#32 – Using AI to Mind the Mental Health of Students & Make Schools Safer
with Amy Looper, COO of One Seventeen Media
Amy Looper is co-founder and COO of One Seventeen Media, an AI edtech company that is making waves (or maybe calming them…) in the mental health space. Amy, along with her business partner Beth Carls, has built a life-changing product: reThinkIt!—an app that helps kids process difficult emotions in real time.
reThinkIt! has been wildly successful using technology to support kids from pre-k through 12th grade. The app has literally saved lives, preventing a school shooting, and it boosts attendance for kids who are more likely to miss school due to personal challenges saving schools hundreds of thousands of dollars. And their 19 years of data-collecting continues to propel them into more and more progress.
In this episode, we chat about the issues of mental health at play for students and kids, and how Amy and Beth’s journey led them to their “19-year overnight success story” to provide a solution. Amy shares some of the practices that have led her to success like how to think about networking, adapting to change, and the benefits of building a strong community. With a long history of success in business and impact, Amy shares some of the practices and philosophies that she’s developed along the way.
A few takeaways from our conversation:
- You’re never too old to change: be open minded toward whatever is coming your way.
- Put yourself in a position to encounter opportunity: up-level and network with the communities available in the space you want to break into.
- Look into business accelerators that may provide the resources you need to develop your company (and grow your community while you do it)
- When you’re deciding how to spend your time, consider leverage: is this event and this time spent going to leverage us up to the next level where we need to be?
00:07 (Cory) — Hey y’all. It’s Cory here with the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast hosted by Grow Ensemble, a digital marketing training and consulting company that helps better businesses and better business people expand their impact through expanding their presence online and today’s episode I’m speaking with Amy Looper, the Co-founder and COO, Texas’s first certified B Corporation together with co-founder and CEO Beth Carls, they raised an initial $500,000 in seed funding which helped launch their suite of AI-powered evidence and research-based mobile apps called reThinkIt! a thinking app that helps pre-k through 12th grade students process difficult emotions to make themselves and schools safer. Amy is a well accomplished social venture entrepreneur and she is certainly well worth listening to as you’ll pick up in the episode, her energy and passion for the mental health problems she and her team at One Seventeen are addressing is contagious and truly inspiring.
01:25 In our episode today, we chat about the issues of mental health at play for students and kids, Amy and Beth’s journey or 19-year overnight success story as Amy refers to it, that’s made one one-seventeen media, what it is today. And as well we talk about the power of networking and building a strong community and how that influences both your professional and personal growth. If you want to check out the full show notes for the episode with a complete transcript and other bonuses, head on over to growensemble.com/amylooper. It’s all one word, Amy Looper. There you’ll find everything you need to get more information on the podcast as well as all the links and goodies from Amy and the one-seventeen media team. So, once again, that is growensemble.com/amylooper. Alright y’all. Let’s jump into the episode.
02:30 (Amy) — My name’s Amy Looper and I’m co-founder and chief operating officer of one-seventeen media. We’ve built a product that’s called reThinkIt! and it’s our mental health and analytics platform that helps kids process difficult emotions in real time with a chat bots.
02:46 (Cory) — That’s excellent. And so can you talk a little bit about how you’ve come to this position? How did you find one one-seventeen media and start to get into the app development space?
02:57 (Amy) — Yeah, sure. It has been long developing story, but I’ll just sort of break it down really in short bits for you. This wasn’t the reason why we started the company, but going backwards, fast backwards, I repeated first and third grade. I was bullied excessively, not only by kids in school, but also by some teachers. I was actually hung on the playground with a jump rope by a kid that was about twice my size and literally I was off the ground about six inches. And, but because I was so bullied, it was just part of the course of my day. And so I got home and we were sitting down at dinner that night and my mom, it was kind of the first time really, we probably just had sat down since school and she said, “What’s that on your neck?” And I’m like, I don’t know.
03:45 And she goes, it looks like rope burns. Oh yes. Stevie D. hung me on the playground today. Can I have some mashed potatoes? I mean, it was just my life. Right. And thank goodness I had parents that could process that. They did not allow that to define me and really frankly, I didn’t give it another thought after that particular day. So fast forward like a bazillion years, Beth and I were fortunate enough to start an internet consulting firm, systems integration consulting in 1996, and we had done some pro bono work for a woman who had some kids in middle school in Houston. And it was just a really rough school. And that volunteer work, that pro bono work sort of brought back for me. It’s like, wow, you know, I really did struggle as a kid and if there’s anything that I can volunteer to do to help other kids, just sign me up.
04:38 So we did that project. Then when the company went public, about 35 months later, there was a big splash in the paper. And this same woman called Beth and I back up and she said, hey, I know you guys too well now you’re not gonna rest on your laurels. Would you guys be interested in doing something in the field of character education and you know, I was learning about that. I’m like character education. What is that? I was raised probably the first words I said were, yes sir. No ma’am, you know that that was the character in my Houston, Texas household. And it was really intriguing. And so we asked the question if we can apply all the cool stuff that we’ve just learned and taking a technology company public. I mean we were doing fortune 50 systems integration. We built continental airlines first online ticketing system.
05:28 We built, you know, some of Enron’s trading deck on and on and on. We, these were super, super heavy duty early on systems integration kinds of things. But our thesis going into this was can we use technology to help kids specifically when they get in trouble? And that was just generally what we went in to the first minimum viable product of what reThinkIt! has become today, back in 2000. So we essentially, we’re using computer based training methodologies, if you will at that time. But it, it just, it just took off one because the gap was so huge and the need was so great. And the way, a good example to share on how it works is when a child gets sent to the principal’s office instead of sitting on the bench waiting to see an authority figure and, and we were doing a lot of interviews, so the adults were very candid and they say, oh, sometimes I know, I know Amy, she’s, you know, she’s a problem kid and I’m just gonna make her sit on the bench for a couple of hours and, and make her think about it.
06:32 Well, emotionally, that’s probably not the best thing to do, but we did appreciate the stress and the struggles that counselors and administrators are going through at schools that have a lot of kids that have a lot of need. So, that was the question. It’s like, well, hey, could we just put kids– at that time it was online– so could we put kids on our application online and let them tell their side of the story? And essentially we were simulating chat bot technology, but chat bots weren’t a thing then, but a kind of the fast forward 17 questions—kids would answer and we were getting five times more information about what was going on with the child. We prevented a school shooting. We were starting to prevent youth suicides and the brilliant thing was kids were telling us in their exit interviews, this is the first time I’ve been able to tell my side of the story without being interrupted or being prejudged.
07:29 And we found out it was an amazing thing that we were able to uncover and reveal. And that was: if kids were just given this time and space within the technology that they felt like they rocked at, they would just share crazy amounts of detail that they would not share with the adults face to face. Around 2008 is when the economy blew up and we had done all of our research. We were just getting ready to cross the chasm, as they say, sold about $2 million worth of revenue while this was still collecting data and in the minimum viable stage product. So we knew we were onto something, but when the economy blew up, we had to downsize. And during those three or four years until about 2010-2011, new technology was coming online. So text messaging became available. So those were things that we could do really inexpensively and test some minimum viable products.
08:26 So we tested with an SMS platform, would kids text us sex ed questions? So we went out and got a public private partnership with a nonprofit that had the subject matter expert in health. We just built the technology in the box and did the marketing. And sure enough kids were texting all kinds of questions about sex education. We also were noticing that kids were asking back to sort of our core work. These questions were about mental health. How do you know if you’re in love, how do I talk to my parents or my caregiver or whoever it is that, you know, just this myriad of questions that were just social, emotional, mental health kinds of questions. So leverage that forward. We did three MVPs and made money on all of those. Just again testing the market and have landed on where we are today with reThinkIt!
09:20 With that now all a complete mobile platform. We are using simulated chat bots to collect this information and now we’ve got some plugins with IBM Watson. So we’re using narrow AI, artificial intelligence, with some of the Chat Bot assistance. But the remarkable thing is over the seven or eight years, all of our research is still tracking where we get five times more information from kids. They click something like 5.4 emotions that they’re sharing versus just saying, well, you know, I’m upset like kids usually do. That’s been our history and it seems to be the secret sauce is using technology with good content and good use interface, of course, behind it. But kids today are still suffering from the same thing that I as a child went through except I had parents that were there, some kids, many kids really don’t have access to their parents full time in the way that I did.
10:20 Schools are much more stressed just, it’s just magnified probably a hundred fold. So that’s my story. And that’s how I got into this and realize, you know, this is a really good way to use my whole life journey to help impact social emotional learning. And now mental health. We’ve been doing mental health, but until sadly the Stoneman Douglas Florida school shooting last year, people really just would be so resistant to saying mental health that there is just this huge mental health need all around in our society. So thanks and hats off to the Stoneman Douglas students that just became activated and engaged because that was a big pivot point for us as a company—allowed us to be able to say we are in the mental health business and that’s how we’re going to go after funding now. And that’s really what we’re going to laser focus in. So we have been in schools and now we’ll continue the school work is one that’s where we can get access to huge amounts of the children at need. But we also over the years have been tracking with new technology for adults. So, for example, TalkSpace when they came online a few years ago, telemedicine, tele-psychiatry, tele mental health. That’s exactly the space we’ve been playing since 2000 except now the market has caught up with us around what we’ve been doing for kids.
11:54 (Cory) — And so I’m wondering at least start, as you dove into the research, as you mentioned, starting with your original thesis, what was it like to, to get some of that early data back on understanding that, oh wow. There may be some serious traction here. I mean, the engagement from these kids is five times the amount than it normally would be. What do you remember particularly what it was like in those moments?
12:15 (Amy) — Yes, because still just you asking that question. I’ve just gotten a goosebump full body goosebump because it was so crazy. I think we were hoping if we could move the needle just, let’s just say 1% if we can just move the needle a little bit. But the needle was coming back just like off the chart. And even the educators were realizing and giving us that feedback. They’re like, oh my gosh, we have never seen anything like this. So as we were looking at that data and seeing that we were able to get five times more information we were able to read—I’ll give you a few statistics that generally makes people glaze over, but it gives you an idea of just how shocking it was. But we are regularly able to reduce in-school suspension by 50% and that’s really huge because generally when kids get into that in-school suspension track, they drop out, they come to school less, that costs schools money.
13:12 It’s this huge cycle that just feeds into it. At the middle school in Houston where we were able to prevent the school shooting. We reduced their alternative transfer rates and their in school suspension rates by 77% and the principal called us and said I’ve been going through my books and I have realized that you guys have preserved over $100,000 worth of monies that I’ve been able to keep and not lose because of me having to kick kids out of school or kids not coming to class cause schools make money on average daily attendance. Those kinds of numbers were just like, oh my gosh, that principal could hire two more counselors if she wanted off that $100,000 so those are some numbers and yes it was just literally blowing our mind. So we know there’s a lot of opportunity that we just want to take advantage of and I think it’s been a slow burn and this is just part of the entrepreneurial journey, right? When all of us that are about solving an impact problem, whether it’s social, emotional or environmental, it is going to take a little bit longer burn rate, if you will, to some extent.
14:23 But it is really true if this is your passion, if you find something that you’re passionate about and you can lock on it and stay with it–because there’s certainly been days when we’ve wanted to just like, oh my gosh, what are we doing? You know what I mean? Somebody the other day said, hey gosh, this is really cool. You guys are getting ready to take off. And I was like, yeah, it’s like been a 19-year overnight success.
14:50 (Cory) — And so do you feel like this project in particular, this 19-year overnight success compares to some of your work before? For you personally?
15:00 (Amy) — For me personally, it’s the culmination of the journey that a lot of times I think we find work that we-I mean I would, I have a bachelor of fine arts I my life track because I sucked at math- was going to be, I’m going to be a creative director, you know, almost sort of like Madman if you will. You know, that’s what I saw my journey as when I was coming out of college is: I’m going to be an art director, creative director at an ad agency and that’s going to really be great because I love that. And then things changed. Technology came online and I think always being a lifelong learner has helped me just, hey, okay, well maybe I can do that or how can that apply to what we’re doing? I mean, and really in my lifetime, because I’m older, computers came online, you know, about the time I was in my mid-thirties. And that just changed everything. Whenever the first Apple, maybe Apple2C computer came out, you know, a little small computer. I was in a house in Houston sharing space with a copywriter or a couple of other designers and some production people because again, this was before computers.
16:08 And the designer across the hall, one day this big box came and I was like, what’s that? And she goes, I always have my computer. And so we open it up and I remember looking as it logged on the, and I’m looking at this computer and we’re having this conversation amongst all of us. It’s like, how is a computer going to do what our brilliant right brains do, right? We’re creative, you know, so we all kind of have this conversation, but the art director that bought the computers like, well, I’m just going to check this out. I just blew it off like, that can’t do what I do. And continued to sell and that sort of thing. Next thing I knew a year or two later, I looked up and man, I had no computer skills. So I pretty much had stuck myself in a track that now I was going to be in sales, you know, selling my services, advertising and marketing design, I could still use my creative, but it couldn’t produce anything. So I had to outsource so that that was the first stupid decision.
17:05 Now fast forward to when the world wide web became available. I had a freelance designer that I was outsourcing to and I went over to his office and he was known to engage in a lot of pot smoking at that time and I walked into this huge cloud. I’m like, oh my gosh, my project’s not going to be ready, and he’s hunkered over his computer and he’s like, dude, I said, it’s Amy. But he was like, dude, it’s the world wide web. Now in printing circles, there is a form of printing called web printing. It’s on giant big rolls. They generally print magazines and newspapers and I’m thinking, oh my gosh, he is so stoned. Like my project is toast.
17:47 And he goes, no, come over here and look at this. And he showed me a little flicker of as of a single graphic image on the worldwide web. And I was like, oh my gosh. So I asked him a few questions and he was able to answer coherently. And I thought to myself, this is my stupid arrogant Mac moment a few years ago when I said whatever this is, I am all over it. I jumped in the car and I called Beth back and I said, I’ve just seen the most incredible thing. I don’t know what it is, but the answer is we’ve got to do it no matter what. And that was like a pivotal thing for me and my journey. I’d had made a stupid arrogant decision before in my thought process, but this I decided, whatever it is, we’re doing it and I don’t know what it is, but we’re doing it.
18:36 And that actually was where the fork in the road was for me, for my journey that got me into being able to find people to start the consulting firm that we started. So that was 1996, so basically within about a short window in ‘94-‘95 it was learning about the worldwide web whenever that popped on. And then pretty quickly realized, you know, we can build a business around this, a consulting business. And so that’s how we started our technology company. Then you know, I’ve already told you the first part of that story. So that’s all about 1) not making stupid decisions, but being really open minded about you may think you’re going to go down a path for one reason and one set of reasons, but being open minded to just whatever is coming your way because that’s really the knock–you know—sometimes on your head going, hey wait, listen all of your passion or if you’re thinking about a change, really never too old to change, and I’m pretty old, so that’s, I can say that because I changed when I was in my late thirties early forties
19:39 (Cory) — So, I guess anything else along those lines? You know, you mentioned very clearly the importance of staying open minded as a lot of people, especially people who are interested in making some sort of impact, social or otherwise, I think a lot of folks struggle to find like what is the problem that they want to solve and therefore, what’s the purpose of what the direction is that they take. Do you have any other kind of points of advice, because it just seems that you’re, you know, so locked in and enthusiastic about where you are now. Is there anything else that you can offer up as advice for perhaps finding that, sort of locking into something themselves?
20:13 (Amy) — We have a 10 year old and a five year old grandson. I’ve been watching them grow up in the five-year-old right now. It’s all about, well, you know, it’s this wonderment and–I think somebody famous said this, we go to school as a question mark and we are graduated as a period that’s always stuck with me that it’s about wonderment and if one stays open minded and just as constantly asking the questions, we’re super, super good networkers and that’s also a fundamental thing that people have to understand to help their business and it’s hard for a lot of people. And there are some days–I consider myself extroverted, but there’s a lot of days that I’m like, Oh man, I really just don’t want to go network tonight, but I make myself do it. So it’s about being open. So putting yourself in those places where you going to be around people that you might learn about what other people are doing. That’s a really big thing. The other thing that I do, because we do work with kids, I’m always asking this question through this filter.
21:15 If I see something that’s going on for adults, the ‘what if’ question. I wonder if we could do that for kids. And so for me that’s, that’s a thing that I use to constantly impact what we’re doing and that’s kind of back to the telemedicine for adults that I mentioned. I think TalkSpace might’ve been the first one that came out. The second I saw that I was like, oh my gosh, can we do that for kids? That’s how it works for me is I put myself, Beth puts herself, we put ourselves in positions where we can be around a lot of people, a lot of people that are smarter than us because you have to up-level your game and there is really a lot of truth to that and that doesn’t necessarily always mean older people. Beth and I mentor at the University of Texas, McCombs Business School with students that are interested in building impact businesses.
22:04 And I’ll tell you, I love it because they’re so smart and that’s where in that exchange we can all mentor and we can all learn from each other. It’s about being open minded and not being stupid like I was thinking I knew everything, right?
22:19 (Cory) — Yeah. And I guess to hear a little bit more about, you know, what that networking looks like for you? Like where are places that you’re trying to go to, you know, immerse yourself in other folks that you might learn from?
22:30 (Amy) — Yeah, well definitely association– avery broad range. So there’s probably going to be a split for your audience because some people that are closer to metropolitan areas are going to have access to more than people that are maybe in more rural areas, but it’s a wide variety. We try to volunteer on a lot of things and I’ve just always in the back of my mind, no matter who I’m around, I’m going to ask them questions if the conversation goes that way.
22:58 So you know, did you ever have a bullying experience? And then let them talk and kind of hear from them. So that can come from when we volunteer at the H-E-B Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve talked to people there and sometimes those people that we’ve served Thanksgiving dinner for have come from really extreme circumstances, and I’m learning from them what their situation is, all the way to go back to the University of Texas. I mean a good amount of those students that have gone there. There’s a lot of privilege in some of those areas. And so I’m talking to those students too because you’ll find out that no matter where any of us come from, or our circumstances, we all share a lot of common threads based on the experiences that we have. So, you know, from H-E-B Thanksgiving to Women’s CEO’s Network, that’s been fantastic—that just started last year. We get on conference calls, see you don’t physically have to go out anywhere, if you can find a group or an association that you can get on conference calls. So really we’re in a pretty wide variety of networking events. We go to school stuff we go to–I mentioned the Capital Factory a little earlier when we were talking.
24:11 I’m online pretty regularly, through Meetup—Meetup’s just a really great invention. You know, you can find any group through Meetup that people can find some commonality with. Go to those things if you can. Like I said, if you’re rural, then– one of the, actually Beth and I just a few weeks ago went up to Dallas. We found out, another thing, I’ve been really immersed in are business accelerators and those weren’t around in the old days for me, but I’ll tell ya, you have to look and take advantage of all the tools that are there and business accelerators.
24:46 They have all kinds of special guest speakers. They have happy hours, you can get a free snack and a free beer or whatever. Go and just talk to maybe even if it’s just one person and see if you can take your friend as a wing man that you know for people that might be shy. But we went up to Dallas in association with the Health Wildcatters, which is a very focused business accelerator in Dallas that focuses on medical things. So medical devices, just anything in the health and medical field. That’s perfect for us because I mentioned a little earlier, we’re now pivoting and focusing more on mental health for employee assistance programs. So now I talked about schools, now I’m talking about employee assistance programs. So where are we going to network? Anybody that’s around human resources. And before this trip to Dallas, Beth saw two days prior to our actual pitch event at Health Wildcatters, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Dallas at their innovation hub was having an open house and so we went. We were just going because we were going to be in Dallas anyway and we thought, well we’ll just see who we meet.
25:57 That has ended up being maybe potentially fingers crossed–It might be one of the biggest business opportunities for us with Blue Cross Blue Shield. And that’s the power of being able to get out and be in a lot of places talking to people.
26:15 (Cory) — Oh yeah, it sounds like it. And with that in mind, you know, being so all over and being so engaged in the local and regional community, I’m also interested to know how is it that you manage yourself? How do you decide on which opportunities to pursue and what might be the best use of your time on a day to day or week to week? Is there any particular process for that for yourself?
26:36 (Amy) — Yeah, well that’s a great question. That life-work balance I think is what some people call it. We’re in a position where, you know, the kids are out of the house and now we’re just working on the grandkids. So we have a lot of time and some people can’t do this, but I’ll tell you, we were probably are easily putting in 13-14 hour days pretty regularly and that includes at least one weekend day. So part of that deciding each week, if you will, or kind of spacing out our calendar. The first qualifier is leverage: is this event and this time spent going to leverage us up to the next level where we need to be. So that’s really kind of how we filter it. Now we also do some of that too is like, okay, we were going to go volunteer over here because it’s the right thing to do.
27:24 But I had a friend once tell me his son was getting married and he said, “Looper do not bring your business cards to my son’s wedding.” And I said, I’m not going to. So you know for me, I am pretty generally talking business when I am allowed to, even outside of specifically going for business, but that’s just who I am. I’m really engaged in what we’re doing so it’s different for different people, but that’s really the first filter is: is this time going to get us to the next level or two. Sometimes we’ll go and Beth and I have a philosophy that this just feels like someplace we should go maybe because we’re going to learn about something but I don’t know, just whoever we’re supposed to meet that night we’re going to meet the person and that’s sort of what happened in that example I was telling you about with Blue Cross Blue Shield is we went, it was an open house for them.
28:15 We did not know that they had an agenda item for the Blue Cross Blue Shield innovation lab people to mix and mingle with all the of us entrepreneurs and different people that were there to ask questions to find out kind of what was cool and hot and what were people working on. You know, we didn’t go prepared for that. But they came prepared for that. And that’s the other thing about deciding where you’re going to be and how you’re going to do it: is the old adage about luck, you know, luck is when you’re prepared and the right opportunity presents itself at that nexus. And so it just depends what’s going to get us to that next level.
28:53 (Cory) — Yeah. And I like to think of that like creating luck, you know, in some way and in part putting yourself more in position to be available to those opportunities, and a lot of that does come from preparation for one and then just being out there more. But I think that leads well for me to ask what’s on the agenda for the remainder of 2019? You mentioned schools earlier and now this employee assistance program. Where are you all focusing on in particular? I mean maybe it’s both, but where your site’s headed for the next six or so months.
29:22 (Amy) — Very specifically in the employee assistance programming space. So we received through Southwest Angel Network, which was the first impact Angel Fund here in Austin that started a couple of years ago, two years ago, Beth and I were in their first cohort that they funded. We raised $515,000. And at that time we already had enough expertise to know that schools was great, but it’s just a very slow scope of sale and that we felt like we had a consumer play. We weren’t exactly sure what that was. And when we pitched Southwest Angel Network was a little nervous about that. They’re like, hey, you guys are really seasoned team. You’ve got a product that’s humming along, why don’t you just stick with the school thing? So that’s what we were doing. But then, like I said, a year ago, that’s when the Stoneman Douglas school shooting got the most visibility. Sadly, there were a lot of other shootings that have taken place, but that was a pivot point.
30:19 So at the first of the year, I think maybe our January or February board meeting, our Southwest Angel Network investor, Bob Ridge attends our board meetings. He’s like, Hey, you know, I’ve been hearing you guys talk. Have you thought about a consumer product? And you’re like, oh my gosh, Bob. Yes, that’s what we talked about, you know, a couple of years ago. So from that point, as soon as we got the okay from our investor in January it has been full bore employee assistance program making that happen and we’ve made a lot of inroads. Now Beth’s also been keeping sales going on the school side, but 2019 has been dedicated to this. And so we have an opportunity in Seattle to do a pilot with a large wellness EAP program. That came within just a few weeks of getting the go ahead to go forward. And where did that come from? It came from our network.
31:11 So that might’ve been a little bit longer answer, but it’s—and raising money. So that’s the other reason why we’ve been pitching a couple of business accelerators. I have people regularly when we talk about pitching business accelerators well, gosh, you guys took a company public, why do you need it? Things change. Things change. And one has to back to being in the right network place of business accelerator. I highly recommend that for companies. You know, it depends on the circumstances on where companies are, but generally for sure startups that are still within that first couple of years. A business accelerator is just such an incredible gift because again, that’s leveraged. And so that’s going to also put us in front of additional money. So we’ve been bootstrapping with the school sales, but now that we’re going to move forward on the EAP side, you know, we need like $2.4 million. So that’s what a business accelerator will help us.
32:05 (Cory) — Sure. And I’m interested as to what that needs to go to. You know, you mentioned the figures earlier of the impact that this technology that are using that it’s made on schools and children. You know, I’m sure it’s very similar for your employee assistance programs. What do you feel like is standing between y’all and the adoption of, you know, your programs at a larger scale?
32:27 (Amy) —Yeah. Right now it’s that $2.4 million. All the pieces are in place because the school version of reThinkIt! (reThinkIt for schools), it’s humming everything, all the pieces are there. We want build more content of course, but the functionality, the way that it works, the way that a child that’s got something on their mind and they want to express it or get it out through the process, works the same whether a child’s at school or a child’s at home. So I’ll give you just another couple of little data points. So businesses lose something like $530 billion a year in employee absenteeism, and there’s another word called presenteeism. So an employee can be at work, but they’ve got so many issues going on that they really aren’t present. That’s a lot of dough for companies that’s U.S. companies just annually. That’s the impact that we can make with an employee assistance program for kids.
33:24 So for employee parents as I’ve been affectionately calling them that may have a child at school. The other thing that we know from the data that we’ve collected for almost 19 years is that kids with mental health issues, they miss an additional 13 days of school than their peers. So now there’s a business case. So when you think about how do you put a business together, and if you’re seeing a problem, the problem has to be large enough. The need has to be there. And then what’s the solution? And that’s really what we started seeing because it’s so competitive here in Austin because Austin obviously is a huge tech town. So is, you know, the San Antonio area where you are just this area, Dallas and Houston, you know, the big triangle. So companies are really competing for the best employees. So that’s an opportunity for us.
34:11 We were seeing this trend of employee assistance programs that big companies, tech companies were trying to use to hire and retain their employees. And again, so we asked the question, hmm, what about kids? You know, could we do some kind of employee assistance program specifically for employees’ kids? So I was back to that, what I said a little earlier. I’m always asking that question, would this work for kids? Can we make–is there a business case to make this happen for kids? So that’s how we’ve gotten around towards pointing our ship right now towards employee assistance programs.
34:46 (Cory) — No, no, definitely. It gives us a good look as to where y’all are headed. So, and we’re really looking forward to keeping up with you. So Amy, before we do wrap up our show here, is there anywhere specifically that you’d like to plug for us to keep up or anything you feel like we left out
35:02 (Amy) — For people to hit the website-It’s www.oneseventeenmedia.com all spelled out and all of our social channels are at the bottom of the page and people can read a little bit more about what’s going on. If they’ve got kids in school–I mean even parents that have kids that don’t have any issues, the kids that have issues are taking away from their parents’ time. So it doesn’t matter. We believe that every child, just by virtue of being a child and trying to navigate the process has some risk factors. So parents that want to see this in their schools just reach out to us because ways we can help schools get this funded. Parents that are working parents and maybe they would like for their companies to add this for them through their employee assistance program. That’s an opportunity too, so there’s a contact page for people to contact us and just they can get in our flow and we can start a conversation.
35:58 (Cory) — Excellent. And we’ll link up to everything One Seventeen Media in the show notes at growensemble.com alright. Thanks a lot Amy.
36:05 (Amy) — Thank you. My pleasure. I appreciate it.
36:08 (Cory) — Hey y’all. Thanks for checking out this episode of the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast brought to you by Grow Ensemble. If you love this episode and you want to review some of the information discussed, you want to take a look at our full show notes, transcript, and added bonuses. Just head on over to growensemble.com/podcast and there you’ll find access to the show notes for this show as well as our now many others. So once again, that is growensemble.com/podcast to check out our show notes. Alright, y’all see on the next show.