Nina Stanley is a creative powerhouse, heart disease survivor, and the visionary entrepreneur behind MODHealth, a human experience agency specializing in healthcare advertising.
Nina's motivation to establish MODHealth in 2004 arose from her own experiences with inadequate care prior to her following her - at first self-diagnosed - rare heart condition, spurring her to use her skills in marketing to address inequalities in healthcare.
During our chat, we delve into Nina's experience as a female entrepreneur, the depiction of women in healthcare advertising, and strategies to foster an equitable and inclusive working environment.
What inspired you to start your company, MOD Health?
I was inspired to start MODHealth experiencing a lot of medical gaslighting prior to ultimately diagnosing myself with a rare heart condition. These experiences inspired me to strive for improved healthcare user experiences, leading to the establishment of MOD Health, a human experience agency. Our aim is to provide a more equitable healthcare experience through marketing solutions.
When did you found your company? Can you expound on the challenges you have faced as a female founder?
MODHealth was founded in 2004, and since then, I have faced various challenges as a female founder. One of the biggest hurdles I have had to overcome is being taken less seriously than my male counterparts. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I have had to work harder to gain the same opportunities and recognition.
What advice would you give to young women looking to enter the advertising industry or who are early in their careers?
My advice to young women starting out in the advertising industry is to pursue internships, gain experience and build a network of mentors and successful female leaders in the industry. It is also important to project confidence when communicating - young women need to be prepared to work harder and be persistent in the face of obstacles.
What is the biggest mistake healthcare marketers tend to make when marketing to women?
One of the most significant mistakes healthcare marketers make when targeting women is only focusing on their reproductive health. Women are multifaceted individuals, and their health encompasses much more than just their reproductive organs and body parts. Women's health should be represented in a more comprehensive and inclusive manner.
Have you seen progress in the representation of women in healthcare advertising over the years? Why or why not?
While there has been some progress in the representation of women's health in advertising over the years, we still have a long way to go. Women's health is being discussed more openly now, but the depiction of women in healthcare advertising remains stereotypical and inaccurate. The industry still predominantly focuses on women's reproductive health, and women are often portrayed as overly sexualized or weak. This type of representation reinforces gender bias and undermines women's overall health.
Does the advertising industry have a role to play in addressing issues like work-life balance and women's rights? What should they be doing that they're not?
The advertising industry can play a significant role in addressing issues like work-life balance and women's rights. The industry should realistically depict successful women in their marketing campaigns, including the challenges and complexities of balancing work and personal life. Additionally, they should portray women in a more inclusive and diverse way, highlighting women from different backgrounds and ages.
What steps should men take in the advertising industry (and other fields where women are in the minority of leadership positions) in order to create a more equal and inclusive work environment?
Men in the advertising industry should actively work to counteract their biases and prejudices. They should seek out diverse perspectives and ideas, be an ally to their female colleagues, and create opportunities for women to be heard and recognized. This can include advocating for women's inclusion in leadership positions, promoting equitable pay, and working to create a more inclusive work environment for all.