“I know I wouldn’t be where I am and feel this good without the help I got and I want other women to feel the same…”
Despite the fact that women face completely different health problems from men, there has generally been less care and attention given to women’s health issues. Even though women make 80 percent of all healthcare decisions, there is a wide gender gap in medical research that ignores women’s health issues which can lead to serious, sometimes fatal, complications.
We recently sat down with Joi Women’s Wellness founder, Katy Whalen, to learn more about individualized care for women’s health and what it’s like to start your own business as a woman in the wellness space.
Q: Tell us a little more about why you began Joi Women’s Wellness.
Whalen: After years of only focusing on starting a family, suffering through 4 miscarriages, IVF, and having my two babies, I felt like I had lost myself. I didn’t recognize who I was when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t look good, I didn’t feel good, and I didn’t have the energy I needed to take care of the two babies that I wanted so badly. But, I had an unfair advantage. I had access to functional health practitioners. I had bloodwork taken and got on therapies that helped my body work the way it was supposed to. I knew there were so many other women like me. Women who wanted to feel better but didn’t know it was possible. I wanted to help those women and provide awareness and access. That’s when Joi was born.
Q: What do you think the biggest issue in women’s health is?
Whalen: Thinking that we should accept ‘normal’ when it comes to our health. Aging is normal. Perimenopause and menopause is normal. But that doesn’t mean we have to suffer through them and lose our Joi De Vivre along the way. Our healthcare system is really set up as a sick care system. We are trying to disrupt that. We want women to be preventative and proactive so they can bridge the wide gap between lifespan and healthspan.
Q: Why is individualized care so important for women?
Whalen: We are all so different. We have different genetics, different environments and different lifestyle habits. What works for one woman, may not work for another. And, what’s cool, is we get to choose our own path for ourselves.
How do you think women’s health has changed since the pandemic?
Whalen: I think the pandemic has pushed us online and into a digital world of health care. In the health industry that means telemedicine, which is what Joi does. That opens up access. You don’t have to walk into a local doctor’s office to find the help you need. Doctor visits can be over zoom and therapies are shipped to your door. There are now fewer excuses for getting the help you need!
Q: What has been your biggest struggle in starting your company?
Whalen: Managing stress. Balancing it all. Feeling like I have time for my family, for my work and for myself. It’s a bigger undertaking than I had imagined. I’m thankful I have my husband and some crucial members on our team to build this dream together.
Q: How would you as a woman compare starting a business in the wellness space versus in other industries?
Whalen: Starting a business is hard, no matter the industry. Being in healthcare brings more challenges with all the increased regulations. I think it’s very important to find your community and ask for help often. Having the support and building with a team is crucial for a successful business
Q: What has been your biggest motivator while creating Joi Women’s Wellness?
Whalen: Believing in what I do. Believing that our health is worth it. I know I wouldn’t be where I am and feel this good without the help I got and I want other women to feel the same (if they choose).
Katy Whalen’s story is one of compassion. Katy recognized flaws in the system, survived the outcome of those terrible faults, and forged a new path for the women who came after her. At MBE Magazine, our mission is to do the same. To acknowledge the major imperfections in the world of business and to create new opportunities for marginalized groups.
We dedicate this article to all female founders and entrepreneurs who refuse to let the next generation of women experience the same hardships.
You can learn more about Katy Whalen and Joi Women’s Wellness here.