Donna Beasley, President of KaZoom Kids Books, an interactive multicultural children’s book company. Their book apps have read-along narration, interactive action and animation. She manages business operations insuring the company’s products provide readers with high quality content. She is committed to creating greater diversity in children’s literature.
BN: What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
Donna Beasley: Our biggest challenge is that interactive books are a new category in children’s publishing. The technology for creating the back end for our library of books was difficult to find. We didn’t have the money to build it from scratch so we had to find a provider to license us the technology we needed.Our second challenge was finding multicultural writers to actually write these books. We reached out to the community, because if we don’t write them they won’t exist. So we are a “By the Community, For the Community” kind of company.
BN: What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
DB: I was inspired because I couldn’t find black children’s books in 4 bookstores in downtown Chicago. I researched the category and was stunned to discover only 5% of the 3500 children’s books published in 2014 featured children of color. I believe this is a problem that can be fixed, and its our corporate mission at KaZoom Kids Books to create greater diversity in children’s literature.
BN: How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
DB: I balance my professional and personal life by having other hobbies. I am learning photography and taking Spanish in preparation for a trip next year. I also meditate regularly, read or listen to uplifting and motivational books and CDs and attend Church. My faith is critical for getting me through the challenges.
BN: What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
DB: I adopted this prayer from Oprah Winfrey, I don’t think she’ll mind: “Use me God, show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, what I can do and use it for a purpose greater than myself.”
BN: Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
DB: I have had many mentors to support me along the way. One of the things they’ve help me do was to think bigger and to think about global possibilities. My biggest supporter has been my co-founder, Freida Curry. She believes in what we’re doing and always provides support.
BN: What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
DB: I have found networking to be a critical element in building and growing my business.
BN: What is your definition of a BOSS?
DB: A BOSS has vision for a company and leads by example. But most importantly, a BOSS has the ability to influence partners, employees, investors and customers to get things done.