How My 10-year old Helped Me Become “The Boss” & Revolutionize Gift Giving

I’ve been somebody’s boss since I was a 25 year-old college graduate with two degrees in Engineering. Being a boss seemed to come naturally to me–I had a knack for leading and inspiring people, organizing projects, creating a vision, and managing details to ensure that we were successful in executing our plan. As my boss assignments continued to expand and grow, so did my titles; after being named Senior Vice President of Preschool & Parents at Nickelodeon, leading NickJr.com and Noggin.com and the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Discovery Education, I became Vice President of Digital Products at ESPN, where I spearheaded the launch of ESPN3. Despite the big titles, huge responsibility, and great successes, there was something inside of me that whispered, “You’re not REALLY a boss.”  There was something deep inside of me that partially believed this, I was suffering from major imposter syndrome.  While I was always somebody’s boss, I was never THE BOSS.

That was until my daughter forced me to think differently. (Yes, I know…I’m like a living Apple commercial.)

When my daughter, Gabrielle, was 8, about to turn 9, she told me that she only wanted two things for her birthday: a bike and enough money to finish saving for her investment account. Yep–you heard me. “Enough money to save for an investment account.” Definitely a sign of someone who will be referred to as The Boss in their future.  

Even though she’d soon be receiving gifts for her birthday, I knew that few–if any–of the gifts would help fund her two amazing goals. Instead, well-intentioned people would bring her a lot of stuff, none of which she really needed, and most of which she would never use. It bothered me that birthdays, holidays and other special gift-giving moments had become about giving meaningless items to young people. The collective money spent by loved ones on these occasions could be put to much better use supporting kids achieve their future goals.

I resolved that I needed to do something about this problem. I wanted to equip young people with the ability to establish healthy financial habits and redirect wasted gift money to meaningful endeavors.

sow gifting app founder Tanya Van Court daughter gabrielle

That’s when Sow was founded. I felt trepidation about starting my own business and even heard that little voice inside of my head whispering “Are you crazy? You’ve never started a business before! You’ve been a boss, but never THE BOSS.” But my daughter fueled my enthusiasm for the business and inspired me to change the world for her generation. With this business I would not only be able to eliminate “stuff” from people’s homes, but shift the practice of gift giving from the exchange of meaningless material goods to the exchange of monetary support that would help achieve meaningful, deliberate goals for the future. Upon this realization, I knew I couldn’t walk away from this mission. As I eased into the fear of starting my own business I became increasingly comfortable being The Boss and passionate about the mission of Sow.

Now that Sow has officially launched we are able to enable young people aged 0-22 to register for GOALS instead of GOODS in 3 important categories: Saving (for the future), Sharing (with others) and Spending (on things that matter). Instead of getting more pink, fuzzy bunny slippers from Grandma this holiday season, you can ask her to go check out your Sow profile and give you support for your college fund, the business you want to start, robotics camp, the computer you really need, or the awesome non-profit organization that you work with on the weekends.

You can check out isow.com now and sign up to sow the seeds for you and your favorite little ones’ goals!

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