When I graduated college a year ago, I got my first job as an engineer at Grand Rounds and joined a small but growing group of women in health care technology. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was (and still am) excited for this opportunity, especially given the growing number of women in the engineering workforce in the U.S., and continued momentum in the larger digital health space.
Grand Rounds recently hosted a Women in Health Tech meetup and discussion at our headquarters in San Francisco, and I had the opportunity to present alongside my amazing colleagues from Data Science, Design, Engineering, Marketing, and Product. The event was a series of “lightning talks” that highlighted the work we do at Grand Rounds, through the unique perspective of our female employees.
Kicking off the night, our VP of Product, Nupur Srivastava, led us through her pilgrimage from a basketball-addicted teen to fearless product leader. Then representatives from across our company discussed the nuances of their job, answering questions like How does a data scientist determine physician quality from incomprehensive data sources? or How can a product manager motivate engineers with neither a carrot nor a stick? Each person provided a challenging problem and creative solution—the evening was intellectually stimulating, and the learning stretched beyond the presentation slides. As a woman in health tech, here are the three unexpected elements that inspired me most from the event:
1. I’m not alone in my struggles
When I first started my job, I felt like I didn’t belong and could never be as fast or creative as my co-workers. I hated taking up other people’s valuable time when I had a question, which was most of the time.
I was surprised when Nupur—whom I always see as fearless—got on stage and admitted that she had felt like an “imposter” at every turning point of her career, whether it was getting into business school or becoming the head of product at Grand Rounds. She always spoke like she knew she belonged. Her story was so relatable, and I left feeling confident that in time I, too, would overcome feeling like an imposter.
I think women go through many similar struggles (like imposter syndrome), and it’s comforting hearing other women’s stories and seeing another woman three steps ahead of me overcome a similar obstacle in their career.
2. The power of a non-judgemental crowd
For our presentation, my teammate and I shared a case dashboard we helped rebuild for our Patient Care Team.
I was most surprised by the different feelings I had during my presentation. For example, I didn’t realize how proud I’d feel presenting my work and having so many people listen and learn from my experience. And I was amazed how the presentation allowed me to reflect on my own growth since joining this team and incredible mission—I hadn’t taken the time before to realize how much I had changed and learned.
And despite not being comfortable with public speaking and being nervous every time I practiced my presentation with my coworkers, I was surprisingly calm and confident at the event. From the conversations I had before the talk, I’d found the crowd to be non-judgemental and really open to different solutions, which made my participation that much easier and a lot of fun.
3. Everyone has thoughtful questions
My favorite part of the entire event was the organic discussions that stemmed from everyone’s thoughtful questions. In my experience, men tend to ask the most questions in meetings. This could be partially due to there generally being more men than women in the meetings I attend. It was really inspiring and refreshing to see so many women confidently raise their hands to ask thoughtful questions or share an example of how they approached a similar problem differently.
All three takeaways showcased a side I don’t often get to see in the workplace and inspired me to act similarly. I don’t presume to think these experiences are new for everyone, but they were for me, and I felt like they were representative of some of the benefits you would get at female-centric events and discussions.
I’m excited to continue learning from all the great women around me and having these engaging, thoughtful conversations about the impact we’re having in the health tech space.