Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Christy Fernandez-Cull, the founder and CEO of DaVinci Wearables. Let’s learn what’s happening there and how Christy is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Christy! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through DaVinci Wearables?
Christy: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Davinci is an underwearable health and wellness platform. Our goal is to maximize health and wellness performance for girls and women by combining measurements from our AI-powered hardware with advice from mentor-mentee relationships and automated and guided coaching. Our hardware combines a small sensor woven into clothing (underwear!) backed by the power of cloud computing / AI. Managing human-powered peak performance is unsolved and is a concern for women from puberty to menopause. Understanding temperature fluctuations in relation to other vitals, assessing reduction of injury during physical activity, and managing cycle and hormonal health for risk assessment across age are huge pain points.
Spiffy: Very cool! Tell me, what motivated you to tackle this challenge?
Christy: I'm a dreamer and have always been drawn to understand the root of a problem and to use technology and user experience to drive toward seamless consumer surprise-and-delight solutions. I was a student-athlete and was confused about my body during high school; this confusion persisted when I had my son. I still continue to learn about my body as I don't have a single integrated and personalized solution that drives my daily activities.
Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Christy: Our technology solution is working towards democratizing access to health and wellness insights when achieving scale versus the current solutions which are accessible to a select few or are fragmented, confusing, and expensive.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience or community?
Christy: Our initiative to connect physical and social well-being to mindfulness helps to elevate truths and individuals suffering in silence from discomfort, pain, and lack of awareness and understanding of their cycle health. We want to educate, socialize, and elevate women's health so that it is at the forefront instead of on the back burner.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?
Christy: At a younger age, basketball taught me that failure is expected. With every missed free throw and jump shot that didn't create a win for the team, I failed as an individual and as a team member. I also got severely injured, which kept me from a large part of the basketball season my junior year of high school. It was up to the dedication of myself, my parents, my physical trainers, and my coaches to help me get to full recovery. I learned that persistence and working harder to recover made all the difference. This early lesson in high school is evident today during my entrepreneurial journey. I realize it doesn't matter how many times I fail but rather how many times I get up and continue to try and persevere.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Christy—it’s been an honor!
Christy Fernandez-Cull is the founder and CEO of DaVinci Wearables. She received her MS and Ph.D. in engineering from Duke University and her MBA from MIT. She enjoys mentorship and recruiting in STEM/STEAM. (Nominated by Sarina Regehr of Visible Hands. First published on the Ladderworks website on July 10, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.