Afton Vechery, Carly Leahy and Jenna discuss how Modern Fertility is equipping women with the data they need to proactively manage their reproductive health. We chat about the biggest piece of advice the founders didn’t take, how doing the opposite propelled them forward, and the advice they give instead. We also dive into the life and career experiences that empowered them to advocate for themselves, be courageous enough to ask and answer the hard questions, and embrace their authentic selves.
Key Learnings and Highlights
- On making data-driven health decisions: “We don’t make financial decisions without weighing costs or career decisions without taking stock of our goals. Why should we have to wait and see when it comes to making decisions about building our families? We believe that when you have more data about your fertility you can really own your decisions and take a more active role mapping out your future rather than making decisions you think you should make or, even worse, worrying and not feeling empowered to make any decisions at all.”
- On not waiting to pursue your dreams: “You know yourself best. Follow your gut. Trust it. Go for it. There are so many times people are told ‘Be patient. It will come. It will happen.’ It may be true in some situations but if you have gumption and you know something needs to exist in the world go get it. Those folks will follow suit.”
- On advocating for yourself: “Laura taught me everything she knew…She taught me how important it was to advocate for myself at a time when I was just happy to be there and have a job. She showed me that wasn’t good enough. You have to show people your work, make sure you are heard, and get into rooms with important people. She was, and forever is, my example of women helping women in the workplace. I can only hope to pay it forward in the same way.”
- On owning your knowledge: “Laura could tell I was nervous before a meeting and she pulled me aside and told me: ‘You know more about what you are about to say than anyone on the planet and especially in this room.’ Even though those people were 20 years my senior, that stuck with me. I learned that when you prepare and you know what you are going to do, no matter what room you walk into, you are the expert on that subject matter and you have to own it. I have never forgotten that piece of advice.”
- On being your authentic self: “I have really come to appreciate the motto: Your weirdness is your competitive advantage. I was never the best student. I did well in school, but I knew the one thing I could control was how hard I worked and I was always a really, really hard worker. In terms of traditional schooling, I was slightly dyslexic. I took the world in through a very different lens and that lens let me think about problems a little bit differently. Early on, I experienced a lot of frustration with that but now I really value it and I see it as an advantage.”
- On asking ourselves the hard questions: “I was super fortunate to start my career in private equity…It was a dream job, working with great people, and a dream paycheck, But, I had this voice and energy inside of me where I really liked building things. I had built these different companies from scratch in high school and college and loved the energy of going from zero to one. I really missed it. I had to ask myself: Is this what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? When I came to the answer ‘No, I want to go build something again,’ that led me to move across the country to a city where I only knew one person (who was also starting a company and had zero time to spend with me), taking almost a 50% pay cut and being employee number one at a startup that I got to help build from scratch. But, I really believed in it. I wanted to make it exist. So, it was a decision that I made fairly on in my career and I’m really happy I did.”