I So Appreciate You! Season 2 Episode 3
IN Season 2, Episode 3, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert discuss entrepreneurship with Andre Creighton.
What makes a brilliant app? Is it entertainment value, offering a critical service or something that has social impact? For Andre Creighton, co-founder and chief financial officer of the groundbreaking app TurnSignl, it’s providing drivers with real-time legal guidance from an attorney during traffic stops while a camera records the interaction.
Co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert discuss entrepreneurship and the importance of using technology for social change with the co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Andre Creighton.
Meet Our Guest
Andre Creighton is the co-founder and Chief Financial Officer of TurnSignl. He holds a B.A. in Public Accounting from Gustavus Adolphus College '13 and a MBA in Finance from Augsburg University '19. He possesses 8+ years of accounting, finance and operational expertise. During the early part of his career he spent four years in Public Accounting, working in taxation for CPA firm Lurie LLP and a national conglomerate Baker Tilly LLP. Thereafter, he worked for Cargill Inc in their corporate tax strategy department for over two years as Senior Tax Analyst. His final stint before joining TurnSignl was with SPIRE Credit Union as the lead Senior Financial Analyst, where he was helping build their Finance department.
Beyond his professional career, he is a community advocate. He is a Varsity football coach at Harding Senior High and sits on the advisory board of the Page Education Foundation. Additionally, he is the co-founder of Foreshadow, a nonprofit in Saint Paul, Minnesota, that provides career exploration resources and discovery for kids in the Saint Paul Public School district.
In episode 3 of I So Appreciate You!, co-hosts Nadege Souvenir and Melanie Hoffert talk about mobile apps, entrepreneurship and healthy work and personal life boundaries with special guest Andre Creighton, co-founder and chief financial officer of TurnSignl.
What makes for the perfect mobile app? Our co-hosts discuss the most valuable apps on their phones and then dig in with Andre about why he and his co-founders were moved to create TurnSignl.
After the murder of close family friend Philando Castile during a traffic stop, Andre was inspired to make a difference but didn’t have the capital to start a business. Flash forward to 2020 and the murder of George Floyd; Andre knew it was time to use his skills in finance, he partnered with childhood friends Jazz Hampton, an attorney, and Myke Frelix in tech sales., The three friends combined their talents to provide people with real-time access to video and legal advice when in a car crash or pulled over by police.
The goal of the app is to provide both individuals and police with a sense of security during traffic stops, as well as finding a new way to break down the injustices of our judicial system. TurnSignl is currently in nine U.S. states with plans to expand in 2023.
“We feel that this app creates accountability on both sides,” said Andre. “We know that when that officer pulls up to a car or pulls a car over, they're going to see that TurnSignl bumper sticker and they're going to feel safer in that interaction because they know that there's going to be an attorney on the phone that's protecting their rights, but also protecting the driver's rights and making sure that everyone gets home safe at the end of the day.”
Nadege Souvenir: Welcome everyone to I So Appreciate You! A raw, funny and uniquely insightful podcast about the issues and opportunities we all face as values-based leaders and humans. I'm Nadege.
Melanie Hoffert: And I'm Melanie. We're colleagues at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. And we're friends. When we get together, our conversations can go anywhere, especially when bringing a friend or two along for the ride.
Nadege Souvenir: So, we're inviting you to join us and some incredible guests as we explore the challenges and triumphs of people shaking up our community for the better.
Melanie Hoffert: Welcome everybody to today's episode. We're super excited to have a special guest, Andre Creighton, who is a co-founder of a very cool new app called TurnSignl, which essentially gives you access in your car to an attorney if you get pulled over by the police. So, excited to talk to him later in the episode.
Nadege Souvenir: I am so excited about this because this is an app that I actually think the world needs.
Melanie Hoffert: It does.
Nadege Souvenir: And I'm saying that because the other day I was getting ready for a conference and I got the email, "Download the conference app so that you can participate in the blah blah blah." And I'm thinking to myself, "Another app?"
Melanie Hoffert: Right. Some of those apps, it takes like an hour to figure out, "Did I register? What's my password? How do I sync it with my calendar?" Sometimes apps make our life easy and sometimes they make it a little more complicated than it needs to be.
Nadege Souvenir: Right. And so the thing is, that's what I was thinking of because here I am looking at my phone and there's probably a gazillion apps and some of them are brilliant like TurnSignl, which we'll hear about, right?
Melanie Hoffert: Yes.
Nadege Souvenir: That's brilliant. And some of them are eh. And so, I was trying to figure out what makes a brilliant app brilliant to me, because obviously this isn't an official opinion.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, this is a good conversation.
Nadege Souvenir: Versus why am I like, "Ugh, do I really need an app?"
Melanie Hoffert: An app for that? Yes. So, tell me a little bit about the apps that you think are brilliant or that you use.
Nadege Souvenir: See now I've set myself up for failure because I don't know what apps I actually think are brilliant, but I know which ones I use probably more than I should.
Melanie Hoffert: Same.
Nadege Souvenir: So I'm going to shout out one that who would expect me, but Instagram.
Melanie Hoffert: Yes.
Nadege Souvenir: I use that all the time. And to be honest, before a year ago I would've been like, meh. But the reality is Instagram provided me a platform to tell a story of my breast cancer experience and to share pictures, which was something that was really important to me. And so because of that, it's actually a pretty important app for me in my sort of day-to-day or week-to-week kind of musing.
Melanie Hoffert: Yeah, no. I think a lot of people use it, but in some instances, like in your story you turned it into a platform and I think it's been helpful to a lot of people to follow your journey. Well, and scanning my phone, I have a couple of apps to share. The ones that I actually use are time saving apps. So, Instacart.
Nadege Souvenir: Oh, I use Instacart.
Melanie Hoffert: Do you?
Nadege Souvenir: Yep.
Melanie Hoffert: I'm looking, it says that I've saved almost a hundred hours of shopping and I really believe it. I mean the time that I would've otherwise spent in a grocery store, I would like to say that I'm writing or doing productive things. I'm not sure, maybe I'm-
Nadege Souvenir: You're probably on another app.
Melanie Hoffert: I'm probably on Instagram looking at your outfits. The other one that has been really helpful, especially in a move that we just had is TaskRabbit. Have you ever used that?
Nadege Souvenir: I haven't. I mean, I'm familiar with it, but I've never used it.
Melanie Hoffert: You get to meet cool people who will do interesting projects and I've had just help with organization maybe. I'm going to admit that people have come and organized our garage, which has been lifesaving.
Nadege Souvenir: That's awesome.
Melanie Hoffert: And ridiculous. I can also organize my own garage, but it's been a nice app to have in times of need like moving.
Nadege Souvenir: That's really great. Oh, I have a new one that I really like. Remarkable.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, tell me about that.
Nadege Souvenir: So I try to reduce my paper usage, but there is something really nice about the tactileness of writing on a notebook. So Remarkable is a... I don't know how to explain it's not an iPad because it's not a screen, but it's a digital notebook where you can have different files and all sorts of stuff, but it connects to an app. So right now, on my phone, if you asked me for some notes, I took in a meeting yesterday with our boss-
Melanie Hoffert: Yes?
Nadege Souvenir: I could pull up my Remarkable app and see my own handwritten notes on my phone.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, I'm going to use this. I'm going to download it.
Nadege Souvenir: So I mean, I've only had it for a little bit of time. Check with me in a few months, but so far I'm a fan.
Melanie Hoffert: Well, that's the thing about apps. I have apps that are chasing me, shouting out things to do. I downloaded an app to do intermittent fasting and now I'm getting these alerts. "Eat, don't eat, drink water." I'm like, "No, leave me alone." So I've had these apps, I don't think I'm a tracker.
Nadege Souvenir: That is so funny. So, my husband has also downloaded an app about intermittent fasting but I can't say that word.
Melanie Hoffert: I know. Thank you for stumbling with me.
Nadege Souvenir: And I think that's hilarious because I'm like, "Why do you have to track that? Just don't eat until that time." So for me, it's so funny that for one person, an app can literally be the thing that they need and the absolute perfect solution to a problem that they had not previously articulated. And for someone else you're like, "Why? Why are you bothering me?"
Melanie Hoffert: No, I get mad, so I just eat if it tells me not to eat. So I'm like, "It's actually doing the opposite for me."
Nadege Souvenir: I feel like that is literally not the point of that app.
Melanie Hoffert: It's not. But I have many of those and the ones that are supposed to help you with your brain cognition where you do the puzzles. I get so mad at them, I throw my phone, "No."
Nadege Souvenir: We could probably spend the next hour going through our phone. We could also go through all the ones where you're like, "Why do I have this app still? What is the point of this app?"
Melanie Hoffert: We should have a national app cleaning day. We should start that. You take a day and you get rid of all of your apps that are chasing you like the ones that are chasing me.
Nadege Souvenir: Or you could just change your notification settings. I don't want to point out the obvious, but...
Melanie Hoffert: Yeah, all right. I just heard a ding.
Nadege Souvenir: Well, I think that that's our sign that like...
Melanie Hoffert: That was brilliant. The app is talking to us. Oh boy.
Nadege Souvenir: Oh my goodness. Yes. So yeah, I think we get to now go talk about a super useful and critical and powerful app and I'm really excited to talk to Andre.
Melanie Hoffert: Me too. Let's get to it.
Nadege Souvenir: All right.
Melanie Hoffert: I So Appreciate You! is just one of the many initiatives we are working on at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Want to learn more about how we aim to create an equitable just and vibrant Minnesota? Join our email list by visiting us at spmcf.org. While you're there, make sure to check out our blog and follow us on social media.
Nadege Souvenir: And we're back. We are here with our guests, Andre Creighton. And we are super excited to learn more about you and TurnSignl. Before we dig in, well actually, how are you doing?
Andre Creighton: I'm doing great.
Nadege Souvenir: Good.
Andre Creighton: Thanks for having me here today.
Nadege Souvenir: Yeah, thanks for being here. We want to tell our listeners just a little bit about you. This is not going to encapsulate the whole of who you are, but a couple of things that you are the chief financial officer for TurnSignl. You are a football coach, varsity for Harding Senior High.
Andre Creighton: Yeah. Harding, Humboldt. I'm the head football coach.
Nadege Souvenir: Excellent. And you are sort of like homegrown Minnesotan, like grew up here, undergrad-ed at Gustavus, grad school Augsburg.
Andre Creighton: Yeah. Saint Paul native. Just can't seem to get away from here. There's so many great things that happen in Minnesota.
Nadege Souvenir: Well, I mean we are certainly glad that you are here.
Melanie Hoffert: All right. Well Andre, we're going to get into a little bit about you, a little bit about TurnSignl, but before we do that, we have a tradition with our guests. We just want to warm you up. So I'm going to throw three questions your way. You can answer one way or another. We're very curious how you're going to land. Speaking of landing, cups in the cupboard, right side up or upside down?
Andre Creighton: Oh, definitely upside down.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, upside down.
Nadege Souvenir: Okay. Why definitely?
Melanie Hoffert: Yeah. Why?
Andre Creighton: I don't know. I feel like when they come out of the sink or dishwasher, I don't always want to dry them, so upside down.
Melanie Hoffert: I'm with you.
Nadege Souvenir: I love it.
Melanie Hoffert: I'm with you. Yeah. So passenger or driver?
Andre Creighton: It depends who's driving.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, good answer.
Andre Creighton: If my fiancé’s driving, I'd love to be the driver.
Melanie Hoffert: Okay.
Nadege Souvenir: Oh.
Melanie Hoffert: Well, Nadege and I sort of share, we're the passengers.
Nadege Souvenir: If I can be the passenger, I will be the passenger.
Melanie Hoffert: Right. And then our final question, while you're walking or running, are you listening to music or podcasts?
Andre Creighton: Ooh, that's a good one. If I'm on a treadmill, likely a podcast. If I'm outside, I like to listen to music.
Melanie Hoffert: Okay. So both. Yeah. Great.
Nadege Souvenir: I appreciate that.
Melanie Hoffert: Wonderful. Thank you for that.
Nadege Souvenir: All right, well I know we're going to get into TurnSignl a little bit, but I'm going to ask you the question that is just fascinating to me because I think entrepreneurs kind of as a breed, it's a special thing. There's some gut instinct or something that makes you start something new. And you know were in an established career in finance and left that to start TurnSignl. So can you take us to that moment that you knew, "I got to do this. I got to do TurnSignl."
Andre Creighton: It all kind of stems back to Philando Castile. Myke and I, growing up in Saint Paul, we knew the Castile family very well. Grew up playing sports with them against them. From Little League all the way through high school. So it just hit a little too close to home when that occurred. And we all were searching for a way to be a part of the solution and we'd been to the vigils, we'd been a part of the peaceful protesting, but none of that seemed like it was enough. At that time I was three years removed from college undergrad and didn't have the means or capital to be able to start a company.
And you fast forward four years later and George Floyd happens and there's not probably a person in the world that doesn't know the name George Floyd. And at that time, we were like, "What are we doing with our skillsets to be a part of the solution?" And Jazz, being an attorney, Myke being a tech sales guy and me being in finance accounting, we were uniquely set up to be able to come together. We like to call ourselves the TeleLegal Avengers. That's what our group chat says. We wanted to do something that's tangible, a tangible tool to change some of the things that have occurred here in this country. And at the end of the day, I could do finance anywhere. If entrepreneurship didn't work, I can go back and find another job. So it just made sense.
Melanie Hoffert: I would love to see these little... I'm imagining you all with capes and I think that it's really probably telling when we think about what TurnSignl is and does now hearing your backstory. And so for our listeners who don't know what this app does, could you just give us a little bit of a breakdown of what you've been working on with your co-founders?
Andre Creighton: Yeah. TurnSignl is a mobile app that connects you in real time to an attorney over video conference when you're pulled over or in an accident. So by a simple push of a button or a use of voice command, you can say, "Hey Siri, or hey Google, I'm being pulled over, I've been in an accident." It'll connect you to an attorney. If you have been in an accident, connects you with a PI attorney if you've been in a traffic stop, it connects you with a criminal attorney. And it does track your geolocation and is able to connect you with an attorney in that jurisdiction that knows those laws. While your camera also records the interaction and saves to your personal cloud. TurnSignl does not have access to that video, the attorney does not have access to that video. We want to give the driver the autonomy to do what they feel they need to do with that video.
Nadege Souvenir: So, when the three of you came together and wanted to create something tangible, that description is brilliant and it sort of begs the question, "How did it not exist before?" How did you settle on that as the tangible solution to a problem?
Andre Creighton: I think, we've seen what body cams can do with officers wearing them and we pride ourselves on being an app to bridge the gap. We're not adversarial to officers or law enforcement. Matter of fact, we've worked with a lot of law enforcement to understand how we need to build the platform early on. That's why it calls all the attorneys simultaneously. We want to make sure that you can get an attorney right away. And we feel that this app creates accountability on both sides. We know that when that officer pulls up to a car or pulls a car over, they're going to see that TurnSignl sticker bumper sticker and they're going to feel safer in that interaction because they know that there's going to be an attorney on the phone that's protecting their rights, but also protecting the driver's rights and making sure that everyone gets home safe at the end of the day.
Melanie Hoffert: Like Nadege mentioned, it's hard to imagine that this didn't exist because as you described it's such an eloquent response to a really big problem that we're having in our society. And I know though that these things that look simple on the delivery are not simple in terms of creation. So there're many layers and you have two co-founders and so I'm wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about the joys and challenges of working with two, it sounds like good friends who you've known for a long time in starting a startup like this and working through this solution?
Andre Creighton: Yeah. We always talk about how while we're friends, it allows us to move at the speed of trust. And I also think it allows us to have tough conversations with each other. And at the end of the day when we leave the office, we're back to being friends. Business is business and we all have TurnSignl and what it can do in mind for the community first. And it's really kind of forced us all to put our pride aside and come together to bring something to the world that can truly be dynamic and help change some of these outcomes.
Nadege Souvenir: So, it really feels like you all got from the catalyst moment to that minimally viable product really quickly. And do you think that some of that was because, I mean, there's probably something very personal about this tool for all of us. You knew the Castile family, I will speak for myself as a Black woman getting pulled over, not always the best feeling in the world. And do you think that that was part of what helped you all move faster than I've seen a lot of other apps come to market?
Andre Creighton: Yeah, absolutely. We each have our own experiences of being pulled over and I've been very fortunate that I came from a family where my parents told me what to do when you're pulled over. You put your hands on the steering wheel. It's, "Yes, ma'am. Yes, sir." But there's a lot of people that come from my community that don't have that guidance and they only see what they see on TV. There're many interactions between law enforcement that do go well, but the news reports the ones that go bad. And that's what they see and it causes an unsettling situation for an individual when that's the trauma that they've seen on TV. They think, "That could happen to me." So I wake up every morning with my son in mind. I have a five-month-old at home. I know that this is something that I may not see the change in my lifetime. Hopefully, I do. But I'm hopeful that the change will come for my son and the generations to come behind that.
Melanie Hoffert: Andre, can you talk a little bit about the bridge that you mentioned earlier that you are working with law enforcement, you're working with the community and so you have to see both sides. And what I understand is this app exists so that everyone can get home safely. We want to change the outcome of these traffic stops. And so, what are the challenges and some of the insights that you've gathered in being that bridge?
Andre Creighton: Yeah, I mean one of the first officers that we interviewed when we were starting this app, and this is something that's always stuck with me, is the officer said he, "Loved the app." He thought that it's a way to show that they're doing good things from a different point of view. And he said the only officer that's going to hate this application, is a bad officer. And I think that 99% officers are good people. It's just like anything in society, there's good people and there's bad people. And I think that the sooner that we can help departments see the people that are not doing the right things within those departments, that will only help bridge that gap between the communities.
Melanie Hoffert: Right, because it is a systemic problem. It is a cultural problem. And so, I love that you're helping not just in that one off moment, but really this is a systems change app.
Andre Creighton: Absolutely.
Nadege Souvenir: So, I'm going to pivot completely because you just mentioned a son and we all did our aww faces here, but nobody can see that because they're listening to us. The work that you do sits in a heavy space. So, what has been bringing you joy during your time on this journey?
Andre Creighton: I wake up every morning. I get to work with people that I love to work with. And that doesn't mean that the people in my past jobs, I didn't love working with them, but I get to work with my friends, I get to dress the way that I want to dress. I can show up and be myself and that's what's really important to me. And then just really truly building something from the ground up. I've learned more on this job than I have in any career I've had in the past, whether was in tax or working at Cargill or Baker Tilly, those are all great places, but starting something from the ground up and not having a baseline, is truly a task in itself. And I've learned a ton. So that's what gives me joy, is just someday TurnSignl will sell to some company that can take it further than we can, whether that's a Google or somewhere like that. But the experiences that I've gained from this experience, I'll be able to take that and go into any company I want to and hopefully help them propel as well.
Melanie Hoffert: I'm really interested in the future vision that you've just sort of opened up for us. Before we go there though, I want to stay with the thread that Nadege is probing on, which is your personal life. As you know, I'm married to an entrepreneur myself, Emily, who runs All Square and has collaborated with TurnSignl. I know that the job never ends. I mean it is literally 24/7 and so it's hard to be married to an entrepreneur. You happen to be taking time out of your life. This week in fact, you're getting married on Friday, which I can't believe you're here talking to us. I mean it's just evident that this is a really big commitment. So, we were curious that balance that you have in your life, you're also a coach, you have a child. And so, can you talk about how you balance or don't balance, maybe you don't, your life with this thing that brings you a lot of joy?
Andre Creighton: I'm thankful for my fiancé.
Nadege Souvenir: Do you want to give her an official shout out?
Andre Creighton: Yes, a shout out to my fiancé Erica Berger. Love you.
Melanie Hoffert: Wonderful. Yeah.
Andre Creighton: No, she keeps everything, the foundation at home in place and that's very helpful to allow me to go out and do the things that make me great. And everything that I do is community based and that's why TurnSignl has been such a joy. Coaching football, I love coaching football and I love the game of football, but more than that, I love what it teaches young men and sometimes young women. It's what I live for, to be able to help that next generation. So from a balancing standpoint, I just go. And on the weekends, I spend most of my time with my family. I try not to logon and do work stuff on the weekends, but that's not always the case either.
Melanie Hoffert: Yeah. Thank you for sharing those.
Nadege Souvenir: I actually want to probe a little bit on you just saying I try to logoff because we've had episodes where we've talked to people about balance and about wellness in the last season. And a lot of the things that you're talking about that you've just mentioned, are topics that we've had. And I know that one of the questions I get when I talk to colleagues is, "How can I disconnect?" And you are literally doing something, you're an entrepreneur, it's a 24/7 kind of gig. But you just said out loud, "It's not always perfect, but you find ways to disconnect." And was that an affirmative choice right away? Did you have to grow into that? Just I think a lot of listeners would appreciate it, as they struggle with this.
Andre Creighton: Yeah, I think that we each have our ways that we disconnect. And for me, I told you all that we claim to be the TeleLegal Avengers and we have a text group that's named that. There came a time in this business after a year where I had to tell Myke and Jazz like, "Hey, email me or contact me on Slack. I don't want to text anymore," because I needed to be able to separate a little bit. And our team does a good job of respecting those boundaries. Jazz and Myke have their boundaries as well. And I think just really setting those boundaries and understanding what you need, so you can show up and be your best person every day is important. If you're just head down, working every single day, you can't show up and be your best self.
Melanie Hoffert: That's great. Thank you for that. Back to the vision. So, I'm wondering if you can share with us and our listeners where TurnSignl is right now. I mean, who's using it? I know you have partnerships with some corporations so that their employees can take advantage of it. Where is it and what's the vision for the future?
Andre Creighton: Yeah, we're currently in nine states. We're hoping and planning to be national here in 2023. Our soft push is January 2023. Hard push is April 2023, The future of TurnSignl, we see it being more than just in the car. We see this being something that can be used outside the car. We see this being something where we will integrate with auto-motors, things like that. I can't get into all the details, but we see this being more of, at the end of the day, TurnSignl is an app that connects people in realtime when they're in need.
And it can stem further than just a traffic stop. It could be someone that's having a mental health crisis and they need to connect with a therapist. We just want to be able to help people in the moment that they need it. I mean, we all seen the boom in telemedicine, how that helped the healthcare system and people that need healthcare, being able to connect to a doctor over Zoom or Google Meet or whatever that is. I mean, that changed the landscape of how people receive care. The same is going to hold true for what we're doing here at TurnSignl.
Melanie Hoffert: That's great.
Nadege Souvenir: What I really appreciate about what you just shared about the vision is that you are equalizing might not be quite the right word, access. Because the reality is there are some of us in the community that have always had access to, I could push speed dial and my lawyer's on tap and I'm good to go if something happens to me and I know who the five people I need to call are. But to your point, TurnSignl is a tool for both sides of the folks on the equation, but it's also a tool that gives an individual who might not otherwise know a lawyer to call when they have even just a question. We're not even talking about a dangerous situation, but you've given them in a scenario like a car accident or a traffic stop, an avenue to a resource that they may not have otherwise had.
Andre Creighton: Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate that. I love that you said the word access because that's part of the reason why there's no A in TurnSignl because we believe there's a lack of access to justice. We see this as an ability to connect people to attorneys that likewise would not have an attorney. There's lots of people that have attorneys on a retainer. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people in our communities that have never had an experience with an attorney. And now whether you're paying monthly or you're getting this for free because you're under the income threshold, you have access to an attorney and this might be your first touchpoint ever with an attorney. And that can be scary. I mean, when you think about connecting with an attorney, most of the time you think that you've done something wrong, but it could just be, "I need some advice so I don't do the wrong thing." And that's what TurnSignl does. It's proactive instead of reactive.
Nadege Souvenir: I mean listen, I'm a former attorney and I know that needing an attorney is a scary moment. It's what I did for a living. But the reality is when you're in that moment where you think, "I need somebody who knows more about the law in some area that is about to impact my life," that's fundamentally terrifying. And so, I really appreciate that TurnSignl is kind of to as you said, push of a button or a call of Siri or Google, making it a little less hard to walk through that door.
Melanie Hoffert: And also, it made me think having grown up in a rural area, rural areas too, you don't have access to the same resources that you do in an urban setting. So, I can imagine this being a really big tool for rural areas eventually as well.
Andre Creighton: Absolutely. Where'd you grow up?
Melanie Hoffert: North Dakota. Rural North Dakota.
Andre Creighton: North Dakota?
Melanie Hoffert: Yes.
Andre Creighton: Awesome.
Melanie Hoffert: Just on a farm, mm-hmm. You mentioned that this could be available to folks who might not be able to afford it. So, what does that subsidy model look like and is there a branch of philanthropy that is important to TurnSignl? Since we work at a foundation, I wanted to probe on that.
Andre Creighton: Yeah, if you make under $40,000 a year, we allow you on the app for free. We don't ask for verification of that. We don't want any barriers for people that truly need this. And then companies like BlueCross BlueShield Minnesota, they provided TurnSignl to all Brooklyn Center residents as a way to help heal that community following Daunte Wright. Minnesota Vikings have donated a $100,000 to the TurnSignl Foundation, which is a separate entity that subsidizes some costs for those.
Melanie Hoffert: So, there is a foundation. And can anyone donate to that if they're interested in supporting this?
Andre Creighton: Yes, they can.
Melanie Hoffert: Wonderful.
Nadege Souvenir: You just said you don't ask for verification and I think that is so powerful because you opened up by saying that, "You all moved the way you did because you moved at the speed of trust." It was three friends who had the trust. And for me that sort of, "We're not going to ask for verification," is almost like you are opening up this to the community at the speed of trust. Like, "We trust you are going to tell us honestly that you are a person who qualifies to get this for free or you should pay for it." Did you all think about that? Was that a really intentional choice not to ask for verification?
Andre Creighton: Yeah, absolutely. I think we've just seen in the system a little bit, whether it's welfare or whatever it may be, there's a lot of verification processes for people to get access to the things they need. And we didn't want that with TurnSignl. We wanted people that truly need this to just be able to download the app, answer a few questions whether you work or you're part-time or how many dependents you have, and then you're on how app for free.
Nadege Souvenir: I want to bring us back to the concept of joy because I really like ending conversations that way. I think that the reality of the last few years, frankly, has not been easy on so many levels. And Melanie mentioned that you've got a wedding coming up this week. I mean, I got to imagine there's a little joy coming your way this week.
Andre Creighton: Absolutely. Yeah, I'm really excited. It's new territory. But people always say, and I know it's cliche, "When you know, you know." It's so true, when you know, you know. We were walking down in New York last week when we were at Salesforce, Jazz, Myke, and I. I asked them, because they're both married, "Do you believe that you have multiple soulmates? Are what made you know that the person that you're with is the person?" I think, there's a lot of people that you can connect with, but there's not a lot of people that are going to be your best friend. And that's truly what my fiancé Erica is. She's my best friend. We do everything together. I'm not going to pretend like it's always sunny on the other side. We all have our things and perspectives and think differently, but at the end of the day, we come back to what brought us together and that's what's so important. So, I'm excited for this new adventure and hopefully it's a lifetime.
Nadege Souvenir: That's so wonderful.
Melanie Hoffert: We're going to be celebrating you from afar on Friday. That's so wonderful. Thank you so much for being with us. My last question, are you taking time off after your wedding? This is going to be telling everybody, the entrepreneur right here. He's staring into...
Andre Creighton: I am not taking time off after my wedding.
Melanie Hoffert: I knew it.
Andre Creighton: However, technically this week I'm off.
Melanie Hoffert: Okay, so in preparation.
Nadege Souvenir: Wait, so you're off this week but you're hanging out with us?
Andre Creighton: Yeah.
Nadege Souvenir: Oh, man.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, he's working right now.
Nadege Souvenir: You know what? I'm just going to name, I think that we are privileged to be in your company this week because you could be anywhere right now and you're with us. So thank you so much-
Melanie Hoffert: Yes, thank you very much.
Nadege Souvenir: For spending some time with us today.
Melanie Hoffert: It's been wonderful.
Andre Creighton: Thank you all for having me. This is fun.
Nadege Souvenir: Wow, that was such a powerful conversation. I don't know. There's so many things, like my brain is reeling, so there are so many things to pick up on. But I'm struck by something that is maybe not even related to TurnSignl specifically or Andre specifically.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, what's that?
Nadege Souvenir: I'm struck by in this conversation. Andre said so many things that we have talked about, you and I, and Pahoua and I in season one, have talked about with different guests. And we've had guests sort of run the gamut. Margaret, who is a writer and an artist. We have Andre sitting here, Christophe Beck, and yet themes of setting boundaries and themes of trust with community. It's just so fascinating to me how different all our guests were. There are yet some really core things, that no matter who is sitting in this seat seem to be key to who they are and how they show up in their work, which I don't know, I just find that fascinating.
Melanie Hoffert: Right. And a little bit by design, because we have the privilege of talking to people who are really passionate, who are looking to find solutions to problems. And oftentimes, there's not a clear boundary between their life and their work. And I think that that is where people are often the most satisfied and also the most challenged because you just don't get that space often for yourself. So you're right. I'm glad you teased that out.
Nadege Souvenir: I mean, that's not to say he didn't say a whole mess of things that I took notes on and I saw you taking notes. I want to know what you found super interesting.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh, there's so much. How to even take the one nugget that I want to reflect on. The thing about TurnSignl, we'll have two things, if you'll allow me. The thing about TurnSignl that I think is just really interesting is that it is 2022, we are an advanced society. We have all of these problems and here three friends, quit their jobs and decided to do something different. They took an idea and it's a new solution to a very systemic problem. And so, I just think it's sort of a call to all of us. If there's something that does not seem right, that still has to be solved, "How can we pause and maybe try something new just as a society," I guess, "But even as individuals?" Because these three friends are making a difference already are going to continue to make a difference. The other thing is the A.
Nadege Souvenir: Yes.
Melanie Hoffert: The A is missing from TurnSignl. We know that and now we know why. And as a marketer, I love that it stands for something beyond what we even knew or imagined. And I think we might have gotten a scoop.
Nadege Souvenir: I don't know.
Melanie Hoffert: Maybe.
Nadege Souvenir: Those two things you picked up on, are so powerful. One, that is great. But I love that you low-key just gave our listeners a call to action.
Melanie Hoffert: I did.
Nadege Souvenir: Yeah. I want to circle back on that because I want to make sure we didn't let that go unnoticed. Melanie just told y'all, you got to do something. You got to stop what you're doing and solve the problem in front of you. Because as Andre told us, they saw it, they felt it, they knew it, and then they just moved, which I love, at the speed of trust to get it done.
Melanie Hoffert: It's true. And if you don't mind me bringing you into the conversation Nadege, because you've inspired me and so many people, as you've dealt with your breast cancer journey, you're trying to do things different. You have through your storytelling, through Instagram said, "Hey, not all of the information is out there and I'm going to..." They actually, I wrote down, he said, "It's an app to bridge the gap." And you have bridged this particular gap and others have. So I just want to give you a shout out because it's hard to do it. Like, "What am I doing? I got to bridge a gap today." I'm going to go find something and bridge a gap. But short of that, I just want to give you a shout out because I think you've been an inspiration in sharing your story.
Nadege Souvenir: Oh, well thank you. That's super sweet. But so that I can stop blushing, I'm going to turn it back and just say, I'm so glad we get to have this conversation with Andre today.
Melanie Hoffert: Me too.
Nadege Souvenir: To learn more about TurnSignl, learn more about... I can't believe he gave us time in his wedding week. And so for that, I will be forever grateful that he gave us a little bit of time.
Melanie Hoffert: Right. And I think Jaz and Myke will typically do this sort of thing, so it's nice to have the third voice, the finance brain behind the operation. It was really a pleasure.
Nadege Souvenir: I mean, you know how I like those operations folks.
Melanie Hoffert: Oh yeah. Bringing it back, bringing it back to ops.
Nadege Souvenir: Bringing it home.
Melanie Hoffert: Yep. All right. Well it's been a great episode.
Nadege Souvenir: Thank you for listening to I So Appreciate You! You can find us on Facebook at I So Appreciate You Podcast and on Twitter and Instagram at, So Appreciate You.
Melanie Hoffert: We'd also appreciate you taking a moment to write us a review. And if you like our show, be sure to follow I So Appreciate You! on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you're listening to us right now.
Nadege Souvenir: Have a question or topic suggestion? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for listening to I So Appreciate You!
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