At StartUp Terminal, we believe our diversity is our strength. As International Woman’s Day grows near, we celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
To kick off our celebration, we’ve asked Sydney-based Kristy Chong, CEO and Founder of Modibodi®, few questions on her experience achieving success in the field of entrepreneurship, and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.
ST: Please tell us briefly about you?
Kristy: I am the CEO and Founder of Modibodi®, a sustainable, high-tech health apparel brand that helps everybody with life’s leaks, be it pee, periods, perspiration or pregnancy. I like to describe myself as a mum on a mission, a fash-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights. I wanted to develop a brand that would benefit women and ultimately everybody, offering people more freedom, along with the chance to help the environment. Modibodi® was born out of the necessity to develop a better solution to life’s leaks. I was a full-time mum of a two-year-old and five-month-old living in USA, I was training for a marathon, my periods had not long returned and I had started to experience occasional light bladder leaks. The available solutions were ugly, inconvenient, uncomfortable and a hazard to our environment – disposable hygiene. I just felt we deserved something better. Fast forward 10 years and I am proud to own and run a brand that is in 62 countries worldwide, has a strong social impact initiative and has helped women and men all over the globe.
ST: Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?
Kristy: To name just one woman is very hard. From a business point of view, the persistence and innovation of American entrepreneur and Spanx founder Sara Blakely inspired me to give the Modibodi idea a go. My passion for contributing to a more sustainable world is inspired by young climate change activist Greta Thunberg and @1millionwomen founder Natalie Isaacs; and last, but definitely not least, I’m inspired by my Mum. A fantastic parental role model, she taught me to always seek new opportunities, to get out of my comfort zone and try new things (even when I really didn’t want to) and to persevere…even when all you want to do is give up.
ST: How are you celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day?
Kristy: I will be celebrating with the wonderful women in the Modibodi® team. Without the incredible people in the team, we would not have a successful and loved brand.
ST: What is the most important message you want to send out to all the women around the world on this occasion?
Kristy: Please continue to speak out loudly against unjust women’s issues like inequality in the workforce, lack of female representation in Govt, period poverty, violence against women, sexual assault, the mental load that comes from being a working mother, just to name a few. But let’s not just talk about them among us women, let’s ensure the men in our lives are listening and work with them to discuss the changes required, this is not about men bashing, this is about society evolving to be more humanistic, respectful and equal in all we do.
ST: What according to you is ‘women empowerment’?
Kristy: Women Empowerment is giving women the power over their own life to make choices that are right for them, and for women to be given the same rights and opportunities as men.
ST: What would you say are the main challenges facing women at present globally?
Kristy: There are many challenges facing women, but one that is very close to our hearts at Modibodi is period poverty. There are many millions of people globally who menstruate who do not have access to period protection. According to Action Aid in some areas, girls will miss as much as 20% of their school year impacting their quality of education, and many will drop out of school altogether. The loss of education can mean the loss of job opportunities but can also mean some girls are more likely to be forced into child marriage. Women and girls’ health may also be put at risk, as they are forced to use dirty rags which can cause infection. We are continuing to use channels to champion for change, and as a business we are doing our part to help. While I recognise only a small contribution compared to what is required, this year we will donate 100,000 units to 20,000 menstruating people in need.
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