Since the age of nine I had always been intrigued by the power of words. At the time my teachers were concerned with my ability to retain what I was reading and my ability to write what I was feeling. Throughout middle school and then high school, I would practice fighting off my distractions that were preventing me from retaining the knowledge within the books that I was assigned. I would sit for hours upon hours reading and focusing on retaining the...
In the News (Now Available) Death, divorce and dysfunction were ripping apart author Ryan Beale’s life and tormenting his fragile state of mind. During one random evening while he sat reflecting in his downtown Chicago apartment he decided to set a goal for himself: to hit the master reset button in his life. However, he had one seemingly innocent distraction that kept him from confronting the wounds that were breaking his heart and mind. The...
I have always grown up around people starting new family businesses. My father began doing commercial real-estate in the early 70’s with a focus on retail. I would always look forward to our Sunday drives where we would meet with new business owners at their storefronts. It was often a family operated venture or “Ma and Pa” as some called it. I would watch as my father would come into their store and give them a hug. They would talk...
Live for today, dream for tomorrowEverybody has a little bit of magic inside of them, no matter where they are in life - Liliya
Since the age of nine I had always been intrigued by the power of words. At the time my teachers were concerned with my ability to retain what I was reading and my ability to write what I was feeling. Throughout middle school and then high school, I would practice fighting off my distractions that were preventing me from retaining the knowledge within the books that I was assigned. I would sit for hours upon hours reading and focusing on retaining the information that was in front of me.
I was determined to overcome this obstacle at a young age because I knew somewhere in my heart that I was meant to share something important. It was not until sophomore year in college, where I saw that my journals kept piling up and the topics that I began to focus on were topics that were affecting everybody around me. I have always kept the idea of writing as a north star guiding me throughout my life. Life tends to throw us distractions and we all tend to lose sight of our north star at times, however the man upstairs has blessed me with unique experiences that have empowered my ability to write with purpose.Learn More
Detroit real estate scion eschews the family business to propel his start-up, which reaffirms family ties.By Jackie Headaphol on March 3rd, 2011
Family has always been the cornerstone of Ryan Beale’s life. So it may come as little surprise that the 31-year-old created a business, Chattertree, designed to help families remain connected in an increasingly fragmented world.
Growing up in a close-knit home as the youngest of three boys, Beale also has a surname that has become synonymous with Detroit commercial real estate. After graduating from Michigan State University, it seemed natural that he would work for his father, Jerry, at The Beale Group.
But, like so many of his contemporaries, he chose to leave Detroit and seek out new adventures; at age 23, he moved to Chicago with the intent of enrolling in a graduate writing program.
Pragmatic, Beale hedged his bet by earning an Illinois real estate broker’s license; the hedge paid off when he learned the writing program was full. Putting his creative aspirations on hold, he fell back on what he knew best, opening a Chicago brokerage firm called Beale Group & Associates LLC.
Through hard work, and without the benefit of name recognition, Beale pounded the pavement and grew the firm into a successful venture. However, a social activist nature and his desire for something creative were not tamped down.
“Back home people knew my family and our company’s name. In Chicago, I was a 23-year-old with a baby face trying to compete with the industry leaders,” Beale said. “I wanted to earn my living by making a positive difference in the world. I thought that would be the perfect balance in life.”
In 2007, contemplating various options, he launched a beta-version of the social networking site he conceived for families. Two years in, his migration from real estate was sidetracked by personal tragedy when his older brother, Steven, committed suicide at age 37.
“Those were tough times for my family,” he said. “We carried a lot of depression. Often it felt like we had the weight of the world on our shoulders.”
Beset by grief, Beale took that pain and channeled it into his social network with the help of business partner Todd Brook of Envision IT Media. The final product: Chattertree, a social networking community just for families, where they can chat, send messages, video conference and share photos.
“My dream had always been to write something socially positive that could make a difference on a global scale. Chattertree is that book that I always envisioned,” Beale said. “After my brother passed away, I realized that this was not only something I was passionate about, it was a mission.”
Beale’s partner said he was first drawn to the idea of Chattertree after hearing Beale describe what family meant to him. “I saw the passion he had for his own family and the need to provide tools that assist in healthy, safe communications,” Brook said. “Being a family man myself, I was interested in finding a place where I could share stories, photos of my son and personal details without concern of the world seeing [them].”
After raising additional capital, Beale and Brook launched a full-featured version of Chattertree.com in May 2010. Already, the site has thousands of users in more than 100 countries.
Jason Finn, a Chattertree customer from Chicago, uses the site to keep his far-flung family close. To him, privacy is the main draw.
“I don’t like putting photos of my son on Facebook where anyone can find them,” said Finn, who also uses the site’s video chat feature to stay close to family members in Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Atlanta.
Beale said that Chattertree has provided his life with the balance he always wanted. “Having grown up in a real-estate family, I’ll always have my foot in the game,” he said.
And the difference Chattertree has made in his own life by allowing he and his parents to stay close — and deal with the aftermath of his brother’s death — has further strengthened his ties to them and his hometown, he said.
Beale also revealed, via e-mail, that he is planning on shuttering his Chicago brokerage firm to return home this spring, bringing Chattertree‘s operations with him and continuing to grow the business in Detroit.
“I am optimistic that Chattertree will have the potential to grow deep roots in Detroit that will extend throughout the country, if not world,” he said. “At this point, I’m just eager to get back home and hit the ground running.”
Chattertree’s mission is to promote positive synergy within the core of the modern family. Chattertree offers feature-rich tools, resources and initiatives that will embrace important family communications through technology and the larger community.
Chattertree, the ultimate family app, was created by founder Ryan Beale. He recognized that as modern-day families became increasingly busy with day-to-day life, it was important for family members to have a unique and intimate platform that enabled them to communicate outside of the larger social graph.
Chattertree was established with the help of expert partner Todd Brook from Envisionit Media, Lakeshore Programming and others who shared the vision and determination to develop a unique application that would connect families and bring the family dynamic closer together. Chattertree’s emphasis was on being a safe, secure, private, cozy, and personal place that encouraged healthy interaction just between family members. Chattertree was built to connect. Family needed a private place to connect without the constant distractions, questionable privacy and promotion of unhealthy habits that leave individuals with a shallow void.
As Chattertree has evolved, it maintains a focus on bringing the best communication tools to the family. Whether down the street from each other or across the globe, family members from over a hundred countries have signed up to connect using Chattertree’s private family networking app.
Chattertree’s features include:
-Private Family Rooms
-Video Chat (up to 6 people at once)
-Alerts (birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, meetings)
-Your Gift Corner
-The Chattertree Store
-Family Alliance Network (recognition of and collaboration with civic-minded organization that help the family and their communities)
Many of us use technology to communicate regularly with other people in this digital era. We use email, text messaging, and turn to social networking as a valuable means of staying in touch. Technology adds value to our daily life. Family life is unique. It involves a very sensitive family system, unique roles and a constantly evolving dynamic based on life circumstances. Chattertree was built to be an asset for the family. Chattertree was built for family members to connect, not to “perform”. We needed to build a platform that was safe, private and personal. Chattertree is something special that was built to help families stay connected.
For me, the term ‘family synergy’ clearly describes Chattertree’s value. It indicates the strength and cohesiveness that defines a family. Through Chattertree’s private family rooms, we invite you to draw closer together and celebrate life together: send your sister a private note on how her becoming a mother is so special. Tell your brother that you miss spending time with him and start planning your trip to the next football game. Tell your mom how much the conversation meant to you, after you get off the phone. That’s what Chattertree empowers our users to do.
Society’s success depends on healthy, functioning families that are strong to the core. Technology can play a significant role in enhancing and connecting family life to make it so much more meaningful. We all know that families continually evolve and change – Chattertree is the perfect medium in which to grow and fortify your roots with the people who are closest to you.
– Ryan Beale
Ryan, the founder of Chattertree, is an innovative, creative entrepreneur who has been a key founder in several ventures, Chattertree being his passion. An avid martial artist, he also loves writing, traveling, the water, scuba diving and boating. He is passionate about helping people and families becoming stronger. Ryan grew up in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University. While in college, he studied Humanities Pre-Law and successfully restarted one of the historic fraternities on campus. He has lived in Chicago for over eight years. In Chattertree, he envisioned a company that would benefit and encourage families to grow closer in a world that is losing touch with the value of real personal connections.
Todd has spent the last 13 years pursuing his passion for interactive, creative marketing and business strategy. As founder and CEO at Envisionit media (ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the country, twice). Todd is a father and a family man. In Chattertree he sees a company that can grow to be a global leader in offering tools that are built to empower the daily life within the family.