Women In Wellness: Dr. Lyndsey Harper of Rosy on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Reevaluate your goals. At the end of the day, it’s all about asking the right questions. Where are you now? What is the next best step in your life. We have all the answers, we just have to make time to listen. Our work is never complete, and therefore we must always continue to reevaluate ourselves and how we choose to spend our time.
As a part of my series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lyndsey Harper, MD.
Dr. Lyndsey Harper is a Board Certified Ob/Gyn, Associate Professor of Ob/Gyn for Texas A&M COM, a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.
Dr. Harper is the founder and CEO of Rosy, a women’s health technology company that connects women who have sexual health concerns with hope, community, and research-backed solutions. She has been named Forbes Top 53 Women Disrupting Healthcare, People Newspapers’ 20 Under 40, a Top Innovator in North Texas for 2020 and a DBJ Top Woman in Tech.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’m the Founder and CEO of Rosy, an app for women looking to learn more about their sexuality and thus improve their overall wellness. As an Ob/Gyn at a busy practice in Texas, I repeatedly came across women with sexual health questions and concerns. I decided to launch Rosy out of frustration, as there wasn’t a safe, convenient, and affordable place to send these women for guidance.
Rosy aims to fill in the gaps of sex education and serve as a resource to connect the 84 million women in the US with sexual problems with hope, community, and research-backed solutions to improve their lives.
Since launching in 2019, Rosy has continued to grow and evolve. We’ve raised a seed round, launched CBT-informed Wellness Plans — which are personalized to suit each specific woman’s journey and needs — and continued to build close relationships with medical professionals across the country. More than 6% of Ob/Gyns in the United States are now recommending Rosy to their patients.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When we were working on the MVP of Rosy, we gathered a group of my former patients to user test for us. These women were near and dear to my heart and we had shared many really special moments together including births, infertility journeys, and more. I was really excited to get them all together and show them what we had been working so hard on. They tested the app and then we had them all gather for a focus group to discuss their thoughts and experiences. At some point during the session, one of these sweet women pulled me aside to discuss the erotica part of Rosy. She felt so badly conveying her feelings about this platform that I was so very proud of, but she felt that she really needed to tell me. The erotica part of the platform made her extremely uncomfortable, almost as if she was cheating on her partner. With tears in her eyes, she shared her reservations and disappointment. This moment was absolutely pivotal to my understanding of my new role in this field. It is my true goal to meet women exactly where they are with Rosy, and we had completely missed that mark in the erotica part of the platform. This experience highlighted for me as a first time founder, the need to always be in close contact with our users, and to never assume that my feelings or understandings are the same as theirs. As a result of this interaction, we completely changed the erotica experience on the platform and continue to stay in close contact with our users for every aspect of product development.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Although it is probably an experience that many women founders encounter, my biggest mistake was underestimating the ability that I have to make a massive impact. I can think of so many instances where I wanted to make my goals smaller in order to try to lower the risk and the perceived insecurity of the situation. Finding this confidence and recognizing my own voice and important and even vital to the change we are creating in the world has been an ongoing journey, but one I stand prouder and prouder in every single day. My team and I have extremely ambitious goals for Rosy and for the future of women’s sexua health. We have to continually stand in our power in order to make those goals happen.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Rosy was born out of genuine need; I developed the app to allow us to look at women’s sexual health in a way that has never been done before. Rosy was created to be a safe place for women to find connection and interventions for sexual health needs on their own terms, all within one trusted, research-backed platform. We offer individual and group intimacy coaching, audio and written erotica, educational videos, supportive online community, and much more.
Over the past year, I’m proud to have evolved our platform to include a more personalized and tailored guide to sexual wellbeing, using medical evidence as a guide. What continues to set Rosy apart is the close relationship that I’ve built with the medical community, with thousands of doctors now referring their patients to Rosy.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Set goals- For years, I had been on a very prescribed path from high school to college, medical school to residency and then private practice as an ob/gyn with a marriage, three babies and a miscarriage sprinkled in to keep things interesting. There was really never any need from my perspective to set any goals. However, 8 years into practice, I was completely stressed and unsure if I could continue on that path for 30 more years. It took a Masterclass from my friend Dr. Sasha Shillcutt of Brave Enough to help me start to understand self-examination, boundaries, and goals. This information changed my life and helped me to start creating the life I truly wanted for myself.
- Get a calendar- When I was in private practice as an ob/gyn, my day was (seemingly) not my own. I bounced from exam room to exam room and then over to labor and delivery as fast as I good, feeling as if I was always running late and as a result, someone was always upset. When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I had complete control of my entire day. I could choose to take a meeting tomorrow or schedule it two weeks from now. I could balance my own time between internal work and external obligations. This whole new world was an opportunity for me to take an objective and complete look at my personal and professional time allocation and be deliberate about how I spent both.
- When scheduling, allot as close to the correct amount of time as possible for each task. Coming out of medicine, my tendency was (and still is to a certain extent) to schedule as much as possible into a day. The problem with this method is that I was not allowing enough time to actually complete each task and I was left feeling that I had actually accomplished nothing despite my pace. I then decided to take a really objective look at how long things actually take me to accomplish. I might think I should be able to write a blog in 30 minutes, but it usually takes an hour or an hour and a half. I scheduled in an hour each day to clear my inbox and assign times to asks that come via email. These small changes make a huge difference in my experience and level of productivity in each 24 hour period.
- Give yourself some white space. For me, doing nothing is the biggest challenge. Even on the weekends, I find (countless) things to organize, never-ending errands, or another Peloton ride to fill the time. This leaves little time for spontaneity which is not really my thing. However, when I don’t make time to be spontaneous, I miss out on all the last-minute ideas my kids have, dance parties in the kitchen, or maybe reading something just for fun. These things are actually what give me the greatest joy in life, but I have to remember to make space for them.
- Reevaluate your goals. At the end of the day, it’s all about asking the right questions. Where are you now? What is the next best step in your life. We have all the answers, we just have to make time to listen. Our work is never complete, and therefore we must always continue to reevaluate ourselves and how we choose to spend our time.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I can say confidently, Rosy has started a movement. Our mission is to erase sexual shame and isolation for women everywhere, and we will stop at nothing to see that mission through. Women all over the world need to know about how our bodies work, that 43% of women have a sexual challenge, and how to access resources to solve those problems. The shame and silence that exists around these common problems only serves to compound the issues resulting in decreased self-esteem, increased anxiety and depression, relationship issues, and even family disruptions. The fact that women, even in 2022, are facing these issues and are silenced about them is absolutely unacceptable, and we exist to change that.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I have some wonderful mentors who told me all these things, thank you!
- Startups are hard, but you are as qualified as anyone to do it.
- Your voice matters. Speak up.
- Protect your time for yourself and your family.
- Lead your team as an extension of your own personal values, even if that is different than what you normally see.
- Trust your instincts.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Since medical school, I have always been an advocate for mental health. The work we do at Rosy has a huge mental health component and is an extremely meaningful part of our message and product. I have seen personally as a physician and a family member the blatant misunderstanding of mental health challenges and their effects. I am very proud of the cultural shift we are all experiencing when it comes to a better understanding of mental health issues and their treatment. When we ignore mental health challenges, there are many unintended and detrimental downstream effects including violence, abuse, neglect, loss of self-worth, and suicide. These issues are too big to be ignored and deserve attention from the medical community and the scientific community as well. In many ways, this is a mirror to women’s sexual health: taking a topic that is huge but poorly understood and rarely discussed and bringing it to the main stage in order to get the attention that it needs and deserves.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!