Angela Maragna, Managing Director, One HealthTech
How would you describe your journey in health tech?
Unfinished! My entire career has been around tech with a focus on change management. My health tech journey started more recently since joining the NHS about 13 years ago. My role in One HealthTech has added significantly to the breadth and depth of my knowledge in an amazingly short space of time and has hugely reinforced my passion for learning and desire to drive change in health tech.
What were the triggers and sources of inspiration that launched you on your journey? Did anyone particularly inspire you? (Man or woman)
As a child I remember teasing my Dad about how dull a career in tech was (he was a techie civil servant back when computers took up entire rooms). Although I’m primarily a people/change person and tech will only ever be the enabler for me I’ve since come to realise how vital tech is and I find I get quite excited by cool new tech. Sorry Dad! There have been various people along my career who have been vital career role models, giving me amazing examples of truly inspiring leadership by driving through immensely challenging projects while still ensuring the team was a fun and engaging place to work (Andy M, you know who are!), plus I’ve been lucky enough to have a fab mentor who has challenged and cuddled me through tough career times in equal measures. Now there are numerous people in health tech who regularly inspire me, from the junior doctors who come to our events with amazing energy and ideas of how to change and improve health tech to the formidable leaders who resiliently keep pushing through change despite the frequent political changes and economic constraints. Far too many to name.
Do you think being a woman made it harder or easier as an entrepreneur?
I’d love to say it makes no difference but there are sadly too many case studies and statistics showing how females find it harder to raise funding and get their product to market. This has to change but I do think things are changing, albeit slowly. Communities such as OHT are a really helpful way for entrepreneurs to enhance their profile and make game-changing connections. At OHT we have run workshops on PR for start-ups, we make introductions to potential buyers, we profile individuals and their stories, and we also share funding opportunities. There are lots of other ways female entrepreneurs can connect and find support too.
What is your ‘special power’ that you use when you need to get round a challenge?
A smile. Not that I’m saying I have an amazing one but endless enthusiasm, energy and a (sincere!) smile goes a long way to getting stuff done. Charm is an underrated skill.
How do you relax? What do you do to recharge?
My children (age 8 and 10) are the best antidote to a stressful day in work. I’m trying to get fitter so do boot camp in the park once a week and am a big fan of Zumba. I’ve been known to do the kids’ Lego when they aren’t looking too.
What advice would you give a 14 year old girl knowing what you know now? What would you say to your younger self when you first started to think about "what do I want to be when I grow up? My daughter is 10 so we often have chats about this. Her school is great at building resilience which I feel is such a key skill, whether for a new entrepreneur or people later on in their careers wanting to change or try something new. I had no master plan to become Managing Director of One HealthTech but an opportunity came, I took a bit of a leap into the unknown and have had such an amazing journey this last year. So my advice would be, don’t fret if you haven’t got a set plan, keep saying yes to new things, take risks, keep learning and be resilient. Plus find something that you are genuinely passionate about as then your smile will be sincere, and it will help you get stuff done.
Do you think the future looks good for women in health tech? Why? Why not? What you think is exciting ahead?
Absolutely! More and more people are talking about health tech which can only mean more investment plus there is an increasing reliance on tech which makes it such an exciting place to work for everyone. There is more awareness around the inequalities that currently exist and more communities and networks to support and empower women so I’m hugely positive about the future. I meet female entrepreneurs all the time at our events and I think anyone who comes to a One HealthTech event would feel as inspired and excited about the future as I do as the energy, commitment and passion of our members is absolutely infectious.