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Associate Spotlight January 2012
Whenever a writer needs to cite a paragon of virtue and patience, they often reference the biblical character of Job, a man blessed with infinite tolerance for steadfastly bearing the many challenges thrown his way. Yet a conversation with new Viridian Director Donna French about the past year in her life makes Job seem like a perpetual whiner by comparison.

French’s story begins in October of 2010, as she was literally walking into a bankruptcy lawyer’s office when she got a call from friend and Director Marie Johndro, telling French of an opportunity with this company called Viridian.

“I’d known Marie for some time—we’d done business together in the past—and when she told me what she was doing with green energy, I said ‘I’m in. Just give me a couple of weeks,’” French said.

On December 6 of that year, French went to a meeting in her area set up by Johndro, watched her

first Viridian video and knew this was the company for her.

“I had $400 to spend on my nine­year­old daughter for Christmas,” French recalled. “I had absolutely no other money, but I saw the compensation plan and had the vision of how this could change my life; to be rid of financial burden and become debt­free. I became a Viridian Associate right on the spot!”

It turned out to be a prescient move, as French enrolled 15 customers within the first 17 days, earning her Fast Start Bonus in the process. “Christmas was back on!” she said.

Later that winter, French’s car—with 220,000 miles on it—gave out, and the repair estimate came in at $2,000. Borrowing $1,800 from her father, she instead bought a used station wagon, whose brakes gave out four days later. While anyone else would have thrown in the towel by then, French instead forged ahead, and her grandmother gave her an old but usable Buick.

“I had started lining up Associates in Massachusetts ahead of the anticipated launch there, and was disappointed when it was postponed,” she said. But she kept the office she’d opened in Springfield, MA, slowly building her presence there in anticipation of Viridian eventually launching in the Bay State.

“Then on June 1st, a tornado ripped through the area. Many people across the country saw the firsthand results of the devastation with a picture of an office building ripped wide open from top to bottom. That was my office in Springfield,” she recalled.

Undaunted, French and Johndro moved their opportunity meetings to another rental space. Four weeks later they showed up one day to find themselves locked out, as the owner had moved on without notice. Facing this latest challenge, French and Johndro pulled an old picnic table up to the covered porch and held their meeting right there.

“Yeah, I’ve had a few adversities over the past year,” she said with a chuckle. “But Viridian, for me, is a breath of fresh air. There has always been a special interest in the environment for me, and I’ve been involved with nonprofit volunteer work my whole life. I enjoy helping people, and love educating our customer base about energy deregulation and how green energy has really made an impact on the environment, is creating green jobs, is affordable, and will put money back in their pockets. It is truly a great accomplishment!”

It’s that positive attitude that has helped French move up quickly within the company, enrolling a number of nonprofits in the Residual Fundraising Program, and recently being named to Viridian’s new Associate Sustainability Council.

“I’ve enjoyed being part of Viridian’s sustainability mission and have participated in several cleanups,” she said. “And when it comes to helping a not­for­profit community raise money for their purpose, it is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when you reach those customer milestones that will create the residual income to sustain them.”

Like everything else in her life, French’s ‘Why’ is complicated but achievable.

“My family is my ultimate purpose to work as hard as I do,” she said. “My mother is a teacher and my father had to retire due to cancer. I would like my mother to be able to retire and then I could pay for health insurance for them. I would like to spend more time with my 89­year­old grandmother who could use family around. And last but not least, I would like to experience financial freedom so our daughter, Bria, can go to a private school, so we can have a country farmhouse in Connecticut, and to be able to give more to my family and extended family, church and other charities. I really want to make a difference in the world through Viridian. There are so many things I would like to accomplish, and I am grateful to have Viridian as my vehicle to get me there!”

Given her tenacity and can­do attitude, it looks like Donna French will indeed be there sooner rather than later.