Focus on what matters. Set aside time each day to focus on long range goals — don’t get caught putting out fires daily and lose focus/consideration of long range planning. Once, I was told by a producer, “no one wants to talk about the pelvic floor and bladder leaks!” I was really disappointed. My mom quickly reminded me that it was one person and there were millions of women who needed to be aware of this problem. She was right. There are so many other people to pitch to and care about this issue. Focus on the goal, not the obstacles.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing MaryEllen Reider, the Co-Founder and Director of Marketing and Sales for YarlapÒ. MaryEllen Reider is the co-founder of Yarlap®, an American company that designs a unique FDA-cleared medical device for improving a women’s pelvic floor muscle tone. Yarlap® is disrupting women’s healthcare in a very personal way by providing women a way to improve their wellness and bladder control at home.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Overseas or at home in the United States, I’ve learned information served with kindness can go a long way in making a true difference in people lives. Yarlap is the fusion of those ideals. We listen to the intensely personal concerns women have and provide information for them to make a decision. It’s a real solution that treats the cause, not the symptom and dose so in the privacy of a woman’s home without drugs or surgery.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Bladder leaks are a serious problem. It’s a timeless issue for women. It seems unbeatable. And is always the cause of heartbreak. It is a little like the dragon in folklore. The hero inside of each woman comes forth using the Yarlap to slay the dragon. Problem solved! Everyone gets it and loves it. It connects.
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?
It’s a useful lesson. It reminds me of a scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. At the “Bridge of Death,” a menacing troll asks “Arthur King of the Britons” what is the airspeed velocity of an un-laden swallow. The King asks, “What do you mean, an African or European swallow?” The reply as a question instantly eliminated the hazard. Arthur remarks, it’s one of those things you must know.
Recently, I was asked a question about fruit oil as a personal lubricant. Much to everyone’s surprise, I knew that particular oil has insulating properties in its pure form and before I could answer, I needed to know its purity, The insulation properties of personal lubricants is just one of those things one must know in this business!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our design team makes the devices used throughout Europe to regain pelvic floor wellness in woman. The Yarlap has five older sisters who have share all their wisdom to make her the best. Yarlap is winner of Women’s’ Health FemTech Award. In addition, our design team includes an author and referee of peer review science and medical journals.
We came in with decades of knowledge and empathy. We didn’t wake up one morning and decide to make a cheap copy. If you’re going to put something in your most private part of your body, you want to make sure it is the best.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
In AI technology, you have to look stand back and look at the situation. Its been very important to us to realize that perception is integral to action: build from the body out. We are doing some amazing things for men and women in muscle control. Muscle control is a performance hierarchy.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
In my experience, men and women tend to see issues and opportunities in different, but in complementary ways. Pay attention to these differences and listen to all contributions carefully.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Listen to each individual and see them as unique to the solution. Everyone contributes to the whole.
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?
My mom has always been a wonderful caregiver and an expert on Japanese folklore. She is calm and levelheaded. When I tend to zone in one small particular issue, she brings me back to see the full picture. You cannot get stuck in your head.
I remember that I was feeling down because I was told by a producer, “no one wants to talk about the pelvic floor and bladder leaks! ” I was really bummed because they could not have been more wrong! My mom quickly reminded me that it was one person. There are so many other people to pitch to and care about this issue. She was right! There are so many people out there who will talk about it and bring a spotlight to the issue.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
A fortunate aspect of our work at Yarlap is that nearly every day we have someone contacting us to tell about how Yarlap has changed their life. Before using Yarlap they were overwhelmed with the problem. They have their lives back. Speaking with these women are the best conversations.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
#1. Take time for yourself. You cannot be running at full capacity all the time. You need to give yourself little breaks. You cannot help your team if you are tired or dismayed — allow yourself a little break! For example: I will step away from my phone for 2 days and do a total digital detox. It feels really tense at first, “what am I missing?” is running through your head. But, you come back and realize that everything is still there. Everything is fine and you are reenergized to really help out your time.
#2. Listen to everyone. If you listen, you hear the best ideas. Even when someone is grumpy, listen. You acknowledge their issues and often quickly their attitude changes and their contribution helps to find a solution.
#3. Learn a second language. It keeps you aware that there are other perspectives. Often, other languages have expressions we do not have in English, like gemütlich.
#4 Focus on what matters. Set aside time each day to focus on long range goals — don’t get caught putting out fires daily and lose focus/consideration of long range planning. Once, I was told by a producer, “no one wants to talk about the pelvic floor and bladder leaks! ” I was really disappointed. My mom quickly reminded me that it was one person and there were millions of women who needed to be aware of this problem. She was right. There are so many other people to pitch to and care about this issue. Focus on the goal, not the obstacles.
#5. If you’re not following the heard — cool! Its stressful to be the only one or in a head long race with a pack. Stay cool and question your known weaknesses. You may be defining the future.
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. 🙂
Educate men and woman about their pelvic floor wellbeing. It is all about education! Our pelvic floors are about so much more in our lives than most people know. The learning can be so rewarding.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote is from Tina Fey: “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”
Every day we read statistics about women’s incontinence. All I can help thinking is, “why is this subject NOT talked about everywhere? It’s so common but it is not normal. Our pelvic floor health is a huge part of our relationships!” Instead of pointing out all the factors and what women could do, we decided to become part of the solution with Yarlap®.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-
Betty White Ludden has many talents and she reaches a broad audience. I think her audiences might find an open and fun discussion on pelvic floor wellness practical and of serious interest. Ms. White and I will leave all her audiences with something that will keep them thinking for a lifetime.
If Ms. White will choose a place where we can write on the table cloth, I’ll bring something to write with — ever wonder what our pelvic floor and a gothic arch have in common?
Thank you for joining us!