When I started business school, I imagined that I would spend the two year program figuring out how to apply business strategies to improve public health. I was focused on developing leadership skills and a solution to my problems with the beauty industry. Everything changed as soon as I started meeting my female classmates. Suddenly I was surrounded by smart, fearless global women who were also vulnerable and authentic and invested in challenging me intellectually and emotionally, from day one. Now, as I prepare for my last semester, I know I won’t remember most of the cases or class discussions. But I will remember the women who were not afraid to stand out.
Never have I learned more than from the women around me. I want to honor all the women in the world leading a good kind of change. To start, here are the stories of three powerful women changing health in 2016.
Robin Berzin MD, Parsley Health
Robin Berzin is a doctor and visionary with a holistic, root-cause approach to healthcare. She started Parsley Health, a new functional medical practice, to make functional medicine affordable and modern. Robin went to medical school at Columbia University and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also a certified yoga instructor and a meditation teacher. Robin believes in medical treatment that is tech driven, affordable, and preventative. She searches for the root causes of problems and advocates for lifestyle changes before prescription drugs. Her practice gives us hope for the future of our broken medical system.
Constance Finley, Constance Pure Botanical Extracts
Constance Finley is the cancer pharmaceutical industry’s worst nightmare. For the past five years, Constance has been producing the purest and arguably most powerful cannabis oil in the world. At the age of 44, Constance became very ill with an autoimmune condition. After a near-death experience caused by the prescription drug, HUMIRA, she desperately tried cannabis to heal herself and it worked. Constance studied cannabis cultivation at Oaksterdam University and learned how to make her own cannabis oil. Once she realized the medicinal and life-changing properties of cannabis oil, she was determined to perfect her process and technology so she could help others. Her Constance Pure Botanical Extracts “cancer protocol” has helped many late-stage cancer patients reach remission, including dogs. Many well-known integrative oncologists now refer hundreds of patients to her for treatment, and her oils are being tested in multiple clinical trials by top researchers. Constance is breaking the stigma of cannabis while saving lives.
Tara Foley, Follain
Tara Foley is leading the #beautyrevolution. In 2013, Tara launched Follain, a beauty store featuring only the safest, healthiest, and most effective beauty products from brands we can trust. Her passion for clean beauty started when she worked for a product manufacturer and learned every aspect of the industry. Tara wrote a blog post about the difficulty of finding safe products in New York City, and soon after made it her goal to open a store of her own. After she finished business school, she entered and won a national business plan competition and used the funds and mentorship to open Follain. She has opened four Follain stores so far, in Boston, Nantucket, and Washington DC, and she has plans to expand across the country. Follain carries a curated selection of skincare, hair care and cosmetic products by 35 U.S. brands and also offers bulk products like liquid hand and body soap in refillable glass bottles to reduce plastic use. But beyond selling products, Tara is setting new safety standards for the brands she endorses, demanding full transparency and ingredient disclosure. Not only is she creating beautiful boutiques that give small, indie brands a place to shine, but she is also protecting her consumers in a way the FDA is not.
These three women are setting new standards for health and wellness. The most inspiring part is that they will only succeed if other women believe in them. Together we can create a movement of women helping women lead change.