Telling the category story. Naomi Allen on building Brightline || EP. 146

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Naomi Allen, CoFounder and CEO of Brightline.  This is the finale episode of this Inspiring Women collaboration highlighting several of the extraordinary women leaders in the 7Wire family.

Naomi is no stranger to building and scaling companies and her experience includes near seven years working in the area mental health on the adult side.  IT was when her son had a mental health crisis, that her passion turned to pediatrics.  Recognizing there was a market gap, she launched Brightline.  Initial feedback was that no one really cared.  But that was then and in just four years, a LOT has changed. Brightline today is a notable category leader providing pediatric mental health services across the nation.

Hear Naomi talk about:

  • Today it would be hard to find someone who does not see the need for pediatric mental health services given significant attention to this crisis issue. Naomi is very optimistic about where we are headed. A silver lining of all the reporting has resulted in stigma reduction.  She also notes how resilient kids are where serious issues can manifest as early as fourteen, and if detection, treatment, interventions can be provided at the right time, they are often very successful.  Meeting the need, focusing on the care delivery model and working on the important change component of payment is where she is focused.
  • Meeting demand when mental health professionals are scarce. Three key areas – measuring progress against evidence-based treatment plans (noting that <20% of professionals are using these guidelines); providing innovation around the care delivery model like a library of online resources, screening tools, and coaching which can meet many initial needs; and very importantly, focus on payment reform so that families do not need to wait.
  • Being a woman founder and CEO – the landscape is changing with more women serial entrepreneurs who have a track record. Also, an ecosystem of women investors who are writing bigger checks….this can’t be done with small $$.
  • Advice for other women founders includes how to tell the category story, not just the company story. Noting that some investors (7Wire noted as a leader here) are very focused on founder market fit.  If you are trying to break into a new area, that larger vision of the category and how as a founder you relate to it is what will resonate.

Naomi closes this conversation with a reflection about how being an entrepreneur is a selfish act.  She is lucky to have a support system where her schedule can come first.  When things get very hard, this is where she goes to reset, “I chose this.”  Finding small moments of connection with her kids, even staying hydrated, are today’s focus to provide balance in an otherwise very busy life of this CEO.


Guest Bio:

Currently Co-Founder and CEO at Brightline. Brightline is building the world’s first technology-enabled Behavioral Health Home for children and their families.

Entrepreneur with 20 years of hands-on experience developing high growth health tech companies. Advisor to startups, world traveler, mom to 3 amazing kids. Board member: Bright Health. Frequent speaker on healthtech, behavioral health, and entrepreneurship.

Former Chief Growth Officer @ Livongo, co-founder @ Castlight Health, leader @ McKinsey, Microsoft, Deloitte, Stanford GSB.

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