My only comment on this topic of Warm Spirit
My feelings about my ex business partner and the lack of integrity he displayed in between him and I is not a fight for the general public. I have read however, some comments from a few Warm Spirit consultants, that have finally even through their negativity, shined some light as to why people continued on with Warm Spirit even after I left. I want to take a moment to clear up any misconceptions and then close the book on this discussion; for me at least.
Please note that after today, I will remove any anonymous posts to my blog. I am visible and willing to sign my name to my posts and stand behind them and I believe if you post you should be able to hide behind anonymous.
A few things:
- When I left Warm Spirit, I did not and have not yet released a statement to the consultants. Daniel released a statement with his side of the story within days. He shut off my access to say anything and promised me a financial deal if I kept my mouth closed and did not communicate with the field. I received nothing by the way.
- I was also threatened with a law suit if I were to communicate with the consultants.
- When I left Warm Spirit we were operating at a profit and doing better then we ever have in history. Our sales were well over 1 million dollars per month and the community was growing and prosperous.
- We had just won the Black Enterprise Emerging Company of the year award and were nominated for other awards thereafter. This was a company on the verge of doing extraordinary things.
- In order to grow and take the company to the next level, it was important that we seek new capital and investors as we began that process.
- In that process Daniel announced that he no longer wanted to invest in Warm Spirit and wanted to sell the company.
- I agreed to raise the capital to purchase it. I was excited about becoming the majority owner.
- In the midst of the negotiations when I asked Daniel to put my equity stake in writing so I would confirm what percentage was mine on paper and what percentage me and the investors were purchasing. He made the announcement that he would no longer give me my equity stake that he had promised and we had a verbal agreement and understanding on.
- Daniel re-neighed on our agreement and wanted me to purchase the company 100% from him.
- After that blow to me and my family and the investors, we sent him an offer letter for 8 million dollars for the company.
- One week later he refused it and said we should go our separate ways. He did not intend to ever give me my equity stake.
- The team decided to keep WS intact, not sell it to me but grow the sales and sell it to a bigger purchaser.
- This guaranteed a job for the corporate team for the next 2 years and financial rewards if this plan worked.
- Many were betting on the fact that the consultants would blindly stay on with Daniel and his money. Believe the hype that somehow this was Nadine's fault and that CEOs come and go and they could grow the company and sell it. They had hoped that no one would wake up and say, she is not just the CEO we thought this was her company. Why would she walk away from her own company? How could she be fired from her own company? Why haven't we heard from her?
- In January 2007, they then sued me for starting my own company and started a legal war that would cost me so much that I would not have the capital to start my own company and therefore compete with them. Even though it was an illegitimate lawsuit it was a preemptive strike to prevent me from moving forward with a new venture.
- Although my name was slandered and my reputation was put at risk, I still kept my mouth closed, hinted when I could at the reality, invested all of my savings in a lawsuit and trying to start my own company.
- My lawyer advised me to stay quiet and allow the truth to come out in court.
- When the time came to go to court and I provided my evidence and Daniel had none. His lawyers called and dropped the lawsuit. Because they had no case against me other than to destroy me financially.
- At this point my only communications have been carefully measured on my website and my blog and the posts are still there as public record.
- The performance of Daniel's new team and the shrinking sales, spoke for themselves.
- Char manipulated even more to get control and become President. She finally got her wish and the company sales drop over 70% of where they were when I was running the company.
- I understand that Char has now left Warm Spirit.
- To date after building Warm Spirit from my basement, leaving my young children weekend after weekend to go to events etc, developing over 300 products, building a brand. I was ironically reduced to the position of just the CEO rather than a partner and Co-founder and fired.
- I was not fired because I was not doing a good job I was fired because Daniel did not want to give me any equity in the company that I built. That was the injustice and cause of my anger and pain.
- Yes, Daniel financed the company but I invested financially as well by working for very low wages and delaying any financial gain until the company grew and could be sold or the assets be redistributed.
- Daniel should receive a return on an investment but not by denying me mine.
- I lost all of my sweat equity, regular equity, everything. It was a devastating blow.
- Interesting fact about race and people and why you can't make this a black or white issue.
- This is not a black thing, or white thing or Jewish thing. It is a personal integrity thing.
- Daniel never apologized to me neither did Char.
- So we are not here today because of some fight between Daniel and Nadine. Daniel will tell you we have never fought. We are here today because of Daniel's lack of integrity and his unwillingness to keep his word. I created and built Warm Spirit and Daniel financed the business. We were a team and a good team for a long time. It was my fault to believe in friendship and not force the equity to be put in writing. I tried but I was not forceful enough. That was my failing as a CEO. I should never have believed in combining friendship with business. I gambled on friendship and trust and lost 12 years of sweat and sacrifice.
- I also lost a dear friend and someone that I loved.
- Yes, this lack of force and passivity was my fault and an invaluable lesson that I hope other women will learn from.
- I walked away without a severance package, lost sick and vacation time and had to fight in court to get a percentage of my sick benefits. In the end I was treated like an employee not the woman who had built the business.
- Next mistake: I made the huge mistake of believing that the consultants would understand what happened and stand up for the injustice and force Daniel to do the right thing. They knew I built this for them and would understand that a sister would not walk away from her baby after all of this. I was wrong when it came to the leaders, because their only concern was keeping going and their checks. They believed that Mitch would make them rich and that CEOs come and go. None of them seemed to care that Nadine had lost her company, not her job.
- I did not want people to leave Warm Spirit but to say to Daniel that unless he does the right thing by this woman we will not sell another jar of cream. I thought that they would demonstrate forceful empowerment as a group and bring about change. But no one said a word, they just moved on and it hurt tremendously.
- The consultants had the power to change the situation and force Daniel to do the right thing. Like me, they were not forceful enough and he won.
- We lost; we lost as a community the possibility to make histroy with a house built by powerful African American sisters.
- The blessing: I was hurt by the leaders for not standing behind me and it caused me grief and pain. I had to finally wake up one day and realize that I was to blame here again and most important I was overlooking the thousands of people who came with me, who believed in me and saw the truth without it being spelled out for them. I had not been grateful enough for my blessings.
- I was then able to celebrate those who were in the water with me and that is a powerful blessing.
- People can make their own decisions and I am moving on and will not mention this again. In my interviews I talk about the pain of betrayal, the lessons people learn as business women and how difficult it could be for women, for blacks and for anyone starting a business.
- Truth is you can grow a company to 2 million dollars a month in sales, you can recruit over 30,000 sisters, create over 200 products, develop a brand that has national recognition and value and still have people strip it away from you and belittle your efforts and accomplishments by saying, "she was just a social worker, we can do better without her". And when they're proven wrong and the sales drop by over 70% and the company is being sold right out from under them, they still justify their point of view. This is confusing!
- This has been draining yet empowering and I do not intend to comment on WS ever again on my blog. Truthfully it is too painful for me.
- For those who choose to stay after hearing my side of the story that is their choice, their freedom and part of their empowerment. The choice to do what they think is best for themselves. I respect that. And truth be told it was a long hard road to making peace with that and learning to accept these facts.
- I am moving on with my Soul Purpose!
Happy 2009. A toast to hope, Peace and empowerment.