To celebrate this year’s Women’s Equality Day, we paired one of our rising female employees with our founder and CEO, Naama Stauber Breckler, for an interview. Naama is a four-time healthcare entrepreneur and the leader of Better Health, a digital care solution that modernizes the process of discovering, choosing, and receiving medical supplies bundled with ongoing peer support.
Read on to uncover the story of Naama’s past and how her present is shaping the future of Better Health.
August Solone: Naama, is there a woman in your life who inspires you, in either your life personally or someone you look up to in the world?
Naama Stauber Breckler: There are many women that I have deep respect and admiration for in my life, but I can definitely say that the one that impacted me the most in terms of how I think about my mission in the world is my grandma. She was a Holocaust survivor. She lost her entire family but she never stopped believing in the goodness of humans, even after everything she went through. She risked her life to smuggle food into the ghetto and saved the lives of many people.
Throughout the years we heard more and more stories, and even as a kid I thought about everything that she had been through, everything that she lost, and yet how she still felt like she wanted to help others, and was willing to risk everything to do so. It made me feel so fortunate in life and I realized I have an obligation to pass it forward and do something meaningful to help others.
We all have an obligation to do something meaningful and greater with our lives that can help people who don’t have the same circumstances. There’s a saying: “A healthy person has a thousand dreams. A sick person only has one.” We have such an opportunity to impact the lives of people and help them get to a place where they can have a thousand dreams again because their health is better.
August: What do you think about Better Health and how it functions in terms of gender equality?
Naama: I think representation matters so much. When I was in the military as a software engineer, engineering classes had traditionally been 70% men and 30% women. We were the first class to have a reverse ratio of 70% women and 30% men.
When I was assigned to my unit, I was also very lucky to have a direct manager who was a woman, my mentor on my team was a female software engineer, and the Lieutenant Colonel was a woman too, which is also very rare. I think it would have been different if everyone were male. Maybe I wouldn’t have had the same perspective or I wouldn’t think I was able to get as far as I got. But seeing women in these positions made me feel anything is possible.
Representation matters so much because when you see someone succeed who has similarities to you — race, gender, or other identity — you get a vision for what you could develop into.
At Better Health, when it comes to women’s equality, we have representation at every level. I’m an immigrant to the US and running the company as CEO. Our Head of Marketing is a woman. Nearly 60% of people in our company are women.
August: Have you faced any barriers to your success?
Naama: Women should be conscious when they are in an elevated position and should advocate for other female founders.
When I was fundraising for Better Health, I really wanted to have female investors, however it was really hard to find. At first, I felt like it was somehow harder for me to raise capital from women than it was from men, but we now have a phenomenal female investor on our board. When your investors are more diverse they bring different experiences and perspectives to the table based on their lived experiences.
August: Do you have any advice for females early in their career?
Naama: My advice is not to be afraid to push back. So many times in my life, amazing things have happened just because I didn’t take no for an answer.
I believe that if something can be great, we should totally fight for it. I even practice this with hiring employees who I really want to join the team. If I think you’re going to do extremely well here, then I think that we should work together and figure out what we can do to make it happen.
Everything with great potential deserves to be pushed back on at least once if you encounter a barrier at first. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? If you tell someone exactly where you stand, you’ll never have the regret of ‘what if’ in life. I think this is true in both professional and personal life.
August: Is there any type of parenting you do with your daughters to instill these values?
Naama: For my daughters and my son equally, the thing that’s really important for me is that they be good people, and that they know that it’s not just about them in the world. I focus on how they should always think about how their actions impact others and how they can channel their impact towards a better place.
This starts with even very small interactions. In my family, we celebrate Hanukkah. There is one candle whose purpose is to light the other candles. I want them to be like that, spreading their light and sharing it with others. One small act of kindness can spread so much light. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose thing that you do. I tell them that it can be letting someone borrow their pencil, or helping a friend in the playground, or sharing a kind word with someone that makes a big difference.
I think it is also crucial to have a learner’s mindset. To achieve great things, it takes a lot of hard work. It may not work the first time, but that does not mean you should give up. If you want to learn how to play an instrument, learn a sport, or become good at math, you need to invest time and energy. That investment is part of the journey and the process. Having a growth mindset is what I have my kids work on every day. It’s something we all can do ourselves, too.