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QU Pre-Matriculation Day 4: Mission-Driven CEOs

Early-Stage Start-ups:

CEOs with mission-based businesses that closely align to the medical profession talk about their journeys as CEO’s and how they are having an impact in the medical community by building disruptive businesses.

Kathy Wells is the CEO and Founder of Serenity Engage. Prior to beginning this company, she had a background in tech and software. Her mother developed Alzheimer’s, and through the struggle of finding her the proper care, she realized her calling in improving adult caregiving and how she could positively impact their lives.

Mckenna Haz is the founder of Seaav. She started this company in her dorm room as a student at Quinnipiac University. When she began, she knew that her greatest goal was to leave this Earth better than how she found it. 

What is your mission with your company?

Kathy hopes that with Serenity, she can improve the lives of older adults and those who take care of them. She strives to continue to improve how people can help older adults, which can positively affect many lives. She does it all because of her mom.

Mckenna and Seaav’s slogan is “make waves, not waste.” She strives to expand her brand to continue making a difference. With each purchase, her company removes one pound of ocean-bound plastic. Further, her company actually makes its athleisure wear from plastic bottles. With every purchase, she gets closer and closer to her goal of truly changing our Earth.

What are some new/upcoming developments that you are excited about?

Serenity has implemented Alexas in people’s rooms that act as “smart concierges.” This allows older adults to ask Alexa what the menu is at their facility and a multitude of other questions. This allows them to feel more independent, figuring out the answers to questions on their own. Further, they can use this advice to call for help if ever needed.

Seaav is looking to possibly pair up with Disney or the San Diego Wave soccer team. Another development that will hopefully be rolled out next year is a feature that allows returning customers to track how much their purchases have racked up in waste reduction and where this waste removal has occurred.

How do you deal with the big challenges that arise?

  • Take it one step at a time

  • Control what you can control

  • Build a strong network of support

  • Have the confidence that you don’t know it all, but you know how to figure it out

  • Have a ”let it be” mindset, sometimes things work themselves out

  • It’s important to protect your mental health: run or take time for yourself

  • It’s okay to be slightly out of balance at first

  • Focus on moving forward one step at a time

How do you deal with days that are not home runs?

As your company grows, how do you maintain your vision?

Your initial vision or your “destination postcard” is almost never how it all shakes out to look. You have to be able to adapt. As you go and start to understand the problem you’re going after more clearly, your vision can become solidified. As time goes on, the tactics you use to achieve this vision may shift, but your vision won’t. It’s the reason driving why you are doing what you do.

How do you deal with Impostor Syndrome?

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