SupportPay is disruptive because there has been no solution on the market for divorced, separated or single parents to manage child support and share expenses directly with each other. We are the only solution that helps coparents with sharing their child(ren)’s expenses. Ultimately, our mission is to get all children the financial support they deserve, from both parents.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sheri Atwood.
Sheri Atwood is the Founder & CEO of child support installment platform SupportPay, and a former Silicon Valley executive. Atwood is a child of a bitter divorce who also went through her own divorce and created SupportPay when her search for a better way to exchange and communicate about child support installment with her ex-husband proved fruitless.
Fast Company named Sheri one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2017 for her work on inventing a digital solution to the child support installment process. Prior to starting SupportPay, Sheri was a successful marketing and product executive with Fortune 500 experiences, and has also been named “#5 of 50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley” and “Top 40 Under 40 Executive in Silicon Valley”.
SupportPay is the first-ever automated child support installment platform, poised to transform the complex, time-consuming & stressful process that impacts nearly 300 million parents exchanging more than 900 billion dollars in child support & child expenses worldwide. With SupportPay, today’s modern families can spend less time managing and arguing about child support, and more time focused on raising happy, healthy children.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Prior to SupportPay, I had a very lucrative career as a marketing executive in Silicon Valley, including being the youngest Vice President at Symantec. I was a divorced single mom who was busy juggling a career and raising a child, and I quickly realized that you get a bill for everything in life but you don’t get a bill for child support. I searched high and low for a solution and was shocked to find out there was nothing available. At the same time, my daughter had to have emergency brain surgery which really forced me to look at how I was spending my time. I realized then that if I was going to spend so much time away from my daughter I wanted to work on something that made an impact in the world. I decided to quit my job and start SupportPay — giving parents who live apart a solution to manage their child support and share expenses.
To read my full story, visit: https://bit.ly/sheriatwoodstory
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
SupportPay is disruptive because there has been no solution on the market for divorced, separated or single parents to manage child support and share expenses directly with each other. We are the only solution that helps co-parents with sharing their child(ren)’s expenses. Ultimately, our mission is to get all children the financial support they deserve, from both parents.
Can you share the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
“Don’t talk about it, be about it” — This is my personal motto I learned a long time ago and try to live by it. There are a lot of people in this world who will tell you what they are going to do — but very few that actually do it.
How are you going to shake things up next?
I think through my comeback story — it’s starting to shake some things up now. The next step is to be incredibly successful and expand my company to not only help parents support their children, but to take the same platform and help siblings support their parents. Our goal is to be the modern family finance platform.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I have a few favorite books that have had an impact on my thinking including “Blink”, “Multitasking is a Myth” and “Understanding Their Myers Briggs”. “Multitasking is a Myth” is interesting because it’s all about how modern technology and all our communication platforms are making us less productive, not more productive. “Blink” helps to work on gaining enough experience to trust your gut when making decisions. “Understanding Their Myers Briggs” was insightful to read because most people who do Myers Briggs or other personality tests are simply looking for information about themselves. However, where these are powerful is being able to identify other people’s communication type and then communicate with them in that way. This also helped me realize that it is imperative to have people on your team that are different types — and allow for those types to thrive in order to get the most out of your team.
I’m also a huge documentary buff and recently watched “RBG” and “Seeing Allred” which have helped me see how women can actually make a difference, especially since it has never been easy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have so many but to narrow it down:
- True equality between men and women, especially when it comes to startup funding as women still only get 2% of the VC funding available.
- Educating our children on our true history. They say if you don’t learn from history it is bound to repeat itself. However, I never realized until having a child and seeing what they are teaching her, how much of our history and the way it is told is completely controlled by white men.
- Educating our children on finances. I grew up very poor and was raised by a single mom. I was never taught what a credit score was (or why it mattered), how to balance my bank account or what an APR rate is — just to name a few. I am astounded that even today, many years later with my daughter in high school, that young adults are not taught these basic personal finance lessons. How can we expect our children to be ready for the world and be successful if our education system isn’t teaching this?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Besides the one I previously mentioned, my favorite these days are:
- “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” — Babe Ruth
- “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most”
- “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs”
- “If you really want to do something you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” — Jim Rohn
How can our readers follow you online?
Twitter: @sheriatwood or @supportpayapp
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!