Hilary DeCesare’s BIO
Co-founder of Everloop.com, Hilary DeCesare is an award-winning entrepreneur, experienced in all aspects of launching and growing a business and is a digital parenting expert. Hilary developed the Everloop platform to give kids under 13 a safe, online homebase to connect with friends, play games, share pictures and music, discover new talents and learn using the most powerful online privacy protection and technologies available. A digital parenting expert and technology leader, Hilary was invited to The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and is a frequent contributor on major news outlets. She has been a chapter director for Tweenangels, a division of WiredSafety that educates and empowers kids regarding Internet safety. She was recognized as one of AlwaysOn’s “Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch” in both 2010 and 2011 and was honored with the prestigious 2010 DEMOgod Award. Previously, Hilary co-founded White Space Ink, a management-consulting firm that specialized in technology start-ups. She also worked at Oracle Corporation, a multinational technology company, where she garnered more than 100 worldwide managerial sales awards. Hilary is a mother of twin boy and girl teens and a tween. She is on the board of directors for the Max Cure Foundation, dedicated to finding medical cures that save children’s lives. Hilary is graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a B.A. in Psychology. More information about Hilary DeCesare can be found here:
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. Please share with us what prompted you to create White Space Ink & Everloop.com
Hilary: I first left Oracle, after 10 years, to start White Space Ink which provided strategic guidance to CEO’s and entrepreneurs, especially in the technology space. During this time my kids were beginning to use the computer more and what I was seeing is that a lot of sites they were visiting were created for adults – so I grew concerned about their safety and privacy. I started Everloop.com with two other co-founders to create a safe site, specifically for kids. With all the cool technology and features they were looking for, such as social connections, but in a safer, secure environment just for them. We started Everloop.com around a passion to keep kids safe online and across all devices.
2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.
Hilary: Seeing as I am not only an entrepreneur but also a “mom-eneur,” my days are a little bit longer than one might expect. I typically work from about 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. doing business and then at 6:30 I switch hats and put my mom hat on until my kids leave the door at 7:30. The rest of the day is incredibly fast-paced until I come home to have dinner with my kids around 7 p.m. and then work another couple of hours once they are asleep. My schedule is nonstop. Once you put my kid’s schedules with mine, some would call it chaos… but I call it love.
3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?
Hilary: Clearly as a business woman, many of my apps revolve around business – so of course calendar and email. We are in are Series A which requires me to travel for fundraising and meetings with strategic partners so the navigation apps are extremely useful. I use several news and technology information apps to quickly stay up-to-date on trends. YouTube is great to stay up-to-date with what is popular and the ease of Instagram has been great for keeping in touch and seeing what is going on quickly with friends and family.
4. What are your tricks for time management?
Hilary: You have to be incredibly organized and focused. I am a list person and I use technology as much as I possibly can to help manage my time. I have the join.me app on my phone so I can join meetings from wherever I am. As a CEO of a start-up business, it’s a tough balance to be connected to every aspect of the business, so I do my best to find ways to be virtually connected whenever I can. I also have a great team. So by having clear objectives and goals I am able to delegate and know that we are all on the same page and what needs to get done will get done. But of course, I wish there was more time in the day.
5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?
Hilary: The Wayne Gretsky quote “Don’t look at where the puck is, look where it is going”. Technology is changing things today at such a rapid pace. CEO’s and entrepreneurs need to have good vision and not just see where things are but where they can and will be.
6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Everloop.com for short-term and long-term growth?
Hilary: First and foremost it is having the right product. You need to really understand who you are creating your product for and make sure you are making the best product for that audience. This also helps when you don’t have a lot of money as the audience helps build awareness via word of mouth. So you need to have a team that understands grassroots and the viral capabilities in your industry. It’s also really important to be willing to partner with others to have joint campaigns/activities so you can with a bigger name presence.
8. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?
Hilary: I have been fortunate in that I have set out to accomplish several things and have been able to achieve key milestones which have allowed me to set even greater goals. I was extremely proud of launching Everloop, and then EverText, which became the first ever moderated texting feature for kids and was approved by all major carriers. But one of the things I am most proud of is that that I wanted Everloop to help make a difference in kids lives and help prepare them to be safer, responsible digital citizens before they go out onto older-skewed sites that do not have as many safety tools for them. Through our moderation, safety and training tools we see kids are really learning what is acceptable online and what could get them or someone else in trouble. We have great case studies of kids making mistakes or doing something that could have really got them in trouble on the outside web and instead learning from them and ending up being excellent contributors to the Everloop community.
9. How do you achieve balance in your life?
Hilary: Is there such a thing? (Laughing) But if i have to say there is balance … You have to set your priorities. You have your business, you have your children and family and you have your health. You have to make time for all of them and you have to prioritize them – your family is really the number one priority because without them you really have nothing. I’ve seen a lot of people that get caught up with working 18 hours a day and they miss that. I strongly encourage people to set their cell phones down and turn their desktop off and really enjoy what is right in front of them because you don’t want to miss those moments
10. Your top 3 book recommendations?
Hilary: Of course being heavily into technology I enjoyed reading Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs. Another would be Guy Kawasaki’s most recent book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. And the third one is Blue Ocean by Kim and Mauborgne
11. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
Hilary: I strongly believe in giving back and do a lot of volunteering and charitable work, especially regarding children’s charities and causes. My most rewarding charitable involvement would have to be my work with Max Cure, an organization dedicated to finding medical cures that save children’s lives. I also have an incredibly strong connection with the three charities that I worked with during my time as ABC’s Secret Millionaire, and those charities are New Hope, Shoestring City Ranch and Love in the Mirror.
12. Who has influenced your career the most?
Hilary: I have been incredibly blessed to have some great mentors from Ray Lane, the chairman of the Board at HP, to Kay Koplovitz, the former President of the USA Network. Mentors like these individuals have helped me bypass some of the mistakes that they made, have always been there for me to bounce my ideas off of and have helped to really make me who I am today.
13. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Hilary: My biggest piece of advice is document what you think you have in a one page summary and share it with 5 trusted advisers. Ask for their opinion and what they think you should do next. Too many people get stuck in a rut with what they think is a great idea and never ask others for feedback. Trust your mentors. They may be able to help you get to the end faster than you would be able to without them.