About Elephant Books
Real Books. Real People.
Elephant Books was brought to life by three friends and colleagues who share a love of reading real books. Not only do we love reading, we believe that an early introduction to books played a critical role in our own development by encouraging curiosity, love of learning, and perhaps most of all, imagination. Our goal is helping children and families make that same discovery themselves.
Recalling fond memories of the local library and old-school traditions like checking out books with library cards and collecting stacks of favorite books at home to build a personal collection, we have set out to create a service that is firmly anchored in real world experiences. The Elephant Books team strives each month to not only identify and deliver the best new, quality books on the market but also to provide a set of fun and engaging tools to make family reading more meaningful.
While the digital world has brought many benefits, it also means children face an increasing array of demands on their attention at this pivotal point in their development. In this context, introducing children to the simple pleasures of books becomes even more fundamental. They need and deserve reading experiences that involve more than turning on a machine. There’s never been a better time to fully appreciate and understand the importance and value of real books.
Our aspiration is simple: Real Books. Shared Experiences. Life Long Memories. That’s Elephant books.
While the most important skill the founders bring to the table is their own love of reading and parenting experiences, they also combine a diverse set of business backgrounds. Blending management and consumer product experience from both early-stage startups and some of the world’s largest companies, partners Stephen Murray, Val Friedholm and Trudy Nicolay-Deutz joined forces to re-imagine the world of reading for kids.
Valerie began her business career as a member of General Electric’s Corporate Executive Leadership Program, one of the most selective post-college placements in the US. While at GE, she held a range of marketing and sales positions across a number of the firm’s core businesses. After attending Harvard Business School Valerie became an analyst and portfolio manager for the world’s largest fund manager, Fidelity Investments, covering a range of industries including significant work in the consumer products space. Her role included ongoing work and interaction with the CEOs and CFOs of some of the US’s biggest enterprises.
Trudy brings more than 20 years of consumer product, entertainment, and digital media experience to her role at Elephant Books. Her background ranges from Paramount Studios, where she leveraged the company’s most popular and iconic content across a range of interactive media platforms, to one of the Internet’s earliest success stories, Kana Communications, where she led marketing communications. Kana was the initial go-to platform for customer interactions on the web, and its IPO debut was one of the most successful in the dot-com era.
Stephen’s background combines senior P&L and product management experience across both Fortune/FTSE 100 firms and Silicon Valley startups. He has worked with a variety of firms across consumer products, travel, and personal financial services. Stephen has a lengthy track record of building and leading new digital ventures as well as managing complex ongoing businesses. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and holds a BA from the University of Virginia.
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