1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jessica Hernández. I am 32 years old from Bad Bergzabern in Germany (a small town in the South-West close to the French border).
2. What is your role at Mimi?
I am the Partnership Manager at Mimi Health and as the title suggests, I am responsible for our current and future partners.
At Mimi Health we are working hard to destigmatize hearing loss and help people understand that it is not just something that affects the aging population, it affects everyone.
Hearing is one of our vital senses so why is it that we are getting regular eye exams but we do not have a regular hearing exam? I personally could not imagine what it must be like losing my hearing earlier than necessary and want to do what I can to help others – especially in regions of the world where resources are scarce – to hear better for longer in their lives.
3. How did you arrive at this point in your career and what influenced you to pursue a career in technology?
I have always had a passion for health topics and have been working in the healthcare sector for 8 years now. Mainly at a consultancy and within another tech Startup before I joined Mimi. Working in this field, the shortage of health professionals we experience globally quickly became an important issue wherever I worked. This shortage only increases as our population ages and at some point, it might become difficult to cover everything health-related through in-person visits and care which means that we have to find other ways to make sure people receive their needed treatments, consultations and screenings regularly. Hence I always tried to be involved in projects that would try innovative ways to solve this issue.
With a lot of these time, accessibility and the options to scale an idea are quite limited though. A tech driven solution however opens up a lot more possibilities to move forward faster! In our case now, having a hearing test as an app, we have the potential to close gaps not only in rural areas and poorer communities but also to engage people at an entry-level who otherwise would be hesitant to take the first step of seeing an audiologist due to varying factors. Technology is a fantastic way to lower barriers which allow us to help more people and cover the needs of our populations in a more effective way.
4. What attracted you to Mimi?
I suffer from tinnitus and experienced myself that having issues with your hearing can be a difficult topic for people to talk about especially when you are under 30. What’s more, I have noticed that it can affect how you handle certain situations. For example, if you become stressed, having a constant sound in your ear could cause you to handle things differently if you certainly feel like your senses are overloading. So it is not just about hearing something like this affects you as a whole person.
I then wonder how it must be if you have a hard time following conversations and don´t feel like you can address this topic with your environment if the topic of Tinnitus is already tricky to speak about. Therefore, it is important to educate people on hearing impairments and hearing health and help them realize that it is not an excuse, it is a real problem which we should be facing head-on.
I also love all things music. It has always been an essential part of my life even before I started playing the trumpet at age 12. Therefore, the chance to help others, as well as myself, to experience improved sound is something really exciting. When I first tried our rbb 88.8 streaming radio app service after taking the test it was like putting my glasses on in the morning; I could hear so much clearer. Re-discovering your favorite tune and hearing all the little details: that´s just wonderful and makes you fall in love with a song, album, or band all over again.
Combined with Mimi´s efforts around healthier hearing and hearing prevention this is what attracted me to Mimi because I want to make a positive change in healthcare and believe we are on the right path to doing just that.
5. What is it like to be a woman working in technology for you?
It can be quite difficult that the industry is so male-dominated, however, Mimi is really trying to do more to tackle this industry-wide problem. For example, there is a diversity and inclusion working group that have implemented a number of different initiatives and are working on things such as these women in tech blog entries. Furthermore, diversity is a company-wide OKR and we are looking to increase the gender balance at Mimi to 50/50, and we are almost there.
It is really motivating to see that C-level are participating to help keep this an important topic and ensure that we are continuously working on it.
6. What advice would you give to a woman considering technology as her career?
If you find something that is your passion: Pursue it in whichever sector it may be!! Make your voice heard and find a way to do so without compromising too much of yourself. It is important not to give up your personality just to fit in and to bend to expectations that your (male) co-workers might have.
There is a struggle in the industry to build a gender balance and to create equal opportunities but there are also many companies that are working hard to set an example – so let the current situation not stop you!
While it is important to admit this struggle in order to become better – the journey has begun and we as women should follow this advice:
7. What do you like the most about working at Mimi?
I really like that the team is so positive and solution orientated. When I started at Mimi, it was during a very stressful period: It was right before the second lockdown in Germany and the health team were taking on a huge project yet the tone still remained so friendly and positive. I also really like that there is a very open feedback culture. This is something I missed previously because feedback allows you to learn, develop and grow together with the team.
8. What makes a Mimian to you?
Everyone is passionate about what they do and bettering the audible world we live in. There is a real forward-thinking and problem-solving mentality and we are all working on innovative ways to improve sound and help others.
9. What could you not live without?
Music. It really is a lifesaver. Whether it be happy or sad, there is always a song or album which can be connected to a situation or memory and that can even carry you through rough times. I find it amazing how even after years and years a song that is connected to a certain time or event in your life can still bring up the same feelings as back then – not even food can do that for me 😉