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Showing posts from 2023

Year End-ish Post

I've been "keeping advent" this season in the way one might keep the Sabbath or Lent -- intentionally under scheduling, decluttering, opting out of historic holiday obligations, fasting -- and I think it's having an effect. All this advent keeping makes me long for the feasting of Christmas. I eagerly yearn for Monday when all heaven breaks loose to celebrate Christ's advent on earth. Advent keeping has also allowed me to be still and recognize patterns that have played out over the last year. 2023 has been tough. I wonder who else feels this; I know I'm alone in feeling the weight of an unpredictable world. My very body tells the tale of stress and years of inattention as I work through intense lower back pain. Vocationally I've strained toward product-market fit with Empowered Together's marketplace. I'm left longing for a co-laborer in this effort. While I remain deeply grateful for my family, I feel the pressures of parenting a child with a dis

post-election reflections

This fall, I ran for election to my local Board of Education. All four Democratic incumbents on our board were up for election. Our campaign began in August and continued through November 7th. By the numbers, I made 217 calls wrote 150 postcards knocked on 125 doors attended 8 community events wrote 4 Letters to the Editor won by 3 votes That last figure is what blew me away -- I will remain on our Board of Education because four people decided to get their ballots and vote. I know these folks: a friend's mom who's critically ill, wasn't planning to vote, but got fired up about issues and decided to make her (& her husband's) wishes known firefighters whom my friend's husband texted, telling them to vote for me  a guy on my husband's basketball league who said it was hard to vote for a Democrat but he did it While winning by a wide margin would've been nice, winning by a slim margin leaves me with important insights: Every vote matters and counts.  I was

Startup Day 875: piloting in New Haven

Iteration is emblematic of startups. For example: From last year's pilot , we learned that parents and adults with disabilities were looking for recommended resources.  We built the Empowered Together app and tried crowd-sourcing those recommendations.  In our New Haven pilot, we're bringing database building in-house by listing accessible food, arts, and recreational businesses in greater New Haven.  Thankfully, we have thought partners in this endeavor at the City of New Haven and at community disability orgs. We are working with a Quinnipiac student and awaiting word on additional grant funding. We're taking the right next step in changing the social system to be accessible and inclusive of People with Disabilities.

Startup Day 703: MVP live...

It's official, you can visit  to see what we've been building! It's been a long journey to get here though this is really just the beginning. Yesterday, I reflected on why I'm doing this ( watch here ). I want to dive a bit deeper around the concept of creating the future I want to live in with my kids. I'm building a marketplace to connect families affected by disability with recommended businesses. I hypothesize that this will increase the rate of excellent customer experiences for People with Disabilities (PwD) -- 80% of their customer experiences are currently FAILURES! I also hypothesize that businesses will see the value in welcome PwD and society will slowly become more inclusive and accessible. Big dreams, I know, but that's the future I'm creating. On the personal side, creating that future would be meaningless to me if my kids and I didn't get to enjoy it together. That means it's equally important for me to engage

Startup Day 676: MVP coming soon

Hunkering down and revisiting user data consumed much of my last hundred-odd days, resulting in a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Simply built using Softr and Airtable (with tons of gratitude for  INVANTI 's support), I'm testing the willingness of Disability Self-advocates and Caregivers to find and write reviews of providers they recommend. Of the 200+ pain points expressed by Empowered Together's community, 88% can be addressed by the online marketplace simulated in our MVP. Users get to recommend respite providers, social activities, and therapists they love. We're testing a shift from Word of Mouth recommendations to tech-enabled referrals and lead gen, leveraging the collective voice and purchasing power of the disability community. This progress energizes me as a founder. This could be the key to unlock support for families affected by disability. My narrative for a startup bootcamp's application summarizes it best: As Empowered Together’s founder, Sarah has a

Startup Day 563 -- Recap and Respite

First some updates on recent posts: Winter break offered a welcome pause in work activity. The kids and I made lists of activities we planned to mentally put aside during the break. I wrote down agonizing over product-market fit; they wrote down fighting with their sibling. Their favorite part was burning up their lists afterwards to symbolically set aside what we wrote down. 😁 Empowered Together's enterprise pilot with LOGAN concluded and we left the door open for future conversation. The pilot showed both LOGAN and Empowered Together that engaging parents in community is difficult, that immediate kids' needs drive parents' behavior, and that parents are willing to ask for help to meet those needs.  With those lessons in mind, I piloted a December Accelerator with parents to test whether an accelerator model helps users move forward on their parenting journeys. I was also curious if participating as a cohort would impact their momentum. The emotional support offered betwe