business

Communications Consultant + co-creator of Not Parent Approved, Stacy Katz

LISTEN NOW:

Today I’m talking with Stacy Katz who works in PR and has also invented and launched a card game for kids with her co-founder Maximina Revis.  Their award winning game is called Not Parent Approved, it’s for people (not just kids!) 8 and up and it’s available exclusively on Amazon.

I loved talking with Stacy about her journey to developing this game, coming to consider herself an entrepreneur and the journey of reinvention she’s experienced along the way.

Not Parent Approved  founders, Stacy Katz (left) and Maximina Revis 

Not Parent Approved founders, Stacy Katz (left) and Maximina Revis 

SHOW NOTES:

Pick up Not Parent Approved on Amazon

  • Stacy on solo parenting by choice.

  • How Not Parent Approved came out of a weekend of cancelled play dates and attempting to find a non-screens related pastime for 9-year-old boys.

  • We talk about how kids today aren’t primed to play board games; they’re so used to the quick fix of apps.

  • Stacy and her co-founder Maximina Revis (who comes from a background at Mattel), wanted to develop a game that would capture modern kids attention and also be something adults can find entertaining as well.

  • Stacy and Maximina call their game inappropriately appropriate… like an “edgy Apples to Apples”.

  • Producing a physical product can be overwhelming. Stacy talks about developing the game in stages, starting with a simple prototype using index cards and testing with kids at summer camp.

  • Stacy talks about how important asking for help from others who have game experience has been. This is how they learned about the toy industry.

  • How play testing impacted and changed the game for the better.

  • Stacy on the entrepreneurial journey, including needing to switch manufacturers midstream. The two things that have kept her going are:

1. Her intention is to bring joy, laughter and connection to the world - especially face-to-face. She’s not “anti-screen”, but she feels it’s really important that kids get “face-to-face fun”. People enjoying game keeps her going.

2. Her son Bailey, in her darkest moment, told  her “Mom, we’re not quitters. You can do this.” This always stays with her.

  • How every step in this process, and stretching herself along the way, has proven something new to herself. She now considers herself an entrepreneur, which feels really big to her.

  • How Stacy, as a single mom who works for herself, is making time for this major project:  Hour by hour, one day at a time. She doesn’t strive for “balance”, but tries to just be real about what works in her life.

  • A combination of “effort, faith and letting go” is how she’s approaching the game launch; if she does all these things then she will know she did all she could.

  • Stacy who is 47 says, “The new normal is reinvention”, and I couldn’t agree more. Side projects are a fantastic way to explore other sides of yourself and can lead to amazing reinvention and journey along the way.

RELATED POSTS:

Educator + Founder of Curiosity Pack, Lily Jones

LISTEN NOW:

With the holiday season just around the corner, today I’m talking with Lily Jones, a kindergarten teacher turned educational consultant who also runs a side business making super fun AND educational activity kits for kids called Curiosity Packs.  Lily’s kits are great kids 3-6, and her for travel pack which could come in especially handy for holiday travel is for kids up to 10.

I especially loved hearing about her “feelings kit” — perfect for the kid with Big Feelings   and her upcoming science and friendship kids which sure would have come in handy when my teenager was younger!

SHOW NOTES:

Find out more about Curiosity Pack, learning-filled activity kits for kids.

Lily’s Curiosity Forever podcast:  What happens when a journalist and an educator come together to investigate how kids learn? This podcast! Kevin and Lily Jones interview education & parenting experts to find out everything they possibly can about raising awesome kids.

  • How Lily transferred her experience as a kindergarten teacher and educational consultant to her side business.

  • How Lily created her side businesses based on requests from friends who were looking for fun and educational things to do with their kids.

  • How her own kids have inspired her products.

  • The challenges in producing a physical product.

  • How her side business grew out of really wanting something for “her”.

  • Using Kickstarter to launch her product (while pregnant and then with a newborn!!!).

  • For every 10 Curiosity Packs ordered, one gets donated.

  • Making time for her business on top of her educational consulting work and being home with her two young kids.

  • What’s up next for Lily with her side business.

  • The number one thing Lily wishes she’d known earlier, before she started her business is to have known (believed) that “done is better than perfect”; she would have started a lot earlier.

  • How she gets inspiration for new products that she KNOWS her people want to buy.

  • Lily’s top advice for others who are trying to make room for side business on top a busy life includes sometimes thinking about what you actually enjoy doing--and doing some of that--to give yourself a boost.

  • Lily chooses to take care of tasks in her business, even if she might rather watch Netflix, is by thinking about how great she’ll feel afterwards.

RELATED POSTS:

Business Owner + Candidate for School Board in Albany, CA, Jon Raj Destin

LISTEN NOW:

Today, in honor of election day 2016, I have Jon Raj Destin who is single, gay dad, runs a marketing consulting firm, and on the side, he's running for School Board in his town of Albany, California outside San Francisco.

Jon and I talked about how his passion for education and advocacy and his business and marketing experience led him to consider running for office, how much he’s learned about his community from this experience, how he and his son Sammy campaign together and much more.

SHOW NOTES:

Find out more about Jon's campaign  

Find out more about the town of Albany, CA

  • Jon runs a marketing consultancy, but really considers fatherhood his full-time job.

  • How he has always lived his life “based on passion”, what he finds interesting and most wants to do.

  • Jon was born in communist Hungary, escaped as a little boy with his family and grew up as an immigrant to the United States.

  • His early years led him to be passionate about education, starting with teaching as part of Teach for America after college.

  • Over the years, led to doing marketing, but never really gave up on education and being an advocate.

  • Now as a dad, he is focused on quality education for his son -- which led to his current side project of running for school board in Albany, CA.
  • With a laugh Jon says he “tends to jump into things that I find interesting and feel I could have an impact... maybe even before I really understand everything…”.

  • He jumped into running for school board because he felt like his skill set (business background) really applied, and he thought he could really make an impact as the school district heads into a phase of using bond measure funds to build and re-build a number of local schools.

  • How Jon is really enjoying the campaigning aspect, how he’s learning about the community and it’s needs.

  • As a single, gay dad, he has also really enjoyed getting to know others LGBQ families in the community.

  • Jon is experiencing broad support in the community — new residents like him, as well as 70 year residents.

  • How Jon is integrating the campaign into his family life with his bow tie loving son Sammy

  • Jon says, “frankly it’s never a good time, especially if you’re a parent, but you just have to make the time to do the things you love… because if you can show your child or your kids that you’re doing what you love, I think that’s a really important, great lesson”.

  • Advice for others who might be thinking about running for a community office is that if it’s important to you, just do it.

RELATED POSTS:

Executive Director + Little League Baseball Coach, Bruce Reed

LISTEN NOW:

Today I have Bruce Reed who is a dad of two young kids and runs Compass Education Group, and on the side, he's a little league baseball coach.

Bruce has a really interesting perspective and approach when it comes to coaching kids, and he takes much of the same approach in building and managing teams in his business — in both he looks for 3 types of personalities: The entrepreneurs, The artisans and The pragmatists. I love this way of thinking because it allows people to be recognized for the strengths they bring naturally, rather than being force fit to be something they’re not.

 

SHOW NOTES:

  • Compass Education Group

  • As a kid he had great coaches that influenced him to stay involved in coaching.

  • In college spent a semester abroad in Australia and helped get an American Football team started, later coached high school softball and baseball team in Japan.

  • Bruce has a unique approach to coaching the little league kids:

  1. He thinks a lot about it before he even has a team of kids

  2. His goal is that he wants the kids to be future dads coaching little league versus being a high school all-star or pro player

  3. He thinks about how he wants to be remembered by the kids in the future

  • Value in writing down guiding ethics and guiding principles - become a shared narrative for the team and all this helps the team develop chemistry and success on the field.

  • How he sees sports as such a great vehicle for learning and growth.

Enjoying the podcast?

  • Bruce lives by the definition of the word coach, it’s a very selfless role: Meets you where you are and taking you where you want to go.

  • The four rules he works with his teams to live by that he helps the kids break down and they talk about them at the beginning of every practice, and why they are important and what they say… they also recognize each other for embodying these values.

    1. Dress like a ballplayer

    2. Run on and off the field full speed every time

    3. Respect every aspect of the game

    4. No selfish questions

  • How he approaches teams in business is really the same - he borrows and swaps from his coaching role in business.

  • Looks for certain traits and behaviors in hiring; doesn’t matter the industry (or type of team) to him.

    1. The entrepreneur

    2. The artisan

    3. The pragmatists

  • He uses coaching to bring these traits out in his team members.

  • How finds the integration of work and coaching to be invaluable in making it all work together.


Read more on Bruce’s coaching philosophy in sports and in the college preparation world.