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JoLynn Henke

JoLynn Henke

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I’m a daughter, sister, auntie, wife and dog mom with a passion for discovery. As of June 2019, I am focused on experiencing what it takes to become a viable business owner in a crowded industry. My business partner, Peter Clarkson, and I are in the nascent stages of launching Protéger, a gender-inclusive skincare company grounded in pure ingredients and cruelty free processes. Before this venture, I spent six years partnering with health systems to reduce variability in clinical practice within Obstetrics and Emergency Medicine departments. Most of my career has been centered around Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses in healthcare and now my life has shifted to manufactured consumer goods in skincare. The discovery continues!

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

Women inspire me. I moved to Philadelphia knowing few people, working remotely, with a desire to connect with a diverse group of professionally-driven women with and from whom I can learn and grow. Ellevate’s network helped me normalize women entrepreneurs and business owners. I perceived starting a business as more attainable when I surrounded myself by tenacious, independent women who I viewed as trusted advisors. Their willingness to candidly share their successes and challenges helped me feel supported in my new journey.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

After graduate school, I started working in a full-time capacity for the first time at the age of 24. My confidence as a young professional was fragile because of my lack of experience. I wanted to prove that I was worth the risk of hire. For my first annual performance review, I received the highest score across the 55-person company.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

The gender investment gap persists, which means Venture Capital funding continues to be a challenge for women entrepreneurs in the US. According to PitchBook Reports, only 10% of the $130 billion dollars invested in 2018 went to teams with at least one female founder and 2% for exclusively female founders.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

One of the largest health systems in the country opted to partner with my former company to reduce brachial plexus injuries in the labor and delivery process. In the first year post-implementation, our shoulder dystocia program for nurses and providers reduced their brachial plexus injury rate by 34%. I’m proud of this work because it had a direct and tangible impact on improving the lives of newborns.

Who are your role models?

First and foremost, my mother and sister. The list is ever-growing, and my most recent addition includes Alysia Moñtano, an Olympic runner who publicly castigated sponsors like Nike for not supporting maternity leave.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

My personal superpower is actively listening to strangers. People want to feel heard and I want to understand, which is why I often find myself in deep conversations, at unexpected times, with transient friends.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Yes, and after many tireless years, my no-fail tactic was to resign. I worked at a mission-driven organization, that was recently acquired, and my work-life balance became as healthy as my husband’s when he was in his medical residency. I applied every tactic I knew about how to maximize productivity through online tools, a career coach, hiring a dog walker to save time even though I worked remotely, practicing the two-letter word “no,” the Pomodoro technique, etc. My worst-case scenario, resigning, ended up being my best.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Be an adult by making your own career choices, regardless of what others think. The most recent piece of “professional advice” I was given was from a man on the Amtrak who told me to “always wear high heels.” The advice before that was from my career coach who told me to “never quit a job unless you have another offer on the table.” I did not listen to either and am in a better place for it.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Try power posing (described in Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk and her book Presence). You’re already a superhero, might as well stand like one.


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