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Should kids have to defend their holiday gift list? Marketing executive mom says yes

“It’s never too early to learn how to present your perspective and convince your audience to agree to the asks …"
Kids are delivering Shark-tank style pitches to parents for Christma gifts
Every Christmas, Bozoma Saint John's daughter Lael presents her holiday wish list. Courtesy Bozoma Saint John
/ Source: TODAY

Marketing executive Bozoma Saint John is giving her daughter, Lael, an important gift this Christmas: learning the art of a good pitch. 

On Nov. 21, Saint John, shared on Instagram photos and videos of Lael, 13, expertly delivering a PowerPoint presentation of her holiday wish list. 

“It’s never too early to learn how to present your perspective and convince your audience to agree to the asks… even for Christmas gifts,” Saint John captioned her Instagram carousel. “And so as has been our tradition… Lael has presented her list. Now we’ll see if she will get her audience to buy into her ideas .... literally.” 

“What do I want? Makeup, clothes and shoes,” Lael, an eighth-grader says, as her mom and maternal grandmother, Aba Enim, who are seated on a couch, listen intently. 

Lael then outlines why she needs these items. 

“Since I want to become a makeup artist and have my own makeup company when I’m older, I need to start now!” a text block reads. “I need to practice using makeup and different kinds of makeup so I can curate looks and play with different products and brands.” 

As for the clothes, “I can be a trend-setter instead of a trend follower,” Lael wrote, in part, while the sneakers will increase her “flyness.” 

“I will keep them clean and cherish these shoes forever,” Lael noted.

But Mom isn’t convinced. 

“Lael, we already know that’s a lie. We have evidence from your (Nike) Air Force 1s that that isn’t true," Saint John quips. 


Kids are delivering Shark-tank style pitches to parents for Christma gifts
Bozoma Saint John is teaching her 13-year-old daughter, Lael, an important lesson. Courtesy Bozoma Saint John

Saint John tells TODAY.com she interrupted Lael for a good reason.

“A teacher responded (in the comments) saying I should hold my rebuttals until she’s completely finished with her presentation,” Saint John, an author and former chief marketing officer at Netflix, explains. “But in the real world, in the boardrooms I’ve been in — if somebody interrupts you, you better be on your feet. You better be ready to defend your position.” 

"Lael understands why I do it," she adds.

When Lael was younger, like many children, she wrote letters to Santa Claus asking for presents. But Saint John would make the little girl detail why she was requesting them. 

“There’s no ‘just because I want it,’” Saint John shares. “She had to have good rationale of why she wanted the thing she wanted. It feels very natural to her because she’s been doing this for so long. It’s not new to her. You don't want to go through life just collecting stuff. You want to think about the long-term."

“My mom has really encouraged me to think deeper,” Lael says.

Saint John noted that Lael’s dad passed away from cancer on Dec. 11, 2013. At the time, Lael was just four. 

“I wanted to fill the void with anything and everything. And that felt natural, but it also felt very hollow,” she says. “So the next year, I felt like, she should know why she wants things.”

Saint John's Instagram post was flooded with comments praising her parenting and, of course, Lael.

"OK future CEO," Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad wrote.

Added GoFundMe chief marketing officer Musa Tarik: "Only a matter of time before we’re all working for Lael."


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