This is simply the beginning of improving your hormonal health, to ultimately optimize your potential.
Aavia is improving healthcare, and the health and wellness of individuals, starting with the first-ever smart case + app that learns and improves birth control pill-taking habits. With inconsistent pill use resulting in over 1M unintended pregnancies each year in the U.S. alone, Aavia is taking a people-first design approach to ensure the pill is used safely and effectively with daily and timely use.
What inspired you to start Aavia?
I’ve been driven to solve inefficiencies and bridge gaps since I was in high school — starting services, volunteer opportunities, and businesses in my “free time” — and Aavia was the perfect opportunity to do this full-time. Medication and therapy adherence are parts of my life that I have always struggled. Even when I was working for clients tackling medication adherence (a $300 billion dollar problem!!) in my consulting days, my own health always became an afterthought and always second to other priorities. I knew that after business school I wanted to work on building something directly for the people actually needing care and was specifically drawn to women’s healthcare needs. When I met my co-founders, Aya Suzuki and Alexis Wong, we quickly realized we were equally passionate about creating the same kind of impact, and it was a no brainer. The stories we heard from women about the spikes in anxiety, unintended pregnancies, abortions, trips home in the middle of the day to check if they took their pill, and obnoxious phone alarms that disrupted the office — I will never forget them. They drive me to spring out of bed every morning.
Describe your typical workday.
I’ve never had a typical workday and that is one of my favorite parts of what I do — there is always something new that is exciting or challenging to tackle and no two days are the same. However, every day, I do focus on checking in with Aavia Insiders (our core group of product testers) and responding to customer service inquiries. Over the course of a week, you’ll likely find me focusing on the big picture timeline and goals, budget and finances, the overall customer experience, user interface for the hardware and software with Aya and Alexis, budget and finances, mentor and investor relations, writing, go-to-market strategy with Eliza Fish. Plus, a number of other things that come along with having a small team!
We're big fans of understanding sweat...What are the stages of life where women experience the biggest shift in body odor and how is that linked to hormones?
Sweat! There is a shift in female hormones during major life stage transitions, especially puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, that can result in a change in body odor. During these hormonal shifts, there is usually a change in androgen levels (made up of testosterone and other hormones related to the reproductive system and typically male traits) in our bodies. We may experience an increase in sweat glands which in turn produces more sweat and can lead to a change in body odor. The way your body smells is typically connected to a shift in androgens levels but can also be impacted by bacteria, hygiene, diet, and many other factors.
How does the hormonal shift from birth control fit into the disruption in body odor?
Scientifically and medically there is no evidence to support that the hormonal shift from birth control can or does disrupt body odor since it’s typically related to changes in androgen levels rather than estrogen and progesterone. However, it’s important to remember that everybody is different! You could experience a shift in hormones just as you start or discontinue the use of birth control, which potentially could affect your body odor, but your hormones usually balance out over time. Plus, of course, you can support your system with a balanced diet, exercise, and lots of water and sleep.
What does success mean to you?
On a personal level, success means doing the things I love — dancing, eating, traveling, and laughing — with the people I love the most. These are the things that make me happy and that’s the ultimate success.
On a professional level, success means building something that the end-user actually wants and needs. At Aavia, we’re focused on listening to user feedback to make sure we’re creating a solution that solves problems and adds value. A user told me that the Pill is no longer a nightmare for her, another that she no longer has spikes of anxiety in the middle of the workday, and even a husband that he now has peace of mind. We’re on the right track!
What's your power word?
Rapid-prototyping. Does that count as one word? I know it might not sound sexy or inspirational, but that’s really how I approach both work and life. Whether that’s rapid-prototyping the Aavia smart case and app or rapid-prototyping what exercises and workout schedule work for me. I think it’s important to be flexible and figure out what works best in all respects of work and life so that you don’t get bogged down by what you “should” do when that may not be right for you.
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