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We Need to Talk About Women+ Health in the Workplace, with Brooke Bartholomay Quinn
This week, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Brooke Bartholomay Quinn, Chief Customer Officer at Carrot Fertility. With her vast experience and insight into reproductive health, Brooke is the perfect person to discuss normalizing menopause, perimenopause, and fertility care in the workplace. We’ll also be delving into how healthcare companies and doctors often treat childfree women differently than those who have or want to have children.
0:00:00.0 Maricella Herrera: Where leaders go, learning follows. Harvard Business School Executive Education offers more than 60 in-person and virtual programs. Learn more and apply at hbs.me/go. That's hbs.me/go.
0:00:19.3 Megan Oliver: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business. And now your hosts, Maricella Herrera, and Megan Oliver.
0:00:33.0 MH: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast. I'm Maricella Herrera, the CEO of Ellevate Network, and I'm here with Megan Oliver. How are you, Megan?
0:00:46.0 MO: I'm... I was gonna say good, but I guess I'll be honest, this has been a pretty rough week for me, mental health wise, honestly, which has not been fun, but I'm pushing through it.
0:01:02.0 MH: Well, first off, thank you for being honest. I think it's important that we talk about mental health as a society in general. I am a big proponent of that, so thank you for opening up. And how can we help?
0:01:20.0 MO: That's a great question. I don't know that anybody can help 'cause a lot of it's internal. I mean, this is pretty personal information, but kind of appropriate given our guest today. They had to change my birth control at the beginning of this month or at the beginning of this week. So in addition to all the craziness, my hormones have been all over the place because my body has no idea what's going on, 'cause I had the implant, which is the one that they put in your arm, but it wasn't progressing right. Basically, it was growing great for about a year and then all of a sudden I started getting two to three-week long periods completely out of nowhere. And I was like, "What is going on?" He looked at it and he was like, "It's the implant. It's progressing weirdly."
0:02:05.3 MO: So they literally had to cut it out of me 'cause that's how they take the implant out. They have to just take a scalpel and cut it and push it out the hole. Yeah. That was my Monday. No, that was my Tuesday. That was fun. And then... So my hormones have been in flux ever since and then I'm just gonna go back on the pill starting this weekend, but I've restarted my period because God only... 'Cause my body has no idea what I'm doing, but yeah. So it's been a lot and then other stuff going on in the world, but it's just been really exacerbated by that.
0:02:45.1 MH: Well again, thank you for sharing. We don't talk and yes, this is very, very appropriate considering our guest today, who is Brooke Bartholomay Quinn and is the Chief Customer Officer at Carrot Fertility, who we will talk about in a minute, but we don't talk about the effects of birth control in women enough because we go through a lot.
0:03:07.2 MO: Yes, yes. Just the amount of bandaging that I came home with, just for an incredibly routine procedure and I was like... I was describing it to my roommate and she like... Who also has an implant, 'cause she was like, "I prefer not to think about how they're gonna... " 'Cause after five years, they have to take it out anyway, and I was... And just replace it with a new one, 'cause it runs out or I dunno how it works, but they have to take it out... They have to switch it out every five years. And I was describing how they do it 'cause it's literally a... Trigger warning, for anybody who doesn't wanna hear this, probably skip ahead the next 15, 20 seconds. They literally take a scalpel, make an incision in your arm, and then feel... They feel around for where it is, 'cause you can actually feel it through your arm and then they make an incision right above it and then they just slowly but surely just push it out. Kind of like a splinter, just push it out of the now hole in your arm which is terrible. They did give me local anesthetic for it because it would've been horrible otherwise 'cause they're literally pushing into your skin, which I appreciated the anesthetic.
0:04:14.8 MO: But my doctor... Although, I will say my doctor had a... He had a sense of humor about it where he was like, "All right. Let's deliver this baby." And I was like, "What?" And he's like, "It's kind of a delivery in a way." And then when it popped out, he was like, "The baby is born." And I was like, "Oh, she's beautiful."
0:04:33.6 MH: I don't know. I kind of would've slapped him probably.
0:04:35.5 MO: Yeah. I was cracking up. Well, I was the weird one who like... He was really baffled by me because it's the same. If I get shots, if I get blood drawn or now I guess if I get an implant removed, I prefer to look at it 'cause he was like, "Yeah. Just go ahead and look away 'cause I'm about to do it." And I was like, "No, I prefer to look at it because just to see what's happening. It actually eases the anxiety." And he was like, "You are in the vast minority on that. Everybody looks away." And I was like, "Yeah, it's just easier if I look at it."
0:05:01.2 MH: Well Megan, I'm sorry you had to go through that and I'm sorry your body's kind of adapting to whatever it is the new medication is, but it's true, right? You have to go through... We have to go through, not only dealing with things like that, having procedures done, but also the hormonal imbalances caused by the medication which affect our mental health, which affect our metabolism, which affects so many things. When are we inventing the birth control for men?
0:05:40.8 MO: They didn't want it because it had too many side effects even though I'm pretty sure ours have way more side effects because, well, that was the thing people were saying about the COVID vaccine when people didn't wanna take the COVID vaccine and they were like, "It has this many side effects," and they're like, "Do you know what has 10 times more side effects than the COVID vaccine? Women's birth control."
0:05:57.5 MH: Yeah.
0:06:00.3 MO: When you... Whenever you get it, 'cause now that I have the pill, of course it comes with a little sheet of the side effects that you can just roll out like a CVS receipt and you're just like, "Hi, this is all the things that I could face."
0:06:11.8 MH: And look, we're not on this for 10 days. I've been thinking about it because I'm getting it on the personal side and I do talk, I think, a little bit about this in this podcast episode, 'cause I'm thinking about my... I'm turning 40 this year and thinking about what I wanna do if I wanna have kids eventually and my fertility journey, and God, I've been on the pill since I was 15. That's a ridiculous amount of time of pumping chemicals into my body.
0:06:44.7 MO: Yeah. And pumping not just simple... Body chemistry altering chemicals that stop your body... Not that I'm... Obviously, I'm not advocating against birth control. I'm on birth control.
0:06:56.9 MH: No, no, no. Please never.
0:06:57.8 MO: Never. Please. More like if the Supreme Court comes after birth control next, I'm gonna be furious. I know that's a long shot, but I'm just... There already talks about certain states and I don't even wanna get into that, but body chemistry. I mean, it's literally altering what your body is "supposed to do" but it's what we need to do to be a person. It's what I need, it's what you need, and it's a lot. I've been on it since my early 20s, I think. Actually my mid 20s. I started pretty late, but it's just incredibly necessary.
0:07:38.3 MH: And it's not just about birth control, I'll be honest. The reason a lot of people go on birth control has nothing... For me, I said I got on it when I was 15 and it had nothing to do with birth control. It was there are sometimes medical reasons why you need to give your body some sort of support, but I don't know. I could go on a rant about this for a long time.
0:08:04.6 MO: Yeah. And not to be too real, it's not like... I'm not using the birth control for all that much birth control right now. It's mostly just because I have always had... I got my period when I was 10 for the first time. I have always had incredibly... I've always had a very heavy period and this lightens it immensely and it makes it just easier to bear. And it's like, I'll take all of these side effects over every single month going through a crappy period.
0:08:38.5 MH: Well, this has been a lot. This has been quite a personal look into our lives, but look, this is what this podcast is about, right? It is called Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business. And these are conversations, and these are conversations we should be having. And Megan, if you need any support, you know that mental health is something, first and foremost, you need to take care of. Take your break, go for a walk. Do what you need to do. That's what I believe everyone has to do, is take care of themselves first.
0:09:17.4 MO: Yeah. And it doesn't help, because when your hand is bandaged, 'cause it has to stay bandaged for 10 days, it kind of limits the amount of exercise you can do. So yesterday, thank God I was able to get into a Zumba class which is... So that's incredibly low stuff on your arms because I didn't wanna do yoga 'cause I didn't wanna... They don't do stitches, but it's the really, really strong tape. And so I didn't want the tape to come off or to hurt the wound or anything like that. So I was like, I was at least able to get some kind of movement yesterday, which was much needed.
0:09:47.5 MH: Yeah. I mean, I totally understand that, I've been dealing that with my toes. So I'm still off running and yesterday I finally went swimming and oh my God, it felt like... I felt so different afterwards. It's so important to get that movement in your body and make sure that you're... I mean, to me, running is part of my mental health. I don't know what self-care, right? It's important.
0:10:16.3 MO: Yeah, practices.
0:10:17.5 MH: And so if I don't have that, I... Finally now that I'm five weeks into my recovery, I was really frustrated I couldn't run or do... I was doing kind of bike and it's not something I enjoy. So I finally got access to a pool and went for a swim, and the whole outlook of many things that are happening in my life felt different. So find your thing in whatever it is and make sure that if you can't do it, find something that you can substitute it, but find your tool kit of self-care, mental health, just good things for yourself.
0:11:04.8 MO: Yeah. And if anybody that's listening is going through any of this and needs any support, we support you. Obviously, the Ellevate community supports you. Come to one of the round tables or community circles, but also just like... I don't know, email email@example.com and let us know your thoughts. I will happily... You can be anonymous, you can be whatever, but if you wanna share with us anything you're going through, we are here for you and... 'Cause literally I almost caught myself or I caught myself earlier saying... About to say, "Sorry for going into this." And I was like, no, I'm not gonna apologize. This is something that happens to people in the world and thus it is something that is worth talking about, and it's real.
0:11:54.8 MH: It's very real and that's what we're all about, real conversations and we're here for you. And yeah, if you need someone to talk to, you can reach out to Megan or me.
0:12:04.3 MO: Yeah. Reach out to us. We're here for you.
0:12:07.1 MH: We're here for you. Well, you know who... So actually I'm just gonna go into introducing our guest because we've already taken some of your time with our conversation.
0:12:18.6 MO: And what a segue, honestly, our whole conversation today.
0:12:20.9 MH: So we... I know I say this a lot, but I really had a great conversation with Brooke Bartholomay Quinn. She's the Chief Customer Officer at Carrot Fertility, which is really the leading global fertility healthcare company. They want to make fertility care accessible and affordable to everyone regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, geography. They work with companies as a benefit, as part of their benefits platforms. And they're doing some really interesting stuff that's... When we talk about fertility, we sometimes think about things like this, like birth control or IVF or egg freezing, but they're also doing a lot more than that. They're talking about menopause, they're talking about how it affects men as well. And my eyes were open to a lot of this and Brooke and I did have an incredibly interesting conversation about what they're doing, about the state of things in the corporate world and offerings, but also we got a little into our own personal child-free experiences. So if you're child-free, you might be interested in hearing this. And so I hope you enjoy this conversation with Brooke as much as I do.
0:13:54.1 MH: Very excited to be here with Brooke Quinn. Hi, Brooke. How are you?
0:13:58.2 Brooke Bartholomay Quinn: Hi. Thanks so much for having me.
0:14:01.6 MH: I have been looking forward to this conversation. I know you've been at Carrot Fertility for around two years now. You're the chief customer officer. Can you tell me before we get into a lot of what I wanna talk about, which is what you're doing at Carrot and what challenges you're helping women face by working with their companies, tell me a little bit about your story. I always like kind of getting to know you and how you got to where you are today.
0:14:33.1 MO: So as you indicated, I am the Chief Customer Officer at Carrot Fertility and I really have spent the lion share of my career in the healthcare space with a couple of different angles, but always centered on healthcare and technology and the intersection of both. And so directly out of school, I took my first job with one of the big six firms, which was doing benefits outsourcing at the time and it was new to the market and new to the industry. So I had this amazing opportunity right out of college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers and support Fortune 500 companies in their health and welfare to find benefit and to find contribution benefit administration. So really, really looked at the first couple of years of my career as this amazing launchpad to learn an industry that has now transcended over 25 plus years in my career. And I would say in those 25 years, I've been incredibly fortunate to work for some really innovative companies and be a part of organizations that are high-growth and really leading the industry from an innovation perspective. And so the opportunity to join Carrot Fertility, a company that is squarely focused on women plus and helping people in their fertility care journeys was a no-brainer for me. And it was also a plus having the opportunity to work for a female founder of which this is the first company that I've had that opportunity.
0:16:19.5 MH: So a few things. I love that you use women plus. We use that too. I think it's so important to continue to have that inclusivity.
0:16:28.1 BQ: Absolutely.
0:16:29.2 MH: And how has it been different for you working for a woman founder?
0:16:34.9 BQ: I don't know that it's been different, but the level of inspiration that I see and I receive across our leadership team is amazing. And on a personal level, I have really devoted my community involvement and a lot of my free time to organizations that are focused on giving a voice to women, providing opportunities for young girls to develop leadership skills. And I walk the walk, I talk the talk and I'm excited that I'm now working for a female founder that saw a real opportunity in the healthcare segment based on a personal experience and really use that as an opportunity to launch Carrot fertility and provide this amazing benefit to millions of members.
0:17:26.1 MH: And so with your career trajectory, and like you said, you were very... You've been focused on the benefits industry and the healthcare... Kind of intersection of healthcare technology and benefits. How are you seeing things change? I feel like, and correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I read and what I'm looking at our clients and research, there's definitely been a shift in companies thinking about benefits in a more holistic, almost well-being approach in the last few years, which I hope continues because I don't necessarily know that's fully there yet. But what would you say is kind of, from your perspective, the changes that are happening in that industry?
0:18:11.3 BQ: It's a great question and some of the stats surrounding fertility care are rather staggering. More than 80% of people that undergo fertility treatments have little to no insurance coverage and end up spending thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. And so when you think about traditional benefits, 10 years ago, most people received mental and physical health benefits through their employers, and that is inclusive of dental and vision, but fertility care was often not covered even though it's a critical healthcare need. And so I see this conversation becoming normalized from a benefit strategy perspective. And I also think employees are advocating for what they need and they understand that this is an area of benefits that has to be focused on. And I think it's evident that the need is there and that companies are starting to listen.
0:19:09.0 BQ: In the last year, we alone at Carrot have had significant growth. We've doubled our customer base in the last year alone to more than 800 companies offering fertility healthcare, covering millions of lives across our platform and servicing members in more than a 120 countries. And so it's not just US-based organizations. It's organizations that want to provide an inclusive benefit on a worldwide perspective.
0:19:43.0 MH: And I would argue, like you're saying, healthcare... Physical health and mental health and dental care, all that was covered. I think fertility care also probably has a pretty big link on mental health care.
0:19:58.6 BQ: Absolutely. It absolutely does have a link. And what I would say is when I think about our offering at Carrot and we talk about inclusivity, it's not just inclusivity of the members that we cover from gender, marital, geographic, financial, marital status, etcetera. It's also providing a holistic care for that member, and that absolutely includes emotional support. We know that some of these treatments and fertility healthcare, whether it be IUI, IVF, adoption, surrogacy, preservation, some of these journeys are incredibly taxing from an emotional perspective, and so making sure that we are caring for that member holistically is really important from an overall care navigation perspective.
0:20:51.6 MH: Yeah, yeah. I could see that and how it has to be linked and has to be covered in, like you said, a holistic way. And speaking about not just fertility though, although that is what you, Carrot Fertility, focus is on, but I know you've written on menopause and the lack of awareness and care and thought that comes into menopause when half of the population is gonna go through it.
0:21:22.4 BQ: Yep. That's absolutely true. Yeah, I recently wrote an op-ed and it was a very personal op-ed, and it really talked about some of the challenges that I have faced within the healthcare industry, specifically around menopause, but I think if I'm being candid, it really starts with the first issue being that I am in a demographic that is child-free. I have never given birth to a child, and so right off the bat, I have always felt that my healthcare was not prioritized, especially from an OB-GYN perspective. So then to add menopause on as a condition that every woman will go through at some point in their life, and many women face perimenopause. The age in which menopause symptoms begin really varies. And I will tell you on a personal level, it was about a two to three-year struggle in trying to identify providers to get answers on how to treat some of the common symptoms related to menopause, and I ended up going outside of the healthcare system and ended up paying out-of-pocket with a clinic that actually listened and really helped assess the need from a blood work perspective.
0:22:45.5 BQ: That really sat down and had a conversation about the impacts that I was facing and how to really put an access to care plan in place. And so I am thrilled that Carrot Fertility launched just on one-one a menopause and low T offering, because it's also not just menopause. It's also males facing low testosterone and the impact on that. And again, talk about having an emotional impact. Both of those conditions certainly have an emotional toll on both males and females. And so we launched this offering in January, and we're continuing to expand that offering because we see it as an opportunity to destigmatize the conversation around menopause and low T because it's really not talked about. And it needs to become normalized from a benefit strategy perspective, but also just in conversations about what employees are going through from a healthcare perspective.
0:23:47.9 MH: So this is... There're so many things I wanna say. This is so interesting because I've heard... Obviously, I run a women's networking group. We are extremely diverse in age and region and everything, so I do hear the conversation about menopause, and I would say I'm probably part of the minority around the world that actually hears these concerns and we try to bring them to the forefront. In fact, last year, part of our conversations around new places of work or the new world of work included the consideration of treatment and care for menopause, but I hadn't thought about the low T part. And now that you just mentioned it, you really did give me a moment of, ah. Talk about me ignoring a portion of the population.
0:24:41.5 BQ: Well, and it's interesting. Not even just on low T, I think most people are shocked with this number, but 40% of the members that are on Carrot Fertility's platform and receiving fertility care are male, 40%.
0:24:56.5 MH: Wow.
0:24:58.9 BQ: That's a really high number. And so it is...
0:25:00.6 MH: I would have never guessed.
0:25:02.8 BQ: I know. And I think part of that also, I mean, think about the burden that that places on women. When people talk about infertility diagnosis, the first thing that comes to people's mind is, "Oh, that's so sad for the woman." Well, the male plays a part in that equation as well. And again, it's a conversation that has to become normalized, and part of that is making sure that our offering is inclusive of testing for both male and female, and that we're identifying infertility for both genders, because again, it is prevalent.
0:25:41.6 MH: Yeah, absolutely. And I'm gonna go back to particularly menopause because I did find this statistic that you put in your op-ed quite staggering. I mean, one in five women have considered leaving their job or retiring early due to a lack of support during their menopausal years. One in five, that's a really big percentage.
0:26:07.0 BQ: Well, and think about typically professional women that are at a menopausal age. Lot of times those women are in senior leadership positions. So think about the toll that that takes on an organization from a talent perspective, from a productivity perspective. And I think part of the problem is that you see that number of one in five because it's easier for a woman to walk away than to have that incredibly uncomfortable conversation, and that's what we need to change. We need to change the fact that women aren't comfortable having the conversation, but we also need to provide access to care, and that's identification of providers that specialize in menopause treatment. That's access to information.
0:27:00.8 MH: Why do you think... It is that women do that or think about leaving because they don't wanna have the conversation, because it is an extremely uncomfortable conversation, but is that because when you think about the decision makers, the higher echelons, the people in leadership, I sometimes get to wondering, it's because they are not dealing with this issue. They are not going through it. And yet, if the women who are in senior leaderships who are going through this leave, then how do we change and become a more inclusive place where the conversation gets normalized? So how do we go about starting to normalize that conversation, I guess is what I'm saying?
0:27:45.0 BQ: I think we're starting. I think the reason it's one in five is because there's still shame and embarrassment associated with that discussion. And I'm incredibly encouraged with the fact that over the last year when we made the decision to bring menopause and low T as part of our product and service offering, we went out to our entire existing customer base and we provided tremendous education. And we talked about the why behind offering this and the importance and the ROI to each organization from an overall inclusivity, production, etcetera. And we had more than a 90% opt-in rate across our existing customer base to now offer menopause and low T. That's phenomenal. And what that tells me is that organizations are beginning to understand the importance of providing access to care around menopause and low T, and I think that trend will continue.
0:28:48.8 MH: So I wanna circle back to something you mentioned before, because I really identified with it. And I think similar to talking about menopause and that conversation not being that open, this is a conversation that's also not as discussed, which is the being child-free. And you said you as someone who is child-free, who has never had a child, you didn't feel your healthcare needs were necessarily put at the forefront. And I would agree with that myself. I also don't... I'm also child-free. And just going candidly into my history, a couple of years ago, last year, two years ago, I was looking into preservation and similarly, it wasn't covered by healthcare at the company.
0:29:43.9 MH: And I've been at Ellevate, and I was at Ellevate, and you would have thought this is the type of benefit that we would have, but we use a PEO and our PEOs don't even include that in any way, shape, or form. As much as I went and created a fuss about it, there's nothing about it included as benefits provided, and yet IVF and other sorts of family planning and family care are provided. So I don't know. It made me think, why? Why do you think this is the case? And how do we change also having this conversation for care for people who might have different needs? Not necessarily because they want to have a family right now, or ever really, but how do we open up that conversation and make sure that we aren't overlooking women plus who might not be looking for the same normal family arrangement as others?
0:30:53.0 BQ: This is a really big conversation within Carrot Fertility right now and really working to understand how do we create access to care for those that fit in this scenario me being one of them. And on a personal level, the reason that I have always felt that my healthcare was deprioritized, the example I give is if I were to call an OB-GYN office for an appointment, the first two questions, are you pregnant? No. Are you trying to get pregnant? No. And typically the scheduled availability for that appointment is six months out.
0:31:35.8 MH: Oh yeah, I completely identify with this.
0:31:38.7 BQ: But I can tell you that if my answer had been yes to either of those questions, I would have been prioritized. And I think there's been a sprinkling of discussions out there around this topic, and I think it's starting to get normalized a little bit. Not to get too hokey, but I just read an article. It was an interview with Chelsea Handler, who is also child-free and she has this new program, I think, on HBO Max, and it's a comedy show, but it actually really resonated with me because her overall sentiment was it's okay to be child-free. There's nothing wrong with you if you choose to be child-free. And that's the conversation, number one, that we have to make okay and we have to make people comfortable with it. But I think also we have to be able to find a way to prioritize reproductive healthcare for those that choose to be child-free. My reproductive and fertility care is just as important as other people's, and it's just as important for mine to be prioritized from an overall well-being perspective. And so I think we will continue to dive into that as an organization, and I think there will be more to share on that in the future.
0:33:04.4 MH: Well, I appreciate that you brought it up, and I appreciate that you are so open and honest with that, because it's super refreshing, for sure, to hear someone say it. And I talk about this too in the context of workplace culture and workplace practices, which is where I... My sphere on the fact that it is a challenge sometimes being child-free and feeling like your time is less valuable or...
0:33:38.1 BQ: Yes. There's a different expectation, I feel.
0:33:40.9 MH: Exactly, exactly. And that it's an interesting conversation that I hope continues to... Not continues. Starts being more prevalent. It's like this unseen... Someone called it... I was talking to someone. I was having breakfast with another person, who's also child-free. She's several decades older than I am and incredible, and she was saying it's like we are an unseen demographic.
0:34:12.9 BQ: Yes.
0:34:13.0 MH: And it really rang true. And I had thought about it on the workplace aspect. I had never thought about it in the healthcare aspect, so thank you for that.
0:34:22.8 BQ: Absolutely.
0:34:23.9 MH: So what are you up to at Carrot Fertility? Anything you wanna share about what's next? I've seen a lot. I do follow a lot of what you do online 'cause I do think it's a fresh take on the benefits and fertility discussion. So I really appreciate it. I actually think I reached out to your CEO for one of our summits and just wanted to hear what's up, what's coming up next? What are you excited about?
0:34:51.8 BQ: Yeah, I think we just recently went through a little bit of a brand redesign, and part of it is centered around the fact that we are the leading global fertility care platform for women plus. And the reason it's women plus is when you think about it, women are often at the center of fertility care decisions and consequences. It's what we talked about earlier. Although 40% of the members on the Carrot platform are male, it's usually women who are at that intersection. And it's also making sure that we're covering people of every age, race, income, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, geography, financial, and it's really pulling into that fully inclusive offering from a product and service perspective. And I'm excited with the expansion around menopause and low T. I'm really excited about how we are going out to market and really making this fully inclusive. And so I think the next year, you will see some really exciting things coming to market from Carrot Fertility, and I'm just really humbled and proud to be a part of it.
0:36:03.8 MH: I wanted to ask something around the fact that Roe v. Wade anniversary was just a couple days ago, or supposed to be. And a little bit around your point or stance, or what do you think from the aspect of working with fertility and that health... Fertility care and that healthcare aspect about what's going on, particularly in the US when it comes to reproductive rights?
0:36:35.9 BQ: Sure. When there was a leak of the opinion in the last year, obviously that was a very scary moment for reproductive health across our nation. And the Carrot Fertility team very quickly came together to assess what we needed to do to show up for our members and show up for our customers. And as a result, we very quickly implemented a travel benefit that our customers can offer for members of theirs that are in states where it is illegal to have an abortion and requires them to travel to a state where it is permissible. And again, another really proud moment because I believe that was the right offering to come to ensure our members and our customers have the support model they need. And I think the conversation is frightening. It's threatening to women, and I'm hopeful that we will continue to see change. I am involved in a lot of organizations specifically focused around abortion rights, and this is a topic that has to continue to stay at the forefront until we see a change at the Supreme Court level.
0:38:06.0 MH: Thank you, Brooke. I really appreciate that, and I'm glad that that's been added into your offering. I think it's an incredible... It's an important part to include in benefits for corporations, and it's more than that the fact that you continue to, in your personal life and in your kind of other endeavors, support... We definitely need to see this change at a Supreme Court level. We definitely need to see this change happening, not just at the grassroots level, or at the corporation level, but we need to see it fully come from above.
0:38:48.3 BQ: Agreed.
0:38:50.4 MH: Okay. So to end our interview, we always go into a short little lightning round. So most used app on your phone.
0:39:01.6 BQ: Spotify. I am a podcast junky and listen to them most mornings during my workout.
0:39:09.4 MH: That's great. Favorite recent read.
0:39:15.4 BQ: Favorite recent read. "More Than Words." It was a book written by a former employee of mine about sexual harassment.
0:39:28.2 MH: Oh, wow. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
0:39:31.1 BQ: Mind reading. I think it'd be really beneficial both personally and professionally.
0:39:36.7 MH: I don't know. I've heard people say that, and I'm one of those who I don't know if I wanna know what other people are thinking.
0:39:44.2 BQ: It could be dangerous too, because you could hear something that you don't wanna hear.
0:39:50.6 MH: Yeah, it would scare me. If your house caught on fire, what's the first object you would run to save?
0:39:58.7 BQ: Definitely my eight-year-old English Bulldog. Her name is Violet May, and she would not be running from anything. So she would need saving.
0:40:09.0 MH: Aw, her little legs.
0:40:14.2 MH: And finally, what's one thought you'd want to leave with our listeners?
0:40:20.7 BQ: I would say I have a lot of conversations with women that are at certain crosswords in their career, and a lot of times the conversation's around, "Well, I think I should ask for this as a raise, or I'm negotiating this in a salary for a new job, and I don't think I can ask for that," and often my answer is, "Well, what's the worst you're going to hear? No" And I think the message for me, and it's something that I've not always been great about personally, but I've gotten a lot better, especially over the last 10 years, I think you have to be an advocate for yourself and you have to always ask for what you deserve, and what you want.
0:41:06.6 MH: Well, that's a great... That's a really great parting thought, and I think we absolutely need to get better, and I include myself in that. We tend to, I think, as women have a little bit of a harder time with that.
0:41:19.5 BQ: I would agree. And I'd love to see us as women continue to change, change that discussion.
0:41:28.8 MH: Absolutely. Thank you, Brooke. This has been great.
0:41:31.3 BQ: Absolutely. It was so great to meet you. Thank you so much for your time.
0:41:44.0 MH: And we're back. Brooke is great.
0:41:47.0 MO: Brooke is great, and that was so good, and I promise we did not plan that whole conversation about birth control and fertility before this. It just happened completely naturally. And I was already thinking about talking about it, 'cause it was... It's just been my world this week, and then I was like, "Oh, my God," and look who our podcast guest is this week, and so it all just kind of came together perfectly.
0:42:09.6 MH: It comes together. Sometimes that's how the world works.
0:42:14.4 MO: It is.
0:42:16.5 MH: So Megan, what's happening at Ellevate this week?
0:42:18.4 MO: At Ellevate this week, we have several different roundtables going on at the big Ellevate Roundtable on Thursday. You can learn how to be the trustworthy manager you wish you had. At the Entrepreneurs Roundtable, they're doing a virtual networking Ellevated event also on Thursday, and then next Tuesday at the Executive Roundtable, they're gonna be talking about tapping into the power of your network, so lots of networking events. That's kind of what we do at Ellevate Network, not a surprise.
0:42:47.8 MH: Yeah. And come to the Executive Roundtable. I'll be there if you wanna hang out with me.
0:42:53.5 MO: Yes, yes, please. 'Cause you see, Maricella, every once in a while, we have somebody in an event who's like, "Oh, I'm really excited. I was at your breakout room, 'cause I listen to the podcast." And we're like, "Yeah." And then our community circles, amazing spaces. As of while we're filming this, I just did the LGBTQ one yesterday. Absolutely amazing, amazing conversation with people. Always an amazing conversation. The ones that we have coming up on Wednesday are the Parents and Caregivers Community Circle, and then next Tuesday we have two of them, our 40 Plus Professionals and Black Women Plus Community Circles.
0:43:24.1 MH: And remember, community circles are a space for you to come and be yourself and talk to people who have similar experiences to you. We are always looking to grow and expand those, so if you're looking for something, or some... A group to talk to, let us know.
0:43:41.1 MO: Yeah. And they're completely intersectional, so if you identify as both a parent and a caregiver and a Black women plus, you can absolutely go to both. We certainly do not gatekeep that. You are welcome to attend, and then they're also... I've gotten this question before. They are never, ever, ever, ever, ever recorded. Everything you say in them is confidential, and it's just a very good conversation. And speaking of very good conversations, we have a few different in-person events coming up this week. On Saturday, our Pittsburg Chapter is going to be doing a Volunteer At the Coldest Night of the Year Walk, which sounds crazy to me, but good for them. Oof! That sounds cold. [chuckle] Our San Francisco Chapter is gonna be doing a Happy Hour next Tuesday, and then also next Tuesday, our Dubai Chapter is gonna be doing their March Rise and Shine Networking Event.
0:44:38.2 MH: Lots of stuff going on at Ellevate as always. So check them out. It's a great community to be a part of. I know I'm biased and I say this all the time, but it's true, it really is.
0:44:52.0 MO: Yeah.
0:44:53.8 MH: So as per usual, let's celebrate some history making. We have a few first this time around.
0:45:06.5 MO: Do you wanna go first, Maricella?
0:45:08.6 MH: Sure, sure. This one's pretty exciting. [laughter]
0:45:10.7 MO: I know. And oh, my gosh, you wanna talk about also appropriate for our guest today.
0:45:17.1 MH: I know it's true, I never thought about that.
0:45:17.9 MO: Again, I did not... This is genuine. I did not plan this. I literally just thought of that right now.
0:45:22.4 MH: Well, very appropriate for our conversation today, and very exciting first. Amanda Cappelletti will become the first state senator to give birth in office. My mind is blown, and it's more... It's even more blown when you think that she joins just 5% of state lawmakers nationwide who are mothers of kids.
0:45:53.2 MO: It's so baffling. So I obviously share these on our social media, I share these on the podcast, but every once in a while, one will so blow my mind that I will need to share it in our Slack channel. And so I shared this one, and our people were freaking out because when we say, mothers of kids, we mean mothers of kids under 18, not like five or eight. Only 5% of state lawmakers nationwide are mothers of kids under the age of 18. So you wanna talk about something that we need to have more people representing us in.
0:46:33.1 MH: Absolutely. And again, we go back. We keep thinking about the caregiving crisis, and this is one of the topics we'll talk about mobilize women and which is our yearly Summit, June 7th. Sign up, Ellevate Network Mobilize Women. But this is why, right, the lack of representation of these people. This is why.
0:46:54.6 MO: Yeah, 100% is... And it's just... If you saw our Slack channel, the trail of comments is just 5% under 18. Like what? And I was like, "I cannot with that statistic." Ooh, but, moving on to our next history maker, Laura Sanko became the first woman in UFC's modern era to provide color commentary.
0:47:24.6 MH: Kim Hayes became the first woman elected Deputy Mayor of Upper Township, New Jersey.
0:47:32.4 MO: Ronnie Gajownik became the first woman to manage at the High A level in baseball.
0:47:34.9 MH: Sally Azar became the first woman pastor ordained in the Holy Land.
0:47:42.0 MO: And we have a bunch of Super Bowl firsts. Can you hear that siren in the background?
0:47:49.1 MH: Oh, yes, we can. You clearly are in New York City.
0:47:52.3 MO: Yes, I'm sorry to anybody who's hearing that siren in the background. They don't apparently know that a podcast is being filmed here, but [laughter] yeah, I'm definitely in New York. So they just wanted to celebrate the Super Bowl first with me. So we had a bunch of Super Bowl firsts happen at the Super Bowl that literally just happened this past weekend when as of filming. Nicole Lynn became the first Black woman to represent a player in the Super Bowl, Autumn Lockwood became the first Black woman to coach in a Super Bowl, Donna Kelce became the first mother to have two sons play against each other in the Super Bowl. That was really actually very cool. She sat next to Roger Goodell, who's the head of the NFL, 'cause he was like, "That's just cool. You get to sit next to me with your like... " She had two Jerseys stitched together for both of her sons. And then if you saw the pregame, Arielle Ash, Saree Moreno, Naomi Ngalle, Caitie Perkowski, Margaret Dente, Lyndsay Evans and Suzelle Thomas became the first all-female team of US Navy aviators to conduct the pregame flyover.
0:49:01.8 MH: These are all amazing, but you also can say that Rihanna has been the first pregnant Super Bowl Halftime Show.
0:49:14.1 MO: Okay. Yes, we didn't even talk. We were so busy talking about our... Also pregnancy. Why is everything fitting together with the guest today? We didn't even talk about Rihanna's Super Bowl Halftime Show in which she just absolutely killed it. She was so good. She hasn't performed in like seven years, and she just casually went up there, and did like 15 songs.
0:49:38.9 MH: With a baby bump.
0:49:41.7 MO: With a baby bump, dancing, not even... Making it look effortless, and I was just like, alright, RiRi wins. RiRi won... Nobody wins the Super... I know the Chiefs won, but RiRi won the Super Bowl.
0:49:52.4 MH: Oh, absolutely. And you know what I was reading about... Speaking about firsts in the Super Bowl, I was reading this, not women related, but this was the first Super Bowl in history where both quarterbacks were Black.
0:50:10.2 MO: I did hear that, I did hear that as well. That was such a cool statistic, and they had Doug Williams there who was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, who won it for the Washington Football Team back before it was called the Washington Football Team, which is my... My whole family's from DC, so that's always been our team, but we'll just say Washington Football Team for now. But he won it and first of all, he won it with aplomb. My dad tells that story all the time of he was watching with his dad, and his dad turned to him and just said, "Son, they're scoring like a basketball team," 'cause it was just... They got five touchdowns in one quarter. It was out of control.
0:51:07.3 MH: Amazing. Well, this has been a pretty interesting episode. Next week we'll be talking with Sushil Cheema. She is a big supporter of Ellevate, a executive coach. We talked a lot about actually the coaching journey and how she became a coach, why she became a coach, and lots of advice if you're ever thinking about either hiring a coach, or becoming a coach yourself. So it was an interesting conversation. She's going to be the host actually of next week's roundtable, Practicing Intentional Delegation. So if you want to meet her in person... Well, virtually, but live, join the roundtable too, and we'll see you next week.
0:51:49.9 MO: See you next week.
0:51:54.5 MH: Join an exceptional peer group to sharpen your leadership skills and advance your career. Harvard Business School Executive Education now offers in-person and virtual programs. Learn more at hbs.me/go. That's hbs.me/go.
0:52:13.5 MO: Thanks so much for listening to the Ellevate Podcast. If you like what you hear, you can subscribe, give us five stars and share your review. You can learn all about Ellevate membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, www.ellevatenetwork.com. That's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network.com, And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller. She rocks. Thanks so much and join us next week.
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