My name is Samantha Timmerman (I actually go by Sam) and last year I co-founded Sumboxes with one of the smartest, most hardworking people I know - my mom. Her name is Judy Keeney and she is an all-star. She currently owns her own educational consulting company, Keeney Consulting Group, through which she helps schools all over the country better serve their students. Before that, she was a math coach for one of our local school districts, a curriculum developer, a college adjunct professor, a research grant participant, and a classroom teacher. She has over 20+ years of experience in education and is still devoted to improving children’s lives any way she can. And essentially that is how, or maybe I should say why, Sumboxes was born.
For almost two years, Judy kept telling me that she wanted to find a way to help parents and teachers better support their kids in math. She would spit facts and figures at me about how much math impacts the course of a child’s life and then we would brainstorm ideas, filling notebooks and whiteboards with them, until we were too hungry to continue. Inevitably, we would then get distracted with the day-to-day responsibilities of life for a few months and our fledgling idea would be set aside.
But last summer, that finally changed. We dedicated ourselves to the project and gave it all the attention we could muster. We researched, refined, and re-evaluated the idea until it felt perfect. And then we did it some more. We reached out to friends and family for support and finally, with the help of our third co-founder, Bobby Connell, we were able to bring it to life.
Bobby, a former investment banker and current startup financial analyst, brought his business experience and impressive Excel skills to the team, but most importantly, he brought a confidence that we could be successful. He convinced us to dive head first into this thing and just go for it! So, who knows? Without him, we might still be scribbling in our notebooks and wondering, “what if?” instead of sharing Sumboxes with all of you.
What is my part in all of this, you may ask? Well, Judy oversees all of our content, Bobby runs the numbers, and I handle pretty much everything else. Since I do not have 20+ years in education to reflect on, my inspiration comes from a very different place…
One day when I was in college, my friends convinced me to attend one of the guest speaker presentations with them. It turns out the guest speaker of the day was Blake Mycoskie. You might have heard of him - he founded TOMS, launched the One for One movement, and is a pioneer for socially responsible businesses. Well, back then I hadn’t heard of him or TOMS or any of it, but his speech was so moving, so impactful, so full of conviction that I was mesmerized. I wanted that type of purpose in my life. I wanted to start something that matters. So I ran right out and bought Blake’s book, had him sign it (of course), and read it for the first of many times. After finishing the book, I was even more compelled to find a way to start something that matters. So while life carried on as expected for the rest of college and throughout my first couple of jobs, I always kept Blake’s voice in the back of my head.
Then, when my mom came to me with her desire to improve children’s lives through math, I knew it was my chance. I knew it was my chance to make a difference, my chance to start something that matters, and my chance to help my mom fulfill one of her dreams.
And that is pretty much it. That’s our story. We are a small, family-owned business dedicated to changing the ways people perceive and interact with math, so that all children have a greater opportunity to succeed.
We hope you will join us.