Amy Giddon is the cofounder and CEO of collaborative media and empathy-building app, Daily Haloha. Coming from a career in management consulting, Amy recognized our relationships at work and in our lives affect our sense of belonging and well-being – and that this social wellness was increasingly strained by polarization and social media. Read on to learn how she became an entrepreneur after 50 and launched her business, the best thing she’s ever taught herself (it’s a good one) and the one place in the world that is not only her favorite, but that taught her the most too.

Founder of empathy and social wellness app Daily Haloha | Amy Giddon
Photo courtesy of Amy Giddon.

Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now.

I am as surprised as anybody to find myself as the cofounder of a tech startup after 50, decades into my career! My career began in management consulting and I’ve also worked in industry, primarily consumer financial services. Over the course of my career as both consultant and executive, I developed and implemented innovative growth strategies deeply rooted in customer and marketplace insight. I’ve also focused on the development of the next generation of women leaders, rewarding work I continue to pursue informally.

While I always enjoyed the challenges and rewards of my business career, I also recognized the importance of my relationships at work and to my work to both my happiness and sense of purpose. In fact, they were essential. I came to understand this as social wellness: the way our relationships with those around us and our sense of belonging affect our well-being, and how in turn, it affects our own actions towards others. Social wellness matters not only in the workplace, but also in our personal relationships and in society.

In 2017, I recognized that our social wellness was increasingly strained by polarization and drained by social media. I was feeling heavy. And while commuting to a consulting assignment, I participated in a sticky note project in the NYC subway that sparked an idea. I saw how a collaborative public experience can unite thousands of anonymous strangers in an uplifting moment of shared humanity. I imagined how this type of social magic could be unleashed through a digital platform. I decided to pivot and focus on solving the twin problems of social isolation and loss of empathy. My tech startup, Daily Haloha, was born.

Photos courtesy of Amy Giddon.

Two years later, Daily Haloha has connected thousands of loyal followers around the world. It’s a collaborative media app based on a single daily question designed to inspire reflection, curiosity, and compassion, and to reveal our big human story.  My mission is to rekindle empathy. My work in business strategy, women’s leadership, and now my empathy app Daily Haloha is all connected by the belief that we need to see and hear each other.

I came to understand this as social wellness: the way our relationships with those around us and our sense of belonging affect our well-being, and how in turn, it affects our own actions towards others.

Social wellness matters not only in the workplace, but also in our personal relationships and in society. In 2017, I recognized that our social wellness was increasingly strained by polarization and drained by social media.

What gets you excited to wake up every day? Why?

I’m pretty easily excited these days. What a gift that is! Working on a problem I feel passionate about is incredibly energizing and feels like an honor. It’s also quite fun to wake up in the morning, check my Daily Haloha app, and see the responses to the daily question that have rolled in from the other side of the world while I was sleeping.

Related: former journalist Megan Snedden began doing random acts of kindness around the world and was motivated to start the Kind Effect, a global kindness movement and video series. Learn more in her interview!

What’s the best/most important thing you’ve learned or taught yourself? Why?

The most important thing I’ve learned is to listen, and I’m constantly learning to be a better listener. There are so many ways to listen. In business, I’ve learned to listen deeply to customers, to really understand their needs and their pain points. I’ve learned the importance of listening to people with empathy, to suspend judgment and reactivity with the intention of really understanding – whether in agreement or not. I’ve recently participated in listening training with a great organization called Sidewalk Talk, to learn heart-centered listening. It is transformational. I believe that listening is at the heart of healing, for us as individuals and as a society.

Courtesy of www.dailyhaloha.com.

What’s the next thing you’re going to learn or teach yourself? Why?

I am learning more about the deeply embedded systems of racism and injustice in the US. This is something I can’t teach myself. I am learning by reading, viewing, and listening to Black voices and perspectives.

The most important thing I’ve learned is to listen, and I’m constantly learning to be a better listener. I’ve learned the importance of listening to people with empathy, to suspend judgment and reactivity with the intention of really understanding – whether in agreement or not.

I believe that listening is at the heart of healing, for us as individuals and as a society.

Describe a time when you had to ‘throw yourself in the deep end’ and figure it out.

A time? All the time! Since founding my tech startup, my pace of learning has never been faster. I embarked on this journey with no tech or mobile app experience, no founder experience, and few tools that translated from my corporate career to the startup world. With the constrained resources of a startup, I’ve had to do many things myself that I used to outsource, across product design, marketing, analytics and finance.

I spend a considerable amount of time reading, researching, and listening to people with experience and expertise that I don’t have. Then, I just take the plunge and learn the rest by doing. It’s a bit unnerving but also very gratifying.

Do you have advice for finding a strong mentor/ building a relationship with one?

I find that people really like to share their expertise. I have 2 pieces of advice from both being a mentor and a mentee: be specific and relevant when reaching out to someone for advice or mentorship. What exactly do you hope to learn from that person or gain from their experience? Why did you choose this person specifically?  What do they uniquely have to offer? Mentorship is a 2-way street. Think about what you can offer your mentor too.

Related: theater artist, tarot reader, traveler and people expert Terilyn Eisenhauer agrees that when looking for a mentor, it’s best to look for reciprocal relationships – mentorship is not a one-way journey. Learn more tips and read her interview here!

Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why? What did you learn from it?

In 2018 I traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to participate in the World Happiness Festival. It was still early in my journey with Daily Haloha, and I was inspired to learn more about happiness and to see a part of the world I’d never been to. The festival itself was wonderful, with attendees from around the world coming together to celebrate mindfulness, compassion and our human connection and capacity for joy. It was the beginning of my own exploration of how to become more mindful in my own life.

Photos courtesy of Amy Giddon.

San Miguel de Allende itself was just magical. It offers everything I love in an old city: cobblestone streets, a central town square with a magnificent church in its center, outdoor markets, a proud and rich history, and interesting architecture, in this case Spanish baroque, and a hilly topography that offers great views and sunsets. But what makes San Miguel de Allende truly unique is the visual arts that are on display everywhere – from high end galleries to small personal flourishes on the houses. The city is bursting with color and creativity, warm people and delicious food.  There is plenty to learn about the history and culture of the area, and art!

Since founding my tech startup, my pace of learning has never been faster. I embarked on this journey with no tech or mobile app experience, no founder experience, and few tools that translated from my corporate career to the startup world. With the constrained resources of a startup, I’ve had to do many things myself that I used to outsource, across product design, marketing, analytics and finance.

I spend a considerable amount of time reading, researching, and listening to people with experience and expertise that I don’t have. Then, I just take the plunge and learn the rest by doing. It’s a bit unnerving but also very gratifying.

What’s one thing people may not know about you?

I am full of contradictions! Right brained and left brained, nerdy and social, fact-based and miracle-ready.

Learn more about Amy Giddon of the Daily Haloha App Here

What’s Daily Haloha?

Finally! A simple daily routine to look inward and share outward. A positive moment of self-reflection that connects you not only to yourself, but to thousands of people all over the world for insight and uplift. Download the Daily Haloha app here. It’s free, because the best things in life usually are 🙂