The Wayfinder startup creates a sister brand to extend its mental wellness tools beyond caregivers to college students and working professionals.
Companies that truly champion entrepreneurial spirit aren’t afraid to adjust their strategies after discovering new needs they can meet. Wayfinder startup Mind Brain Parenting is no exception.
Since its launch in 2018, Mind Brain Parenting’s mission has been to build social-emotional learning skills, literacy and trust between children and their parents. Through its two conversation-prompting card games, Mind Brain Parenting has been a widely used resource to help kids and parents better communicate and connect.
After being featured in The Harvard Gazette and winning the 2018 Parents’ Choice Awards, Mind Brain Parenting’s first card deck, 52 Essential Conversations, gained national and international recognition among educators and caregivers. The company’s first two decks have been used in over 50 countries worldwide.
But recently, Mind Brain Parenting founder and CEO Jenny Woo, M.Ed, MBA, has embraced a new goal: helping college students and working professionals develop the emotional resilience they need to succeed in the classroom and workplace.
Under Mind Brain Parenting’s new mission, Woo created a sister brand to her company, named “Mind Brain Emotion.” The new brand is now home to her second card deck, 52 Essential Relationships, as well as the latest card deck, 52 Essential Coping Skills. Unlike Woo’s first two conversation-based card decks, 52 Essential Coping Skills can be played solo, on one’s own time. Each card in the deck features a research-based exercise that helps the user better manage their emotions and wellbeing.
“This easy-to-use, evidence-based deck of cards helps users improve their ability to cope adaptively to daily stressors, which then will free them up for authentic conversations, healthy relationships and finding purpose in life,” said Woo.
Woo hopes that by offering mental wellness tools in the convenient form of a card deck, she can help destigmatize vulnerability.
“There’s such a stigma around expressing any type of negative emotions, and attributing them to being weak,” said Woo. “My goal is to normalize these negative feelings and to put the intelligence behind not only deciphering and articulating one’s own emotions, but also connecting with the people they need support from.”
Woo’s inspiration to extend her company’s services to college students and working professionals stems not only from the increased social isolation as a result of the pandemic, but also from her academic research as a doctoral candidate at the UC Irvine (UCI) School of Education .
“52 Essential Coping Skills is an extension of the course that I’ve taught here at UCI called ‘Emotional intelligence for School and Job Success,’” said Woo.
Despite how much Mind Brain Parenting has grown since its 2018 launch, Woo still juggles her company’s marketing, graphic design and product development amongst other central operations. But she says support from UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Wayfinder program, in the form of Innovation Advisors and fellow entrepreneurs, has helped her immensely in her entrepreneurial journey.
“As a one-woman-owned business, sometimes it can get lonely,” said Woo. “The Wayfinder program has introduced me to other Wayfinder teams, advisors and experts, which created a sense of community and accountability that enabled me as a one-woman show to continue to grow and expand.”
But Woo isn’t finished expanding her company just yet. She aspires to grow Mind Brain Parenting and Mind Brain Emotion even further beyond what her brands offer now. In the future, she hopes to provide coaching for her Mind Brain Parenting followers and offer games, courses and other forms of support to students and young professionals who follow Mind Brain Emotion through social media.
Photos: Julie Kennedy & Rachel Noble, UCI Beall Applied Innovation
In celebration of Women’s History Month, UCI Beall Applied Innovation is featuring innovative women who continue to pave new roads for their research and startup companies in the “Advice from Brilliant UCI Women” series. In the video below, Jenny Woo, founder and CEO of Mind Brain Parenting and Mind Brain Emotion, shares some thoughts and advice:
Produced by UCI Beall Applied Innovation
Directed by Julie Kennedy
Filmed by Celina Bhandari, Julie Kennedy & Rachel Noble
Edited by Rachel Noble & Celina