The Women Who Have Influenced the Strong Women of Cricut: Abby P.

29 February 2020

The Cricut Community is unlike any other.  The kind words when members share their stories, the encouragement our members show one another when they are struggling with a project, the friendships that member develop with complete strangers – it’s inspiring!  Have you ever wondered, “Are Cricut employees as remarkable?”  I’m happy to confirm that they are!  In honor of International Women’s Day happening on March 8th, we are sharing a glimpse into a few of the strong, inspirational ladies here at Cricut and stories of the strong women that have influenced their life.

First up, Abby P.

Abby joined Cricut in the summer of 2019.  Some of you may have met her at one of the Cricut events – she’s the calm and collected one who probably hasn’t slept in a week making sure everything is perfect, but you’d never know it.  She is also a bit sassy, one of the many reasons we love having her on the team.  Oh, and did we mention exceptionally creative and intuitive (killer combo).

Abby’s inspiration comes from none other than her mama.  Here is what she had to share…

I was lucky enough to be chosen to write about a woman (yeah, just one! Impossible, right?) that inspires me. The list of incredible women that I look up to is long, but there’s one special lady at the top: Mama P.

This is my mom, Janet Pancoast. She’s a hoot, and she likes to go by Mama P.

When I first started working at Cricut, my mom didn’t really understand where I worked. A few months in, she finally asked me, “So…why do people need to cut stuff out?”

You see, my mom isn’t a very typical mom. In fact, she’s not really a typical anything! She wasn’t the type to go prom dress shopping, but I’ve never bought a suit without her in tow. She’s not the type to knit me a sweater, but I’ve received the most loving cards, notes, and letters from her for as long as I can remember. She doesn’t bake, but she has helped me move furniture, couches, and heavy boxes every time I’ve switched apartments.

My mom inspires me in a lot of ways, first let’s talk about her professionally.

When my mom and dad were newlyweds, he began law school at the University of Utah. My mom was a legal secretary at the time and they had two children, my older brothers. It would have been completely reasonable (and expected) for my mom to either stay a secretary or even stay home and take care of the kids once he graduated, but she’s not that type. My mom started Law School the year after him and graduated the year after I was born. My dad graduated the year prior and got a job in Las Vegas. Since my mom was still finishing up school in Salt Lake City, she commuted back and forth every week with a newborn. (No big deal…)

Growing up, the story of how my parents made it through Law School was used as an example for us to make sure we always worked hard, persevered, and didn’t let any kind of excuse (like a measly newborn) get in the way of accomplishing big, tough goals. Many years later, I went on to attend graduate school at the University of Utah, and often thought about how incredibly stressful it must have been to be in her shoes at that time. When I talk to my mom about it, she sites those years as some of the happiest of her life: living simply and working together with my dad to get by.

Like I said…my mom inspires me in a lot of ways, so now let’s talk about her adventurous spirit.

As I write this blog post, she is in Agra, India, volunteering with a nonprofit that travels around the world providing cleft palette and cleft lip surgeries. Just a couple years ago, she did the same in Guatemala. Before that, she was also in India building a new dam in the Pujab region. Recently, at 60 years old, she took up skiing. She’s started riding a bike in the last few years, and frequently takes 20 to 30 mile rides to clear her head. On her 60th birthday, she made it up the giant, mile-long hill that her home sits on and set a new personal record. I’d be remiss not to say that she also drives too fast, and likes to sing (scream) Shania Twain while she does it.

Mom’s first day skiing in 20 years. She did about 10 runs, no big deal!

In contrast, I’m not as naturally adventurous nor brave as I would like to be. Luckily, I have an incredible role model and best friend to look up to and encourage me when I am afraid. My mom has a knack for motivating me – sometimes through gentle words of encouragement and sometimes through calling me a wimp. (That’s how I finally learned to ride a bike.) She’s always given me the moral support I need to get through whatever is making me uncomfortable – whether it’s as big as moving to a new state by myself or as small as telling a boy I liked him. In fact, I find that I push myself out of my comfort zone more these days in an effort to be more like her. I have a 6-year-old niece, Sadie, and I want to set that same example of bravery for her (and try to keep it a secret that I’m not nearly as brave as I pretend to be.)

My mom inspires me in a lot of ways, so let’s talk about her generosity last.

My mom serves her community in more ways than one: she was President of her Rotary club in Henderson, Nevada. She sits on the board for the Client Security Fund, which supports individuals who have been let down by attorneys or who weren’t able to serve them properly. She travels the world helping those in rural communities. She spent two years working in refugee camps in Thailand in her 20’s. She even served our country in the U.S. Army, where she met my dad. Recently, her once empty-nest quickly filled back up when she provided a free and much-needed home to a cousin and a family friend for a couple years as they got on their feet. She does pro-bono case work every year, helping those who can’t afford legal representation. Best of all, she takes me grocery shopping every time she visits Salt Lake!

We took a trip across the country to New York City to celebrate our family friend graduating from NYU this summer. Mom made it possible for her to get through graduate school with minimal debt by giving a her a place to live while she was studying.

My mom is generous with more than just money (which we all know is the easy way to be generous.) She takes up the interests of her children in an effort to always maintain a close relationship with us. She knows all about football and diesel engines to ensure she can hold as many conversations with my brother as he can handle. When I started working for Cricut, she even took up crafting (and she enjoyed it)!

She’s a great Nana, too.

I truly accredit my personal successes to the support and example my mom has set for me. I am extremely lucky to have such a powerful role model in my life, one who always encourages me to do more, try hard, and be kind.  Those traits have helped me relate to all of our Members who each and every day support one another, making this world a kinder, better place.

So as we think about International Women’s Day, I hope we’re all able to shine some light on those in our lives who inspire us. I also encourage you to think on how you are inspiring those around you: it’s hard to keep up with Mama P’s track record, but if we all try to make a positive difference in the world every day, we just might get there!

“What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson