Meet —the Sheri Atwood Founder & CEO SupportPay of, who exceptionally came forth all the obstacles achieving many milestones in her pathway. Her persistence and commitment drove her passion and sustained her entrepreneurial spirit. Under her guidance, the company has witnessed many accomplishments as it provides the transparency, compliance, reporting and communication for the child support. Insights Success admire such leaders and takes pride in featuring Sheri in its Women’s day special edition, “The 20 Female Tech Trailblazers”, celebrating her immense courage and dedication in taking her company to its current stature.
The Lady behind SupportPay.com
Sheri was raised by a single mom and the youngest of three children her goal as a child was to escape the current economic struggles her mother faced. Although, she knew the only way to do this was to go to college thus, her sole focus growing up was getting into the college.
She originally went to undergrad school at UC San Diego with a goal of being a doctor. However, since she paid her own way through school she started working and got a job at Sony Electronics as a Market Analyst. It was at that time that she realized how exciting business could be – where you could be analytical and creative – with every day being diﬀerent and exciting. At that point,
she realized she wanted to go into business but unfortunately UC San Diego did not have a business degree. She then switched majors and ended up graduating in 3 years with a degree and Political Science and Theater. After working for a few years, she also got her MBA in the Executive Program – enabling her to continue to work while taking her career experiences and being able to apply it directly to what she was learning in the MBA program.
Lady behind SupportPay.com
“It is the Courage to Continue that Counts,” quotes Sheri.
Many leaders face ups and downs in their career, but Sheri has gone through some interesting twists and turns, which eventually helped her attaining a successful stature for herself in the business. With lot of hard work and dedication, she started the company entitled SupportPay—an app to make it easy for separated and divorced families to exchange money excluding the drama or the ﬁghting., but soon had to face the bitter taste of dominating class in the business world. She got ﬁred from her own company which she started. Yet, she quotes and I recites, “I’m stronger because I had to be, I’m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve known and now wiser because I learned.”
She never lost her hope, in her ﬁrst entrepreneurial venture and rose to buy the company SupportPay back from its previous investors. She states that she had to took out a personal loan and used all of my remaining savings to purchase the SupportPay assets and she formed a new company: Smart Family Tech, Inc. And she spent nearly 11 months on rebuilding SupportPay— ﬁxing the product and slowly winning back customers. “I don’t have the cushion of angel of venture funding or extra money in the bank so my team is much smaller, but also more focused. Today, I can proudly say that we are doing better than ever, proﬁtable, with 4x more paid customers and 5x more active users than ever before,” asserts Sheri.
With such an inspiring journey, she hopes and believes that we can change the way women and minorities are treated in tech. Studies show that most people who hold these bias’ don’t even realize it. She is ﬁrm on the goal that one day, this bias can somehow be overcome through stories like her. If nothing else, she hopes her story inspires, even one person, not to give up, even when one feels that all hope is lost.
Family-time is a Must!
Featured person herself states that, “this is tough, but I try to spend at least 2 hours a day with my daughter, connecting to what is going on in her life, discussing current events and exploring ways for us to continue to connect as she grows into an amazing young woman.” Besides in her workplace, for making her work-force more eﬃcient, she prefers to tell every employee—only come to me if you can’t ﬁnd the answer on Google. This forces them to try to solve their problems on their own and seek better ways to achieve the goals.
Embracing Technology for Greater Good
Sheri ﬁrmly believes that the true vital traits that one posses should be ’Perseverance, Integrity & a high emotional IQ.’ She also believes that, it is quite critical to align business with technology as it requires a comprehensibility regarding that technology. “And, deﬁne what the goals are and how technology will be used to achieve those goals,” adds Sheri. When explained, many times organizations adopt technology in order to solve business problems without ﬁrst deﬁning what one is trying to achieve and documenting the process that will leverage the technology to achieve those goals. She suggests that one constantly seek better ways to achieve his/her or company’s goals.
Advice to Rely On
Sheri, being a terriﬁc leader herself, she advice that one must make sure to focus on solving a real world problem that people are willing to pay for. Further she states that “if a person is not willing to pay for your solution then it is not worth your time and energy to develop it”. In addition, she addresses the fact that while the media touts the billions of dollars being invested in venture / technology companies the reality is woman founders still only receive less than 2.2% of all venture investment. An entrepreneur, especially a female entrepreneur needs to ensure their business can be self-suﬃcient and not rely on outside capital to be successful.
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