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Insider Insight: Cindy Moy Carr, founder and CEO of Vorsdatter Limited

This week we meet Cindy Moy Carr, founder and CEO of Vorsdatter Limited

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Cindy Moy Carr

Cindy Moy Carr is the founder and CEO of Vorsdatter Limited, a company based in Newcastle upon Tyne which developed mySysters – an app that helps women in perimenopause and menopause understand their symptoms and connect with each other.

What is your morning routine?

I’m an empty nester who travels extensively, so the first thing I do is get my bearings. One morning I woke up confused about my location, only to realise I was in my own home! If I’m housesitting for someone with pets, I’ll take care of my furry companions and then get myself the first of several glasses of water.

I’ve never been a coffee or tea drinker. Then it’s either a walk or a shower. I stay off my phone or computer for the first few hours of the day except to check for emergency texts from the kids.

Which technology could you not live without?

My smartphone, even though I usually have it on silent and people know I only check it at certain times of the day.

How do you relax?

Walking is my main form of rest, relaxation and recreation. My home base is Chicago where the official motto is Urbs in horto, Latin for ‘city in a garden’.

There are more than 500 parks and 7,000 acres of parkland in Chicago. When the weather isn’t great, Chicago has dozens of museums to wander in. It’s the same when I travel. I pull up a map and look for the parks and walking trails.

Which quote resonates with you?

Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us. ― Anne Lamott

What is the best thing about your job?

The messages women send telling me they no longer feel alone, or they finally understand the mysterious physical changes are related to perimenopause, or their healthcare provider LISTENED to them when they brought in the report from the symptom tracker.

I founded mySysters because I needed it and nothing like it existed. To know mySysters is there for others like me makes the challenges worthwhile.

What keeps you motivated?

Sheer grit. The UK is far ahead of the US in the menopause and perimenopause conversation, which is one of the reasons mySysters is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and there’s still a long, long way to go.

Half of US women don’t have access to an ob/gyn. Of those that do, many private patients are waiting anywhere from two months to six months or even up to year for an appointment, because priority is given to those who are pregnant.

Even if they do get an appointment, fewer than 20 per cent of ob/gyns have any training in menopause. Too many people think seeking healthcare for menopause makes it unnatural. But women get healthcare throughout pregnancy and childbirth and that doesn’t make either unnatural.

What is the most important lesson you have learned on your start-up journey?

You don’t have to have all the answers to start. I don’t have a tech background. I didn’t know how to build an app. I only knew I needed something to manage what was happening my life. That led to research and talking to people and asking questions and repeat.

If you have an idea and don’t know where to start, go to the library and ask the reference librarian for the section on starting a business or entrepreneurship or the subject of your business and start reading.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be kind to yourself, and don’t worry about what people say someone your age ‘should’ be doing.

What is something you wish you could experience again for the first time?

Dwelling in the past, even the joyous moments, robs from the present. Thinking about what was, or might have been, takes focus away from seeing and appreciating what is now. What’s important is what I’ll experience today, and what I can do today to set in motion the experiences I want to have in the future.

What is your greatest achievement since establishing your company?

Other than surviving through a pandemic, political upheaval and multiple personal setbacks? I’m very much an introvert. As in, off the charts INTROVERT.

Founding mySysters meant I had to talk to more people in one day than I might have in a month (or two months!) It’s a skillset I’m still working on, and I find it challenging to attend a conference two or three days in a row. It helps to take breaks and find a quiet area to recharge.

For more info, visit mysysters.com.

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Insider Insight: Margaret Zablocka, founder and CEO of Onoco

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Margaret Zablocka, founder and CEO of Onoco
We meet Margaret Zablocka, founder and CEO of Onoco – a parenting app inspired by Margaret’s own motherhood journey that combines baby trackers, routine planners and developmental milestones and empowers parents through science-based education.
What is your morning routine?

My mornings are pretty grounded in reality; they don’t start with sunrise workouts or meditation. The first thing I do, despite not being a morning person, is wake up my children. Without that, we’d all risk oversleeping.

I take my time getting them ready for school, ensuring they start their day with a nutritious breakfast. Once they’re off to school with my husband, I cherish a moment of solitude with my morning coffee and catch up on emails. This simple routine keeps me grounded and ready to tackle the day.

Which technology could you not live without?

Fast internet. It’s not about it being essential for survival, but our lives are so intertwined with being online that when I’m without it, the difference is palpable. It keeps me connected, informed and efficient.

How do you relax?

Relaxation for me is about the small moments: watering my houseplants with music in the background, snuggling with my family on the sofa, or escaping on a weekend trip with a friend. There’s a variety of ways, but they all bring me back to centre.

Which quote resonates with you?

George S. Patton’s quote, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week,” really speaks to me. It’s a reminder not to get caught in endless planning. Action is often more valuable than waiting for perfection. Some of the best outcomes have come from decisions made swiftly and boldly.

What is the best thing about your job?

The magic of my job lies in its impact. Crafting a product that not only looks great but genuinely enriches lives is profoundly satisfying.

It’s when I receive feedback, not just praises, but stories of how our app has revolutionised parenting or caregiving for someone that I truly feel the weight of our work. It’s these moments of connection and transformation that stand out as the best parts of my job.

What keeps you motivated?

The user feedback is incredibly uplifting; knowing our app makes a real difference keeps me going. There is also the ever-evolving nature of the tech industry, with its relentless pace and constant innovation, drives me to not just keep up but to lead and innovate.

What is the most important lesson you have learned on your start-up journey?

Start building your network from day one. It might seem like just another task, but the power of networking is immense. It’s helped secure funding, increase product visibility and achieve things no marketing campaign could.

Even though, sometime it might feel like an additional job  – writing posts on LinkedIn and showing up to networking events etc. Never underestimate the value of strong professional relationships.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

It’s a difficult question because that could change how my life turned out. I would probably try to reassure myself that doing many things at once can be a good thing.

Early on, I was always busy, joining organisations and working on various projects. And, although it might seem minor, I’d stress the importance of sticking with German lessons. My skills are embarrassingly basic despite years of classes.

What is something you wish you could experience again for the first time?

Witnessing the “firsts” of my children—those unparalleled moments of their first smile, step, or word—brought a joy that’s hard to describe. If I could, I’d relive those moments in a heartbeat. There’s a unique wonder and happiness in those first-time experiences that’s just pure magic, a reminder of the beauty and simplicity of life’s milestones.

What is your greatest achievement since establishing Onoco?

Onoco being named App of the Day is a highlight of my professional journey. Considering the Apple App Store sees nearly 1,000 new app submissions daily and boasts close to two million apps in total, being recognised by Apple’s editors is no small feat.

Their endorsement, stating “Babies don’t come with a manual, but Onoco is the next best thing,” is not just an honour but a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication. It’s one of the most validating moments in my career.

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Insider Insight: Somer Baburek, co-founder and CEO of Hera Biotech

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Somer Baburek, co-founder and CEO of Hera Biotech
This week we meet Somer Baburek, co-founder and CEO of the women’s health start-up Hera Biotech. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Somer is on a mission to develop and commercialise the world’s first non-surgical test for definitive diagnosis and staging of endometriosis.

 

What is your morning routine? 

My current morning routine is not what I would consider my “normal” routine as I have an infant who now somewhat dictates when my morning begins. That said, I am usually up between 4-5am and a cup of coffee is my first priority (after feeding the baby, of course).

If the little one sleeps later, I usually try to catch a little bit of national news and respond to emails that came in overnight while I sip coffee. If she’s up, I have the news on in the background while I play with her.

At 6am, I wake up my other two daughters and get them ready for school. We try to always do morning drop off as a family and then we’re back home to start the day. Childcare arrives at 8:30am and then I begin my “official” workday.

Which technology could you not live without? 

Unfortunately, I must say my cell phone. It allows me to work from anywhere, which affords me the luxury of attending school events, having lunch with my kiddos, or answering emails/taking calls in the pickup line or at one of the many sports practices. I feel very fortunate to be able to be involved with my children and not bound to an office or computer for work.

How do you relax?

Admittedly, I am not great about this. I am notorious for sitting down only to immediately think of something I “need” to do before I relax. I try to find little moments for mental calm. Often this is when I’m putting the baby down to sleep or going for a run, these quiet little moments allow me to intentionally clear my mind, be present and let my mind relax.

To be fair, I also relish a glass of wine on the couch with my husband when all the littles are asleep, those conversations are some of my favourite and work wonders for decompressing.

Which quote resonates with you? 

My favourite quote is by the French poet, Ovid. The quote is, “Fortune and love, favour the brave.” Sometimes I have insecurities about my role as a CEO, wife, or mother, when I do, this quote seems to bring me comfort.

I feel like each of these roles requires me to be brave in different ways, this quote makes me realise that being brave enough to expand past my comfort zone in each of these roles is what will allow me to be, what I define, as successful in each of them.

What is the best thing about your job? 

The people! Endometriosis patients, my sister and niece included, are some of the strongest, fiercest, and intentionally vulnerable people I have ever had the pleasure of working for, I love them!

My colleagues at Hera are also some of my favourite people. I love how dedicated everyone is to improving the diagnostic process for the patients and being thoughtful about each and every stakeholder in the process.

I also routinely marvel and the diversity on our team; everything from education to professional, to cultural. It would be an understatement to say that we all come from VERY different backgrounds but somehow it blends beautifully.

What keeps you motivated?

There are two things that keep me extremely motivated. The first is patients; hearing the stories of what they’ve gone through to get a diagnosis never cease to motivate me. I love hearing from them and knowing that the work we are doing has the potential to completely shift the paradigm of care and the process of diagnosis is what pushes me through some of the tough spots.

The other thing that motivates me is my children. I have three daughters, who will all be subjected to the standards of care in women’s health at some point in the relatively near future. I do not want them to experience the same standards, societal/medical gaslighting, and/or societal/cultural reluctance to openly talk about women’s health that I experienced.

The idea that I may be able to improve their experience, or at least equip them with knowledge of the gaps and enable them to advocate for themselves is highly motivating.

What is the most important lesson you have learned on your start-up journey?

People are full of advice and opinions about every aspect of your business. There is something to be learned from everyone, but without data, advice and opinions should be taken at face value.

Additionally, there are people in the investor world who just feel the need to treat founders terribly. In my experience, the people who try the hardest to make you feel like you don’t know what you’re talking about, are often the ones with the least relevant knowledge in your field!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Lighten up! You don’t have to have all the answers.

What is something you wish you could experience again for the first time?

Getting my first check from an investor that I hadn’t known for years. It was such a euphoric feeling of accomplishment. I felt like I had done a good job at explaining not only our business model and strategy, which is my background, but also the science behind the test. I felt so proud that I was able to represent the work of my co-founders well enough to garner investment, it was really lovely.

What is your greatest achievement since establishing Hera Biotech?

In my mind there are two highlights here, one personal and one professional. Professionally, I think our biggest accomplishment has been taking the test into the clinic. This is a real turning point, seeing your product being used by real people on real people; truly moving.

Personally, I think the highlight has been bringing conversations about women’s health, female founders and investing into the forefront of our family conversations.

As an example, my oldest daughter recently had a very serious conversation with me and my husband about wanting to use the money she had saved up to invest in a business. We talked about due diligence, equity, and the difference between investing and giving.

Those were not conversations that I heard or had at 11 and I love that these concepts are things she is already comfortable talking and asking questions about. 

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Insider Insight: Theresa Neil, founder and CEO of Guidea

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Theresa Neil, founder and CEO of Guidea
This week we meet digital health innovator Theresa Neil, founder of the women-owned product design company Guidea. Her recent programme, Femovate, is supporting 50 early stage femtech start-ups to accelerate product validation and commercialisation.

 

What is your morning routine?

I start each day at 5:30am with a cup of coffee and play word puzzles for a few minutes instead of scrolling the news and social media. This new habit has really improved my outlook on the day.

At 6 am, I typically meet with one of our European or Middle Eastern femtech start-ups. I take a break from work at 7am to get the kids ready for school, then back to the desk at 8am for our clients in the US.  I have to admit I am not a morning person, but I’ve gotten into the routine so it isn’t as bad now.

Which technology could you not live without?

Fathom, the AI notetaker that joins me for every meeting. The recordings and summaries are invaluable! Outside of work I am very low tech and frequently forget to even take my phone with me.

How do you relax?

By forgetting to take my phone with me. No, really, I live in a wonderful area, Santa Cruz, California, close to the beach and the redwood forests.

I like to hike or kayak when I have some free time. And I have a 10 month old corgi mix puppy who is great to take walks with.

Which quote resonates with you?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”by Mary Oliver.

What is the best thing about your job?

I never planned to have my own company, it just organically grew up around me. 18 years later, Guidea has partnered with hundreds of companies to launch products now used by one billion people!

I find a deep source of pride being involved in so many interesting and innovative companies, especially now that we’re focused on health and wellbeing.

What keeps you motivated?

The start-up founders we work with and their wins. I just heard that our very first Femovate sponsored founder, Tina John of Veera, won two pitch competitions and was voted most investable company by both investors and the general audience!

Every time one of the companies we sponsor receives a grant, investment ,award, FDA clearance, or launches in the market, it shows me we’re making a difference in women’s health.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Wear more sunscreen.

What is something you wish you could experience again for the first time?

I grew up on a small farm and I was five years old the first year our sheep had lambs. I was absolutely amazed when the lambs were born; one of them imprinted on me and followed me everywhere. I would do that again in a heartbeat.

What is your greatest achievement since establishing Guidea?

We’ve won a lot of awards, as a company and as an individual designer, but I think launching and running Femovate with my team is my greatest and most meaningful achievement so far.

To find out more about Guidea, visit guidea.com. To learn more about Femovate, visit femovate.com.

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