Positive Discipline workshop

Photo Reportage of a SoSooper Workshop with INSEAD Alumni

Do you face challenging behaviors or difficult people in your life?

“All the world is queer (odd) save thee and me,
and even thou art a little queer (weird).” – Robert Owen

Relationships are tough and take work. 

It’s true for everyone…whether you have an MBA from INSEAD or graduated from the school of Street Smart or are too young for studies.  Little issues escalate into big annoyances.

  • Your manager “bosses” around, imposing demands without seeking your input
  • Your colleagues are on the phone during your presentations
  • Your partner treats you like a child, “Don’t forget to______”
  • Your child repeatedly misbehaves…. again!!

There are two ways to handle such situations.

Either one party wins and the other loses (Win-Lose “negotiations”)….

Or no-one loses, and everyone gains. (Win-Win results)

It’s sooooo much easier said than done.  That’s why I lead workshops to transmit skills to transform challenges into opportunities for growth for everyone.

Science-Based Relationship Tools

How does one travel from challenges to opportunities?  With relationship tools.  You and I tend to use the same tools over and again.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

The SoSooper workshops teach an array of relationship-building tools which build mutual respect, a sense of belonging, and the desire to positively contribute to the group.

These science-based tools are based on the work of Dr. Alfred Adler (author of Individual Psychology), Dr. Jane Nelsen (PhD in Education) and psychologist Lynn Lott.  Nelsen and Lott designed the Positive Discipline approach of learning activities which engage the mind, body, and emotions

Photo Reportage of our Interactive Learning Workshop

These INSEAD alumni participated in the conference, Introduction to Positive Discipline for Parents.  I lead numerous workshops for very different audiences, especially for groups of professionals.  With a team of other trainers, we adapt the strong relationship principles to the organizational context.

Discover Also: SoSooper Workshops & Conferences for Teams at Work

Enjoy this glimpse of our event!

Welcome & Context

When speaking with parents who are also professionals, I introduce parenting as leadership development.  We aim to bring up children who will sooner than later be someone’s colleagues.   We also deeply desire that our kids be leaders of their life, that they have the skills and capabilities to thrive.

Notice on the photos how the group is fully attentive.  No phones in sight!

INSEAD alumni at Positive Discipline conference

Inviting Contribution

As humans, we each have the fundamental needs to belong and to contribute.  I put this into practice as of the start, inviting the group to contribute with chores to make our evening conference flow smoothly.  We made a list of Jobs (scribe, clean up, photographer…).  Once the list completed, I invited folk to volunteer for a task.


One of the principles of Adlerian Psychology and Positive Discipline is to be FIRM and KIND simultaneously.  The group presented me with the opportunity to model that behavior.

Smile.  “These Jobs still apply and we still need volunteers for each.  Who would like to choose what?” Wait expectantly.

One by one, people stepped up to contribute.  Thanks to each of you.

Oftentimes when a leader assigns a job to someone else, there remains a follow-up period.  It’s like selling the need to do the work. This happens in the office as well as in the home.  Since people volunteered, there was no more need for a convince-to-do-the-job effort.

Engaging group at SoSooper workshop

Set the GPS

Next, as a group, we created two lists.  In our case, we focused on behaviors related to our children.  In a professional context we would focus on behaviors and goals for our team culture:

  • Challenging behaviors of our children
  • Talents & Life Skills we want them to develop

No need to prompt with these.  Suggestions flow, and fast.  Difficult behaviors include perpetual negotiation, defiance, rivalry…  Capabilities to develop include self-esteem, autonomy, desire for excellence, sense of humor….

These lists represent our GPS.  The challenges represent our starting position, today’s situation.  These issues create the invitation to act differently so that, instead of reacting to misbehavior, we proactively train in appropriate conduct and demeanor.

Setting GPS at Positive Discipline workshop

Discovering a Tool

Much of the learning is done by allowing participants to discover the perspective of the other party, in this case, of their child.

Each of the fifty relationship tools presented in my full training programs is presented through a unique interactive exercise which, like this one, engages the whole person.  Instead of theory, participants discover the learning principles for themselves.  “Aha!”

Act 1

In this activity, ten folk played the role of parents and one father played the role of a child.  The “parents” gave the “child” instructions.

“Put your shoes on.” “Brush your teeth.” “Put the phone down.” “Stop fighting with your brother.”…

I love to see how parents enjoy these scenarios.

After this first passage, we debrief the “child” and discover that these instructions encouraged him towards the CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS, like defiance and resistance!

INSEAD alumni at Positive Discipline workshop

Act 2

We embark on a second passage.  This time “parents” present their request through a Firm and Kind question“Do you want to put your blue or your red shoes?” “What do you need to do so your teeth don’t feel scuzzy?!” “What is our agreement on phone usage?” “How could you work this out with your brother?” 

In debriefing, the “child” says he feels responsible and respected.  He is invited to think.  And he chooses to consider each question and probably act on it.  In looking at the two lists, this time he identifies with the talents and skills.  He’s learning decision-making, autonomie, and that he is capable.  His confidence grows.

Denise Dampierre and INSEAD alumni

Through playing the scenario and discussion, participants arrrive at the conclusions themselves:  giving people instructions generates resistance.  Asking questions invites cooperation.

Giving people instructions generates resistance.
Asking questions invites cooperation.

Tools Galore

This Introduction to Positive Discipline provides a taster of the numerous aids to build relationships that respect BOTH the framework-need of the parents and the connection-needs of the children, and to leaders and team-members for professional settings.

These relationship tools work in multiple contexts.

Discover: SoSooper Workshops & Conferences for Teams at Work

Contact me to find out more and to plan a taster event for your network.

Happy Hour with Ollia

On the Air with Happy Hour with Ollia

Super excited to be a guest on Happy Hour with Ollia. on radio IDFM98 on Tuesday, March 6 from 7-8pm (10am in L.A, 1pm in New York, 6pm London).

Work + Life + Balance

Join us to hear a live discussion about succeeding in work and life simultaneously.  We’ll talk about finding our own personal balance by building healthy relationships (connection AND boundaries) through positive communication.

Knowing myself and Ollia, we’ll be launghing too.

Questions You Want Answered

Let us know what issues you want addressed.  Write them in the comments below.

Join Us

Tune to 98.0FM if you’re in the Ile de France region, or via the website www.idfm98.com and click on the top left hand button “Ecoutez IDFM”  (next to blue arrow)

Hand holding fireworks

2017 Highlights

As we close the year, it’s good to look back and see how far we’ve come.

Especially when it has been a challenging year, like it has been for us.  We embarked on 2017 with wide eyes and ginormous dreams.  To our surprise (!) they only partly came true.

You are here arrow not there!

The truth is, some goals we missed AND other objectives we reached.    To move forward, it”s vital to keep those in clear focus.

Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.
Alexander Graham Bell

Here are the 2017 strengths upon which we can build 2018.

SoSooper App Prototype Testing

Our vocation is to help parents and children thrive.

Individually & Together.

At home & at school & at work.

Our small team developed a mobile app prototype and tested it this summer.  We learned that the content is valuable AND that the app flow require radical rethinking!  In January we are organizing parent focus groups to move forward.  Join us by writing us here.


Screenshots SoSooper App
Your personal parenting coach in your pocket


SoSooper Parent & Child Workshops

“Can I do it with my child?” ranked among parents’ most frequently asked questions.

So we developed workshops for parents and children together to apply Positive Discipline and other positive parenting tools immediately and through fun and games.

Our hope is to include learning from these enjoyable family moments into our app solution.

Discover our upcoming events to

  • Make & reach goals – for parents, for families, & for teens
  • Calm anger

SoSooper Website Launch

You can benefit from our tips and tools as of NOW!  The blog is active and we are posting free downloadable tools to make family easier and more fun.

Check out these favorites

Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

Advent Calendar for Parents

SoSooper partnered with other Parisian entrepreneurs to offer tips and tools to fill your homes with more joy, peace, and love during the holidays.  We created an online advent calendar for parents.  Every day one entrepreneur offered a generous prize.  Readers clicked on the “door” of the day and played for the opportunity to have their name drawn for the day’s prize.

We are thankful to our sponsors who collectively offered more than 1000€ of prizes.

1000 € gifts to win with Advent Calendar for Parents

Thanks to all of you who played with us and wrote thanks for the tips and the treats.

Here are the prizes below.  Click on the image and you’ll discover the day’s theme and more about the gift.


1. Gift Certifiaction Calm Anger


2. Gift Certifiaction Poke Bar


3. Gift Certifiaction Listen So Kids Will Talks


Cookies from Maman NYC


Happy Child.


Feelings faces by Sunflower Storytime


Family Coaching


Family Yoga Class gift certificate


9. Gift Certifiaction Create a feel good spac (4)


Trousses Colibri de Beija Flore


Gift of respect of kids


12. Gift Certification Give a Gentle Answer (1)


13 gift (1)


Gift Certificate Elli Photography


TooFruit products


16 gift


Ludocatix chore chart


18 gift


Family Review


Relaxation Candle


champagne toast with friends




23 gift


Ruth in Full health
Child in front of Christmas presents

Co + Work for your Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home

How the seed of an idea took root and blossomed into a collaborative project for YOU.

Parisian entrepreneurs are offering parents 1000€ of gifts through an interactive, online Parents’ Advent Calendar.

(There is still time to sign up in English…ou en français)


It Began at Mona

When this free co-working space for women opened in November, I jumped at the opportunity to work with dynamic, feminine company.

A BIG thanks to the sponsors – My Little Paris, AXA Insurance, Estée Lauder, and Nike – who bring us this welcoming space from November 1 through December 31, 2017.

What can one do in a co-working space that one cannot be done at home all alone?

CO as well as WORK!

Five minutes into walking through the front door I introduced myself to the woman sitting at my table.  Well, really, she was happily sitting there first and I smilingly intruded, asking if I might join.  I set an objective to meet five new people every day and discovered passionate women engaged in fascinating projects.

What enticing project could I build to share my passion for strong families that stay connected even during the tantrums AND the disobedience AND the frustrations of daily life?

A “CO” project!

A Meaningful Purpose

As a parenting coach trained in Adlerian principles, I espouse the principles of belonging to and contributing to a community with a purpose larger than oneself.

Which purpose?

At this time of year, Christmas seemed obvious.  And yet French friends have lamented the commercialized spirit.

The underlying spirit of the season is Joy. Peace. Love. 

We parents raise the joy-bringer and peace-makers of tomorrow through the love they experience at home!

We are raising the joy-bringer and peace-makers of tomorrow! Click to Tweet

Voilà!  Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home


Stronger Together

Enthused by the idea, I discovered an amazing online interactive Advent Calender by Dot.vu.  Check it out.  Their 15 day free trial allowed me to test the idea with potential collaborators.  Their service is top notch.  Tom invited me for a 30 minute Google Hangout personalized guide and Pedro answered my (numerous) queries efficiently and professionally.

Enthused by the purpose and the tool, 15 entrepreneurs joined in.

It is a delight to introduce them to you.  Today you meet the people.

(Every day of advent you’ll discover the gifts they each share.)

Denise Dampierre, founder of SoSooper

A bit about me:  As a Harvard MBA and the mother of 4 boys in 6 years, I’ll describe the early years of parenting as the energy-management business:  expend the boys’; conserve mine.  Now, we focus on making empowering memories and creating a family culture where everyone thrives.  My passion: to help raise the next generation of joy-filled, peace-making, and loving men and women.

Adrien Bracon, Coiffeur à Domicile

Adrien has styled my hair for decades.  Trained at Jean-Marc Manniatis, the Haute Coiffure, Adrien now brings his talent “chez vous.”  Phew! Instead of lugging four tots to the hairdresser and waiting out their turn, we could spend that time snuggling at home while Adrien styled the whole family.  He is so talented, I give him “carte blanche” on my head.

Alice Lamotte

Mothers of four children flock together, especially when we seek ways for families to THRIVE (vs. survive).  Alice and I met through Positive Discipline where we both sought training to build respect-filled and cooperative homes…first “chez nous” then beyond.  Alice abounds in energy.  She combines physical health with socio-emotional well-being in her Gym & Talk coaching.


Béatrice Cornet Vernet and I connected through Femmepreneurs, a network of women entrepreneurs in the west of Paris.  I fell in love with her Liberty fabric accessories.  Béatrice and I have not yet met face-to-face (!) AND she graciously agreed to join in our adventure even during this busy time of Christmas fairs every weekend.

Chantal Bourges

Chantal and I were roommates at an international Positive Discipline conference.  You get to appreciate someone when you see them with tousled-hair and sleepy-eyed.  The mother of FIVE children, Chantal sat on the board of the French and US Positive Discipline associations.  She coaches and trains parents and teachers locally and internationally.

Elli Photography

Elli Ioannou and I met at Mona.  As another Anglophone (Elli hails from Australia) she too felt at ease with the “CO” aspect of coworking.  She is established as a fashion photographer trained in analog photos.  That means, she catches the moment (think kids).  Elli got excited about our collaborative project; ”I choose to work with this community!”

English Dream Cakes

As a member of the Facebook group Anglopreneurs, I saw a post of ravishingly dreamily decorated cakes.  The post came and went.  The image remained.  And what a joy it has been to exchange with mother-daughter team Cheryl and Dew.  They combine genteel with professional.  Stir in creativity and cover with generosity.  All served with a delicious smile.


Amanda Wigby and I learned to appreciate each other through constructive feedback.  We challenged each other to overcome a discrepancy between our “Talk” (the services we provide) and our “Walk” (how we express our expertise in everyday life).  Authentic, open, and visionary, Amanda helps you and me replace “I should” behavior with acting on our personal priorities.

Light On

A group of students at ISCOM are helping me with the backstage of this project.  The correct my French, give feedback, do design work, stay active on social media, and cheer me on.  It’s thanks to knowing they are covering my back that I dared to venture on this project.  Thanks, to Anaïs Kisasondi, Camille Meunier-Sirven, Rose Rapp, Elodie Schwinn, and Laura Wieczorek.


Virginie Chabert also comes to us through Femmepreneurs.  Virginie creates products that help children grow in responsibility.  One of our most popular downloads on SoSooper was a chore chart for kids to want to help with chores.  Ludocatix replaces my cut-and-paste routine charts with positive-parenting-inspired tools that children and parents build together.

Maman NYC à Paris

I shared about my first day at Mona.  Before settling down to work, I paused at the Maman café located on the premises to be warmly greeted by Antoine and his team.  They smilingly serve coffee, tea, and especially yummy delights (both savory and sweet) to keep us coworkers energized during the day.  A coworking without coffee & cooking?  Just a space…

My Little Paris

It’s the My Little Paris team that greets us so warmly at Mona.  The company launched with five women teaming to sniff out trends and deals which reflect Parisian flair.  They wrapped these up beautifully in boxes, and send them out to moms, dads, and tots too…on three continents!  I love how My Little Paris makes it easy to remain chic when we parents have little energy and time to spare.

Poke Bar

Our children introduced me to Elodie Macquet.  Also a mother of boys, Elodie is a serial entrepreneur.  She and her neighbor Isabelle opened Poke Bar in March, bringing Hawaii sunshine to Parisian tables.  Their restaurant, just off place de l’Opéra, serves fresh poke bowls on the spot and to go.  Our teen boys delighted on their tasty, healthy, light, AND filling meal.

Ruth Naomi Floyd

Ruth and I came to know each other through my mistake.  In Paris to sing gospel lyrics set to jazz music for an event I organized…she arrived a day earlier than I expected!!  No room at the hotel, she came to our home and partook in our noisy, home-fare dinner.  Joy!  Multi-talented, Ruth is also a fine-arts photographer and compassionately cares for people affected by HIV and AIDS.


Our children’s classmates stem from an entrepreneurial vibe!  It’s through our son that we met Katell Perrot just as she was launching TooFruit.  We tasted her enthusiasm as she introduced us to blueberry lotions and pineapple creams especially developed for children’s skin.  These organic potions deliciously cleanse and nourish kids from head to toe.

(Une Parenthèse Bougie)

Femmepreneurs came through again to introduce Valérie Nicol…virtually.  ‘Tis the season of candlelight and Valérie specially selects her candles for mood magic.  When I mentioned the theme, she exclaimed, “I’ve got just the candle for the occasion.  It’s even new to the catalog ????”

Villa Manon

Another through-our-children meeting with Mary Holmes Smith.  She participated in a Positive Discipline class with other parents and we stayed connected.  Now I frequent her studio where she leads Pilates and yoga classes.  It’s a breathe of rejuvenation to enter her serene, ginger-lemon scented atelier for stretching and strengthening.

Vincent Cassigneul

A classmate of my husband living in Toulouse, Vincent and I meet at reunions.  Photography is his hobby and as the father of four girls, he’s had practice with models.  On a boat party recently, Vincent impressed me with his eye.  He captured moments that many of us miss.  While we focused on the obvious, Vincent sought out pearls. Thanks.

Wine Contacts

Our sons’ brought Mary Kirk Bonnet and I together.  A Franco-American, Mary holds the prestigious “Sommelier-Conseil” title.  She has graced our dinner parties with choice selections from favorite vineyards.  Our friends still rave about the insightful, warm, and delightful time we shared during the private wine-tasting Mary led in our home.  Thanks.


Thank You

A big thanks to all of you who trusted in me and in this project  and chose to work together.  And a special thanks to those I have not yet met who jumped in this collaborative effort because they have a passion and believe in our combined purpose:

Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home


Thrill. Passion. Cooperation. @ Work !

Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home and Thrill. Passion. Cooperation. @ Work. 🙂 Click to Tweet


Cover Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

DJ at radio studio

A parenting coach, a cop’s kid, and a foodie talk on radio

Yep, I was invited on the Thursday noon talk show with David Hailwood, the director of Expat Radio, and Lisa Ranking, founder of  Flavors of Paris.

On the air with 64K listeners from 86 countries I shared about parenting… yet the most dauting audience was:

  • Lisa, the mother of two cats, who interviewed me about SoSooper and Positive Discipline.  We connected on topics like empowerment, different cultures, AND getting kids to eat.
  • David, the son of a Manchester police officer, who introduced lively discussion through unnerving anecdotes: the mother who threw china out the window and kids trying to bribe their way out of punishment.

Here are a few highlights:

Expats + SoSooper => Family Culture

SoSooper helps parents build a culture of thriving for their families.

Parents often take family culture for granted.  Have you defined yours?

There is a moment, however, when families confront culture head on…when they move abroad and become expats.  Simple things become complicated.

The Dampierre’s (my family) are quite Frenchified and savor our daily fresh baguettes.  When we go to the US, “fresh” bread comes wrapped in plastic bags(!)…so that it can last for days!!!

Corporate culture, however, is a priority for most professional organizations.  Managers in companies invest money, time, and talent to create an environment that promotes success.  Isn’t thriving what we want for our loved ones too?

So, I spoke of SoSooper bringing leadership tools to the family arena, training and coaching parents in empowering their children and developing habits which promote cooperation and inclusivity.

Build a culture of thriving for your family. Click to Tweet

Foodie Examples of Family Culture

In talking with Lisa, of course, we embarked on a conversation on food and children’s eating habits.  How might a family culture relate to the food on one’s table?

Lisa enquired this way: “Should parents insist that their children try every food on their plate?”

My answer: “It depends upon the family culture.”

Take the Discovery Family.  Mom and Dad take to heart the importance of diversity and want their children to embrace it.  To be consistent, parents could train the kids to welcome differences by having them try a variety of foods.  They could pursue further than merely requesting to try foreign fare.  Why not entertain a weekly discovery meal?  Have YOU tasted strawberry risotto, watercress soup, or curry pizza!

Consistency is key.

And it’s sooper easier to say than to do.  (That’s why we offer coaching.)

It’s harder to be convincing as a parent when you say, “Be tolerant and open-minded,” and daily serve up noodles and butter (or another standard staple).

Let your actions and your words speak the same language.

When Plates Fly – Anger Management

That’s when David contributes the story of his boyhood friend with the open ground floor window.  No matter what the weather.  He found out why the hard way.

One afternoon, in heading over to his buddy’s house to play, he was nearly hit by a plate whizzing out from the house.  A woman’s raging voice accompanied the flying saucer.

Buddy and he hurredly scurried away to play in safety until the mother’s fury abated.

As a positive parenting coach, how does one respond to such a tale on live radio?!

I can empathize.

Like this mum, I (and surely you too) have moments of “Loosing it.”

And the kids know which levers to pull to reach that tipping point. 

Yet another muddy footprint on the light carpet.  A look of defiance.  Lack of response…especially when I’m in a hurry.  They expect me to react immediately to their request…when they previously gave the silent treatment…

“So, is anger bad?  What if we can’t help it?” inquired Lisa.

Anger. Flying books. Scream
Confused, wondering child

Emotions as Gifts

Emotions are neither good nor bad.  They are signs that something good or bad is happening.

I like to view feelings as gifts.  Emotions occur in response to events or behaviors.  Something happened BEFORE the plates flew.

We often think of anger management in terms of “solving it in the moment.”  It’s when we feel anger than we need to deal with it.

But what if we could include the children in positive ways of organizing the home so that the anger triggers don’t even happen? 

Consider this family.  The mom flipped her lid when the children regularly complained about the food she lovingly cooked.  She created Weekly Menu’s and invited the Biggest Complainer to make the menu for the entire family.  “You get to choose what to eat…AND when the others don’t like it, they tell you.”

He felt honored to be trusted with the responsibility…for several weeks until he realized it was really work.  This solution transformed his mealtime vocabulary; he replaced whining with gratitude.  Instead of, “Peas?!  You know I hate them,” he exclaimed, “Great!  Today is corn day!”

And the plates stay in the cupboard.

Punishment Avoidance

David graced us with another parenting story.

Ask questions sign

As the son of a policeman, he was privy to delinquent youth’s request to negotiate favored treatment with the police.

Dave’s stories sure kept me on my toes… and I was glad to share a Positive Discipline anecdote from Californian police.  They used the tool of Limited Choices to engage the cooperation of people they were arresting.

“Would you like your handcuffs in front or in back?”  “Do you want your mug-shot on the right side or the front view first?”

These questions enabled the police to remain firm in their requests WHILE treating the detainees with respect.

It works at home too.  “Would you like to put your blue shoe or your red one on first?”  “Will you turn the video game off or shall I?”

Lisa exclaimed, “Denise, what you do is help parents empower their kids!”  Exactly.

How to Prepare for Parenting?

And David came up with his third story.

So, clearly parenting benefits from practice.  He’s heard of mums carrying around the industrial size bags of flour to get ready to be a parent.

Here, Lisa interjects.  “David, if you ever choose a career reconversion, avoid parent coaching!”

Could you hear my smile on the radio?!

When Parents Wish Kids had “Pause” Buttons?!

(Maybe unknowingly) David uncovered another soft spot… Might there be moments when parents do treat their children like an object?

“NEVER!” Is the first thought to come to mind.

And yet…. there were moments I craved to find my sons’ “Pause” button.  In the grocery store when walking by the candy aisle.  When it’s bedtime and he wants to keep playing.  When he refuses to listen…

Boy playiing in leaves in fall
Where is “Pause”?
Boy sleeping in pile of fall leaves
Found it!


Machines and robots have “Pause” buttons.  People don’t.  And children are people.

It’s one of the principles I love about Positive Discipline.  This science-based approach to building respect-filled relationships is founded on the principles of Dr. Alfred Adler, a forward-thinking psychiatrist from the 1930’s.  Austrian by birth, he worked with prisoners of war as well as with children.    At that time, both groups of people were considered second-class citizens.  Children were to be seen but not heard.  Victims of wartime imprisonment, staggering to find their bearings after freedom, felt locked in trauma and stigma.  Alfred Adler believed in the equal value of every person: whatever their age, race, gender, career, past, or potential.

That means they (and we) each have choice.

You and I cannot forcefully push the “Pause” button on someone else.

We can, however, put OURSELF on “Pause” and create a family culture where calming down becomes the welcome norm.


“When You’re Angry, Go to Your Room.”

For close to a decade, our family has practiced an Annual Review.  The children give me feedback on

  • What I do well. I commit to continuing.
  • What behavior they would like me to change. They make the request and we talk about this.

Our youngest piped up, “Mom, when you are angry, go to your room!”

What wisdom!  From whom did he hear that?  Clearly from One. Smart. Parent.

This child created our Family Pause Button.

Now, when I am blind with fury (which happens more rarely ????), my children help me find clarity.  “Mom, remember your job (from the Annual Review)…”

And in the same way, I share it with them: “Sweetheart, it sounds like you’re angry.  Shall we both go to our rooms?”


Thanks Lisa and Dave for an inspiring discussion.  The contrast in styles and perspectives is what made it so rich.

David, you CHALLENGED me.  Thank you.  Your comments stimulated me to put into practice my principles of empathy and value of differences.

Lisa, thank you for your encouragement.  You expressed, “Aha!’s” throughout our exchange.  That’s what SoSooper is about:  learning, growing, becoming Sooper (super with room for more growth).

Hope to catch you again on the air.  www.ex-patradio.com

Cover image by John Hult from Unsplash.
Viva Tech welcome hall 2017

SoSooper App Pitch at Viva Tech

SoSooper participated in yet another start-up competition!  We reached the second round for the Spark Life Competition and pitched at Viva Tech to the judging teams from

  • Accor
  • Sodexho
  • SNCF
  • Steelcase
  • The Camp

Here is our pitch?

Playing to Win…or is Playing Winning?

Why do we enter?

Friends tell us we won’t win…and considering the early stage of our endeavor there is a high probability we won’t come away with the official grand prize.

SoSooper Grand Win

We always gain with our PERSONAL GRAND PRIZE.

Here is what we won:


I cannot write this big enough.

For years (!) I hesitated to address the parenting market from a business perspective.  (As a reminder, the SoSooper App helps parents resolve challenges with their children while maintaining a positive connection.)  I feared investors would laugh me out of the room.

Instead, I learned to pinpoint a need.  SoSooper may not have yet identified the ideal solution, but repeatedly men dressed in grey business suits confirm that there is a need to engage with the next generation and to help parents manage their professional and personal responsibilities with excellence.

Parenting is a taboo issue.  Every time I present, folk either respond hot or cold.  There is no lukewarm.

Getting up and out in front of the crowd proves to me that I can survive the cold shoulder…and learn from it and grow through it.


“No man is an island.”

When we pass the first cut in a competition, doors open.  Rather, doors open when we know on them.

Thanks to the SparkLife Contest and their invitation to Viva Tech I have met with decision-makers of multiple companies.

And the wonders of attending a large conference such as Viva Tech is that we can test our elevator pitch and rehearse it so that when we do meet the contact of our choice, we introduce ourself with dynamism, vision, and ease.


After each competition, I follow up with the organizer for feedback.

It’s a bit delicate to ask for insights when we are chosen to move forward to the next step.  Like, “Please pat me on the back and tell me how great I am.”

Engaging in an open conversation when we did not make the next cut are enormously insightful.  It does require being vulnerable and thickening the skin.  And, not necessarily that much.

When we do our best and it’s a good job (just other companies have a better positionning and more viable business model) and we seek to improve, people step up to help.  It’s been my repeated experience.

Folk who organize a competition do so with passion.  Asking for feedback recognizes the risk and devotion on their side too.

Bonus insight for you:  It has been my repeated experience that advisors share insights.  It is also my repeated impression that few contestants seek it from them.

It is up to us to guide the conversation to learn to the utmost.  Have those open-ended questions ready.

  • What issues were brought up when they discussed my project?
  • What strengths were identified?  And the weaknesses?
  • What would you recommend to improve our pitch?

AND their honest responses will give you


Start-upper.  Go for it!  T

ry. Test. Fail. Tweak.

Try again. Test again. Succeed some things. Miss the mark in others. Tweak.

Repeat.  Again.

Smile too.

SoSooper 3rd place HBS NVC

SoSooper did super in Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper was honored to be selected finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition for Europe & Israel.

For this global entrepreneurial contest open to HBS alumni, our zone was the most competitive:  there were 26 contestants for 5 finalist spots to pitch to a jury and close to 100 investors.  I had almost not submitted our application because we are just launching our prototype and most companies would already be generating revenues.

SoSooper was invited among the pitchers!

We had 8 minutes to share our story, our value, our success, and our dreams.  Followed by 6 minutes of questions from judges and the crowd…mostly grey-suited men sprinkled with a dozen women.  The ideal audience for a parenting app?!


Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe
HBS NVC jury and contestants in Paris.

What a THRILL to defend my passion and to present a business plan that benefits parents, parenting professionals, and investors.

SoSooper came in 3rd place…quite awesome considering that we were the only company without a commercialized product and without revenues.  It means these seasoned business folk wish us






Enjoy the official video.

Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper is a finalist in Harvard Business School NVC Europe

Sooper Exciting News

Our mobile app for parents has been selected as a finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe!  There were 26 contestants for 5 places.  We made the cut!

We will be pitching to 100+ business folk about being the best parent we can be.

We are honored to be present, knowing that the discussion will cover both business issues (how will we generate income) as well a matters touching our ingrained beliefs:

  • Are “good parents” born or can leadership in our homes be learned?
  • How to accompany parents AND allow freedom to create their own, unique family culture?

As my sister says, “Exciting, invigorating, intimidating, energizing, challenging, exhilarating.”

Many thanks to all who support me so well.

SoSooper is finalist for HBS NVC
European finalists for 2017 HBS NVC Europe

The Story behind SoSooper

A Mom in Need

As a young mom seeking help to manage four boys under seven years old I wondered:

“Folk can go to a bank or a financial counselor and expose very private information regarding money and request advice and this is conisdered intelligent.

Those same people seek advice regarding relationships…and they have a problem.

Humm. I hope someone will do something to remedy this discrepancy.”

And, today, maybe that someone is…me.

Insights from Cosmetics

When I worked in cosmetics, one brand introduced beauty advice on an iPad.  Customers appreciated the anonimity of these tools.

They found it more pleasant to admit skin problems to a machine than to a  made-up beauty who agrees you have blackheads on your nose!

Might the same be true with personal issues?

A New Child

SoSooper, my fifth child, is born. This mobile app helps parents navigate – positively and quickly – challenges with kids.

  • Provides parents with solutions for their Need. NOW.
  • Connects parents with parenting experts and other moms and dads like them
  • Is available on their phone.  Anytime & anywhere.

Read more.

Denise Dampierre on the radio

Positive Discipline Interview on Frequence Protestante radio

What an honor to be invited for the one hour interview on Radio Fréquence Protestante.  The journalist, Anne-Marie Delaugère, attended one of our Positive Discipline Parent classes and spoke with some of the participants:

Ducem – a Turkish woman in an inter-cultural marriage and the mother of a 2 year old

Ester – a single mother of a 5 year old

Laura – a British mother of 3 children who discovered Positive Discipline through her children’s school.

The interview explores

  • Positive Discipline, a research-based parenting approach to building respectful and collaborative relationships, and
  • SoSooper, the mobile app which provides parenting tips for parents’ need now and connects parents with parenting coaches.  We are launching the prototype next month!

Listen to the interview (in French) here.

And here we are having left the studio and grinning in the Parisian winter sun.

Ladies from radio show on Frequence Protestante
Grinning after a great radio show. A Vuillaume, D Dampierre (middle), and journalist A-M Delaugère (right)