Former CEO and Founder of Kinko’s, Inc. Overcame Dyslexia and ADHD and World-Renowned Entrepreneur
Paul Orfalea founded Kinko’s in 1970 near the University of California at Santa Barbara with a simple idea: provide college students with products and services they need at a competitive price. The space that Orfalea rented for his copy business was so small the copy machine had to be lugged out onto the sidewalk. From…
Paul Orfalea founded Kinko’s in 1970 near the University of California at Santa Barbara with a simple idea: provide college students with products and services they need at a competitive price. The space that Orfalea rented for his copy business was so small the copy machine had to be lugged out onto the sidewalk. From its modest beginnings, Kinko’s is now the world’s leading business services chain. Today, there are over 1100 Kinko’s worldwide.
Much of Kinko’s success can be traced directly to Orfalea’s unique business philosophy that was based on the founder’s freethinking, creative style. Orfalea’s theories and instincts on how to operate a successful business were grounded in his passion for retailing, his insistence on taking care of his co-workers and customers, and a sharp eye for opportunity. Through Paul Orfalea’s leadership, Kinko’s has taken an exemplary leading role in environmental responsibility.
Orfalea encouraged active participation from all 25,000 co-workers and generous incentive programs were implemented to stimulate creativity. In fact, co-workers at every level were encouraged to share ideas freely in organizational decisions. A reflection of this success is that Fortune Magazine selected Kinko’s as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work with in America” for three years in a row. Forbes Magazine also ranked Kinko’s 84th on its year 2000 “Forbes 500 Biggest Private Companies.” Working Mother magazine lists Kinko’s in it’s Best Companies for Working Mother’s 2001 issue.
The year 2000 brought about many changes for Orfalea as he retired from his position as Kinko’s Chairperson, and assumed the role as Chairperson Emeritus for Kinko’s Inc. Orfalea is no longer involved with Kinko’s. He now devotes much of his time to new business ventures with his associates.
One of those ventures is the formation of the Orfalea Family Foundation, which supports various philanthropic efforts, but specifically spotlights early care and education at children’s centers, care giver training and intergenerational programs. Orfalea, his family, and Kinko’s have a long history of supporting educational initiatives including scholarships and child development programs with efforts concentrated in California.
Paul Orfalea’s current focus is to increase public awareness of the important need for businesses to act “family friendly” and support for working parents. Orfalea is working with government leaders to encourage businesses and educational institutions to provide these benefits to co-workers and students.
Orfalea is in great demand for public speaking, often addressing business organizations, especially entrepreneurs and working women, with his inspirational messages. He frequently lectures at University of Southern California, (his alma mater), UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, as well as various community and state colleges, and he has taught at NYU and Wharton School of Business among others. Both USC and Cal Poly plan to dedicate business schools in the Orfalea name in honor of his many ongoing contributions.
In 2000, People Magazine profiled Orfalea as one of several prominent leaders who has overcome dyslexia and gone on to have illustrious careers. Other recent prestigious awards are the 1998 Entrepreneur of the Year award from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business; the 2000 Philanthropist of the Year by the Network of California Community Colleges; and in 2001 the Conrad Hilton Entrepreneur award, the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship, along with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Salvation Army “Sally” award for Business Leadership.
Despite all of these high profile activities, you will find Paul Orfalea very down to earth, friendly, compassionate and continually curious about the world around him – he is a true modern adventurer.
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LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Lessons from a Hyperactive Dyslexic Who Turned a Bright Idea Into One of America’s Best Companies
From Obstacle to Opportunity
Creativity at the Center of Business
Early Care Importance
Global & Current Events
Work – Love – Play: Achieving Balance Between Life and Work
Anyone Else Can Do It Better: Leadership & Motivating Workers
What’s Right About the World
Paul Orfalea Serial Entrepreneur Philanthropist and Author
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