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!
Sabrina Goldman, VP of Customer Support. Enneagram 3.
What inspired you to pursue a career in Technical Support?
I really enjoy helping people and I love solving problems. I love learning the technical background of a product. My background is actually in biomedical engineering; at first I wanted to go to medical school because I wanted to be a doctor. My first role after graduating, I had the opportunity to work with doctors without having to pay med school prices!
What is your role at Tidepool?
My title is Vice President of Customer Support, which means I liaison with our partners' customer support teams to make sure there is a smooth support transition when we launch Tidepool Loop. Our team is in charge of making sure our users have the appropriate steps to troubleshoot for themselves and to make sure they are directed to the correct company the first time they have an issue.
What drew you to Tidepool?
I would say Howard drew me to Tidepool at first. But I really enjoy the mission, I love the transparency of the company and my professional background has been in diabetes so I felt very comfortable in this space.
What excites you about the things Tidepool is working on?
I get to work on the things I have always wanted to do when it comes to building up customer support teams. Asynchronous support, online support tools available 24/7 for our users, making sure you don’t have to wait on a traditional call center just because that’s how it has always been done, and our plans for new accessibility features are all things I get to be a part of at Tidepool.
What have you learned working at a nonprofit organization that also makes diabetes software?
The dynamic culture of Tidepool allows me to incorporate everything I’ve learned from my previous roles into the work I do here with our Support team. I have been able to embrace those efficiencies from the get go instead of having to start out with an existing system that sometimes struggles to serve people with diabetes where they are now. I am also able to utilize the skillsets of my team to come up with creative solutions.
I don’t think I’m smarter than the rest of the team I’m leading, e.g. we leverage Abby’s experience as a RN, we leverage Dave’s technical skills, we leverage Nick’s mastery in pretty much everything including quality and regulatory work and his deep understanding of all the things that have and haven’t worked in the history of Tidepool—he’s been here so long, it’s a real asset to have all of that context as we develop new processes. The ability to leverage everyone's experience gives me a 360 view of each and every problem we take on as a team.
What would you change about the diabetes industry, if you could?
I would create a focused, expedited delivery experience for your diabetes supplies. Imagine being able to just have all your diabetes supplies the next day at the click of a button. Creating an experience that is convenient for people with diabetes. I am thinking of all the times in the pump industry that I have had to coordinate a pump replacement being sent to someone across the country while there is bad weather and plane malfunctions and it is a really stressful experience for both the patient and the support agent. If I could fix that, I would.
What would you change about the broader medtech industry, if you could?
Affordability. It’s just one example, but my daughter recently had to get bloodwork done and the cost to her insurance company was exorbitantly higher than the cost of that same procedure through my own insurance. There are deep flaws in our healthcare system and it is not the same experience or cost everywhere.
What other women inspire you - personally or professionally?
I had a previous boss that was a rockstar and I would say ‘When I get older, I want to be like her’. But I also had some awful bosses that micromanaged a lot who made me think, ‘I don’t want to be like that’. So I’ve learned from all my previous roles about what kind of leader I do and do not want to be.
What advice would you give to women looking to join a nonprofit organization? A software company? A company involved in medtech?
I say do it. I still mentor some of my previous employees who ask ‘Should I get my MBA?’ ‘Should I apply for this job?’ Yes. Just apply.
Don’t tell yourself no, let someone else tell you no.
Always think positive. If something passes you by, there is something better down the road for you.
How do you deal with impostor syndrome?
Everybody at some point feels uncomfortable, but I push through. I have felt uncomfortable before, but I think the engineer in me says if you don’t know, you read the facts. You read up on what you don’t know. I check in with my mentors and say ‘Hey, what would you do in this situation?’
I also tend to rely on my upbringing in a military family; this is what needs to be done, so let’s do it. It’s not that I don’t experience impostor syndrome, it’s more that I focus on the things that I can control and do everything I can to not get distracted by outside influences.
Do you find yourself as the only woman in the room often?
I used to, when I first started in my career, but fortunately I have had a really great group of team members that treated me as an equal over the years. I find that now, more often than not, there are an equal number of women at the table with me which is fortunate.
How do you find work life balance and manage your time while serving in a leadership role?
If there is an urgency outside of business hours, I’ll respond. But you try to put a firm boundary around when you start and stop working (barring an emergency). Everything else can wait until the next business day. If you're working all the time, your personal life suffers. And if you're goofing all the time, your work life suffers. Sometimes you put in those 12 hour days but you have to take time on other days and say I'm going to leave work early for my kids event or go have lunch with my husband today. Make it all balance out. For me, that helps to prevent burnout.
In what ways does your personal life influence your professional work at Tidepool?
I can be really impatient at home but completely opposite at work. I think I am good at separating my work life and my personal life at home. Early on in my professional career, I used to feel guilty about working when there was a school event, and vice versa, I would feel guilty while at a school event feeling like I should have been at work. As I’ve gained experience and perspective, I am able to realize that both are equally important and that being present at one doesn’t negate the importance of the other.
What fills your bucket outside of your work at Tidepool?
I relied heavily on Netflix, Hulu and TikTok to get me through 2020. I love hiking, cooking, playing piano, and hanging out with my family—especially on the weekends.
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.