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How this woman-owned company reached 1 million families

Golden balloons spelling out "1 million" against an orange background.

Marcy Willard

Ph.D., NCSP

Last modified 19 Mar 2024

Published 07 Mar 2024

1 Million Families

Since the day we opened our doors, we planned to reach this number. Why one million? 

Grandpa with a twinkle in his eye

My grandfather had initially encouraged my dreams as an entrepreneur and psychologist by saying, “Think about how many people you can help.” In his final days, he asked me, “Well, how many have you helped?” I answered, “Well, probably about 1,000.”

Dad and I could tell by the look on his face that the number was too low. So, my dad said, 

“How about a million?”

That day, this dream was born.

Female Founders on a Mission

Dr. Marcy & Dr. Anna on a hike to make a difference

Dr. Anna and Dr. Marcy worked together as child psychologists at a clinic. We focused on ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities, among other childhood conditions.

A familiar situation with clients

Although we so enjoyed our work as psychologists, we were troubled by this familiar situation with our clients. We would diagnose a child, meet with the family, and get a plan to move them forward on a path to wellness. The parents were grateful. They would thank us profusely.

Then they would ask,

“Where were you five years ago?” 

That phrase haunted us, and we decided we had to do something. We put our heads together with my Dad, a long-time software methodologist. We wondered if it was possible to take what we had learned in the clinic and make it accessible with technology.

As co-founders and co-owners, these two women founders put out our shingle as a software business. We didn’t know how then, but we were building a company that would multiply the psychologist across the United States and the world.

Together with just ourselves, we knew we could only serve a few thousand families, but as a software team, we could reach millions. 

We Told Everyone

For years, we told everyone about our goal to reach one million families. Every slide deck had a slide dedicated to our goal of 1,000,000. As with most founders, we didn’t know how this would happen at the time.

Dr. Marcy describes the vision to the team at launch party

It All Started With an Assessment

What we did know is that we would start by building an assessment. As psychologists in the analog world, we always start with an assessment.

Why? Because to help a kid, you must first know what is happening inside. You must know their strengths, weaknesses, and unique skills to build on for your treatment. Without an assessment, you are throwing mud at the wall. With a solid set of concerns and areas to work on, kids really can get better.

Dr. Anna presents assessments to clinicians

Assessment Platform for Clinicians

We started with clinicians. We created an assessment for them to quickly pinpoint a child’s needs and arrive at a diagnosis. But, the multiplier we had been searching for had not occurred.

There were a few thousand users on our system. We gave it away to schools to ensure kids were getting help in the poorest communities, where assessments aren’t available. We licensed the tool to clinicians on a monthly subscription basis.

However, something was missing. We had not reached those families as we had promised we would.

Stakeholders Summit

As we gathered business leaders for the ‘Stakeholders Summit,’ we learned that the most important work was yet to be done. We needed to create these tools for parents and get them onto their mobile phones. We were always an Agile team, so of course, we made our plans in a room full of sticky notes.

Stakeholders Summit Meeting in Louisville, Colorado

We learned that parents were thirsty for information previously locked away in a clinician’s office. About 80% of what we did in person was somewhat standard. For certain symptoms, there are certain interventions.

We asked ourselves, could we somehow get this into an app where parents could get started on their own before even meeting a clinician?

The team decided it was possible and began plans for the Cadey App. The app would start with an assessment and then guide parents directly to intervention resources. We would have articles, recommendations, and videos to guide parents to the help they needed.

It took years to get this right. Fortunately, the release of OpenAI’s newer models and the process of search engine optimization accelerated our pace.

What happened next?

Today, we have over 1,000,000 families on our platform.

Over a million parents have interacted with our videos, assessments, and articles. What are they saying about Cadey?

 “I like that the strategies in Cadey are immediate and to the point. It has seriously changed our trajectory. There are less tantrums and more communication in our house.”

Dr. Marcy and Dr. Anna writing Agile work plan

What’s next for Cadey?

Where does the story lead? Let me show you. Sign up online for a demo. Take the next step toward providing comprehensive support for your team.