One failure is seeing things as a failure…Stick to your core beliefs and don’t allow naysayers or no responses to be obstacles.
As a speech pathologist, 25 year professional thespian, and sales executive, Gia knows the importance of strong communication skills. As a mother, Gia has seen firsthand the negative influence technology and social media can have on the real-life connections our children are making. She is committed to combatting the effects technology has on our youth. She is relentlessly passionate about ensuring that children as young as two years old through high school have access to resources in a classroom and home setting that will give them the skills they need to grow, learn, and lead as communicative adults.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The birth of my company came about in two different ways. I was asked to consult in Corporate America after may CEO’s and Executives were complaining about poor client engagement, weak sales presentations, lackluster webinars, grammatically flawed emails, etc. The disenchantment with the Millenial population and younger was the big concern. It was during this time that I realized, I must get to our young people, our future leaders, sooner to work on these critical skills. Additionally, I was seeing some disturbing behaviors in my own home with my two children who were incredibly tech dependent, cyber addicted, and growing verbally, socially and emotionally deficient as a result. I decided to take my combined experience of speech language pathology, more than two decades in professional theatre, and a career in sales, and design curriculum via games and activities to implement in the classroom to get kids back to simply TALKING in the ever abundant digital world. The company name came from a word not used often enough., Moxie. Moxie: force of character, determination or nerve. There will be those in the future that either have Moxie or don’t. I’m here to give all children an opportunity to find their Moxie.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day consists of making sales calls. Since I am in the business of communication, most importantly face to face communication, I physically call on schools and organizations to share with them how my business works and what I have to offer our future leaders. Additionally, I handle all of my social media, blogs, op-eds, speaking engagements, etc. along with my publicist. I also read, read, read! Anything I can get my hands on that pertains to this very hot topic in our culture today. I read articles, books, blogs, research, data and opinion pieces.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life by taking action. This idea to get kids out of screens and back to the art of conversation was a no brainer. The only obstacle was figuring out how to do that in a way that they really didn’t realize they were working on these skills. A boring Public Speaking 101 class wasn’t going to accomplish my goals. I strategically crafted our games, exercises and activities to coincide with a fun and collaborative environment without the stress and anxiety that is usually associated with speaking out loud in front of peers or people of authority. I also bring ideas to life by tireless and relentless follow through. As a mother with two young children, if you have passion for something, staying up until 2:00 am for days on end is how you bring ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The culture we live in today excites me. The rapid digital evolution and how it is changing our society excites me. It is what gives me the wind beneath my wings. It keeps me charging on to make a difference and impact others. There’s an awful lot of information out there that talks about the “problems” associated with social media and our youth, the effects all of this is having on brain development but nothing focused on solutions. This is where I come in and this excites me!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Every time I have an idea, I write it down. The hard drive can get full really fast. Some of my best ideas come at times when I least expect them. It’s never when I am concentrating on creating ideas.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Discern between needs and wants. Save more money. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Thirteen years old or 8th grade is still too young to have a smartphone. They don’t need it for anything and it’s not necessary. It only gets them into trouble.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I continually tell myself failure is not an option. I have entirely too much passion for what I do and have such belief in my crusade, the only way I will fail is if I just give up or stop pursuing. My continuous mantra is I will not give up, failure is not an option.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I fearlessly and unapologetically dialogue about the culture our children now inhabit. I also put my money where my mouth is. I promote a screen free life for all children ( other than in their school learning environment ) and I live out that message in my own home. I have opened eyes and created awareness and this has been crucial to the growth of my business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure is seeing things as a failure. When you are selling your ideas, products, and services, being told no, or worse, lack of responding, some might find to be failing or feel a sense of defeat. The best part of being in sales, especially when selling a product that is completely focused on communication skills, is when people don’t respond, it continues to validate the purpose of my work. It propels me to get out there and hustle. Stick to your core beliefs and don’t allow naysayers or no responses to be obstacles.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The business idea that I am willing to share just prototyped in January of 2018. A dryer that folds your laundry. It’s in the works. However, there’s always room for the bigger, better and more efficient model. I also have always wanted a waist high dishwasher to avoid having to bend over to unload and load the dishwasher, but it seems that is also on the market. I’m out of ideas at the moment.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently used a gift card coupled with a good cyber Monday deal and purchased a cordless Dyson. This has simplified my life in so many ways. Between two children and the dog, I have to take care of all sorts of things on my floor multiple times a day. It’s lightweight, has no filter, has powerful suction, stores easily and I will never sweep again. Amazing!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use an engagement platform/learning management system to deliver my curriculum to institutions nationwide. This platform, Teachable, allows me store my curriculum and once an institution subscribes to my lesson plans, a username and password is provided. This platform provides me the ability for huge outreach beyond a local level.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Of course, MY BOOK! “The Magnificent Melvin and Moxie.” My children’s book, while classified as fiction, is nonfiction in its depiction of the real-life struggles and concerns parents and children experience with device use. The book was written to show families there’s another way. We can fight the battles we face together and offer our children so much more that what our culture is currently providing.
What is your favorite quote?
“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” – Duke Ellington
- It’s okay to go against the grain. It’s okay to be the counter culture.
- Failure is not the enemy, unless you allow it to be. Failure can be your friend.
- Many people who make big waves and stir it up aren’t always agreed with. Stick to your guns, go with your gut and fight the fight.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.