"Women generally have collaborative natures; we are wise, and we are caregivers. Run your business on women’s morals."
- Susan Perry, Founder of SpeechMED
We sat down with Susan Perry, Founder of SpeechMED, to learn what drove her to start her company, what resources are available to entrepreneurs like herself, and what advice she would give to those wanting to start a new venture.
Q. What prompted you to start your venture, SpeechMED?
My Mother-in-law Gisselle died because of a terrible misunderstanding at a local hospital. When she went home she was given the normal 15 pages of typed discharge instructions in English. The problem was, although she spoke five languages, she didn’t read English very well. The hospital gave her the typical twenty pages of typed and handwritten discharge instructions in English. One of her instructions was to stop taking her current high blood pressure and blood thinning medications and start different prescriptions. When she got home a niece filled the two new prescriptions and gave her all four medications which led to 16 weeks in intensive care and eventually her death.
I wish I could say that this was unusual but every three minutes another person will die and 14 more will be injured. Medical mishap is the third leading cause of death and miscommunication is the cause of many of them.
Q. So how does SpeechMED work to solve that problem?
SpeechMED, speaks to you in the language that you or your family member understands, regardless of your language preference, your age, your vision or how well you can read. Because when you and your loved ones understand your medical instructions, you are less likely to have the mishaps that lead to accidents and death. SpeechMED is specifically designed for seniors, the visually impaired and other patients who do not read English well. With a proficient health literacy rate in the US of 14% among native born speakers and 1 in 5 of us going home to a language other than English this is very important.
Q. What is one of the most important things you have learned while building your venture?
Every time you are knocked down, get up. It becomes less painful after a while and increases your resilence. And with the experience of falling we learn how to stay upright. Watch any baby learning to walk.
Q. What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
What you see in others is you.
Q. What are your top three must-read content sources for entrepreneurs, e.g. websites, blogs, podcasts?
1. The Founder Institute Blog. It’s an incredible organization for founders.
2. Anne Freedman’s Speakout Blog. www.speakoutinc.com I read this because we all need to improve our communication and presentation skills and she is masterful.
3. Seth Godin’s blog. sethgodin.typepad.com. For all too obvious reasons.
As a side note: There are incredible resources for entrepreneurs, and if you follow them you should plan to read an hour a day at a minimum.
Interested in joining the next WIN Lab cohort of women entrepreneurs? Head here to learn more about our application cycle!