We are excited to share this informative Q + A with Rachel Stier, founder of EmCard+, child safety advocate, and Adventure Nannies client — keep reading to learn more!
Rachel Kreinces Stier has dedicated her career to serving children while also focusing on technology. As an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania (BA ’05), Rachel focused on trust and the Internet, as well as cyber-surveillance, publishing an article on cyber-surveillance in 2004. At the same time, Rachel ran a growing children’s literacy program in west Philadelphia that continues today. Upon graduation, Rachel spent two years as a special education teacher in Harlem as a Corps Member with Teach for America. She subsequently attended New York University School of Law (JD ’10) where she continued to study both education/children’s rights as well as intellectual property. Rachel was an associate focusing on intellectual property litigation with Kirkland and Ellis, LLP in New York, before becoming an attorney for children with The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice in the Bronx. Rachel represented children in abuse, neglect, and juvenile delinquency proceedings. EmCard+ represents the ultimate combination for Rachel–bringing together her background in technology with her lifelong passion for helping children be as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.
First of all – tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! I am Rachel Kreinces Stier and I am a mom of three (Elizabeth, 8, Ethan, 5, and Lucy, 2), an entrepreneur, a former lawyer, and a former special education teacher. I love spending time with family and friends, skiing, playing tennis, running, volunteering, and baking.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey – how and when did you start your first business?
My (non-profit) entrepreneurial journey started when I ran my first toy drive at 13 years old. I had the clear sense that not all children were fortunate to receive 8 nights of gifts or 1 big day of presents, and I wanted to help spread the holiday spirit to children in foster care and other difficult situations. Since then, I have used my creative and entrepreneurial spirit in a number of different ways–from creating initiatives within organizations where I worked to leading a breast cancer fundraiser that has grown to raise approximately $50,000 annually over 5 years’ time. Most recently, I founded EmCard+ LLC. EmCard+ is a new mobile application that enables parents/guardians to create virtual emergency cards (plus more info!) for their children and then share/retrieve those cards as needed.
How did you come up with the idea to create EmCard+?
EmCard+ represents the coming together of so many parts of my identity and background as well as what is most important to me–which has always been helping kids to be as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.
After seeing how a number of transitions in care–be it playdates, trips home from school, etc.–had some hiccups (i.e. information that one parent or another didn’t have but needed)–it occurred to me that we could do better when we share critical details about our children. For so many reasons–rushing, not wanting to be annoying, simply forgetting–we sometimes skip steps when we jump into a playdate or ask for a favor. Or we assume people remember details that we have shared previously.
Thinking about these challenges, and how the text conversations, brief or lengthy in-person conversations, etc. that we rely on are not truly doing the job, I came up with EmCard+. A way to make an emergency card that is attractive, covers the basics, provides back-up contacts, and more details–and to share those cards virtually.
How has COVID-19 impacted launching your business?
You might think that COVID-19 has hindered us in launching a new mobile application that focuses on safety and transitions in childcare when, in large part, we have been in various stages of lockdown for the past year. But it has also given us time to move and grow with care and intention. We persisted in bringing EmCard+ to market because:
1) many parents still do have to go to work in person and that means someone else has to watch their children (first responders, educators, food service industry, government, law enforcement, and so many more)
2) we are using this time to better learn our market, to constantly improve our product, and to build strong, foundational relationships with industry partners.
What’s the thing you are most proud of, or a success story from users of EmCard+, that you’d like to share?
There are many moments I have been proud of in our short history. Almost every conversation I have about EmCard+ involves someone saying, “Wow, this would have helped me when XYZ happened.” For example, one person recalled a time that parents forgot to share with a babysitter that their child has asthma. The child had an asthma attack while the parents were out and they wound up in the emergency room.
All was OK in the end but had they shared EmCard+ upfront, the babysitter would have been on the alert and potentially better prepared for such a situation. These stories of communication gaps span such a wide range of scenarios and I am proud to see EmCard+ as part of the preparation and prevention process so that kids and families and care providers are all best equipped for comfort and success.
How has your leadership style in business impacted your parenting style, and/or vice versa?
As a mamapreneur, working mostly from home, it is genuinely a challenge to tell where or when my work-life ends and my parenting-life begins. Both of my businesses (I also run a promotional products/custom merch/swag business with my sister-in-law that harnesses the power of our family businesses) are a true team and family game. If anything, perhaps that is the impact. My children and family are invested and involved in everything I do. My kids and husband hear, “EmCard+…” around the clock. My eldest daughter is hands-down the biggest fan of all of my work and one of my best helpers. My husband is my biggest champion. And we all support his work to provide for our family as well. Especially this year, we are grateful for the collective efforts to keep our family safe and well. We succeed and fail together. And as a family–we see and know the value of hard work.
How has having a nanny made your entrepreneurial journey smoother and enhanced your family’s life?
We truly rely on our nanny of 7 years. She has been with our family since my eldest (now 8), was 9 months old. She knows how many diapers we need to take on vacation, what snacks to pack, and even where to place them in the car. She is in charge of all deliveries, maintenance calls, and laundry. She takes inventory and reminds me of what we need across all categories of the home.
When I have a call that cannot be interrupted, she makes sure the kids are engaged in a proper activity. If I have an early meeting or call, she makes sure the kids are fed, dressed, and on the bus. Her flexibility, reliableness, and professionalism allow my husband and me to breathe and to do what we need, love and want to do. She is our rock.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurial parents who are considering launching a new business while juggling their responsibilities and goals for their children?
Ask for help. Share your journey and struggles with your family and the village that you rely on. Letting your loved ones know what you need is not a weakness–it makes you stronger and allows everyone to function better. And sharing your new venture–even if you are afraid of failing–will motivate you because you will see your success through their eyes. And 100%, your children believe you will succeed.
Also, remember that some things can wait until tomorrow. At each point in your day, think about what is most important at that moment. If it is doing bedtime with your kids, do it. Give them your full attention and be present. You can answer emails or do more work after (like I’m doing right now)! If it is doing work, then be firm and focused, and clear with your children or family–you will be with them when you are finished. If you give your all to what matters most at that moment, you will have less guilt and you will be more productive.
What are the most important qualities you’re looking for when interviewing nannies?
As a family, we value nannies who are caring, trustworthy, and organized.
Where can families or caregivers go to learn more about EmCard+?
EmCard+ in the Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/
YouTube Explainer: https://short.
Thank you to Rachel for taking the time to speak with us! We are truly inspired by the work that the EmCard+ team is doing to create a safer world for children. There are so many families that benefit from the support of exceptional nannies and private service staff, and we were so thrilled to help Rachel and her family find the support they needed. The incredible impact of having consistent, reliable support makes home life more manageable, and ultimately creates the opportunity for continued professional development and success.
How do you currently manage transitions in childcare and sharing pertinent information? We’d love to hear about your experiences — contact us on Facebook, Instagram, and check out the other posts on the blog!
Are you looking for an exceptional nanny, private educator, or newborn care specialist? Get in touch!
Do you have what it takes to be an Adventure Nanny? Apply Now!
To find out more about Adventure Nannies, click here!!