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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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GFTD: All female team collaborates on app to make gifting simple


It all started with blueberries.

Nina Guise-Gerrity ‘89 visited her niece in California when an idea dawned on her. The Loyola philosophy professor wanted to find a way to give her niece blueberries from across the country. Her solution? To create an app that will revolutionize the way we gift. 

Now, six years after her original idea, Guise-Gerrity has recruited some of Loyola’s best and brightest, carefully crafting an all-female team of student interns to collaborate on GFTD. The app allows users to add items to their wish list and transfer funds for those items instantly, giving friends the means to send funds to satisfy a wide variety of wishes from miles away. It has been under development since September 2018. 

“It’s a beautiful three-pronged approach to transferring funds, matching what somebody wants at a price point—including tax and tip—and then there’s a social media component to it,” Guise-Gerrity said. “It’s as if somebody took Venmo, Amazon’s wish list, and social media platforms and smushed them all into one, just beautifully. I wrapped it up in a bow for you, quite honestly, and delivered it right to your phone.” 

Guise-Gerrity said that by being able to give the exact amount for the gift someone wants, you are eliminating the “impersonal” aspect of gift cards and opening up the process of instantly gifting items and experiences that are not included on sites like Amazon. This can include pedicures, wine tastings, baseball tickets, or even fruit from the farmer’s market. 

“I think it has the potential to revolutionize the exchange of funds and that you can do it while you’re brushing your teeth. You can do it while you’re climbing up the stairs,” she said. 

Her goal is to disrupt the financial market and the credit card market, and she’s not afraid to do it. To prepare for this feat, the philosophy professor received her MBA from Loyola in 2017.   

Guise-Gerrity said that, like her app, Socrates acted as another disrupter, from which she learned the “ideas of customization, of innovation, of being dynamic, of synergies, of allocating your labor.” The CEO said her background in philosophy has given her the tools needed to take on a project like this, using her drive to fuel her passion. 

“To me, this is just an offshoot of philosophy. You are observant. Because to study philosophy, you have to be incredibly critical and always in tune to what you see around you. But I’m also a mom, and so that imprints information on me, and so I take that experience and think, ‘how can I blend the world of ideas with the world of practical living?’ I think this, to me, is philosophy,” Guise-Gerrity said.

The CEO said it would be “exponentially easier” to hire outside employees to do the work. But as a member of Loyola faculty, Guise-Gerrity found a team of student interns who have become essential to the creative content for GFTD. The team consists of carefully chosen undergraduate women who have backgrounds in computer science, marketing, public relations, writing, and more. What makes this partnership so worthwhile? Their energy. 

“I am in awe of their excitement, their enthusiasm. These girls are smart. With a capital ‘S.’ I like their drive, and I like their passion, and I like their initiative,” she said. 

One of these student interns is Rachel Koller ’20, a communications major with a writing minor. Guise-Gerrity, her former professor, first contacted her in October 2018. Koller currently serves as the team’s designer and content developer. The CEO said that Koller acts as an “invaluable” asset to the GFTD team. 

“I just think it’s a perfect balance of knowledge that we have amongst all of the interns,” Koller said. “The drive of the company has been explosive because we connect on a different level where it’s like sisters working towards (sic) like a project together.”  

But it’s not just this team goal that the group focuses on. Guise-Gerrity said that she is also focused on giving her interns the ability to pursue their own personal goals within the project and giving them the tools to take them to the finish line. 

“I think that giving women opportunities where they’ve been shut out in the past is only a good thing,” said Guise-Gerrity. 

As the team prepares for the app’s launch, the CEO wants the Loyola community to know that her team of entrepreneurs is tenacious. 

“I do want to be known as the philosophical entrepreneur who came out of my little office in the philosophy department and just blew up something that hasn’t been done before. And that if you are intellectual and you are creative and you are meaningful, then it’s all yours. You just have to invent it.”

The GFTD app is set to have a soft launch in Spring 2020.

Image Courtesy of Rachel Koller.

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  • Emilie ZuhowskiJan 20, 2020 at 7:03 pm


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GFTD: All female team collaborates on app to make gifting simple