Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get started with your current career path/business journey?After studying Art History & East Asian Studies at Vanderbilt, I spent the first several years out of school living in Beijing where I sold Chinese contemporary art. At that point, I would never have anticipated that 10+ years later I’d be the founder of a women’s health tech startup focused on menopause, but life works in mysterious ways when you lead with curiosity. After Beijing, I moved to NYC, where I dove headfirst into the startup scene, joining Artsy as the sixth employee. I spent four years building the Artsy commercial gallery business – that's where I realized I'm a true operator at heart. Since then I've been deep in the NYC startup ecosystem founding the MIT NYC Startup Studio and later as VP of Network at Human Ventures, before founding my own company Elektra Health. Elektra Health is on a mission to smash the taboo by empowering women with world class care, education and community. I'm lucky to have an incredible co-founder and team who, like me, believe women deserve better and we're excited to have more women join our movement to bring hormonal healthcare into the 21st century!
How are you overcoming challenges during the pandemic as a business owner?
Founding a company is hard. Very hard. Add a global pandemic and recent harrowing news events, and it can feel overwhelming. But thankfully I've learned over the years that most (business) challenges can be weathered when I lean into two of my core principles: (1) lead with curiosity, and (2) surround yourself with the absolute best people you know. By keeping an open mind and asking questions, we've been able to evolve our product to meet today's environment. And by surrounding myself with incredible cheerleaders, supporters, thought leaders and community (including the Luminary community!), we can conquer anything. People truly make the world go round.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
Unquenchable curiosity. If you are constantly asking questions, seeking new solutions, and learning from those around you, life will will undoubtably take you in the most interesting directions with the most incredible people.
What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?
Not trusting my gut. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about gathering data and making informed, open minded decisions. But any time I've gone against that little voice deep in my belly, I've regretted it. Over the years, I've learned that I often have the answer if I make space to listen to my instincts.
What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
Hard to limit to just one – we're all a work in progress! – but thinking about what's been top of mind for me lately, it would be: leading from a place of personal values. Looking back, I realized that the time I've felt most confident, strong and clear-headed have been when my personal values align with my work. As I think about how to best grow both personally and professionally (that includes growing Elektra Health!), it will come from building and strengthening the muscle memory that allow me to tap into those core values. Deep work aside, I'm also on a mission to hone my Zoom presentation skills!
In what ways are you taking care of your personal well being and what are your #selfcare tips?
This is a really important question to ask right now. As a women's health company, we are constantly reminding our community to be kind to themselves. This translates across every area of your life: work, family, home, friends, etc. Kindness is key. I'm also a big fan of taking frequent (mask on!) walks outside to step out of the monotony and into the world around you. Bonus points if you use that time to call a loved one for a short catch up. And don't forget about ice cream. We ALL deserve a treat.
How are you inviting others to take a seat at the table #virtually?
Whenever I can introduce, connect or spotlight women and under-represented individuals I do my best to make it happen. Over the years this has translated into building small communities of badass women: monthly female founders breakfast series, book club, slack groups, and more. There are so many ways I wish I could have an even bigger impact, but at the end of the day, if I can make at least 1-2 introductions a week that results in positive change, that's something. And of course at my company Elektra, we are ALL about empowering women to take control over their hormonal health. By giving women a space to learn, connect, and get healthy, we aim to arm a generation of women with the tools to sit at any damn table they choose!
What impact has Luminary made in your career? eg: Business Generated, Revenue, New Clients, Career Connections, Advancement Opportunities
Luminary is truly one-of-a-kind. Every woman I've met through the community has been brilliant, successful, passionate, generous, thoughtful and a complete boss. There is no hidden agenda other than supporting each other and making a positive impact in the world – I'm grateful for the friends, colleagues and future partners I've met through Luminary that have changed the game for my both my company Elektra Health and me personally.