Tidepool’s success is defined, in part, by those who lead us. We’re fortunate to have a number of women leading Tidepool’s efforts across Support, Training, Fundraising, Marketing, Design, and Product development. Their expertise, experience, and enthusiasm are central to the thriving culture at Tidepool. We asked the women who help lead Tidepool to share their story and offer some advice for women looking to join a nonprofit organization, a software company, a company developing medical technology, or in our case: all of the above!
Melissa Maniscalco, VP of Marketing. Enneagram 8.
What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing ?
I came into this role in a roundabout way. I began working in international business at the IMF and the World Bank before I transitioned into the medical device industry with the marketing needs of international distributors. I got to see the world and learn about this industry and decided this was where I wanted to stay.
What is your role at Tidepool?
I serve as the VP of Marketing here at Tidepool. Whether that’s our content strategy and development, to collaborating with our peers across the diabetes industry, we get to work on everything from training to commercialization to media appearances and so much more. Truly, every day is a new adventure.
What drew you to Tidepool?
It began with my son’s diagnosis at 18 months old (now going on living with type 1 diabetes for about 4.5 years). My husband and I were both motivated to get involved in the diabetes community, and in my search for a company that inspired me and had a culture I wanted to be a part of, I discovered Tidepool.
What excites you most about the things Tidepool is working on?
Outside of Tidepool Loop, what excites me the most are the initiatives that Tidepool is working on to really meet the needs of so many different types of people living with diabetes. The Tidepool Period Project is an example of acknowledging that there are specific needs that haven’t been acknowledged before and Tidepool leading that makes this such an exciting and great place to be.
What have you learned working at a nonprofit organization that also makes diabetes software?
I have learned that flexibility is key in this line of work and I have learned a lot from my counterparts about what it takes to make an operation like Tidepool work. As both a nonprofit organization and a software as a medical device company that needs to be managed by global regulatory bodies, I have the opportunity to partner with so many different types of people. Software as a nonprofit is exciting.
Is there anything you would change about the diabetes industry, if you could?
This would apply to the entire medical device industry: go faster. We can’t get Tidepool Loop out fast enough. So many innovations need to move faster, and we’re working to change that here.
What would you change about the broader medtech industry, if you could?
If I had a magic wand, I would change the payer structure to make it friendlier to incoming companies and I would make the regulations more streamlined so any company could move more quickly. Speed is the enemy right now in terms of what we’re fighting against.
What other women inspire you - personally or professionally?
I have had the great opportunity to surround myself with women that have mentored me, and the opportunity to be friends with women in multiple industries that challenge me and push me when I get too comfortable. Every single one of these women has encouraged me to grow. I had a CEO when I first started out in the medical device industry tell me “Melissa, if you're not learning, you're not growing. And if you’re not growing, I don't want you here.” I remember sitting down and listing all the things I was learning from her after that talk, and now I take that learning mentality into everything I do now as a leader within Tidepool and to the women I mentor. Learning from both friends and colleagues has been instrumental to my success in my career.
What advice would you give to women looking to join a nonprofit organization? A software company? A company involved in medtech?
My advice to my daughters is to always be fierce. It’s ok for us to ask for what we want. It’s ok for us to not be perfect and to own our mistakes and to keep pushing. Sometimes we get the message that none of those things are ok - so my advice to my daughters is to own your space and go after what you want.
How do you deal with imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is real. Sometimes you just have to take a moment and acknowledge it. I take that moment and then think back on all of my successes instead of all of my mistakes. If I start to feel like I don’t belong here, it’s taking a moment to pull out that list of my successes - the things I’m most proud of. I add to it every few months, and take a moment to reflect and embrace my successes. It helps to minimize the doubts that start to creep in.
What do you do differently in situations when you are the only woman in the room?
A lot of moments where I am the only woman in the room, sometimes I notice and sometimes I don’t. When I do notice though, I use that awareness to stay more engaged. I’m the only woman and I bring in an entirely unique perspective when I have something to say. So I'm going to say it with confidence and authority because no one else is going to look at it from my perspective. That can be valuable sometimes.
I don’t let it intimidate me, instead I use it as an opportunity to step in, step up, and talk a little bit louder.
How do you find work life balance and manage your time while serving in a leadership role?
There are too many demands on our time, but we don’t need to do it all. It’s important that I recognize that being a woman in leadership means recognizing where you add the most value with your time.
I don’t dictate the process, either. As a leader, I make sure everyone has what they need to succeed and get out of their way. Delegating, letting go, and having the right people on your team both at home and at work is key.
Does your personal life influence your professional work at Tidepool?
Absolutely. My personal life is always influencing my professional life - from the obvious examples of my children crashing my meetings on a regular basis when they come home from school to the fact that everything we do with diabetes at home, I bring to work. Tidepool makes space for that. We are always learning from diabetes and we can and do apply that to the work we do.
What fills your bucket outside of your work at Tidepool?
I find it important to find opportunities to give back to the community, so I serve as a volunteer mentor to startup companies. I try to give back to the medical device community by working with startups at a small incubator here in South Florida which allows me to work with 3 different startups across various medical device technologies and I get to lend them my time and guidance as best I can to help them get started and to grow.
My personal hobbies include reading, spending time with my family and fostering 1-1 connections. I love hearing people’s stories and I really miss being able to sit down for a cup of coffee and connect with people.
As a nonprofit organization, we are able to focus on this larger impact on the diabetes community instead of on returns; but we need your help. We invite you to join us along the pathway we’re building to make an interoperable automated insulin dosing system a reality and drive change across all levels of the diabetes industry.
We can Redefine Diabetes together when you support Tidepool with a donation at tidepool.org/donate.