Latisha Taylor is the CEO and Founder of Health Measured.net, which was selected as a finalist in Silicon Valley’s Premiere Business Pitch Competition for addressing the gap in employee health awareness and disease prevention.
Health Measured.net received an exclusive invitation to participate in Humanity 2.0 at the Vatican in the VaticanCity to collaborate on improving Maternal Health.
Latisha was invited to speak on Healthcare 3.0 – Women in Biotech and Life Sciences at the United Nations.
Latisha left a successful career in pharmaceutical sales five years ago to start a multi-million dollar healthcare practice management firm. Her clients include Alta Bates Cancer Center, Highland Hospital, and the GoldenState Warriors. She’s a best-selling author and former professional cheerleader who now inspires teams to work together to execute their vision.
Latisha is a philanthropist for the LLS, HackCancer, and Healthtech Women. She is the Global Vice Director of Sponsorship Partners for Women's Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO)/#ChooseWOMEN, a non-governmental organization with a mission and movement to empower women in business to alleviate poverty. She attended the World Economic Forum Davos 2018.
Sophie: You have such an interesting story! Could you share how you went from professional cheerleader to HealthTech entrepreneur and speaker?
LT: My senior year of college, I took part in an advertising company competition sponsored by a different Fortune 500 company each year. The year I participated, the competition was sponsored by The New York Times. My job was to conduct focus groups, find out why people wanted (or didn't want) to read the Times, create an ad campaign, and then pitch it at a regional event. We competed, won, and I received employment offers from an advertising agency in NYC and San Francisco. I chose the latter and moved to the West Coast.
I cheered on a co-ed team in college. When I moved to California after college and ended up going to a 49ers game, I looked to my friend and said “Hey, that looks pretty simple.” I missed the community aspect of it. Cheering really integrates you into the community. It was an eye opening experience because cheerleading and dance (which is what professional cheerleaders do) are totally different. In addition to my day job at the agency, I spent about 30 hours a week in dance classes with people who were from 14 to 85 years old to improve my skill set and compete with girls who had been on competition dance teams. It took three years of auditioning to make one of the Bay Area teams. I ended up being the captain on that team for three years and it was energizing.
I have a knack for finding things that are ground floor, whether it’s in cheer or in biotech. It creates this transferable skill set that I don’t think people realize cheerleading has. Besides the acumen of learning these dances in a short amount of time, cheering really relates to speaking. You have to be able to intuitively read people’s energy in a way that inspires people to take action when speaking to an audience or investors. You have to be able to inspire everyone who doesn’t want to participate. You have to be willing to look foolish before everyone else. It’s a great transferable skill set across the board.
After working at the advertising agency for about a year, I transitioned to biotech. A family friend was a recruiter in the space so I interviewed and landed as a Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist at Galderma Dermatology (Nestle Skin Health company). It was exciting not to have to work in an office and to have the freedom to go out and drive around the Bay Area. This new role presented a host of new challenges. Every night, I mapped out my route since I didn’t grow up here and didn’t know the streets yet. Over time, I got good at the job and built relationships with my healthcare offices. I made 120 percent of my quota each fiscal quarter. A good lesson this experience provided is that you can do anything if you take the time, commit, and learn the skill. The only thing that holds you back is not committing to learning that new skill.
I eventually teamed up with a group of people with complementary skill sets to start an employee health and wellness company. We provided corporations with technology that allowed them to measure employee health and wellness non-invasively and more accurately than existing technologies. It only lasted around a year and a half, but the groundwork that we had laid was good so from there I continued on with that passion at the intersection of technology measurability.
The healthcare system is not a healthcare system but a disease management system. Anything that has to do with prevention is really just about early diagnosis. This gap is the opportunity where this technology comes in. We created a device that can measure the body's nutrient absorption, inflammation, and response to stress levels in less than one minute; provide a 60-day window into the body's health; and provide test results that are more accurate than running a blood analysis. Based on these results, our algorithm makes nutrition, supplement, and physical activity recommendations. Most doctors only have four hours of nutritional training and often aren't equipped to design nutritional programs for patients. Health Measured gives them everything they need to test a patient's nutrition and resilience, make highly personalized suggestions, then assess impact and go from there. This lowers the inflammation process. We're going beyond the common markers physicians typically monitor, such as blood pressure, and giving people their body’s defense score. Common conditions such as anxiety and insomnia are basically your body starting to deteriorate. You might feel fine, but this other symptomology suggests that you’re not healthy. Once we can measure this, we can start working towards health.
Sophie: What are some of the issues in our healthcare system you’d like to see resolved most urgently and why?
LT: I’m really into precision medicine because it brings together so many different facets. Naturally, I'm biased towards our program — this is the only tech that measures nutrient absorption from foods/supplements — and most diseases come from lifestyle and environment (sleep, stress, pollution, etc.). Here's a great example: patients in Napa, CA who took our patented BioNutriTest but did not take the supplements we prescribed increased the inflammation in their bodies by 20 percent after the first Napa fires in 2017 (compared to one year later in 2018). The smoke appeared to dissipate after a while, but levels remained dangerously high much longer than people wore their masks. The smoke hurts your immune system so you’re tired and have more anxiety.
Your body’s not isolated to one component. It’s an integrated working system that should be optimizing together instead of giving medicine to treat one thing, such as insulin, that’s really impacted by many other variables.
Sophie: Congrats on being a finalist in Silicon Valley’s Premiere Business Pitch Competition! What is Health Measured.net’s mission and how does the company further it?
LT: We entered based upon what we’d been doing in doctors' offices. Big corporations spend $8 billion per year on employee health with a nine percent return. That's $740 per year per employee on health and wellness and insurance. Would you spend $8 billion for a nine percent return? In healthcare, what directly impacts outcomes is lowering disease risk, decreasing healthcare cost, reducing sick days, and prescribing fewer prescription medications. With HealthMeasured, companies can measure employee wellness, provide nutrition coaching, retest to monitor whether patients are taking the prescribed nutraceuticals (pharmaceutical-grade natural supplements), then get them off medications.
Here's another example of our work and its consequences: we partnered withEBMUD, went in and tested employees three times over the course of six months. We were able to document that, through diet and supplement, their diet improved by 23 percent. As a result, they were able to go back to their insurance company and negotiate a better health insurance rate for the company.
Sophie: What are some of the most common employee health knowledge gaps you seek to remediate?
LT: First of all, most employees don’t engage in corporate wellness programs. On average, they only have a 30 percent engagement rate, for an hour per day. Time is the new commodity. There hasn’t been anything new in employee wellness programs in a long time. Having something that is gamifiable and engageable changes peoples' behavior so they become competitive. It’s like going to confession where people boast about all of the wellness things they did (eat blueberries, exercise) or confess where they goofed up. There’s also the thing where some people seem fit but, all of a sudden, keel over dead at 60. Then you look and see high oxidative stress, which had never been checked.
Sophie: I’d love to hear about your experience at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year. What were some of the highlights? Did anything surprise you?
LT: There’s nothing like Davos. It’s amazing. There’s no other place that so many billionaires, CEOs, and world leaders transcend for one week. It’s a super small town with one road in and one road out. You have people who come in by train or are staying in the actual village. Once you are here, you’re here. People are ready to take action, want impact, and are looking to connect and use their network. You never know who you’re going to meet. I'm at Davos again this year as I answer these interview questions. Yesterday, I had breakfast with Chevron CEO Michael Wirth and Marissa Mayer, co-founder of Lumi Labs and previous CEO of Yahoo. Last night, I shared the stage with rapper Wyclef Jean. The most brilliant minds are there. It’s like the board meeting for the world. I received an invite throughWomen’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization.
Sophie: Could you tell us about your invitation to participate in Humanity 2.0 at the Vatican? What’s Humanity 2.0? Why were you selected?
LT: I met them at Davos last year. Humanity 2.0 is a project with two components. The component we came into was a Square Roots lab. (SquareRoots is a mission-driven company focused on pregnancy health and wellness.) Today in the US, mothers are 75 percent more likely to die from complications linked to pregnancy than in 1995. Health Measured has a global exclusive patent on being able to measure non-invasively the nutrients being absorbed by the body. That’s where we come in. We flew out there to have a conversation about that. Right now, they need to start building their lab but we’re still in conversation. It was an inspiring trip. There were only 150 people invited to Humanity 2.0. We got a private tour of the Vatican, were addressed by Cardinal Peter Turkson, and had dinner in a castle.
Sophie: Let’s switch gears and talk about your philanthropy. Could you briefly describe the various orgs you’ve involved with and why those causes matter to you?
LT: I'm on the leadership board for Hack Cancer. We raise money for the leukemia and lymphoma society. My best friend was an MD PHD at Stanford and passed away three years ago before he was 38. We would talk about things we wanted to do together. I like raising money for research so people can live longer with their loved ones and make more memories.
I’m the global partnership director for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization, a global org that empowers, supports, celebrates, and educates women in business and leadership roles. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, recently proclaimed November 19 Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. I’m the ambassador for San Francisco and there are 333 ambassadors around the world. In the month of November, we all put on a different program that celebrates, empowers, educates, and supports women in entrepreneurial and business leadership roles. We bring together all industries so we can collaboratively learn together. L.A. went through the same process and had 1,000 women attend a conference put on by the mayor’s office in conjunction with the org last year.
Sophie: How can we contribute to these causes?
LT: You can go to wedsanfrancisco.com and join our mailing list. We have partnership and volunteer opportunities and can always use help with events. We're also open to collaborative ideas, so don't be shy about reaching out.
Sophie: Let’s switch gears one more time to talk about Health Measured Ventures. How do you choose the companies you invest in?
LT: I’m investing and advising in life sciences, the pharmaceutical/nutraceutical industry, real estate, and the cannabis space. I put together a fund to do so. We are collaborating with another fund on the cannabis space next week after I return from Davos to discuss investing for 2019. We choose companies based on their innovation or the disruption they create. I have a handful of advisory roles in the first part of this year and am bringing on a few more investment companies towards the end. Please send pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophie: Lastly, how do you take care of your mind and body?
LT: The two ways I can get my mind to be still are dance and running. Those two feed my soul. I also take the nutraceuticals we recommend. They are the highest quality out there. I sleep better, have more vivid dreams, and wake up in the morning excited and happy to get up. I can work out longer and my endurance levels are up. We’ve been working with the Golden State Warriors and their trainers reported that they saw a decrease in injuries and an improvement in blood work with our nutraceuticals.
Sophie: Any parting words of advice?
LT: Courage is being able to step out of the ordinary. The highest level of courage is asking for help. Entrepreneurship is so isolating that the truest form of courage is bring vulnerable.
About the author:
Anne-Sophie Bousset ("Sophie" to English-speaking friends), is a freelance marketer and community builder. She helps companies build their brand, attract clients, and build a community around their product. Her favorite things include sunshine, yoga, reading, and lazy Sundays in with her cat, Phelps. She can be found on Twitter @Sophie_Bousset.