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Life & Work with Tina Huggins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Huggins.

Hi Tina, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a native Nashvillian, my ancestors go back to the founding of Fort Nashborough. My grandfather was the longest-standing Mayor for 13 years, so Nashville is my home.

I graduated from Birmingham Southern with a BA and became a first-grade teacher. When my three children were in elementary school, I returned to the classroom as the technology teacher having never used technology! Apple put the computers into my new classroom and once I figured out how to get everything to start up I never looked back, as I found my love in technology education.

Four years later, I was selected as one of Apple’s first 16 national trainers to teach educators across the US. Five years later I left to help start up another technology company working with educators which immediately required me to return to school for an MA in educational technology.

As a dyslexic student, I always had difficulty with tests. At a technology conference, my business partner wanted me to visit the Pepperdine University booth to apply for graduate school. The graduate course looked amazing, but I knew that the GRE would be difficult for me to pass.

A man came over to chat about the program. I asked if I had to take the GRE, he said yes. I thanked him for his time and turned to leave, when he asked why I was leaving if I was so excited about the course. I told him about my dyslexia and I would fail to test well enough to get into graduate school. He asked what I had been doing and I told him about my work with Apple. He said, “Wait here.” He returned with an application and handed it to me, “I’m the Dean and you are coming to Pepperdine, fill out this application and mail it to me directly.”

I graduated 18 months later with a 3.9 at the age of 50. For the first time in my life, I realized I was smart. Pepperdine had a different way of teaching and I loved the learning. How amazing to have someone see past my learning challenges.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
What is life without struggles? I divorced after 24 years of marriage and finished putting my children through college. Not what I expected that I would be doing at 48. I have a very strong faith with much determination to make lemonade out of a lemon.

My insights into early literacy contributed to the successful launch of Leapfrog, the school division after that as an entrepreneur at heart, I decided to have a new adventure when a close friend, who knew of my love for cooking asked if I would make fortune cookies for her store. That was the beginning of SwapThoughts,LLC. We made handfolded delicious almond-flavored fortune cookies. Customers would provide the messages that went inside the cookie. It was a success until my hands developed arthritis requiring me to close the company.

My dad always taught me to get up and try again, so I did. Being skilled in teaching Apple technology made it a no brainer to begin a technology consulting business. Even today, we need to be able to pivot as the technology changes so quickly. If we aren’t current, we will find ourselves being left behind.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I met an amazing man and remarried 7 years ago, and continued my consulting work and blogging about life, food and technology at Appsolutelyyoucan.com.

When Covid locked us in our homes,I had time to write a book, that I have wanted to write for years. The book, “The Nodders What! You Don’t Want to Nap?” was based on a process my mother used to get myself and 3 siblings to nap! I successfully used it with my three children and grandson.

What fun I had writing a napping story to help parents, grandparents and nannies! With my early education background, I had my illustrator create beautiful pages with my whimsical characters with curlicue tuners coming out of their ears, many shapes, animals and objects so parents could engage their children by asking what the child sees on each page. The book just received its third award, the prestigous Gold Award for Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Publishing.

Giving back and helping others is one of my core values. I’m involved with several local church and preschool ministries in Nashville. My business has a giveback program for lower income childcare ministries. I read my book to parents and share how to use it for early learning. After the program, any parent who wants a book is given one to take home. Thus, when people buy “The Nodders” book on my website or in a store, they are helping books to be given to children to help prepare them for preschool. As the business grows so will the giving.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I am definitely a risk-taker.
An entrepreneur is a risk-taker. There is the risk of failure… I have had that. There is the risk of not having enough money… I think many of us have that. There is the risk of making poor decisions. We all do that and we all learn from those mistakes. I love the saying: If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.”
I have chosen to do and learn by taking risks, which make me happy, frustrated, and sometimes scared, but it is all worth it. I have chosen to do what many people haven’t tried. We all have to search and find what makes us happy.

Pricing:

  • The Nodders Book is $16.99
  • The Nodder Book Set is $29.99
  • The Nodder in a Bag is $18.99
  • Any new email subscriber receivers 25% off their first purchase.

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