Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, the Chairman, CEO and founder of World Tree, Wendy Burton, who has been tenaciously growing and enthusiastically telling the story of the Empress Splendor trees for over 22 years. She has been unstoppable in getting the message out that the Empress Splendor tree is the answer to reducing our carbon footprint and protecting old growth forests. Wendy has spent her professional career in marketing and sales and since 1990, she has been responsible for producing successful results working in the investor-relations field, which has included IPO’s, private placements and seed capital ventures. She founded World Tree in 2002 and spent the first 5 years of operations travelling to Brazil, Paraguay, Australia, New Zealand and all of the states in the United States of America where there are Empress Splendor trees in order to learn how to successfully grow and manage the tree. Through Wendy’s efforts, the story of the Empress Splendor tree has spread. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Dolly Parton and Wayne Newton acquired Empress Splendor trees for their properties. Wendy and the Empress Splendor trees were also featured on Oprah and Connie Sellecca’s ‘Family and Home.’ And she has personally planted 6000 Empress Splendor trees in Eloy, Arizona!
What makes you a Girl Warrior?
I think any woman who has the courage to go after their dreams and passion regardless of how big or daunting requires a warrior spirit.
You had an impressive career in the investor-relations field, which included IPOs, private placements and seed capital before founding World Tree in 2002. How did that come about?
When I first started in the investment world I was introduced to The Empress Tree. And at that time was when the markets were quite volatile on the Vancouver stock exchange. Integrity was lacking and I discovered you could have the best widget gadget or product but unless you’re running your company with integrity, whatever you’re doing will literally die on the vine. (No pun intended.) I left that company and decided to make it my mission to share this amazing tree with the world.
It took me seven years to gain the experience and confidence to raise the kind of capital that would be required to fulfill my mission.
What inspired you to leave the world of finance and embark on this journey to help save the world?
I believe when you find your purpose something deep inside moves you to just go for it. It’s almost that you can’t, not do it. There is a standing joke in our company. We don’t know whether I found the tree, or the tree found me. And when you find something that moves and inspires you, you just know it’s what you have to do. Even if you don’t know how you’re going to do it. It’s trusting in the universe that the path will be shown.
What do we need to know “for sure” about the Empress Splendor Tree?
That is the fastest growing tree in the world. It captures 11 times more carbon than any other tree and is a powerful solution to the negative carbon footprint on the planet.
You’ve worked with all the top experts in the field, including Peter Voss, David Drexler, Alex Jay, James Lawrence, Dan Finch and Danny Blinkenstaff. Give us the “Coles/Cliffs Notes” on what they taught you about successfully growing and managing the tree?
The best places to grow it. The different kind of Empress Tree for the different climates. The spacing on how to grow them and the best and worse kind of soil. And how to take a plantation from tissue to timber. But I believe most important was how to learn from their mistakes so that hopefully I didn’t make too many of my own.
You’ve personally planted 6000 Empress Splendor Trees just in Eloy, Arizona alone. What did you learn about yourself through this intimate hands-on caring for these trees?
Getting in the dirt and working with the land – I had a genuine new appreciation for the farmers and how hard they lovingly work to manage their crops. I’ve often said that farmers are the ones that put food on our table yet they are the ones who are starving. So to create a Carbon Offset Program where farmers are appreciated for their hard work really spoke to our mission.
A lot of celebrities – most notably Oprah – have the trees growing on their properties. How did that happen?
I had the opportunity to attend an Oprah taping and was lucky enough to be an audience member where Oprah gave away $10,000 worth of free product to everyone attending. Her generosity that day was inspiring. I had a window of opportunity to share with Oprah all of the amazing attributes of the Empress Splendor Tree. I then gifted to everyone in the audience a free tree. And of course, Oprah got two!
After the show Oprah brought me up on stage and did a live interview to discuss World Tree and our Mission for the world. A very exciting and surreal experience!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Being a female in a male dominated industry and being taken seriously, especially when you have a product that sounds too good to be true, at times felt insurmountable.
What obstacles have you overcome and walls have you broken down?
Getting the company funded just after 9-11, people were scared and unsure if the world was going to rebound. So for the first five years really struggling with cash flow and being able to keep good people employed.
Breaking down the negative perception that the Empress Tree is an invasive species is a hurdle we actually still continue to come up against for people just learning about the tree. Google is our friend and sometimes it isn’t. There are 23 different varieties of Paulownia worldwide and only one, the Tomentosa, is considered invasive. Educating the masses that our tree is non-invasive, nor, GMO is something I hope will one day be a conversation of the past.
What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?
You can do this! There is going to be a lot of people that will try to discourage you, but surround yourself with good people. Teamwork really will make your dream work. Stop worrying about t he money, the universe will provide when you follow your dreams.
What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?
I would give them the very same advice as I would to my younger Girl Warrior!
Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?
Oprah: Her generous spirit, and for her to be who she is in the world, she really needed to have faith in herself which is the biggest message of all. Have faith in yourself and have faith in your dreams because they can and will come true.
Barbra Streisand: She has taught me, if you have a gift, no matter how much it scares you, you can’t let fear get in the way of following your dreams. She has both an incredible gift and terrible stage fright. Thank god she didn’t let that stand in her way!
My sister Angela: She is the ultimate financial manifester. She does not believe in limitations. If you want something and believe in it enough you can find a way to get it. Her confidence has taught me that money is not the root of all evil but a wonderful tool to help manifest your dreams. This is why I am blessed to not only have her as my sister but as a member of the World Tree team.
What’s next for you and Empress Splendor Tree?
The next step for me is to take World Tree public so that we can launch the Carbon Offset Program on a much larger platform. Ultimately, on a global scale, my goal is to be the next environmental green ‘Apple’ company.
Your personal mantra “leaves are the lungs of our planet” is a powerful one. What can individual Girl Warriors do right now to take a stand for the stewardship of the air that we breathe?
Honestly, have them take a look at our Carbon Offset Program as they get to offset their personal carbon footprint for life while creating wealth for themselves and their families by also helping stop the destruction of old growth forests creating jobs for farmers and restoring the lungs of Mother Earth.
Another one of my favorites sayings is “the quickest way to the top is take everybody with you.”
To learn more about Wendy and the Empress Splendor Tree visit her website at www.worldtreecop.com
Follow her on Twitter at #worldtreecop https://twitter.com/worldtreecop?lang=en
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WorldTreeCOP/
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/996057/