After my work experience in the Olympic Games Athens 2004, it has been hard to find any other event -of any budget or level- as demanding as being part of the world’s largest event. This spring I was honored to win a tender by the European Commission through my PR agency –PR Lounge– in order to offer communication services for the Open Innovation 2.0 Conference and hosting of the Innovation Luminary Awards 2015 gala!
Dani Johnson from USA visited Finland for the first time on March 25 to speak on the Millionaire Bootcamp event organised by graduate students of HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences together with young entrepreneurs from other Universities.
Dani Johnson’s story is the typical ‘from rags to riches’ narrative that encapsulates the American dream. Johnson grew up on welfare, was pregnant with her first child at 17, and homeless at 21.
“I grew up in a drug-infested and abusive home, I was the kid that was made fun of and not a person of vision until at age 19 I was introduced at some business concepts. After trial and error starting various businesses, I became a millionaire by age 23 by marketing a product from my car trunk. Today I travel all over the world and help people start and grow their business,” said Johnson in the press conference held before her 3-hour talk in front of a packed auditorium at HAAGA-HELIA Haaga Campus.
Lessons about finance and education
“In USA and in many countries around the world, from primary school until the 12th grade there are 14,000 hours of lessons without a single class teaching basics of money, about wise versus foolish spending, on becoming an entrepreneur or an investor. There is a prevailing mindset of spent, spent, spent without vision of future. We learn the poorest financial habits and people skills at school,” says Johnson.
Johnson thinks that the high-quality and free-of-charge education should be taking into advantage in order for people to invest in improving their knowledge and skillset and achieve results.
“The system is broken and is designed for people to fail. Our country was set up like this on purpose. They wanted a small elite class and a larger class of the masses to work for the elite. I was a part of the larger class, which was kept uneducated in order to spend their money foolishly. As I travel around the world, I realise that people lack communication, emotional, relationship and people skills and, therefore, are unable to solve their problems,” explains Johnson mentioning that she teaches those skills in her trainings all over the world. “If we were equipped with conflict resolution skills and able to understand different people personalities, we would be more successful people,” she continues.
Last, Johnson emphasized that ‘poverty mentality’ leads people to accumulate debt. Thinking that money will last forever and spending foolishly is a ‘poverty mentality’. She referred to money as a ‘seed that is looking for a place to go’ and emphasized that it is important for people to ‘know how to make money, how to keep it and how to grow it’. “Wealth is generational, it can be passed down –not given– to the next generation along with equipping our children with skills on how to save and invest money. This is how we are grooming our children for success,” remarks Johnson.
A dyslexic international best-selling author
Being dyslexic and without attending college, Johnson read her first book at age 21. However, she has read the Bible cover to cover 9 times and has been influenced by Dale Carnegie’s best-selling self-help book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. “This book has tremendously changed my life when I was homeless. I decided to buy it at the grocery store instead of food. The first 3 chapters showed me why I was homeless. ‘Do not criticize, condemn and complain’: that’s all I ever did! No wonder no one wanted to help me. Also, I like to read biographies of successful people. Nelson Mandela inspires me and I have been studying his life. You need to study success in order to become successful,” explains Johnson.
Dani Johnson is a dynamic, thought-provoking speaker on the international circuit, a best-selling author, an international radio talk-show host, success coach, business, financial and relationship marketing expert. She is also a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 5 and a committed philanthropist.
Johnson is currently on a tour in Europe. She has visited the Russian Federation and Latvia prior to her visit in Finland. Her next stop on March 30 is London.
Dani Johnson has been interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Forbes, Fox & Friends, and was the season-premier star of ABC’s tv show Secret Millionaire.