We are seeing rapid growth in entrepreneurship in the past decades and in the last few years, many women have entered the club. Till now women have restricted themselves to Petty household business and cottage industries. But things are definitely changing, and changing at a very fast pace of favorable socio-economic environment is also helping to unbox the hidden entrepreneurial talents among women.
Dr. Crystal Variava is a reputed doctor from the US-based in Mumbai. She is the founder and CEO of True and Trusted Leadership in healthcare. She had received her doctorate in audiology from the University of Pittsburgh with honorary distinction in clinical academic and research science. A great mark in her life was when she was awarded for her excellence in patient-centered care, serving in one of the cape America's Elite better healthcare. She's an international speaker, also an educator who tries on creating impact.
Contribution as a healthcare entrepreneur
Dr. Crystal Variava says, “ As an entrepreneur, I kind of still laugh when I hear that title would have asked me about two decades ago when I was studying for my doctorate. My goal in life was to go into a well-reputed hospital, effectively work with patients using evidence-based practice, you know, get the good feels of doing good work, and call it a day.
And I'm very proud to say I did that at a very early age, I would see my career. And working clinically, I felt an immense period of stagnation, which pushed me into more challenging roles. So my journey towards entrepreneurship didn't happen overnight.
From a clinical role, I had the opportunity to actually move to India, and work with the corporate outfit. And I was working for about three years with healthcare providers all across the country, understanding how to imbibe professional services to grow business, reputedly ethically, looking at the patient's focus.
And over those three years, I realized that the stories that these doctors were telling me, all echoed kind of the same challenges. And these were unfortunate, not the challenges I had been hired to do as a corporate director.
But it was something that moved me enough that I felt I had to resign to start my own company, which was True & Trusted Leadership in healthcare. So entrepreneurship, I don't think I ever grew up and went to school thinking I wanted to become one, I have a family of them. But it actually was my calling. It came to me more than me running to it. So I would love to say that, when I resigned from Sonova, I opened my company up overnight, that did not happen. It took me about three good years to really make sure that I had my pulse on the market and to make sure that I was going to bring solutions as an entrepreneur, that would be sustainable. So my journey is not as direct maybe as others. But I found my way here and I'm very happy sitting here now.”
Services and Product Offering from True & Trusted Leadership in Healthcare
Dr. Crystal Variava informs, “It's been eight years now since I've been living in Mumbai. So I'm here I'm settled here, my kids were born here, my family's here, my life is here. And over the years, I've had the privilege, I would say, to sit with doctors and look at their business and look at their professional services, and try to make growth for them. And I started noticing these themes where doctors have been very challenged by the patient's behavior because that's changed in the last 10 years quite drastically.
No patients have direct access to the internet, they are more informed consumers. And what I was seeing was that doctors were just being very challenged. And they're great at their expertise. They have phenomenal skills, all the credentials are there behind them. But still, they're not able to convince the patient into better health.
Patients walk in with their guards up. Always worry about what is going to be recommended. What the building is going to look like? Do I really need this treatment and the doctor shop around?
So I could see both sides. Because I've also been a patient in India. I've also walked into, a consultation room and I just feel oh my gosh, maybe I do need to go somewhere else. And at the same time I sit, you know, side by side with these doctors and I understand where their hearts coming from. But the skills have now evolved to deal with this new market.
So I stepped away and went back to study. Is there evidence is there true evidence that can show we can move patients into actually wanting becoming motivated for the treatment, and not feel like we have to convince them and massage this idea.
So it took me three years to really be sure that yes, in fact, there there is a way to do it. And it took me about a year and a half to make the system. So now we empower providers with all these evidence-based skill sets. That really, we have broken down across the patient journey. And it just gives providers this feeling of confidence and direction, transparency, and it helps them build, I would say this, this feeling of trustworthiness, which is really required to get patients on board with anything. And we do it through an evidence-based approach. So that's what true and trusted leader in healthcare is really all about.”
Collaboration with healthcare professionals and doctors
Dr. Crystal Variava states, “We've onboarded a large oncology hospital and has multiple sites in Maharashtra. And so we are working directly with the doctors on building their self-awareness, giving them all these evidence-based tools to use, they're really all communication frameworks. And we look at the psychology of the patient, to understand that when a patient arrives an appointment, what is it that we actually can say or do to alleviate the anxiety, the fear because when patients are in that state, they're not ready to commit to a treatment. But we really are combating those issues where when the patient is ready to see you. We are more effective and more productive. And we're just giving skillsets to these providers that are more for the New Age Consumer, which is the patient.”
Challenges for being an entrepreneur
Dr. Crystal Variava states, “I'm going to start with the advantages. I think two come to my mind. The first is what I have seen is women have this art of diplomacy. I think it might be a societal thing where children at very young age girls, they're sort of they're venerated for being courteous and kind and generous.
And I think over time, that manifests into a woman's ability to be able to ameliorate even the most heated discussions. I think we've all seen them in boardrooms, I think we see them in cabins after office hours. And I think the art of communicating is somewhere in a competition that way where women tend to be a little bit more diplomatic. And this is just my opinion.
I've seen that in my own experience, at least.
And another advantage I would say that females could have over men is that they're more patient. And don't get me wrong, you know, men and women, have equal roles in society. I think the expectations, however, of women are a little bit different than men, even though they have the same roles where we might be just expected to play more of them in terms of our time, effort, and engagement.
And I think because of that women are used to taking these lateral steps in life. You know, it's not just about finding that corporate ladder,, from getting a job to increasing salary to increasing the title, then, getting approached by another larger, more competitive firm.
I think men see that as more vertical and women are more flexible in that. They take those ladders steps, and they might not want them or require them, but it might come because they got married and they moved. So naturally, you take lateral steps or you have kids, naturally, again, you might take a lateral step. But it's that period of just sitting on the sideline for just a little bit, where you get this clarity and focus.
I'm talking from my own experience. I've taken lateral steps, many lines, but that lateral period lately jumped maybe three or four rungs, because I was planning for the next 15 to, let's say, five to 15 years, rather than three to five years.
So I think women's patience is, it's a great advantage to have. And I think society kind of builds it within us.
Dr. Crystal Variava further states, “ I'm gonna be honest, and this is my own experience. I grew up with parents who never made me feel limited in terms of resources, we might not have had everything, but they never let me feel it. And they always told me, the sky's the limit, educate yourself, everything else will come.
I have a supportive husband, and I cannot speak I'm blessed. I have a very supportive husband who's never made me feel like because I'm a woman, I can't take that position, or I can't travel. "
And then I've got these in-laws. And they're my champions. They're my biggest cheerleaders. And as a woman, I don't think I have personally ever felt challenged by being an entrepreneur.
But when I had been challenged, I would say it was when I became a mother. And I'm not equating the two, not all women need to become mothers. They don't want to they don't have to. I'm a woman, I chose to become a mother. But what I did not anticipate was the mom guilt that comes around that, you know, your company is your baby, blood, sweat, tears, You've nurtured it, you take care of it, you protect it.
And then you have a baby, and you want to do the same thing for your children, if not more. And early on, I think the biggest struggle I had was this, this feeling of mothers still not being the first face they see when they wake up, not putting them to bed every night at eight o'clock. And that's just something I think that will get easier as they get older. But I've got two little boys. And it has gotten easier, no doubt. I think that's my biggest struggle, I would say, is just finding that balance, which I really don't believe exists.”
Motivation for being the entrepreneur
Dr. Crystal Variava, “It's the providers. I remember my journey as a clinician, and there were moments of disenchantment when we enter a large, private hospital and you think, Oh, my gosh, there's, there's so much business around healthcare that I never even considered. And there are moments of this disenchantment that might happen. Patients challenge you, you feel like you're not capable, or that the skill sets that you learned in school weren't enough, and you struggle your way, you know, to get to a place of ease in your appointments. And then that period of stagnation comes in where you've been there, you've done that you're comfortable, and you feel you feel from within, there's something more. And when I work with health care providers, and I hear their stories, it reminds me of myself.
I've taken three years to bring solutions for your well-being because it true entrusted, we really believe that excellence in patient care, starts with excellence, the provider care."
So when providers come to me and they tell me, they've transformed, they're re-engaged, they're enjoying their consultations. They're not feeling this constant struggle day in and day out to convince patients. There, they're developing these long-lasting, not loyalty, but patient relationships. That's the win for me, because I've been there and done that, and I don't feel any provider really should be going through that they've sacrificed to work too hard.”
(Edited by Dr.Rati Parwani)