Where are you from? I was born in Bombay and have lived and loved in NYC since 2004. Happy Heart Kid is proudly based in Brooklyn.
Why is your Pitch a game changer? There are many games, toys, products out there for kids that emphasize IQ at best — but none of these products will actually help children become happy and intelligent learners for the rest of their lives. Character is not just a 'nice-to-have'; it's a set of critical developmental skills needed to help our children grow into well-rounded, happy and successful adults. More and more experts are recognizing that character can actually be taught, and are putting increasing emphasis on early-childhood education to do just that. Currently there are a lot of research articles and books explaining about the importance of social emotional skills, but what is lacking are the hands-on activities that parents can use with their children to help build character through everyday play. Happy Heart Kid is my attempt at solving this problem.
First job? Research analyst at Merrill Lynch.
Who is your biggest advocate? My husband and friend/business partner Martha Martinez. They are the most patient and kind people I know and have been my pillar of strength, steadying my constant wavering through this entrepreneurial journey.
Lightbulb moment? While I was teaching character education for children as a volunteer, I realized that busy parents were constantly seeking tools to teach important life skills, such as empathy, gratitude and grit to their kids. Parents wanted to spend quality time with their kids and weave meaningful conversations into their everyday lives. We all tend use situations when we observe bad behavior to react and talk to kids, but what if we made playtime a way to proactively get our kids to start thinking, practicing and talking about their character? I found myself reading everything I could get my hands on about early childhood education and then it hit me! Progressive schools were already practicing social emotional learning with great success in preschool classrooms; but these products were missing from our toy stores. My goal then became to bridge the gap and provide a resource for parents to engage in social emotional learning at home. Our solution was to create a line of products that used creative art projects and fun games to inspire meaningful playtime. What I realized is that each toy, book or kid product facilitates a certain interaction between parent and children. Just as LEGOs are about building, we wanted to provide a fun set of activities with the purpose of engaging kids in social and emotional learning through play.
Favorite book? How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. It's been a huge inspiration for me and is central to our company's mission.
Where do you do your best work? My local coffee shop.
Favorite female-led entrepreneurial venture outside your own? GoldieBlox.
In 10 years you will be… I'll have three kids... ha!
Guilty pleasure? Currently making silly Dubsmash videos!
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