Interviews

Shamala Hinrichsen -Founder and CEO of Hanai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shamala, are Founder and CEO of Hanai, an m-health ecosystem for women worldwide which will give women with smartphones access to information, symptom checkers, trackers to enable them to make decisions on when to seek help or chat with physicians. With Hanai, she is currently gearing for a pilot in Borneo.

What role does technology play in your job?

Everything – from the way the team operates – we sit in five different countries so we are dependent on tech to communicate to one another, keep each other motivated and get the actual product up and rolling, the analytics – just endless. And our end users who use tech via their phones depend on our smart use of available tech to get their services paid for, subscribed to, their data analysed. No tech, no Hanai.   

Data are an often-discussed topic these days. How do you use data to create impact in the health industry?

Positve healthcare changes can only be advocated for and exist with data. We swim in it 😉 From the simplest data points of what method is preferred for a healthcare chat, to what is the average blood pressure!

What are the most used tools in your work?

My phone, my pen (I still write everything down and doodle), computer, every now and then my brains

In a nutshell: How does a workday in your life look like?

Oooo – okay; I will tell you about Thursdays. I drop our 5.5 year old at his German school, our 2.5 year old to his forest school – a good 30 minutes of driving in total there. Sit down in the park or nearby café and work while the car is charged. I have a solid three hours to work. Then the pick ups, lunches, taekwando, then my au pair takes over for a few hours giving me time to work again. Dinner and the boys are in bed around 7pm. Then I jump back into work – except Sunday nights when I watch GOT.

There is no typical day as I am also privileged to have a good support network, we have someone to help with the boys and still have a great time while trying to change the world! Because we have kids and I chose to dedicate a lot of my time to their upbringing, I tend to do the juggling act like a crazy clown trapeze artist standing on an elephant.

Tell us a bit about your journey? Where did you start and how did you get to where you are now?

I am a geneticist by training. Worked in laboratories looking at single nucleotide polymorphisms but I switched gears and pursued further education to learn Med Comms and Science comms. So I began to write and speak about science and medicine rather than actually do it. Many really smart people who do science already.  This brought me into then working at policy level – looking at life sciences and healthcare at a country level.

Our boys were born and with the second one, we did a four-month traversing India, volunteering to map the rural healthcare landscape. Being with women who were like me but not really like me truly grounded me. Time to shift gears.

I started ‘Hanai’ with a simple goal – to enable and empower every woman to own her body, her pregnancy, her children’s well being. And here we are!

Please continue this sentence: I have failed …. and these were my learnings…

I have failed to stand up to bad bosses. On the positive side, it made me evaluate the situation, educate myself and switch careers.

And every single day I fail. I fail to finish things on time, I fail to stand up to my own standards, I fail to forgive others for not standing up to my standards. But tomorrow is another day when I wake up and champion on.

Who’s your personal Shero & give us three sentences why?

I want to name three women and one sentence each. 😉

Patrizia Luchetta because she oozes and breathes support and care and just the passion to see everyone else rise.

Hedda Pahlson Moller because you sit in front of her and you feel like you have had twenty conversations.

My mother – because she survives,strives, moves forward, and I cannot continue this sentence without crying onto my keyboard and destroying it. That signifies the totality of what she has meant to me growing up and now.

Seeing still mainly men working in the tech industry, what would be your advice for (young) women who look at pursuing a career in tech, but are too shy or reluctant?

I cannot believe that in 2019 this is still something we need to converse about. Women should do whatever they fancy doing. On another note, if I could add on to women who have come into motherhood, be it young or otherwise, NO ONE can time manage like you – go out there and pursue what you want – be it with yoghurt stains on your trousers (as I do right now and busy trying to clean it with spit), your kids will be fine, and you will be.

Tech shmeck! Try changing a diaper while building blocks on your blockchain world!

Shamala Hinrichsen is the Founder and CEO of Hanai, an m-health ecosystem for women worldwide which will give women with smartphones access to information, symptom checkers, trackers to enable them to make decisions on when to seek help, chat with physicians. She is currently gearing for a pilot in Borneo.

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