Interview by Nicole Dahlstrom @nicoledahlstrom
For the past nine years, Candice Tsegga Wallace has worked as a healthcare professional based in Oakland, California. Her superior ability to maintain employer accounts, foster strong partnerships, and put the customer at the center of every interaction earned her the 2017 Excellence award for Account Management at Kaiser Permanente, an award presented to only the top 10%.
Candice recently left her career in health care on good terms in order to live a life of greater purpose, impact, and autonomy. Her previous role was a platform that cultivated her leadership skills and personal development. Now, she is using this season of her life to propel her entrepreneurial endeavors and optimistically provide a needed solution to a problem she saw throughout her career.
She recently resigned to found GraceBrace and continue her work in health care in an entrepreneurial capacity and new impactful direction.
What is the idea behind GraceBrace?
GraceBrace is a new online marketplace built on giving medical appliances renewed life. Members of the GraceBrace community have the ability to donate, buy and sell formerly used medical mobility devices and equipment. GraceBrace sellers simply post a listing of their available medical appliance/device for sale or donation. Buyers easily search, specify delivery method, and pay.
With GraceBrace, proprietors of these medical devices can grant them new purpose through exchange on the website. Over 8 million people in the United States depend on a wheelchair, use a cane, a walker, or crutches to assist with their mobility. My quest with GraceBrace is to abate waste and foster support for those with a medical device need.
When did it all start and do you have other members in your team?
I birthed the idea of GraceBrace while at dinner with a former colleague who had injured herself and was outfitted in a leg boot and founded GraceBrace in October of 2017. I am currently the sole founder of GraceBrace, yet welcome the building up of a passionate and mission-minded team.
What are your projects you are working on at the moment?
I have been vigorously attempting to grow visibility and traction through partnerships with larger associations and organizations that have an allied mission. Ultimately I plan to transform my website into a mobile application that has a domestic and international reach.
What is the biggest obstacle? How about the biggest achievement?
My largest obstacle has been prudently growing the marketplace user base. With GraceBrace being a B2C operation, the more the subscribers and listings, the more the community thrives. I experienced my largest accomplishment after being allowed to provide a write-up on GraceBrace to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Through this partnership, I was thrilled to have gained my first five subscribers. I invite you to read the article here.
As someone who has worked in healthcare for the past 9 years, what are some of the major changes that you've noticed that technology has brought to the healthcare ecosystem?
The progress in medical technology and innovation within healthcare has surged. Not only has the industry at large migrated to electronic health records (EHR), care is now conveniently delivered through mobile devices via email and video visits.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
A challenge has been securing an available mentor in health tech - specifically a women and/or person of color.
You are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, do you plan to raise capital to grow your startup here? If so, do you foresee any unique challenges/opportunities for yourself as a founder or for your health tech company in the current ecosystem here?
I am located in the San Francisco Bay Area, therefore, I have the benefit of being in the tech epicenter. I do plan to fundraise, however, I am not quite certain which channels. Dilutive options have to be vigilantly explored and compliment the overall mission of the company.
Is the #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
Women are accomplishing amazing work in the tech space. I recently joined the community and look forward to the limitless course ahead.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received - Ephesians 4:1
Who are your 3 inspirational women in health tech?
Although these women have varying backgrounds their leadership is to be admired: Kimberly Bryant, Ursula Burns, Geisha Williams.
This interview was conducted by Nicole Dahlstrom, Women of Wearables Ambassador in San Francisco, USA. She has been providing marketing and project management services to non profits for the past six years. Passionate about women's health and fem tech, Nicole decided to leverage her network of established feminine health companies, industry professionals, and leaders in the women's health space to develop a network of support for founders of female health focused tech startups called FemTech Collective. Their mission is to shape the future of healthcare through technology that meets the needs of women. Connect with Nicole via Twitter: @nicoledahlstrom or LinkedIn: Nicole Dahlstrom