NDA’s Digital Women series is talking to leaders from across our industry to understand the particular issues faced by women. Here, Nina Stanley, Founder, MODHealth.
Nina Stanley is a heart disease survivor, and founder of the female-led and driven agency, MODHealth. After having her health concerns dismissed and misdiagnosed by doctors for years, she ultimately self-diagnosed her own rare heart ailment. Her experiences dealing with the medical establishment, and her dedication to improving healthcare access and outcomes for all, motivated her to create MODHealth.
What is the biggest opportunity for women in your sector of the digital industry today?
It’s being at the forefront of the women’s health movement. There is little targeted marketing to women from women about our healthcare needs. It’s kind of like the wild Wild West right now. It’s open for the taking. There’s a real opportunity to pave the way.
What is the biggest challenge to you as a woman in the digital industry and how are you overcoming it?
Speaking specifically to MODHealth and women’s health more generally, the biggest challenge is having women-specific needs taken seriously by doctors or the industry at large. In the medical community, many women are misdiagnosed or blown off entirely, with generic diagnoses of anxiety or stress.
In the digital industry, you can find an app for everything except women’s health. Yet when women are trying to find anything out about our bodies or symptoms, they may be experiencing we are not getting accurate or reliable information. We need to share more female perspectives in a male-dominated world. Women have the power to revolutionize the digital sphere because they pay close attention to every last detail, allowing customers to feel more connected to your brand on an emotional level.
What three things could employer companies do to make the digital industry better for women?
They can make digital couriers (coding) more accessible and attractive for young girls to pursue. When considering careers in your childhood, the digital space is not usually a girl’s first answer. It’s still, to this day, a male-dominated space. Groups like Girls Who Code exist, but are not as common or publicised. We have to seek out groups, whereas if you’re a man you can pretty much go anywhere.
Employers can also one, highlight the fact that women’s health is a thing — beyond solely reproductive health; two, get this knowledge out there to their employee base and give them knowledge and resources to look into; and three, place an emphasis on other health issues and what symptoms to look out for. An example of this is heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
What support structures and organisations are most important and effective to you as a woman in the digital industry?
The American Heart Association, CVS Health, Organon, Cedar Sinai, Barbera Streisand Women’s Heart Center, and Stanford Medicine are doing a good job. From a simple google search of what companies are making an impact in the women’s health community, they’re all companies dealing with reproductive organs – period underwear, period subscription, and menstrual cycle tracking. We’re so much more than that.
What is the biggest misconception about women and by women in the digital industry?
NS: One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve encountered is that the majority of women, in the fast-paced digital world as well as other demanding professions, ‘have it all’. We are expected to have kids, an insanely amazing career, and time for ourselves. Not to mention the societal beauty standards placed upon us. The same is not expected from men. Many women who work fast-paced jobs in the digital industry may appear on the outside to have everything together, but in reality, are struggling to find time to take care of themselves.
In the midst of all these pressures to be the best they can be, women put themselves last, often neglecting signs and symptoms that are part of much bigger health issues. As women, we often feel we can’t take the time for ourselves because so many people depend on us.