This month we interviewed Jean Paul Laurent, CEO of the Unspoken Smiles Foundation, on how he founded and grew his non-profit to the multinational organization it is today. Hear from a proven success on everything from how he created a distinct brand to how he leveraged the physical Manhattan Office Suites in our 1001 Avenue of the Americas center to grow his business.
According to Jean Paul, much of his organization’s success stemmed from his ability to make its mission different from what the rest of the competition was doing. Take the time to learn the field and know all the ins and outs of what the current providers are offering. Then find out a way to make something different.
Jean Paul recounts how he set out to design a program that attacked the route cause of the problem of children’s tooth decay – that they don’t know how to brush properly – rather than fixing the symptoms like many other non-profits in the space do. The problem with treating the problem, rather than preventing it in the first place, is that people learn about oral hygiene once or twice and then never go back again. He set out to establish a new approach. The result? A totally novel concept, a company that provides educational programming in schools from pre-k to 12th grade, educating children about how to maintain proper oral hygiene. The same way kids learn about math, they learn how to take care of their teeth and gums.
One of the best things about Unspoken Smiles is that the fellowship program not only creates jobs for young women, but it also gives them an opportunity to participate in the program. The experience is transforming in a variety of ways.
Go for the Kick Start
Unspoken Smiles was founded with seed funding, which is a capital source that many non-profit startups struggle with. Jean Paul’s best advice is to “find organizations that allow you to build the structure that you need so that you can stay for a long time.” As an example, Jean Paul obtained his space in our Manhattan office space through Corporate Suites’ philanthropic donation program which he found through All Good Work, a matchmaker that pairs nonprofits with executive office suites in NYC who have room to spare. He has also called upon UN Planet as well as numerous other fellowships.
Obtaining outside funding as opposed to bootstrapping allows you to focus on building the mission of the company rather than having to worry about the logistics. This can be especially critical in the early days.
Find a Nurturing Community in Manhattan Office Suites
Unspoken Smiles has benefited tremendously from being a part of the Corporate Suites community. Being in Manhattan office suites with professionals from a variety of other industries has been an exceptional source of guidance and strategy.
Jean Paul has been able to connect with other Corporate Suites clients at one of the top executive suites in NYC. Through casual interactions or at monthly events he would discuss challenges he has encountered in his business. He also appreciates the help that our concierge service provides. “The staff is amazing,“ he says.
If you’re a non profit in NYC with the goal of becoming the next philanthropic success and are seeking the right place to make it happen, email email@example.com for your private tour of our Manhattan office suites. Or visit our Contact page.