars, along with partner Bonnie Harvey. Though his business card reads, “Head Stomper,” he officially served as president and CEO for 19 years. Starting with no money and no knowledge of the wine industry, he and Bonnie used out-of-the-box thinking coupled with solid business principles to build a leading national brand. They relied on “worthy cause marketing” instead of conventional advertising to grow a loyal following and promote their favorite causes.
Barefoot Wines went on to win the industry’s top sales awards. They were selling well over a half a million cases annually when the E&J Gallo family purchased the brand in 2005. Since then, Michael has been a valued advisor to large and small corporations and start-ups, offering his real world experience to improve their profitability, grow their brands, and improve their culture. Sales, marketing, and performance-based compensation are his sweet spots. He also donates professional time to non-profits to help them improve their image, increase donations and achieve financial sustainability.
Michael is a funny, informative, and inspiring speaker who delivers keynotes for conventions, corporations, national conferences and schools of entrepreneurship. (Audiences love the quirky Barefoot stories he weaves in with how-to advice they can put into practice right away.) He is also a seminar and webinar leader, a guest lecturer at business and entrepreneurial schools, and a contributor to a variety of professional and national publications. Michael coauthors weekly business blogs at www.thebarefootspirit.com and www.thebrandauthority.net.
Michael is the Co-author of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, a New York Times Bestselling Business Book.
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