Motivation Business Keynote Speakers


The Barefoot Wine Founders

Inspire, Encourage, and Empower

Barefoot Wine, now America’s #1 Wine Brand was created by Michael C. Houlihan and Bonnie M. Harvey who started in their laundry room with little wine industry knowledge and even less funds. They built an unknown label into one of the fastest-growing brands in America. They have demonstrated success in sales-oriented team building, product distribution, and building a national brand on a shoestring. Now they are sharing their experience and business principles to help start-ups and established businesses build winning brands.

Ideal audiences are small business owners, entrepreneurs, and business and marketing college students, with an emphasis on producers of products that go through wholesale and retail distribution.

“…Entertaining, timely, inspirational, and poignant. Our attendees were electrified with his candid real-world appraisal and practical recommendations for entrepreneurial success.”

–Becky Gann, MBA | Executive Director USASBE |

“Michael and Bonnie were great! They really are connected on a very special level. Well done!”

– Pat Murphy, CEO, The Institute for Social, Search, and Mobile Marketing


“Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey provided an engaging, down to earth account of how they created America’s best selling wine brand from nothing in an entertaining and educational way.  Students were at the edge of their seats and left with the feeling that they too could build a successful business with hard work and grit as Michael and Bonnie did.”

 –Michael Luchies, National Growth and Programs Manager, CEO


“Bonnie and Michael are a captivating force in the classroom, relating real-world experience in a delivery method that both engages and captivates any student in an entrepreneurial learning environment. As presenters, they do not shy away from connecting on a deeply personal level with their audience, and their ability to make their story applicable to a start-up venture made them the perfect fit to inspire our 2013 Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) students. I am honored to count Bonnie and Michael among our go-to group of world-class speakers for the EBV program.”    

–Jared S. Lyon, National Program Manager, EBV & EBV-F


 ”I highly recommend Bonnie and Michael as speakers both for students and experienced entrepreneurs.”

– Maddison Pedigo, Associate Director, Naveen Jindal School of Management, University of Texas


“Michael and Bonnie are dynamic speakers to whom audiences respond very well. Their effective speaking style combined with their vivid examples taken from their successful career as entrepreneurs always command a very positive audience response. They have an energetic style combined with rich stories.”

– Vic Motto, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Global Wine Partners LLC


To book Michael and Bonnie now, contact Mike Elliott at [email protected] or (707)-887-8866


Speaking Topics

Starters for Startups

Essential recommendations to build on a solid foundation, especially for young companies and new entrepreneurs.

  • “The History of Barefoot Wines” (Unlikely events, innovations and determination)
  • “Exit Stage Left’ (Know the value you will add to you acquirer before you start)
  • “The Fastest Way Out of the Box is Straight Up” (Take the 10,000-foot view)
  • “Make Friends in “Low” Places” (Folks on the ground know what’s really going on)
  • “Hire the Old Guy” (Why learn the hard way what he already knows?)
  • “Cash Flow Management (Partnering with vendors & buyers; outsource all you can)
  • “Undercapitalization, the Father of Invention” (The advantages of being small and broke)
  • “Know the Needs vs. Need to Know” (Give all staff the big picture and how they fit in)

Growing your Business

Proven effective attitudes and principles to grow a business, reduce turnover, and be effective.

  • “Culture Beyond Yogurt” (Give permission, acknowledgement & a fun time)
  • “Put a Buck on It” (Performance-based compensation & the 2-division company)
  • “Worthy Cause Marketing” (Give customers social reasons to buy)
  • “Don’t Waste a Perfectly Good Mistake” (Make mistakes right)
  • “Get Smart about Stupid” (Develop idiot-resistant strategies; do the other guy’s job)
  • “The No Game” (Ask the question different ways on different days; there are only 2 answers)
  • “Advice Management” (Ask advisors how to do it, not what to do)
  • “Staying on Course” (Set goals from 5 years to the next 5 minutes)

Brand Development

Essential tools to efficiently grow your brand by developing strategies that develop traction and attract an acquirer.

  • “Brand Integrity” (Consistent, dependable, value in products and message)
  • “Short Grunts” (Why the least number of syllables are more memorable)
  • “The 7 Sales” (Provide comprehensive customer service at every level)
  • “Retail Entertainment” (Give the retailer added value)
  • “Get your Feet Back” (Use every form of communication to improve your product)
  • “Replacements are Better than Placements” (Start small and stay in stock at retail)
  • “Attack Where the Enemy is Not” (Be appreciated in neglected markets)
  • “The Soul of a Brand” (Brands stand for more than the products they represent)