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How Plunging into Your Passion Can Deliver Unexpected Benefits

Seeding Women’s Healthcare Also Improved My Own Health

Just over ten years ago, I was the president of global operations for a multi-billion dollar company. That position took me all over the world, but it meant I had to find a way to work, raise my two sons, and try to keep healthy…all while constantly sitting in offices, in meetings, and on airplanes.

I’ve always had a passion for fitness, wellness, and health. At Stanford, as an undergraduate, I played on the varsity tennis team while majoring in industrial engineering.

But that work-wellness balance was easier to find in college than outside of it. After graduation, I earned an MBA at Harvard Business School, worked as an investment banker specializing in healthcare, and then joined a biotech startup as CFO, where I led the company’s IPO.

Although my entire career had been in healthcare and investment banking, it had never occurred to me that I could channel my passion into a viable business – until I got together with two of my Harvard classmates, and we decided to form a fund to invest in female-led healthcare and sustainable startups.

It never made any sense to us that less than 3% of venture capital dollars are invested in female-led startups; it always seemed as if the market was missing an amazing investment opportunity.

Case in point: we were one of the first investors in a company called nVision, which developed a less invasive and low-cost medical device to detect early ovarian cancer. In 2018, nVision cashed out big – selling to Boston Scientific for up to $275 million dollars. The success of nVision was an “aha” moment for me and my investment partner, Linda Greub. The two of us officially started Avestria Ventures in 2019 to invest in startups focused on women’s health and led by women. Since then, we’ve invested in seven companies and have been constantly delighted and humbled by the caliber of female entrepreneurs who have approached us. Being women in the mostly male venture capital space is a huge advantage; we can understand the specific health issues women face and the unique challenges of being a female entrepreneur.

As for my own well-being, I still spend a lot of time on planes, but my work now goes beyond running on the corporate treadmill. It gives me the chance to meet and support amazing female entrepreneurs, build a community, and learn about the new technologies and solutions they’ve developed to improve all aspects of women’s health, including reducing urinary tract infections and stopping postpartum hemorrhaging.

And, every day, I get to do something that I love every day: helping other women lead their best, most successful, and healthiest lives.

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