When we talk about equity as it relates to women’s empowerment these days, it’s often in the context of DEI committees and abstract steps. In this piece, I’m excited to share my conversations with two women driving change with equity in the form of real dollars and decisions. April Koh is the co-founder of Spring Health, a mental health platform and a unicorn twice over, which counts itself among the female-led startups that claimed 2.3% of all startup funds in 2020. Ita Ekpoudom is a partner at GingerBread Capital, a venture capital firm that invested in Spring Health.

Koh and Ekpoudom are movers and shakers in the healthtech space, playing complementary roles that keep this ecosystem running strong. I met with these two powerhouses separately to ask some shared questions about what it’s like to be a leader in healthtech. I chatted with April over Zoom at 5:30 PM on a Friday while she was eating Hi-Chew and wearing a black oversized Foie gras t-shirt. Ita Zoomed in from her home office just after jury duty. I’m grateful to both of them for taking the time out of their hectic schedules to share some insights with me and you.

What are your greatest leadership skills?

April: I have intense curiosity, which includes knowing the details of my organizations and also macrotrends related to the healthtech industry. I’m a good writer, and I lean into written communication such as emails and memos to make sure that everyone on my team stays on the same page.

Most of all, I value integrity. I like to set a high standard of values for myself and for the entire company.

Ita: One of the things I think a lot about is how to be an empathic leader. My greatest strength is my ability to bring different parties together, find common ground, and move people ahead. I think this is rooted in knowing what it is like to be an “other” in the room, as both a Black person and as a woman. I know what it is like to not feel seen or heard.

How do you promote underrepresented…

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