Amy Cueva, founder and Chief Experience Officer of Mad*Pow, has been named to the 2014 class of Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees. The honor recognizes Boston-based leaders who are making a major impact in their respective fields and in civic life, all before their 40th birthday.
“The whole Mad*Pow team is thrilled and proud to see Amy recognized for her remarkable accomplishments,” Will Powley, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Mad*Pow, said in a recent press release. “Amy’s passion for everything she does – whether it is work, play, or community service – inspires everyone around her.”
Cueva started Mad*Pow thirteen years ago hoping to improve healthcare practices. Today, she’s a mother of three who continues to speak at industry events worldwide (like this week’s Health 2.0 fall conference) while remaining active in civic engagement projects, too. We caught up with her this week to ask about her recent work and life at Mad*Pow.
Where did the idea for Mad*Pow come from?
My business partner and I had worked together at a marketing agency and we decided to do our own thing after a successful project together. We hired our first employee in 2006 and since then have grown to a company of sixty people. I believe that design can improve the human condition and that drives a lot of the work that we do. We use a human centered design process and we consult different people who can be affected by solutions that we create and the process of creating them. We help organizations work to be more human centric – to have empathy for their customers and improve the customer experience. In health, we are trying to leverage design and psychology to help people change their behaviors and lifestyles.
How had Mad*Pow evolved over the years?
We always believed in the ability of our team to deliver amazing work, so we’ve targeted companies that we could have the most impact with. Even when we were small, we didn’t shy away from going after big brands. Our focus is on having our great employees do amazing work for clients in a comfortable culture. We don’t want to be a churn and burn agency. We focus on work life balance and we work with our employees to explore that and build our practice around that balance.
What are you most excited for in the coming year?
The most exciting thing in health is that we are developing and creating technology that will improve outcomes. The United States is seventeenth in the world in terms of health outcomes and I’m looking forward to helping improve those outcomes. And that means better health outcomes across the board, not just in the United States. As technology and design are more embraced in healthcare, we are going to have a greater impact on health outcomes. We are empowering patients with the tools and information and resources they need to care for themselves and connect them with the people who are a part of their care.
What projects are you currently working on for Mad*Pow?
We recently worked on a product called Hot Seat, which is designed to get you out of your seat throughout the day to reduce sedentary behavior. It’s a game based on reality with challenges to perform short bursts of activity. We piloted it with the American Heart Association. We also designed an application that helped people with HIV remember to take their medication and supported them in their mission to take their medication. The application was completed with support from the CDC. We also recently helped an academic health system improve their communication with patients suffering from chronic conditions. We gave them the tools and resources necessary to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. We focused on heart health, diabetes, and hypertension – it was really about patient provider communication and collaboration as well as tools and resources for self-care and self-monitoring.
How has your experience been as a woman in this industry?
There is definitely underrepresentation for women in terms of how many women are entrepreneurs in health technology and how many executives there are or even how many appear as speakers at health conferences. I haven’t experienced any challenges associated with my gender. What I have experienced is a level of community and support I have never expected.
You were recently named to the 2014 class of Boston Business Journal’s 40 under 40 honorees. How does that feel?
It’s part honor and part disbelief. I believe in what I do and I work really hard. I’m fortunate for my team and for the clients we work with. To be honored in this way is overwhelming but nice.
The 2014 Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40 honorees will be recognized at an event on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Mandarin Oriental Boston Hotel.
This interview is part of our fall series on women in medtech. Check back in for weekly interviews with women in the medical technology field. Do you know someone who’d be a good fit for this series? Let us know – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soniya Shah is an on-staff contributing writer at MedTech Boston. She's a senior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a BS in technical writing. She has experience as a ghost writer and medical writer, and in developing software documentation.
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