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“More women need to start companies; Now is the golden moment.” With Claire Tomkins Founder and CEO of Future Family

More women need to start companies. Now is the golden moment. There is a broad realization that women are under-represented, and there are huge markets that can best be addressed by women who understand these markets. Women make incredible entrepreneurs, and I’m very excited to see women in their 20s and 30s jumping in! I had […]


More women need to start companies. Now is the golden moment. There is a broad realization that women are under-represented, and there are huge markets that can best be addressed by women who understand these markets. Women make incredible entrepreneurs, and I’m very excited to see women in their 20s and 30s jumping in!


I had the pleasure to interview Claire Tomkins. Claire is Founder and CEO of Future Family, a startup helping women and couples start and expand their families using IVF and egg freezing. Future Family is the first company to offer monthly subscriptions for fertility services that combine financing and concierge care into one easy plan. Previously, Claire was Director of Product Marketing at SolarCity (now TSLA), one of the largest consumer finance businesses in the industry. Prior to her role at SolarCity, she was on the founding team of two global non-profits. She holds an M.S. and PhD from Stanford University in Management Science & Engineering and has been recognized as a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Kauffman Fellow. Claire is passionate about women’s health and fertility based on her personal journey. She has three children, all born via IVF, and lives in San Francisco.


Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My company — Future Family — is 100% personal for me. I experienced the stress of going through a difficult fertility journey when trying to conceive my daughter, Natalie. I know first-hand the emotional and financial toll it takes on women and couples who deal with fertility struggles, and I find it unacceptable such an important part of life is still unsupported for so many of us. Going through this journey — with all of its ups and downs — motivated me to help solve this problem for other women and couples.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Since starting Future Family, I’ve heard from so many women and couples going through their own fertility journeys that it is difficult to select one over the others. Some of these stories are wonderful, and some are painful, but they all reinforce my desire to continue helping others.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Not a mistake so much as a funny experience, as I had to ask my husband shoot a product video for our new “male sperm test” — he was such a good sport!!!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We’re built on a mission that is intensely personal for the women and couples who utilize our services. From our team to our investors, we all care very deeply about this mission. In fact, many of our employees have gone through their own fertility journeys.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We recently announced a subscription-based fertility service, which changes the game for so many women and couples. The subscription model allows consumers to sign up for fertility care like IVF or egg freezing with easy monthly payments, as opposed to staggering upfront costs. Each subscription plan from Future Family is built to address the emotional and financial burdens of fertility care, including:

· A zero-down monthly payment option that covers all costs for egg freezing and IVF;

· On-demand, 24/7 concierge care providing support and guidance at every step;

· Personalized offerings that can include services like genetic testing and holistic treatments such as acupuncture; and

· Digital health management for a more convenient and streamlined experience.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Make sure you are happy. You have to make enough time for yourself to get what you need to keep going. You can’t be a good leader if your energy isn’t coming from a good place. I know so many selfless women who work nonstop, but it can make you unhappy and inhibit your leadership if you don’t carve out time for yourself.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Alignment is key. A startup is so fast and furious. Make sure your team knows what the priorities are for the business and everyone is going in the same direction. The team always needs to know the top three priorities in the company at any given time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Too many to name them all.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The best moments of my day are when we get emails and texts from clients who we helped to start a family. There is nothing — NOTHING — better than that.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Be authentic. It’s how your team connects to you and how you build trust.

2. Be clear. There is no time for ambiguity in a startup.

3. Don’t compromise on your values. It’s okay to seek common ground on many decisions, but you have to hold to your values because you’re shaping the entire culture.

4. Brush off failure. Just keep going. Be introspective and learn from mistakes, but don’t get stuck in self-doubt.

5. Make time for yourself. It’s important to be happy in order to be able to give your best and lead others.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

More women need to start companies. Now is the golden moment. There is a broad realization that women are under-represented, and there are huge markets that can best be addressed by women who understand these markets. Women make incredible entrepreneurs, and I’m very excited to see women in their 20s and 30s jumping in!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

At a startup, it’s all about keeping one foot in front of the other. Every day feels like you are sprinting a marathon. There are failures and successes daily. Keep going. My favorite quote is Winston Churchill (also I’m British): “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Twitter:https://twitter.com/futurefamilysf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/futurefamilysf

Website: https://www.futurefamily.com/

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