Sunday, August 26th, was Women’s Equality Day. On that day 98 years ago, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed, granting women the right to vote. The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.  Although we still have a long way to go, a lot of progress has been made by women in our country. One of these areas of growth is the business sector.
With an estimated 11.6 million women-owned businesses employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.7 trillion in revenue, it’s clear that these businesses are a substantial contributor to the US economic landscape.  Even companies like Google are recognizing the impact of female leadership. This past March, they marked International Women’s Day by adding a search attribute that specifically marks women-led businesses. According to a Google spokesperson, “We’ve added the women-led attribute to empower women-led businesses to succeed online and enable people to find these businesses to visit using Google Maps and Search.” 
Increasing the visibility of these businesses is an important part of maintaining this momentum. A great way to show your support is identifying, learning about, promoting, and patronizing women-led businesses in your community. In honor of Women’s Equality Day this year, I wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight the founder of Platinum Fundraising, Christy Mullins. Through our discussion, I learned more about her and the company she created. I also gained valuable insight on the unique the perspective she brings to the business world.
Over nearly two decades, Platinum Fundraising has helped many children raise much needed funds. Why is helping children so important to you?
“My Mom and Dad always instilled in us the importance of helping others, specifically children. We simply MUST help children who need us in any way possible! Children cannot help themselves, so it is our responsibility to make a difference.”
Christy also shared this anecdote with me that is a great example of her family’s commitment to service in their community and how special giving is to them:
“On Christmas Day, my entire family goes to Ronald McDonald House and we prepare and serve Christmas Dinner for the parents and siblings of children in the hospital on Christmas. We definitely receive much more than we could ever give by the experience. That’s just how giving works. The more you give, and help, the more you want to give and help!”
Platinum Fundraising’s mission is helping children, while also building bridges between local Domino’s franchisees and the communities they serve. How did you recognize the need for a company that accomplishes these goals?
“When I moved to Florida “Pay-to-Play” was becoming a reality in most schools, as a result of budget cuts. These cuts do not just affect athletics. Children with a passion for art, music, debate, dance etc. will not have the opportunity to develop in those areas if their parents cannot afford the activity.
There is a bigger issue at stake as well. If our title one schools do not have funding for extracurricular activities, the students do not have anything to do when school lets out. There is a gap between the last bell and when their parents get home. Students need outlets for their energy and creativity. Without positive outlets, there is an overall negative outcome for the entire neighborhood. Awareness of these issues fuels my passion to support those teams and clubs."
The opportunity to play team sports, participate in the arts, and other similar activities can be truly transformative for children. Did you participate in any extracurricular activities that had a positive impact on your life?
“While growing up, athletics provided some of my happiest memories. My best friends were my teammates and we grew up together and faced challenges together, on and off the court. Additionally, the principles you learn in group sports lend beautifully to success in business.”
On the topic of business, according to recent analyses of women-led companies throughout the country, it has been found that female entrepreneurs are less likely to create a product simply because it’s feasible or technology suddenly allows them to do so. Instead, they focus on addressing real issues or problems they’ve observed or experienced.  It was mentioned that you observed problems with the education funding. What inspired you to develop the SLICE the PRICE program?
"The SLICE the PRICE program was designed to be a tool to keep programs afloat when funding is cut. However, we have expanded to help thousands of other non-profit organizations as well. Our mantra is, “changing lives one pizza card at a time,” and it’s true! We are immensely blessed by hearing stories daily about how our program made a difference in the life of a child!”
It seems like there has been a lot of great feedback that from organizations that have been involved with the SLICE the PRICE program over the years. The stories that come in are so heartwarming, as are the letters and photos shared with the Domino’s franchisees. Do you have any favorite success stories from the groups you’ve worked with?
“I have been asked this question many times. I think people want to hear about the times we were able to raise an extreme amount of money for an organization or cause. Of course, those moments are always exciting, but they’re not my favorite stories. My favorite stories are the ones where a relatively small amount made a huge difference.
I can recall when a girls’ volleyball team from an impoverished community unexpectedly made it to the state finals. The girls decided that they did not want to go, because they were embarrassed of their uniforms. We only raised around $1000, but that was what they needed for new uniforms. They went, they felt confident, and they won! I love it!”
Now that Platinum Fundraising has been established and the SLICE the PRICE program has proven to be a great way to help groups in need raise funds, where is your focus as you develop the business further?
“Of course, helping children will always be the most satisfying part. However, at this phase in my career, watching the personal and professional growth of my co-workers gives me great joy! Our team is comprised of a very diverse group of individuals, but there is a common thread between everyone here; they are all very kind people, they are so incredibly passionate about our vision, and they are serious about their professional growth. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Women-led company cultures tend to be collaborative, inclusive and consultative,  and that certainly seems to be the case with Platinum Fundraising. In addition to the great company culture you’ve fostered, what is your favorite thing about the company you’ve created?
“After over 19 years, it just never gets old. I still wake up every day excited by what we get to do. Having the opportunity to work with incredibly passionate and brilliant team members is amazing! Having the opportunity to represent Domino’s, a brand that I truly love and believe in, is incredible! Being in a position to offer our team unlimited growth opportunities is beyond wonderful. Getting to do all of this, while helping children at the same time is simply one of the greatest blessings of my life.”
Now offered in 13 states, Platinum Fundraising’s SLICE the PRICE program continues to flourish every day. With Christy’s leadership and inspiration, it’s exciting to see where this woman-led business will go in the future.
1. National Women’s History Project. (n.d.) The History of Women’s Equality Day. Retrieved from http://www.nwhp.org/resources/commemorations/womens-equality-day/
2. Tatham, M. (2018, April 16). Here’s Where Women-Led Businesses Are Winning. Retrieved from http://paymentsjournal.com/women-led-businesses-are-winning/
3. Shu, C. (2018, March 8). Google marks International Women’s Day with a “women-led” attribute for business listings. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/08/google-marks-international-womens-day-with-a-women-led-attribute-for-business-listings/
4. Nethero, D. (2018, March 8). Why Investing in Women-Led Startups Is the Smart Move. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309555