About Gretchen Burman

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I am the founder of Character U - empowering elementary aged children with tools to feel and be their best. It all started when I was pregnant with my now 12-year old daughter.  I thought about when I was a kid and people would say, “don’t worry, be confident or toughen up.”  No one taught me "how" to help me center myself, be confident or be courageous.  Or how to train my brain to change from negative to positive so that I could help myself feel better.


As a mother-to-be, I wanted a straight forward checklist of important skills that I could have in my parenting toolbox.  I named this list The 12 Cs (confident, centered, courageous, compassion, commitment, communication, choices, charity, comedy, cherish, cognitive and careful).  After witnessing the benefits of this common language with my own family and extensive research, I wrote The Adventures of Ooga and Zeeta to bring these concepts to life through stories, tips for kids and activities.  Fun fact: Ooga and Zeeta are my daughter’s imaginary friends and I love that they will be in our hearts forever.  She also helped name Green Glory, Red Rant and inspired all of the stories.

After the book, I wanted to help more children so after years of research, acting coaches, focus groups and tons of practicing, I now share my passion and learnings through Be the Boss of Your Thoughts assemblies and workshops.


My goal is to empower young children with tools at a young age so they grow up to feel good about themselves, know how to handle difficult situations, be resilient and respect themselves and each other - leading them to a fulfilling and meaningful life.  ​

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My husband, Darren, and I use this common vocabulary as tools to help raise our two amazing daughters.  We consistently reinforce The 12 Cs, Green Glory and Red Rant language and it has been very rewarding to witness the benefits to my family.​​  I know they help my family and I hope they can help the children in your life reach their highest ​potential.

Before I started my journey with Character U, I worked in the hospitality industry for over 15 years in sales and revenue management. I loved working with people and creatively finding solutions to help customers and our associates. I held several leadership roles and managed many teams in my career. It was a great career that utilized my desire to make a positive difference.