You probably wouldn’t guess it from listening to her, but Tiffany Sowby grew up in a suburb of London, England. She was, according to her father, a “proper English school girl,” which is why he laughs at her life now: cowboy boots strewn around her house and Saturdays spent watching football (the American kind), to say nothing of the goats and horse in her backyard. With the exception of a few favorite English phrases she still loves to use, she can pass for a typical American these days.
Tiffany’s dad was not in the military, as people often ask. Her maternal grandparents worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were on assignment in England. Her mother visited them from Utah for what was supposed to be six months…but instead met her dad. And so her stay lengthened considerably and Tiffany spent her childhood and early teens living in England.
Although Tiffany’s not sure she ever imagined herself ending up in Utah, she suspects her mother always had the idea in her heart. It turns out, in 1988, when Tiffany was 13 years old, her dad received a job offer in Utah and her family moved. Although she was thrilled with the move, it was huge culture shock. As an adult, she considers the experience a pivotal and defining moment in her life.
After high school, Tiffany decided to attend the University of Utah (despite the objections of her conservative grandfather, who was convinced she would lose her faith). She earned a degree in family science and it was at the U of U where she met her husband, Mike. They were assigned to plan a party for an organization they both belonged to. She thought he had an annoying sense of humor; he thought she was immature. Despite this auspicious beginning, they soon became friends, and then decided to become kissing friends. The rest is history. (For the record, she is no longer immature, but the annoyance level of his sense of humor is debatable.) They live in Utah with their five children, ages 8-19.
Tiffany now heads her own non-profit organization, Rising Violet (named after her paternal grandmother). Tiffany speculates that the idea of Rising Violet began when she was seven years old and a friend said, “You ask soooo many questions.” Tiffany has always had a passion for people and their unique lives, stories and experiences. She values honesty and integrity (sometimes to a fault, she admits). These passions, combined with Tiffany’s five years of writing and speaking about motherhood with Power of Moms, inspired Tiffany to create Rising Violet, a place where the untold stories of women and mothers can be told truthfully and unapologetically.
There is always room in Tiffany’s schedule for long conversations with friends; shopping for shoes that compliment her great legs and always-painted toe nails; a board or card game (her favorite is Scrabble; she ABSOLUTELY MUST have the car in Monopoly); alone time with her husband; or perusing travel sites for her next vacation. She has never eaten a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or had a bloody nose and can’t stand sticky floors or the smell of Play-Doh.
A Midwest girl, Allyson met a California boy in Japan, and after getting married and living in all three places together, they have finally settled down in Utah with their four endearing children, ages 10-20.
Allyson was born and raised in a community called the Quad Cities: four cities bordering the Mississippi River (the state line between Iowa and Illinois). She was born on the Iowa side and lived with her family on her grandparents’ farm until her parents got a house on the Illinois side, which is where she lived until graduation.
Allyson’s parents were both born and raised in Iowa (and even went to high school together) but they didn’t actually meet until they were in their late 20’s and her mom was her dad’s Sunday School teacher.
After spending her first year after high school (she was the high school homecoming queen!) living at home to earn money for school (and taking THREE trips to Europe BY HERSELF), she then attended Brigham Young University. Midway through her time at BYU, Allyson went on a church mission to Sendai, Japan, which was her introduction to another non-Christian world religion (Japan is primarily Buddhist and Shinto).
Allyson’s mission to Japan is also where she met her husband, Brandon, the aforementioned California Boy, who was serving in the same mission. He once tried to induce Allyson to be more prompt to meetings by instituting a rule that late-comers must sing a solo. Undeterred, Allyson continued to attend meetings late, albeit singing at the top of her lungs as she walked in the room. Allyson and Brandon met up at BYU after returning home, and after eventually getting over the awkwardness of thinking of each other as fellow missionaries (and in true BYU style) they were married before graduation. (Allyson’s degree is in family science.)
When her youngest child was about two years old, Allyson started to about what she might like to do just for herself, outside of motherhood. She heard about Power of Moms and after participating in the first ever Power of Moms board meeting (attendance: 3!), Allyson has been hooked on doing whatever she can to strengthen mothers. This enthusiasm led her to spend the next six years writing and editing for both Power of Moms and Motherhood Matters (at Deseret News), along with providing various speaking opportunities, including presenting at Power of Moms retreats and appearing regularly on a local daytime TV show, Studio 5.
In a parallel universe, Allyson is actually a globe-trotting freelance writer and National Geographic photographer. In reality, she tries to squeeze in as many of her favorite things as possible (her family, the great outdoors, photography, blogging, riding her bike, cooking, living like a tourist) while treating stains and signing school papers.