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‘Speak with confidence – you know just as much as your male peers’ – Laura Artigas [Interview]

Article-‘Speak with confidence – you know just as much as your male peers’ – Laura Artigas [Interview]

Women in Nutrition interview: Laura Artigas
Laura Artigas is chief commercial officer at Hologram Sciences, a consumer-facing health tech company building holistic personalised nutrition solutions. She ensures Hologram creates products and services that consumers actually want.

Artigas manages Hologram's three business lines, developing the business cases and go-to-market commercialisation, as well as leading all partnership discussions for co-development of solutions such as Haleon.

She has been the business lead for over 30 consumer healthcare brands, including Monistat, Dramamine, Gaviscon (Canada), and DenTek; has served as CMO at a tech startup serving new parents; and is a Johnson & Johnson trained brand marketer focused on the OneTouch brand in diabetes care. 

Previously, Artigas worked as a management consultant in systems design and build for Accenture. 

Your background is in CPG and consumer brands, working for some huge conglomerates. How does the experience of working at a newly formed company like Hologram compare? Which environment presents more opportunities – or challenges – for women?

“Generally speaking, smaller and newly formed companies offer more opportunities for anyone as there is more than enough work to go around. The saying that you ‘wear many hats’ is definitely true! When I first started at Hologram Sciences, some of my responsibilities included recruiting and supply chain, functions I’d never managed directly before. If you’re hungry and capable, it’s a great opportunity to take ownership and point to your direct impact.

“For women specifically, it can be difficult to get positions at early-stage companies, as founders understandably lean on their own networks and their VC networks to bring in people they trust. Founders and VCs are overwhelmingly male, and their corresponding networks are also overwhelmingly male. Additionally, you’re unlikely to find employee resource groups (ERGs) at an early-stage company, so there will likely be more formal programming and support for women at larger companies. So I wouldn’t say either presents more opportunity or challenges for women.”

Personalised health is of increasing importance to consumers, with a lot of crossover into other health categories. What trends have you seen at Hologram?

“We’ve learned a lot at Hologram about this topic. First of all, the level of product personalisation desired varies greatly by category, and requires some kind of diagnostic. The vast majority of ‘diagnostics’ are health assessments today, though consumers love learning more about their bodies by measuring biomarkers found in saliva or blood.  Vitamin D supplementation, for example, can be easily informed with at-home blood spot tests: there is an optimal range, and someone might take vitamin D every other day if that’s all that’s required to get into that range for them, resulting in little product personalisation.

“In the menopause category, while women report 34-plus different symptoms, and experience on average 10 in any given week or month, she doesn’t want a product tailored to those specific symptoms as they come without warning and change all the time. She wants a ‘complete’ product that tackles as many symptoms as possible. High-performing athletes, however, are looking for products tailored to their specific physiology, diet, workout goals, and even time of day.

“The consistent thread in all categories, however, is a desire for personalised plans or protocols. Women experiencing symptoms of menopause want to explain their symptoms and other health needs (ie. hysterectomy) and lifestyle (three kids to care for), and get advice tailored to them. Triathletes don’t want programming designed for professional baseball players. So the Hologram platform that connects registered dietitians with consumers at scale is a huge differentiator, allowing consumers to chat with real people, and get valid and practical advice, with someone to follow up with them to stay compliant. That’s where the power of personalisation comes to life today.”

You are the growth advisor at Phenology, a female-led initiative established to improve women's lives via personalised digital tools. Can you tell us more about how personalised nutrition can be leveraged to specifically help women?

“Studies on women and their bodies have been historically under-invested in, and therefore we know much less about women’s bodies than we do men’s. A big variable between the genders is the constant flux of hormones that women experience on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Though investment is increasing in the most recent decade, it tends to focus on the reproductive years, with a lot of attention paid to fertility and pregnancy.

“The menopause transition is one we know very little about because there’s never been a large-scale study evaluating the changes in hormones women experience compared to their symptoms. The revolutionary at-home hormone tracking with a sleek saliva strip and device developed by inne is a huge step towards personalisation in this category. For the first time, women can track hormone fluctuations on a daily basis and match them with symptom tracking to get a better sense of her triggers (eg. coffee, red wine), and even predict when her symptoms might get worse due to a missed period.”

You are a founding member of Chief, a private network dedicated to women in executive leadership. Why are networks like these important?

“In the United States, women struggle to stay in the workforce after having children due to the high cost of childcare. This means that by the time women who have stayed in the workforce [gets] to the vice-president or C-suite, she’s often outnumbered by men as peers. Chief formalises that executive level network for women, creating a peer group that can relate to and support each other with everything from job searches to navigating internal politics to finding their ‘superpowers’ at work.”

What would you say to other women looking to follow in your footsteps?

“Speak with confidence – You know just as much as your male peers; watch the ‘umms’ and intonations at the end of sentences.

“Sit at the table – Resist the urge to let others ‘in the room’ before you, or be the note taker, or perform any other unpaid, unrewarded task.

“Go for the job – 80% of the ‘required qualifications’ is more than enough – they need you.

“Establish a true partner – Have direct conversations about who will do what at home.

“Celebrate with other women – Find friends you can ‘humble-brag’ to about your (many) accomplishments.”