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- Women can thrive in any leadership role, but we especially need women’s perspectives when designing healthtech solutions for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
- Women not only bring more inclusive, empathetic voices to the table, but we also play integral roles in fostering a collaborative work culture that values diversity on all fronts, including gender, race, ethnicity, and other key demographics.
- At One Drop, women in leadership roles are modeling positive work culture from the top-down as active allies, passionate caregivers, and driven changemakers.
Gender-based biases are all too common in several industries, especially those that deal with chronic health issues. Research shows that women (and especially women of color) are more likely to be dismissed or minimized in their interactions with doctors and other health experts, not to mention women are often underrepresented in clinical trials. And yet, research also tells us that women in the U.S. make 80% of all healthcare-related decisions. So, if we’re not listening to the people who may arguably have the most influence, then what are we even doing?
At One Drop, we do listen to these voices. More than half of our leadership identify as female and nearly 30% identify as non-white, creating a diverse, inclusive culture that doesn't just value these different perspectives but considers them necessary to our work.
Below, women at One Drop share what they’re bringing to the table as leaders in healthtech.
Women Are Active Allies
“Women are powerful change agents. As managers and leaders, women are taking more consistent action to promote employee well-being and are more likely than their male counterparts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. We’re also showing up as more active allies to women of color.
“We need to be positioned and kept in leadership roles to create a ripple effect in building inclusive fields, communities, and organizations.” — Sarah Kang, VP of brand design
Women Lead with Care, Compassion, and Empathy
“We are in the business of caring for people, and women are natural caregivers. That is not to say that men do not possess these qualities, but women have traditionally gravitated toward these roles, and because of that, I believe we bring a different perspective.
“As a registered nurse moving from the clinical setting to the digital space, I find that One Drop members, like many of the patients I served, are looking for the same thing: compassion—to know that we hear them and that we care. And who is better than women, who continue to be the bulk of the healthcare workforce, to adapt these same skills into health technology? As we focus on this new frontier of digital health, women leaders bring a unique set of skills to the world of health technology.
“As a woman of color and the mother of a daughter, it is important that my daughter and other young girls can witness these examples of strong women leaders and gain confidence to pursue their own dreams and know that there is room at the table for them.” — Lisa Graham, RN, BSN, CDCES, director of clinical operations
“As a leader, I’d like to think I have a high degree of self-awareness and aim to lead with empathy, kindness, and encouragement, meeting each person where they are. Creating environments that nurture growth, ideation, inclusivity, and opportunity will lead to measurable impact and goals.
“And, as a woman, I recognize and value the importance of coaching, mentorship, and empowering others. Thinking critically, being comfortable leaning in, and leading with authenticity will empower great teams, which will lead to great products.” — Ashley Hirsch, senior director of customer success
“As women, we treat every collaboration with respect, humility, empathy, integrity, and gratitude. Positive company culture starts and is modeled from the top-down. We lead by example with inclusivity, representation, and empathy.” — Miraque Hicks, SVP of people operations and talent
Women Value Diverse Perspectives
“Bringing together teams with diversity in background, including gender, helps to avoid unconscious biases and results in better, more creative ideas. Diverse perspectives support better ideation and prioritization.” — Lisa Rickles, director of product management
“Too often, women are underrepresented at senior leadership levels. The inclusion of women and members of other underrepresented groups brings a perspective that will be applicable to a broader group of people so we can make better business decisions that impact these individuals’ experiences and health outcomes.
“A strategy of diversity in leadership is not only rooted in the general desire to create equal opportunities for all people; it’s also linked to a competitive advantage around innovation. With more minds at the table offering ideas and opinions from different backgrounds and perspectives, it’s logical to conclude that better solutions and innovations can be generated that will be applicable and effective for more groups.” — Dr. Lindsay Sears, SVP of evidence generation
“This is not solely about gender; it’s about all of us. The field of healthtech needs diversity. There should be equal representation in the board room, the workforce, and in all discussions and decision-making. People from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, ideas, and most importantly, life experiences, are the source of innovation.
“The lack of equal representation from women and other marginalized groups, historically, has resulted in us only seeing the proverbial trees and not the entire forest. Women can bring the same things to the table that men can, but it’s our diverse life experiences and the lens through which we view the world that sets us apart—and it’s what can bring us together. Focusing on one gender, age group, or race will cause us to miss the opportunities that arise when you put everyone together.” — Ashley Hirsch, senior director of customer success
“Good design makes a product useful and understandable, and essential to understanding is successful communication. Diverse and inclusive design requires critical analysis of information from various voices to prevent issues of bias creeping into technology and products.
“Limiting these voices to a homogenous group of leaders will inevitably only account for a narrow point of view that ultimately leads to an ill-informed product and user experience. Instead, decisions must account for varied perspectives to serve as a widened lens.” — Sarah Kang, VP of brand design
“When leadership only has one dominant voice present, we tend to see groupthink happen, meaning a group of people accepts an irrational or inept viewpoint or decision purely based on the urge to conform and maintain harmony instead of engaging in critical thinking and dissent. There’s a lack of difference in terms of the experiences folks out in the world might have. And when it happens in our work, when we’re designing new products, new devices, and new types of services, that means we’re not accounting for all the different experiences that different communities and groups of people may have.
“Let’s say we’re developing recipes or meal ideas for people who might come from different ethnic backgrounds—for example, I come from an Indian background, and I have family members who live with diabetes and need to make certain nutritional changes in their life. The standard set of curricula out there is mostly geared toward a typical American diet, not an Indian diet. But nobody wants to give up their culture just because of a health diagnosis, especially if you grew up with certain foods and they represent an important part of your lifestyle.
“If we have more women of Indian descent, and other ethnicities, supporting recipe development and putting together meal kits, then we’re much more likely to have different types of foods represented in what we’re building, and we can serve people that much more.” — Dr. Harpreet Nagra, VP of behavior science and advanced technologies
Women Welcome Different Leadership Styles
“Generally speaking, it’s well-documented that women play a crucial role in fostering collaborative work cultures. But we also know how to model different styles of what leadership can look like for future leaders.
“I’ve personally been incredibly lucky to have had several excellent female leaders throughout my career, and each one of them has inspired me and taught me something different about leadership. Each of them had completely different styles, but all were effective in their own way. It really helped me understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template to being a good leader. They taught me that, in order to be a good leader, I don’t need to be anyone other than myself; that it’s OK to be vulnerable and share my struggles sometimes (and that, in fact, opening yourself up is much more effective than projecting strength at all times); that we all need to give ourselves the same grace that others give us; and that I can cut myself slack when things are tough.” — Rachel Yap-Martens, EVP of consumer solutions and commercial strategy
Women Know What It’s Like to Be Dismissed In Doctor’s Offices
“Historically, women have had to advocate hard not to be overlooked in the healthcare system. For that reason, many women in healthtech have had practice-changing dynamics, reshaping conversations and shifting archaic narratives as patients themselves. Healthtech, as a whole, has those same goals.
“Women in healthtech leadership roles realize it’s not just about being the voice for the silenced, but about setting up an environment—through products and services—for those who are often ignored to find and express their own voice.” — Kim Constantinesco, director of program content
Women Are Already In the Driver’s Seat—Let Us Take the Wheel
“Considering women are already the driving force behind most healthcare decisions, we should also be an equal force in the leadership and future of healthcare.
“As healthtech becomes part of our daily lives, women will be able to bring great insight to these developments with unique perspectives on how this can help make healthcare both simpler and more effective.” — Carrie Siragusa, SVP of cardiometabolic solutions