Spiffy here! As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Rina Patel, the founder and CEO of SHE. Let’s see what she is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Rina, happy to have you here! Can you tell me what challenge SHE is addressing?
Rina: Thanks for inviting me, Spiffy! At SHE, our vision is to reinvent how individuals access health services. We are starting with female-identifying GenZ and focused specifically on mental and sexual health services. As a company, our core thesis is that there is a massive gap between the health services that exist and the communities who need them the most.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Rina: I have personally experienced how the United States healthcare system is failing young people, specifically women who may have complex mental or reproductive health issues. As an adolescent I struggled with mental health challenges and with hormonal imbalances. In my early 20s I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I feel fortunate to have had the resources to prevent long-term issues while many have not and currently do not have the same opportunities.
Spiffy: How are you at SHE working towards a more equitable world?
Rina: We are building the first access point for any and every young person to receive support if they are facing a mental or sexual challenge. We are on a mission to ensure every teen has access to support and services the moment they are going through a challenge. Suicide rates have increased by 60% over the past decade including ER visits and the number of youth going through depressive episodes.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent company milestone or initiative and the impact it makes on your community.
Rina: In the past few months we have been running a closed community. Three months ago we piloted an anonymous-question-asking feature for our members’ mental and sexual health questions. This allows them to receive peer support from others going through similar challenges, allows them to feel less alone, all the while making friends along the way.
Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up. What did you learn from it?
Rina: When I was 17 I started a non-profit in India. After graduating from college, I decided to move to India to work in rural communities and slums with adolescent girls and young women. During this time I knew I did not want to work in a corporate environment (I had done so during college) and also knew I wanted to start my own business. During the last year of my time in India, I knew it was my time to move on from my non-profit to start this business. I felt like a failure for moving on, but also knew I could not do the organization justice if I was going to move back to the United States full-time.
Spiffy: What is something you've unexpectedly learned from someone recently?
Rina: Nature is always my greatest teacher. It teaches me to surrender and trust the wisdom that is within me rather than trying to control the circumstances around me.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Rina—it’s been an honor!
Rina Patel is an entrepreneur, facilitator, speaker, and writer. She is the founder and CEO of SHE, a platform reinventing access to mental and sexual health services for female-identifying GenZ. She previously founded Aahana, a youth education and health non-profit that works across rural communities in India. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on May 19, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Corner here.