Appreciation for Public Speaking

UT Tampa

“Michael and Bonnie served as the speakers for the University of Tampa Fall 2013 Main Street Speaker Series program.  Their story is amazing and they deliver it with  a warm and approachable style. They exude a positive energy and the way they share the telling of the story between the two of them simply draws in the listener.  It was a fun presentation with many valuable learning points.  Virtually anyone who wants to build a brand and serve customer needs can learn from your story.  Afterwards, our students were lined up to talk with them and I heard significant buzz on campus all day!”

–Rebecca White, Professor, Entrepreneurship and James W. Walter Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship Director, Entrepreneurship Center, The University of Tampa, John H. Sykes College of Business 2012 President, United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)


MIT_Enterprise_Forum“Michael and Bonnie’s story tells the audience the all-too-brutal truth about what one really has to do to succeed.”

 –Adam Hartung, Contributing Author, Forbes




“I thoroughly enjoyed their presentation at the CEO Conference–wonderful job! They are great role models.”

–Gerald Hills, Founder, C.E.O.


USASBE_logo_new207“Our entire group benefitted from their wisdom. The fact they were so entertaining was simply icing on the cake. We are having them back!”

– Patrick Snyder, Executive Director, USASBE


rsz_university_of_texas--dallas_tx“Bonnie and Michael provided very useful advice to our students.  Their suggestions and lessons learned complemented our curriculum in a variety of areas, including customer discovery and validation, promotional strategy and branding, and bootstrapping.  I highly recommend Bonnie and Michael as speakers both for students and experienced entrepreneurs.”

– Maddison Pedigo, Associate Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs, Naveen Jindal School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas



Bonnie and Michael’s presentation to our students during Business Week was spectacular. Their story and the management principles they have developed excited and inspired our students.

– Rachel Croson, Dean, College of Business, The University of Texas at Arlington


EBV Logo

“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



“The reaction from our members was nothing less than superb!”


–Nancy Munro, Chapter President, ChicagoMIT Enterprise Forum; CEO & Founder, KnowledgeShift




“Their willingness to be genuine is so apparent and in contrast to “success story” people that my students have heard in the past.”

–Matt DiGeronimo, Professor, University of Hawaii; Senior Manager Director, Smith Floyd Mergers & Acquisitions



“It was a pleasure to hear Michael & Bonnie both speak at Cornell this afternoon. The Barefoot Spirit has played an integral role for me when making decisions for my new business. Young entrepreneurs like myself are fortunate to have people like them as a resource to help guide and coach us through our exciting careers.”

–Chris Kirby, Owner, The Ithaca Hummus Co.




“The Barefoot Founders were a big hit at the recent Northwest SOCAP Chapter meeting in San Francisco.  Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are truly charming and engaging presenters!  They shared stories of the challenges they faced founding the Barefoot Wine brand and how they overcame them by  putting the customer first and creatively responding to their needs and wants.  Their tag team approach was refreshing and kept us entertained while delivering this important message.  It was fun and our members had nothing but praise!”

–Northwest SOCAP Board


UT Tampa

“Their inspiration and motivation was so enlightening for the students and there has been a buzz around campus because of it!”

–James Zebrowski, President, The UT Entrepreneurs



University of Florida

Spectacular!!  Michael and Bonnie hit an absolute home run with my undergraduate Entrepreneurship class.  I could not have asked for more in terms of how the material they covered related to the concepts we have covered in this class.”

–Bill Rossi, Associate Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at University of Florida, Warrrington College of Business




“Their wisdom, warmth and wit will long be remembered by all.”

-Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach, Mississippi State University College of Business




“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


merrill_lynch_logo“It is so refreshing to hear the mindset behind such a great product and the evolution of your business. I will be able to take your business lessons and relay them back to those that are working to expand. I especially enjoyed your explanation of the “money map” and “organizational charts” but more importantly the idea of treating suppliers (and all others) how you would like to be treated. Such a basic idea that seems to fall by the wayside.”

–Gina L. Sederstrom, Financial & Portfolio Advisor, Morris Fuller Group, Merrill Lynch Private Client Group


Bradley University

“We were glad to hear your insights about starting a company and to gain a different perspective on business and entrepreneurship. It was truly inspirational!”

–Rita Mikhailova, MBA Association, Bradley University




“An informative and entertaining presentation.  It was inspiring as an entrepreneur, to hear how your hard work and creative approach paid off.” 

–Daniel Speers, Sales and Marketing Manager, Savvo Digital Sommelier Solutions



“I found their conversations inspiring and informative.  I’m ecstatic that they were able to share their story and their ideals with our next generation of business students at the university.  I love when people inspire others to greatness.”

–Sean E. Ahlum, MFA Creative Writing, MBA, Assistant Director Technology and Communications, University of North Carolina Wilmington




“They both were wonderful and filled the room with such knowledge and wisdom that many lives of our students will be changed as a result of your visit. They truly inspired us with their  ”Barefoot Spirit”.

– Bonnie Chavez, Chair of the Business Administration Department, The Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation


Purdue University“Your abilities to connect and inspire the enterprising thought process is uncanny!”

–Melissa Evens, Director of Military and Veterans Affairs, Purdue University


USASBE_logo_new207“I had the opportunity to hear Michael Houlihan tell The Barefoot Spirit story in the company of over 400 university professors and administrators at the annual conference of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  Michael’s story, while in many respects the quintessential American entrepreneurial story, commanded mine and the audience’s attention because it is a story of both humility and dogged determination to succeed through innovation in an industry where innovation is a rarity.

–Pat Dickson, President, The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Associate Professor, Wake Forest University,  North Carolina


EBV Logo


“Being a Veteran with a service disability, you guys have inspired our small family business to give back in a big way.”

–Josh Schieffer, EBV Member


rsz_university_of_texas--dallas_tx “On behalf of the Entrepreneurship Club at UT Dallas, we would like to you both for coming to our school and telling the fascinating story of Barefoot Wine, to our students. We received great feedback after the event and are still receiving it.

–Parth Acharya, President, E-Club, Graduate Student at The University of Texas at Dallas



“It was an inspiration to hear their successes AND mistakes, I’ll certainly be mindful of them while growing my wine business. Their presentation was defiantly memorable and they’re both great speakers.”

–Sean David Thomas, Co-Founder, Sipp LLC dba Good Vines Wine



“Michael and Bonnie were a pleasure to work with! Our event attendees very much enjoyed their presentation and could see the connection between Michael and Bonnie’s story and their own experiences opening B&Bs. It was a great opening to our conference – motivating, humorous and inspiring – thank you!”

–Jenn Wheaton, Marketing & CABBI Program Coordinator


USASBE_logo_new207We completed a very productive conference in San Francisco. Michael Houlihan was our plenary speaker. His talk was 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 |



“Last January, 2013, I attended a USASBE conference in San Francisco. Bonnie and Michael were there to tell their entrepreneurial story. I was mesmerized, as  was the audience of Social Entrepreneurs. Shortly thereafter, they came to Dallas to be the Keynote speakers at Business Week for the University of Texas in Arlington. Again, Bonnie and Michael mesmerized our Texas students. They were personable, engaging and honest.  They came to teach.  The students left encouraged and positive about what it really is like to “begin a project from idea to finish”.  Bonnie and Michael were REAL people. The business professors commented that they were the most interesting and entertaining speakers of the 30 who came that week to UTA.”

–Bob Hopkins, The University of Texas at Arlington, Professor of Business Communications; Founder, Philanthropy World magazine


EBV Logo“I enjoyed their “dynamic duo” speech with Bonnie more than any other event this past weekend. Since the dot com bubble and especially since
the Lehman brother’s financial meltdown, most advice people give these days is overwhelmingly negative. They’ve given all of us hope!”

–Jamie Critelli, EBV Member, Owner of Floral Beauty



“The faculty and students LOVED their presentation and story. They hit on so many valuable learning lessons in just a short amount of time. Students “got it” and also loved it.”

–Larry Clark, Dean, Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina, Wilmington



issmmMichael and Bonnie were great! It’s hard to be the last speakers at a conference and they pulled it off. So many people commented on their presentation. They really are connected on a very special level. Well done!

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


Purdue University

“I can honestly say that I’ve never stayed after class to meet with our speakers, but I really felt connected with what you both said. I learned a lot in the short 50 minutes (specifically about how to use resources out-of-the-box, such as asking what the “guy with dirt under his finger nails” had to say).”

–Laura Haselman, Student, Purdue University


rsz_1sandbox   ”Bonnie and Michael’s visit to the Syracuse Student Sandbox was a transformative experience for the student startups.  Their down to earth   lecture style and real world business experience made complex subject matter easily accessible by even the most novice entrepreneur.  Pivotal content included a discussion about hiring the right people from day one and ensuring you are cash flow positive from the minute you open your doors.  The Sandbox very much looks forward to working with Michael and Bonnie in the future.”

–Braden Croy, Assistant Director of The Syracuse Sandbox at The Tech Garden




“Michael & Bonnie are great speakers and they compliment each other very well.”

–Elvis Vargas, Student at Tarrant County College


 Agile_Thought“ Thank you so much again for sharing your amazing journey creating Barefoot, it was a highly entertaining and motivating presentation”

–Michael Olson, Business Development Manager, Agile Thought


Columbus State University

“I’m always excited to hear a 1st hand account!  Their presentation really backed up what I learned in my Intro to Entrepreneurship course. Entrepreneurship begins with solving a problem for someone else.”

–Kimberly Bradley, Student, Columbus State University



Purdue University

Bonnie and Michael are truly inspirational ! Their tag team approach to sharing their experiences is lively, practical and completely engrossing. Laced with practical tips and real world examples, their presentation was a highlight of the course.” 

–Dr. Jon Day, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University



Thank you so much for participating in O’Dowd’s Career Day. So many people commented on how great it was to meet you and see you in action. It’s both unusual and powerful for the students to be with professionals of your stature. That made for a wonderful connection and interaction. Thank you!

– Kathleen Purcell, Counselor and Educator, Bishop O’Dowd High School




“You are both such a great inspiration to others. Thank you for your investment to support entrepreneurship”

–Kimberly Gray, Student, EBV-F



USASBE_logo_new207“Your presentation at USASBE was inspiring and smart.”

–Nancy Forster-Holt, Ph.D, C.M.A, Assistant Professor and Executive Director, Entrepreneurship and Education, Husson University College of Business



 ”I was truly inspired by your leadership, your positive attitude and your kindness.”

– Rea Wilke, CEO & Founder, Coaching by Rea and Blog Talk Radio


“Michael Houlihan speaks from a place of passion rooted in real world pragmatism.  Engaging fully with each set of eyes in a room, he makes his “you-can-do-this” challenge to audiences entirely palpable.  Michael turns the most apathetic listener into a player ready to take it on with renewed purpose.”

– Craig Anderson, Executive Director, LandPaths


“Michael’s reputation as a successful entrepreneur precedes him. He is on top of his topics and consistently delivers news we can use. He has given my staff sales tools and insights that have resulted in increased sales and a new appreciation for customer relations. He is clear, understandable and practical. He shares his real world business experience with passion and intensity. Nobody dozes off when Michael is speaking!”

– Jeff Stevenson, Founder and CEO, VinoPRO Inc.


“Michael is an engaging, funny, experienced, wise, and philosophical speaker who will leave members of your audience feeling empowered, ready to tackle the world, and with a smile on their faces. I strongly recommend him.

– Jim Lapsley, Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis; Researcher, UC Davis; Emeritus Continuing Educator, UC Davis Extension


Michael is an informative, challenging and engaging speaker. He holds the attention of the audience while he entertains and educates. He gives a unique perspective that can only come from experience.

– Dr. William Silver, Dean, Professor of Business Administration, School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University


Michael is a dynamic speaker to whom audiences respond very well. His effective speaking style combined with his vivid examples taken from his successful career as an entrepreneur always command a very positive audience response. He has an energetic style combined with rich stories.

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



Wildwood_Conservation_Foundation“Michael has been a guest speaker on many occasions at the Wildwood Foundation. His talks have an immediate and continued positive effect on donations. He is a motivator and a producer! We look forward to having him speak again.”

– Martin Meier, Events Manager, Wildwood Conservation Foundation


I’ve known Michael for twenty-five and watched him grow one of the great brands in the industry bottle by bottle, account by account, month by month, and year by year. Michael has been there, done it, and now has graciously put himself out there to pass on the wisdom to others.

 – John Hinman, Hinman & Carmichael LLP