When I first started Role Mommy more than 12 years ago, my kids were little. At the time, my daughter was seven and my son was four and all I wanted to do was figure out how I was going to climb the corporate ladder and pursue my dreams while raising a family. During that time, I did figure out how to advance in my career all while staying active in my kids’ lives. As they got older, I started to discover what my kids loved and what they were really good at. And then I read Outliers.

If you haven’t read this fantastic guidebook by Malcolm Gladwell on some of the most iconic success stories in history – from the Beatles to Bill Gates, then make sure it’s on your January 2018 reading list. The key takeaway that I got from Outliers was the 10,000 hours expert theory. According to Gladwell, it takes at least 10,000 hours for someone to be an expert in anything. So just imagine – if your child decided at age 5 that they wanted to be a prima ballerina and they really loved taking all those dance lessons, you could technically guide them toward their dream. I’m not saying to torture your child – you need to listen to them when they’re getting burnt out and don’t want to keep going but if you have a kid that lives and breathes their art, their magic, their music or even their Legos, you have the power to unlock their dreams.

With Outlier Parenting, we will feature parents who have listened to their kids and guided them toward realizing their dreams. I’m going to start first with my daughter Becca Drew.

While I never intended to raise an artist, little did I know that that her middle name would determine her fate.

When she was in elementary school, her art teacher told us how impressed he was with her work and thought she could really do something special with her talents. While we were proud of her at the time, she didn’t have any interest in taking art classes outside of school, so we didn’t push her.

When she enrolled in middle school, Becca started to show an interest in fashion design and thankfully, one of my commuting buddies shared an amazing tip that helped put the 10,000 hours theory in motion. It turns out that FIT offers classes for middle and high schoolers where they can attend class on the weekends and learn everything from fashion design to draping, to sewing and sneaker design, photography and more. We enrolled our daughter in her first FIT class in 8th grade and after she was admitted into a Visual Arts program at her high school in New Rochelle, she continued taking the fashion classes through her Junior year.

Along the way, Becca met a wedding dress designer named Henry Roth and when she shared that she wanted to be a wedding dress designer (she actually shared one of her drawings with him), he instantly took a liking to her and invited her to a trunk show he and his sister were hosting at Kleinfelds. Becca was over the moon and helped the pair sell four dresses that day. In fact, she now has decided that one day she’d love to do an internship at Kleinfelds but back to the story.

Throughout high school, Becca took several challenging art classes including an AP sculpture class where she designed a dress made entirely out of condoms. Her concentration for her pieces was on feminism in all aspects of a woman’s life and the dress was a piece focusing on date rape culture – no matter what you wear, no still means no.

Fast forward the following year where we were touring college campuses and Becca had decided that she wanted to attend a University with an amazing art program and the moment we toured the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, she was sold. A few months later, Becca presented her portfolio to the director of admissions and the rest was history. She made it into the school and is now thriving as a first year freshman. Next year, she’ll be starting a joint degree where she’ll be pursuing her BFA with a degree in entrepreneurship from the Fox School of Business. This program just kicked off at the University and we’re thrilled that Becca is going to be a part of it.

Meanwhile, when Becca and her friends started to commit to their schools, she decided to start designing commitment day sneakers which featured the logo and mascots of the schools her friends were attending. When she shared her Temple University shoes with the director of admissions, she instantly fell in love with them and connected her to the head of the tour guide program who wanted her to design sneakers for the Temple Owl tour guides. We knew we had to get a license to design several pairs of sneakers, so I helped her research how to do it and after speaking with a licensing agent and an attorney, I managed to connect with the licensing company for Temple and after several months, they recently granted her a crafters license where she will be designing up to 20 pairs of shoes this year for incoming freshman, alumni or current students. The name of Becca’s Instagram is simple:  @BeccaDrewIt.

Becca meets with the business development director at the University when she returns from break. I’m super proud of what she’s accomplished so far and cannot wait to see what the future holds as she continues to pursue her 10,000 hours.