For All Leadership Moment with Great Place to Work and Maven Clinic

Speakers: For All Leadership Moment with Great Place to Work and Maven Clinic

Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven Clinic, on demand access to virtual care for women and families, spoke with Great Place to Work's Maggie Green on navigating being both a parent and a working professional.

Show Transcript
Julian Lute:

Like I said, this is a powerful stage. I want to introduce two people that I'm sure you're going to benefit a lot from their conversation. Our next guest is the Founder and CEO of Maven, which is the leading women and family digital health company. Maven offers virtual care and services across fertility, maternity, pediatrics, and operates the largest women's and family telehealth network. Kate has been named by Fast Company as one of businesses most creative people. Maven has also been named as one of the most innovative companies by Fast Company. She's also one of the top 40 Under 40 as recognized by Crain. Help me in welcoming Kate Ryder, Founder and CEO of Maven.

Julian Lute:

All right. The next person I get to bring out is one of my absolute favorite people. She's one of the first people I met when I came to Great Place to Work. She's held a variety of roles at Great Place to Work during her seven-year tenure. Most recently, she is responsible for enabling the Great Place to Work offices around the world to deliver on our For All mission.

Julian Lute:

She's a new mom, she's a wonderful colleague, and the inspiration for this conversation. Help me welcome Maggie Green, Vice president for Emprising Service Partners.

Maggie Green:

Brilliant. Thanks Julian.

Maggie Green:

Kate, it is an absolute pleasure to have you here with us today. I am truly honored to be able to be sitting here in front of everyone to have this conversation with you.

Kate Ryder:

Yeah, thanks so much for having me here.

Maggie Green:

I wanted to start by sharing a little bit of my story. As Julian mentioned, I'm a new mom. A few months ago, it was five o'clock in the morning on a Thursday, I'm sitting on the couch in the dark with my head in my hands. I'm, unfortunately, listening to my son, baby Jasper who's now seven months old, crying in the other room, and I'm just so exhausted. I'm trying to get rid of this 4:00 AM feeding and I do not want to be in this position the same time tomorrow, and so I'm trying to figure out what to do.

Maggie Green:

Suddenly, I remember, and a light goes off in my head, thank goodness. I go to my phone, I navigate to my Maven app, and there, in the notes section, it's from Christina, the sleep consultant I had met with earlier that day. She said, "Go ahead and feed him if he wakes up at 5:00 AM. Make it business-like and not snuggle time." Immediately, I thought, "Oh, okay." I jumped into action, I got the bottle ready, I fed him in the dark. We have some bruises to show, the path was not clear.

Maggie Green:

I was able to then get back to sleep and really helped me. In that moment, I felt that Christina was there with me, Maven as an organization was there to help me, and Great Place to Work was there in that moment to help support me through my journey. I think one of the best things was that I got judgment-free expert advice from Christina, which, believe me, is very hard to find, especially the judgment-free part.

Maggie Green:

As someone who is a new mom that has had a great experience with Maven, I am honored to have this opportunity to ask you, can you tell me a little bit more about Maven and truly what inspired you to come up with this idea?

Kate Ryder:

Yeah. First of all, I'm so excited to hear that we helped. Sometimes when you're running fast and scaling a large business, I don't get to hear all these amazing stories. I'm so happy about that.

Kate Ryder:

I started Maven six years ago. I was living in London at the time, and I had just turned 30. I was working in Venture Capital covering digital health. I think as a woman turning 30 without kids yet, I was like, "Oh my gosh, I have to do this soon," and starting to think about work-life balance, and really nervous about a lot of the stats; like 43% of new moms dropping out of the workforce after having kids, not seeing a lot of female leaders in executive positions.

Kate Ryder:

Anyways, seeing all these healthcare companies come in the door, it was very obvious there was very few female founders and there were really no women's health companies, and no kind of women's and family health companies. That was kind of an aha moment for me, is, "Okay, well, if I'm having this anxiety, I think probably everyone is having this anxiety." The data does not look good on bringing women back to work after having kids, and just in general, the gender disparities at the top. There's also healthcare issues like the maternal mortality rate in the US, or a high C-section rate, just really high costs when it relates to pregnancy.

Kate Ryder:

I thought, "Okay, maybe there's a huge opportunity to start a company where you could really solve some of these core gender issues around women coming back to work, but then really actually solve some healthcare issues by building a great inclusive women's and family health product." Maven was born, and it's been quite a journey for the last six years.

Maggie Green:

That's awesome. Thank you. What are you hoping that people like me and other leaders in the organization or across the world are able to achieve by using Maven?

Kate Ryder:

Well, we have a lot of goals. I think, fundamentally, we have a healthcare system where women's and family health is not at the center of it. Women dominate decision-making. They're often the chief medical officers of their homes. One out of five millennial families are on LGBTQ relationships. Could be two gay dads who want to adopt and they're not really included in the existing system of starting families and running families.

Kate Ryder:

(A), I would love to build the product. What we've done is we've built the product where we're really putting women and families at the center of our systems so that they can get the support they need. But then, from a workplace environment, having a family is not just a healthcare issue, it's actually a huge lifestyle choice. It's one of the biggest transitions that you go through.

Kate Ryder:

I was actually at an amazing comedy show a month ago where I was telling... Maggie this is a warning, it was Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, and Seth Meyers talking about parenthood. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, childbirth and having a family is one of the most incredible things, because two people walk into a room, three people walk out. That's amazing. I'm like, why isn't there more support for that, particularly the aftermath?

Kate Ryder:

Anyways, it's this huge lifestyle transition, one of the biggest you might go through in your life, and then it's at a time when your career is scaling. How do you also not just affect the healthcare side of the house with the maternal health, but then, really, the back-to-work and kind of working parenthood?

Kate Ryder:

I would love to be able to say that Maven has really helped companies better support their working parents. Maven has helped companies bring women back to work, and we've really normalized what it's like to have babies and be working parents.

Maggie Green:

Yes. I love that. Even at my experience at Great Place to Work, little secret, I was carrying Jasper this time last year, and many of my colleagues did not know. That had an impact on what I felt I could bring to Great Place to Work, and whether or not I could bring my whole self. Once I shared the news with my colleagues, everyone couldn't have been happier. They really supported in every opportunity that they could, especially, you can just see what a great opportunity, because even just two weeks ago, the environment that they've created, a Great Place to Work, allowed me to have a conversation with my For All leaders, including Michael Bush, and to share, feel comfortable to share that I would like to continue to grow my family, not anytime soon, but in the next three to five years.

Maggie Green:

To be a part of a culture where I felt I could share that and not have any repercussions as a result really says a lot. Maven was there to help open this conversation, and to your point, like you said, help normalize what it's like to bring up children, which is awesome.

Maggie Green:

I'd love to know a little bit about Maven and your company culture. I know that you are a user yourself. Tell me a little bit about your employees and how you as a leader tried to create a For All environment.

Kate Ryder:

We definitely feel pretty strongly we have to live what we preach. This is core to the mission that all of us are working hard to drive home. At Maven, we have paid parental leave for everyone. Part of our return to work experience involves manager training. We have a Ramp Back time when new parents are coming back to work. We have a very high pregnancy rate at Maven, as you can imagine. We have like a 70% female culture, so the very high pregnancy rate. I've had two babies in the last two years. We have manager training to help managers transition new parents back into the workforce. We have flexible policies around work from home, and then, I do try to model a certain amount.

Kate Ryder:

Myself, even two weeks ago... My son's three-and-a-half. It was like truly the first childcare crisis that I've had where my nanny was on vacation, my husband was traveling for work, my parents weren't around, and I had this really big pitch call. I actually brought my son into the office and my amazing colleagues just entertained him for the hour he was there.

Kate Ryder:

This collision of work and family life, that's just what modern parenthood is. I think it's not something that we should be hiding, but something that we should be embracing. Particularly at Maven, we have lots of parties for kids and just really making it normal. You're a working parent, that is one of the hardest things you do.

Kate Ryder:

My dad actually gave me advice when I had my kids, "Parenthood is your first job," like it's a job. "There are some great days and there are some exhausting days," but I absolutely love it. Maven is my job too.6 They have to kind of coexist and just be very out in the open; I'm a mother, I'm a CEO, we're all working hard. So to really just live that as well.

Maggie Green:

Yes. I've been finding, to your point, there are lots of new of identities. I was a woman, a wife and daughter, and now I am a mother. When I got back to work, people asked me, "Oh, what is it like being a working mom?" I was like, "Oh, no. I guess that applies to me now too."

Maggie Green:

What I found through some of the experts that I talked to on your app such as the back-to-work coach, she really helped me get back to me. I realized, after my first week of work, I was like, "Wow, I've really missed me. She was fun. I'm glad to have her back." As part of a benefit that Great Place to Work gave us, I had six months to use the app unlimited basis.

Maggie Green:

In talking with Kate this morning, I found out I can still do that on my own as a consumer app. It's not just something that comes directly from the company or has to be in that way, but you can also be just a consumer in general, which is awesome. I would love to know what's next for me then.

Kate Ryder:

We are launching pediatrics, not surprisingly, later this year. What we've found is that a lot of people, there's still just a huge gap between the ages of one and five. There's just a huge gap in general, but particularly, one and five where after you kind of come back to work, how do you maintain stress levels? How do you raise your toddlers and kids in a way where you're getting all the support that you need? It's just really hard, and so as our CR, our pediatric product is coming out later this year focused lot on parental wellness as well as pediatric mental health.

Maggie Green:

That's great. I can't wait for that. I know we're running out of time, but what's the one or two things that you want to make sure that this audience knows about you, or Maven, or direction you're going in?

Kate Ryder:

This is the time in life where it's one of the biggest transitions. There's a lot of decisions to make. I think really supporting your employees at the time of parenthood where there's probably a lot of latent anxiety around even talking about it. I think whether it's Maven, whatever you do, just making sure that this conversation is out in the open because I think that's how you ultimately drive retention and build great places to work.

Maggie Green:

Thanks Kate. Well, again, thank you for being here this morning, and a personal thank you for helping me to grapple with some of those new identities. I really appreciate it.

Kate Ryder:

Yeah. Great. Thanks.