I’ve been following Lauren Howard on LinkedIn for quite some time, and she is just as passionate and powerful as she is humble and kind.
As the founder of two businesses (yes, TWO), Lauren has cultivated her Great Work to help amplify the voices of others, advocating for digital healthcare and encouraging courage and strength in the workplace.
Cultivating her following on LinkedIn, Lauren began to share the stories of her own difficulties in the workplace. She was surprised how this prompted others to share their stories. Out of this came new communities and opportunities.
Listen in as Lauren reminds all of us, especially us women, that we don’t need a skirt, suit, or high heels to make an impact…a pair of “soft pants” will do just fine.
Join us as we discuss:
02:18 Virtual health – the digital health and telehealth consulting firm.
08:02 The majority of barriers that we have to healthcare are access issues.
08:26 How Telehealth bridges the gaps between somebody getting absolutely no care to somebody getting some care.
09:50 The huge care disparities, systemic racism and abuse in our healthcare system.
12:23 There is a misalignment between what actually is professional and what women are taught they have to be to be professional.
15:30 Lauren’s new site that she’s launching, which is the home of L2.
21:25 Why Lauren’s face is nowhere to be found on her new site.
22:11 A lot of isolation comes from this idea of “it’s just me.”
25:02 Lauren’s backstory of feeling “ it was just me because no one else was talking about.”
29:19 The surprise, the joy, the comfort, and the camaraderie Lauren experienced.
30:18 There is no shame in being a digital-first communicator.
32:39 The biggest challenge in advocating for somebody that’s not yourself.
About the Guest:
Lauren “L2” Howard, President and CEO of ElleTwo Consulting, specializes in clinical operations and healthcare technology.
Prior to moving into the healthcare technology space, L2 ran behavioral health and medication assisted treatment clinics. Through that experience, she learned not only about the power of treatment, but the limitations of the current system. She opened a first-of-its-kind behavioral health urgent care in order to cut treatment time down from months to hours. As part of that program, L2 oversaw one of the earlier implementations of an across the board telemedicine strategy to ensure that patients had more flexible access to providers and that care was not limited by artificial boundaries.
After 10 years of clinic management, L2 had the opportunity to join the technology world at an emerging telehealth startup. During her five years, she built the operations teams from contract execution throughout the life of the agreement. She oversaw implementations, growth, customer support, training, content development and novel support programs that prioritized white glove service for physicians.
In her career, L2 has
• Built a first-of-its-kind behavioral health urgent care
• Facilitated launch of a coast-to-coast virtual recovery program
• Implemented telehealth solutions for hundreds of organizations throughout the country
• Designed strategy and operations protocols for startups in the healthcare tech space
• Created go-to-market and market fit strategies for startups and healthcare companies
At ElleTwo Consulting, L2 marries her experiences to provide infastructure design, market fit insights, implementation strategies, growth models and more to healthcare and allied healthcare companies. She works with groups around the globe to help direct strategy and advise on growing digital health technologies and programs in a post-pandemic world.
New ElleTwo: https://www.elletwo.com/
Lauren’s LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elletwo/
The High Rise: https://www.ourhighrise.com/
About the Host:
Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist, speaker, podcaster, author of Great Work, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda’s TEDx talk: Three Reasons You Aren’t Doing What You Say You Will Do has received more than a million views and has been featured on TED’s Ideas blog and TED Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global. Amanda lives in New Jersey with her husband, two adorable kids, and a remarkable newfiepoo named Ruthie. She spends her days educating future teachers, coaching accidental entrepreneurs, and speaking about how to make progress on Great Work to colleges and corporate teams. To book Dr. Crowell to speak or inquire about coaching, check out amandacrowell.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I just started building things without a whole lot of plan or process because I was coming out of this very like dormant period where it hadn't been super dynamic or intentional.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Welcome to unleashing your great work, a podcast about doing the work that matters the most to you. I'm your host, Dr. Amanda Crowell, a cognitive psychologist, coach, author of the book, great work, and the creator of the great work of journals. Every week on this podcast, we're here asking the big questions. What is your great work? How do you find it? And why does it matter? Whether we do it? What does it actually take to do more of your great work without sacrificing everything else? And how does the world change when more people are doing more of the work that matters the most to them? Stay tuned for answers to these questions, and so much more.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Welcome, everybody to unleashing your great work. I'm super excited today on the podcast, we have a first for me, I am meeting someone for the first time on the podcast. She is someone I follow on LinkedIn. I love her perspective, she has such interesting things to say. In fact, she she's part of the reason I find myself on LinkedIn as often as I do. Today, we have Lauren Howard. She's the president and CEO of L two consulting specializing in clinical operations and healthcare technologies. And prior to moving into healthcare, l two ran behavioral health and medication assisted treatment clinics. Through that experience, she learned not only about the power of treatment, but the limitations of the current system. Out of that she opened a first of its kind behavioral health, urgent care in order to cut treatment time from months to hours. And in addition to this, she also consults with others to help direct strategy and advice on growing digital health technologies and programs in a post pandemic, world. Welcome to the podcast. Lauren,Lauren Howard:
thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I am excited to I can't wait to hear all about these things that you're doing, and have done. But we I do feel like I must start where we always do, which is an open question to you tell us just a little bit about your great work? Oh,Lauren Howard:
I don't know if it's great. I know it's work, though. And so I got here from a lot of different paths, and none of none of which were planned. But the biggest things that are on our plate, currently that I'm so fortunate to be able to work in and with is I run two companies about a year ago, I or a little over a year ago, I left a job that was not serving me anymore. And it was it was just time to go after about five years there. And I really thought it was the job I was going to retire at and obviously that obviously that did not pan out. And so from that time, I realized I didn't have a network, I realized I didn't really know what was happening in my industry because I'd been in a silo for so long. And so I just started using LinkedIn to build a network and connect with people. And that turned into sharing some stories which turned into people saying, oh my god, that happened to me too, which turned into community which turned into consulting opportunities within the digital health space. So about a year ago, we created L two LLC, which is a company it's a play on my the nickname that I've had, that became part of my identity, the letter L the number two is the name L two e l l e TW o this company. And everything was housed under that one name. And I just started building things without a whole lot of plan or process because I was coming out of this very like dormant period where it hadn't been super dynamic or intentional. And from that we have built things to two different organizations that we split about a month ago finally, because they've moved in different directions. And so now it's two separate companies operating independently of each other. Virtual health is our digital health and telehealth consulting firm. I work with telehealth organizations across the globe to define their operations, get them clinical assistance. My partner is licensed in 51 states, we get to deliver telehealth care into any area within the United States that needs it or provide operational strategy help anywhere in the globe. And we get to focus on outcomes and patient improvement because that's what we care about. We we don't talk about ROI. First. We don't talk about revenue first, because that's not what it's about for us. You know, we understand that businesses need to make money to survive, but patients need good health care to survive. And so that's what we're focused on. My partner and I are very much mission aligned on that. We talk about disparities and health Here we talk about ways that we can overcome care barriers and obstacles to care. And we can actually deliver the care too, which is, I never thought I'd be in that position. So I'm so grateful for it.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Your partner is licensed in 51 states is that 50 US states plus a Canadian province orLauren Howard:
50. We always say 51 states 50 states plus DC.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Oh, 50. Okay. Plus DC got it? Okay. So I'll technically a state license. Yep. Right. Okay. And around the world, you're able to provide this sort of consulting. So who exactly are you working for? You're working for individual practitioners with a telehealth piece? Are you working for big telehealth companies like simple practice?Lauren Howard:
So really good question. We work with companies who need clinical and operational oversight. So we often see companies that have clinical needs, or I'm sorry, that have operational needs, but not clinical needs. We almost never see companies that you have clinical needs, but not operational needs, right. And so we kind of come together as a package deal, regardless, what the ask is, because there's almost always a place for both of us if we're talking clinical. AndDr. Amanda Crowell:
he or she the partner is a clinical and you're the operational, correct, yeah.Lauren Howard:
So we have a network of physicians now who are similarly licensed, it makes us super flexible and able to drop into really any environment. At any time, we're licensing up additional nurse practitioners and physicians so that we have a arsenal ofDr. Amanda Crowell:
providers who can you have the care providers in house? Yeah, exactly.Lauren Howard:
And so they license directly with us, then we go in and build the clinical programs with different organizations to provide those services to them. Or to, to their patient population, I should say. And we it's healthcare startups who need clinical oversight. It's organizations that need a PC built up under corporate practice of medicine doctrine. And we need to build that out correctly. It's organizations that maybe already have a clinical infrastructure, but have never really run a telehealth organization before. So they need that clinical operational oversight. And there, it could be any number of things that run the gamut of that, that kind of digital health Leach. But it's always organizations who are focused on care outcomes first,Dr. Amanda Crowell:
right, right. Because that's your that's your mission. That's your umbrella. That's your filter, like, Don't come here, if that's not really what you're all about. Correct. So that sounds like something very, very important to you. Why is that so important to you? Like, what is your own experience? Or your your professional observation? Like what's driving because it sounds very passionate. Like, why are you so passionate about that?Lauren Howard:
Um, that's a really good question. I don't know why it ended up. Specifically, that telehealth was what gets me out of bed in the morning, but it really is. And I think it probably comes to or comes from a general access issue. I mean, the majority of barriers that we have to healthcare are access issues. And yes, there's availability issues. There's there's difficulty with staffing and things like that there's provider shortages and nursing shortages. But a lot of patients don't go to care because they have trouble accessing care. And is telehealth a one size fits all solution that is available in every specialty? No, but does it drastically bridge a lot of the gaps between or Kennet bridge a lot of the gaps between somebody getting absolutely no care and somebody getting some care? Yes, I think a lot of it also comes from the fact that my initial background is in behavioral health. And it's almost always applicable in behavioral health because you don't usually need an in person exam for that. And so. So having a background in behavioral health IT, it really opens up all of the doors to mental health treatment, which we've had trouble accessing before. And so so the the why, aside from the fact that I really feel like using it correctly as a clinical tool, not another addition to your tech stack really can improve health and outcomes overall, and I've seen it happen. It just stays the area that I've kind of fell into, and it's the one that I want to stay in.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, I like it. So stepping back one step further into like, you know why maybe maybe the answer is what you just said, I sort of fell into it. Okay, yeah. But why healthcare like what is it about healthcare specifically that gets you so passionate, because you do seem legit passionate about getting people access to health care? Like what what have you seen what you mentioned, it's, it's mentioned in your bio, which you are someone on your team world like there's there's a limitation to the system, what is it what's driving you?Lauren Howard:
I think we're now focusing more on this idea of culturally competent care. And that really does get me fired up. I think our health care system was built around the model of a 45 year old white male. And that is only a very small portion of the people who go through the health care system. And it also makes it very, very difficult to get effective care for women's health issues when your index patient is a 45 year old white male. So easily, you know, so niver for right, see. Yeah, exactly. And there are huge care disparities. And we've always known that they're getting a little bit more attention now, especially if you look about look at numbers about maternal health and maternal mortality, and the number of black and brown women who died disproportionately from childbirth and, and pregnancy related issues, you know, issues that affect white women, but are less likely to kill white women. Yeah. And so once you really get into the ways that healthcare is failing so many people, that's the place where I think I get the most emotionally invested, because I'll be honest, it's not failing. I mean, it's failing me in some ways, but it's not failing me in nearly as many ways as it is, you know, people who don't speak English well, or people who have been totally disenfranchised from the healthcare system because of systemic racism and abuse. And so there are people who are dying unnecessarily because our healthcare system is not set up for them. And that should not be the case. And so, you know, I'm hoping that we can make even the smallest dent in that for somebody.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, right. And telehealth, is this easily access sort of new way that has a whole brand new because of the pandemic, a whole new race on life? Right, that's great. All right. So that's one piece of it. That's what did you call it? l? Kind of l was in there some in there somehow the name of that company? Virtual health, virtual health. Okay, so now tell us about L two, which is the other one.Lauren Howard:
Yes. So l two is, obviously it's my personal brand, but it has become kind of a be spell of its own. Most of it came from my LinkedIn presence, and just the things that we were sharing about and talking about, and, you know, personal experiences about what it's like to be a female executive and what it's like to be the only female executive on a team. And it became really apparent to me as I was sharing more and more of my own experiences in the workplace, but then also thoughts around women's rights, women's justice, reproductive rights, the dobs decision, that there is a misalignment between what actually is professional, and what women are taught, they have to be to be professional. And women are kind of railing against it now, in a lot of ways. And I think a lot of that has been, you know, coming for a while, but the pandemic helped a lot, because I think all of us have proven that we are just as professional in our soft pants and messy bun, as we are fully engaged in, you know, the workplace, in skirt suits and high heels. We've also proven that family is just as important as work in a lot of ways and being immersed in an environment where we could no longer be at the office 24/7 We realize that balance is so important. And so we just started talking about those things. I have a women's community called the high rise where we really started having some of those tough conversations about, you know, why do I feel like I need to put on a face full of makeup to get on a zoom call when my male colleagues barely brush their hair? Why is my face inherently unprofessional? Just as it is? Why do we not talk about salary? Why do we think talking about salary is bad or impolite. And the bottom line is, the reason that we feel that way is because people have taught us or we have been taught over time that we have to reinforce the existing system. And the reason the existing system was again built for 45 year old white males, not for women who are balancing life and kids and or maybe choosing not to have kids and having to deal with the stigma and pressure that comes with that. And who don't want to give up everything for their job, but who also don't want to give up everything for their children, or their family or whatever. And so we started having these conversations, and I realized that I knew this but it became very apparent that my voice was getting heard. But it was only one of many voices. We needed a better place to elevate those voices of professional women who have something to say, who experienced something that doesn't get talked about who needed other women to hear that it wasn't just them. And that and I will say that my inbox is constantly filled with questions from women about out, you know, I'm not ready to share publicly I had this horrible experience at work, how do I deal with it? Or how do I address this problem? Or how do I ask for this race? Or how is how do I make it so that I can be more assertive and still respected. And to me, I'm like, be more assertive and make them respect to you. But I get it, I understand that I understand that women get labeled as difficult for doing the things that males in the workplace do inherently. So we started having those conversations. And it turned into our new site that we're launching September 15, which is the home of L two, which is becoming more of like, almost like a media hub, we have more than 60 contributors who have sent over content of things they've experienced in the workplace that they want people to know about, or what they wish that they had shared with people over time, or what they would say to somebody who was not the person they needed in the workplace at that time. We have regular contributors who will provide columns every month, we have an ask L to feature where those questions that come to my inbox all the time about how do I deal with the situation? How would you? And I want to say my expertise in this is questionable at best. But, but I want, if one person has this question, I always feel like 10 people have this question. At a minimum. Yeah, I want to be able to give people an anonymous place. If they need it a confidential place where they can share their questions, get answers, and then hopefully help other women too. And because it's until we start talking about these things regularly, what it means to be a female professional, what it means to redefine professionalism, people are still going to keep walking into the workplace thinking that showing up as you are authentically who you are is unprofessional. And that's not the case. And so that's what we're focused on. And it's we are creating content on behalf of difficult women everywhere. Exactly. And so, again, September 15, that's what we're launching. I'm so excited. I'm, like buzzing all the time, because I'm so excited about it. Our shirts get here today. But it's gonna be it's gonna be a place for women to redefine professionalism on the internet, and to take back what that means. And and I think we have all earned that.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. 100%. Why we had to earn it in first place is right, questionable. But yes, we have left there. But I don't think it's time for all that. But so you're by the time this episode comes out, it will have been launched. So somebody listening could come and join, what would happen for them? Would there be they will be able to read the content, they will be able to submit the questions. Are there discussion boards? Is there a Facebook group with our Slack channel? Like how are they communicating and communing with each other?Lauren Howard:
Yeah, super good question. So obviously, you can consume the content on the site, we will have some opportunities for events and lives and things where you can engage that way. We it's almost like a kind of a two tiered experience. If you want to come and read and consume you absolutely do that can do that. If you want to do what I call the harder work, which means showing up as vulnerable with your name attached in some capacity, or women's community would be the next step. And it's called the high rise that exists, it already exists. But we're growing very steadily. And it's where we really bring all of those questions every day. And we talk about those things every day. And we look at we look at the things that we inherently go, oh, maybe I shouldn't do that. And then go, Wait, why? Why don't I just feel uncomfortable doing this thing. Beyond that, we're going to have some mastermind courses that people can join in on we're gonna have courses on ally ship, because I think that's really important. We are going to have some experts that will come in and share one time courses or longterm in person, not in person, Zoom courses, on whatever they do. And so there will be lots of ways to engage but to start, it'll be the website and then the community. And you can join the email email@example.com that will send you out regular updates of what's happening and how you can get involved. And there's like fun T shirts and stuff. Right, right.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Really, it's it starts and ends with a T shirtLauren Howard:
for sure. Yeah, I mean, well, there's also teams soft pants, soft pants.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Team soft pants, yes, please.Lauren Howard:
Right. So those are actually the best seller on the website currently, which makes me laugh because it proves to you that all of my followers are a bunch of wonderful trolls and I love them. I love them. Because every day I come back to my computer and more people have bought himself fans.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
So great. So I'm gonna put a link directly to the soft pants in the show notes. Get them and so I don't know my whole world is built around the concept of great work so and what that means specifically isn't like the work that everyone sees and says Good job, or, or like you're known for it, and you've become famous, or infamous, or anything like that, but instead is this specific kind of work that calls to you from the inside. And it's work that expresses your unique point of view comes out of your own, like stories and perspectives and history and experiences. Its work that puts you in collaboration with people who value what you value, cool people doing cool things, that helps you grow into who you want to become, and it leaves your legacy behind you. That's like, great work. Yeah. And it sounds to me, like if I were gonna just like, you know, psychoanalyze you from the other side of the screen here. It sounds like your great work, really, it's, you know, it's being expressed through these individual issues and companies, but it feels like it's naming. And I feel like this is not, this is also based on just having watched you on LinkedIn, naming what other people would prefer to ignore, and naming it in a way that makes people stop and have to engage with it. And it seems like you do that on more often, perhaps, I don't know this is true, but it feels like you do it a little bit more often. Not so much for yourself. But on behalf of others, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, the silence, does this sound right to you?Lauren Howard:
Yeah, I am painfully introverted. And perfect. I know. Right, right. And if my face was never on anything ever, I would be totally fine with that. You'll notice I don't like post a lot of pictures. I don't post videos. I'm very rarely on camera. It's not where I'm comfortable. So you'll also when you look at the new site, when it launches, my face is nowhere on there. L two is there the name L two is there in the Ask L two segment and nowhere else because it's not about me. And it's never been about me. But I do have a platform that I've built, which still blows my mind. And I feel like I'm not using it right? Unless it's creating a better world for other people. And a lot of that came from the fact that I spent so much time thinking these problems were just me. Nobody else was feeling them. It was just me. And I realized it wasn't that nobody else was feeling them. It was just nobody else was talking about them. Right. Like I had the same experience after my youngest child was born. She my oldest was a dream baby. She slept through the night at nine weeks. She was happy all the time. She never cried. They give you this like perfect, adorable first child, so that your second child is no limit soldier that likes to hit and scream. No, biologically, yeah, biologically tricks you into having second child. I struggled so much for the first six months of her life. And I swore it was just me. Because I had to fight so hard to have this child. She was everything we wanted her. The pregnancy was so complicated. We finally got a healthy baby. How could I possibly be so miserable? Nobody was talking about the fact that having two kids is freaking hard.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, it's way harder than twice as Yeah,Lauren Howard:
exactly. Especially when the second child doesn't sleep when the first child did. And the second child screens all the time and won't doesn't want to be put down and doesn't want anybody but you and you're not a person like I'm a I'm a person who gets sensory overload way easy. And my youngest wanted to be touching me all the time. Yeah. Oh, yeah. And so, um, so that's really where it comes from as much as absolutely, if I can be a voice for people who don't have one or even less, so that give them a platform or let them take part in my platform so that they can elevate their own voice. I'm there all the time. But I also think there is a lot of isolation that comes from this idea of it's just me, and it's just me comes from the fact that you don't hear anybody else talking about it. Yeah. Because somebody else talking about it not only tells you that it's not you, but it tells you it's okay to talk about.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yes. Right. And that that others would prefer to suppress that for sure.Lauren Howard:
Yeah, exactly. So and that's how you overcome, you know, bigger systemic problems, like, like the things that allow women to suffer in the workplace for years and years and years, or be abused in the workplace. Because they say, Well, I'm lucky to have a job, right. Other people don't have jobs. I have a job. So I have to tolerate its abuse, even if you're getting a paycheck for it. Yeah, for sure. Um, so. So I think it has, it has morphed into this. We want to make sure that everybody has a voice and we want to make sure that marginalized people have voices. And I will always be about that. And I think it really came from this idea that I thought it was just me because no one else was talking about.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Well tell us your story that you've met and I'm not saying that I don't think out of turn because I believe you talk about our lives. All right fairly regularly. So tell us your let us hear the backstory here. Yeah. SoLauren Howard:
I think it's a fairly typical story of, you know, being a woman working in the US. And I will assume in other countries, I don't know that for sure. But, and whether it was me because I was just insecure, or whether it was reinforced by the environment that I was in at the time, I spent the entirety of the five years that I was at the company that I left in 2021, waiting to get fired. Even though I was running, like 60% of the company, at one point they had, I never had a bad review, there was no reason to believe that anybody had any directly negative things to say about me. But impostor syndrome was all I could think about all the time. And so I was constantly working harder and harder and harder to prove something that didn't need to be proven. Nobody was asking me to do it, I was doing it to myself. And so obviously, that led to overwork and burnout, and all sorts of other things. But then there also was an internal culture that I don't think I could have explained at the time, I found myself not speaking up about certain things, because I didn't want to be called difficult. Because it like, Oh, if I bring up this, now, they're gonna say that I just don't like working with people. Or if I say this thing, it's going to reflect this way. And so I have a male colleague that I was very close with. And when there was something that we disagreed on, or when there was something that I thought maybe should be handled differently. I let him speak up about it, because I knew it would be received well from him, and I knew it would not be received well, for me. And I don't know what told me that aside from the fact that it was just this feeling and this uncomfortableness that I got from it. And then as the company grew, and as things changed, it got worse until I realized that I didn't feel comfortable saying anything. And again, whether that was me being insecure, or an environment that perpetuated that, and I think it was probably both. There was a lot that I needed to learn to get to the other side of that, but there was nobody around, I see validate my feelings. And like, there were people who were who told me I was doing a good job, but right, that doesn't mean anything when you're dedicated to not believing it. And so there was nobody around. There were no other female professionals around who could tell me like, No, you're doing an excellent job. I've been where you are, you know, I was the most senior female at the company. Yeah. Right. It there was there just so there was something missing there. And so when I finally got to a point where I just couldn't do it anymore. And again, whether that was that environment, or the things within me that needed to fix because I think it was both. I think I accidentally went looking for that thing that was missing the whole time. And what I found out was that almost every woman has been in a situation where they tempered the things that came out of their mouth in a way that their male colleagues wouldn't, because they didn't want to be labeled difficult. Yeah. Or somebody told them something that amounts to your personalities, the problem, right? Wouldn't that would never happen to your male counterparts, or very rarely, at least. And so that's where I think a lot of it started from, but it certainly wasn't anything that I went, I set out to tell or exploreDr. Amanda Crowell:
us planning for something couldn't find it decided just came organicallyLauren Howard:
from this feeling of having all of these things that had built up in me going. I mean, I guess this is just me, but maybe by explaining that it's just me, it will give somebody some perspective. And then it turned out that it wasn't just me.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Wow. Wow. So then that brings me one of my favorite questions of this podcast, which is like, what has been the joy of this for you? Because it sounds like it was sort of unexpected. You started just posting your perspective and then out of nowhere, every at the knee to begin right. The workplace. Me too. Yeah. So tell me about like, the surprise and the joy and the comfort and the camaraderie you've experienced?Lauren Howard:
Yeah, I would say the camaraderie is probably the biggest, the biggest joy that I've gotten in our women's community. The high rise is, I mean, I, it's the place that I go first, when something great happens. It's the place that I go first, something terrible happens. I know that they're there to be supportive and to make me laugh and to say something snarky, snarky, and probably snuck smart Alki to you know, fit, you know, get me to whatever the other side of that is. And we all do it for each other and I am watching them do it for each other. And when I'm not involved, like if I'm busy and not watching and seeing that they've all swooped into care for each other in a way, when I'm not even there, just I mean, that's, I couldn't have asked for anything better. But also, this idea that there is no shame in being a digital first communicator. I'm not, I'm not, you're not gonna find me at parties, you're not, you're very rarely gonna find me with hard pants on. I'm not gonna go to networking events. But I can tell you everything you need to know about the women and people that I've met through LinkedIn and through our communities, and I can be there for them and cheer them on just like I would anybody else. I've made friends through this, who are, I'm as close with as people that I've known my entire life. And people are desperate for it. They're desperate for that kind of connection. So I think it's validated this, whatever it is that that you can create real meaningful connection on the internet, that not everybody on the internet is. Is that creeper, a bad person, there's a lot of really, really great people who you can form really, really valid connections with. And that people are looking for that kind of real connection that breaks through all of the programming and things that we've been told. And when you get down to brass tacks about why we've been told that the answer is well, that's just the way it is.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right? There is no there is no there there. No. Yeah.Lauren Howard:
So that's what gets me out of bed in the morning.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah, that's awesome. I like it. I like that, that you went in search of something that you couldn't find, built it for yourself, and now get to really experience what you could not have had before. I couldn't have toldLauren Howard:
you. That's what I was looking for. No, I was emergent. Yeah, it was just like, a thing that all of this, none of this. I did not know, a year ago, if you told me that all of this is what we were building. I would have been like, what?Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Really a year ago? It's been in the last year. Fascinating. Okay, yeah. Brings me directly to my second question, or the fifth or whatever it is. Tell me because I, you know, I watch your watch your LinkedIn, your comments are always very interesting. And so I have a, you know, I wonder if people who are less aligned are part of the challenge of this. But what have the challenges been, as you've put yourself out there shared your experience, you know, named these problems, people would prefer to ignore what has happened, what challenges have presented themselves to you?Lauren Howard:
I make a lot of white men mad, which that's another t shirt. I think it might actually already be in the works, or something. But that and that doesn't, my feeling about that is I don't call anybody out specifically. So if you take something personally, that I said, then you've got a guilty conscience, for reasons that you probably need to explore. And if it's not you, it's not you. Like, you're not doing the things that I said, that I'm seeing, then you're in the clear, I'm not accusing you of anything. But if you take it as an accusation, that's something you need to work on on your own. But no, I would, you know, I think the thing that the part of all of this, that gives me the most anxiety that I think is the most iterative of all of it is that I'm very clearly a white woman, I'm very clearly from you know, I'm doing well, my kids are not starving, you have a very great life. And I speak a lot about things that that probably don't directly affect me, like I, I have great health care I have great, I have great clients, I have, you know, we have access to all the things we want. And I care deeply about the fact that black and brown women not only currently die at disproportionate rates compared to white women, especially in maternal maternal settings, pregnancy, etc. But also, as reproductive rights become harder and harder to come by, they will continue to die at higher numbers. And that is something that I'm vocal about, and that I talked about frequently. And that is very important to me. But also, it is something that I absolutely always run the risk of making somebody mad about. And I have, and again, I don't care if white men get mad at that. I care if the communities that we are actually trying to raise awareness for are not comfortable with the way that I'm doing it. And that has been a challenge for me and not a woe is me thing. By no means like I can, I can handle that. But there have been you know, you'll notice that my cheat my posts have kind of iterated over time. We used to be much more direct about black maternal mortality, it used to come up in literally every post. Now we share it more selectively, because there were some people who felt like me being so direct about it on posts, made it flippant and made the story about me, which is never what I want. And so we've had to find some other ways to iterate on that message and make sure that it's integrated into everything that we do, but not, not kind of a jarring non sequitur. And so we're learning we are trying to learn. But I think the biggest, the biggest challenge and the thing that will always be a challenge in advocating for somebody that's not yourself, is that there's a fine line between advocating and overwhelming, and I don't want my voice to become the voice. I want the platform that I have to be able to elevate other voices. And, and I'm not going to get it right all the time. Because I haven't had those experiences. And I need people to tell me when I'm getting wrong. And it's never easy to hear that you're getting it wrong. So that's a challenge. But it's part of it's part of what I signed up for. And so, so I think that will always be the sticking point to all of it is how do we do this? Right? If there is a right.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Right, or is awkward, right? Is the conversation what makes it right? Is it the being told you're doing it wrong? And learning your way into it? What makes it right?Lauren Howard:
Yeah, exactly. Is it? Is it only making 5% of people, man, so that 50% of people, man, you know, like, what is the? There's, there's no, there's no guidebook for it. So I would say that's the that's definitely the biggest challenge. And the thing that I think we will continue to not really struggle with, but just persevere through and gut check ourselves and wait for somebody to tell us we're doing it wrong. So we can fix it and hopefully be open and receptive to that feedback whenever it comes through.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
Yeah. Love it. Wow. So interesting. Well, it sounds like you're creating a space on the internet, where difficult conversations are going to be found their way through, you know, opened and can engage with and developed. And that sounds like a great place to be. So I will I will end with this question, which we actually sort of know the answer to because we talked about it earlier. But how would you like people to engage further with you?Lauren Howard:
Obviously, on my LinkedIn, I'm always there and happy to engage there. My email is available on my website, if anybody has any questions, our website that will be live by the time this airs is l two.com. That's where you can find all of the good stuff that we're working on. Signing up for our email list also will get you exclusive access to a bunch of stuff that my team is working on, some of which I probably don't even know about yet. So like you'll find out when I do. And yeah, I mean, I do genuinely try to be an open book, I try to create a safe space so that people who need to make some mistakes to figure out how to do things, right. Know that they can do that here. But also know that they will, they will be kind of corrected and pointed in the right direction. And the only thing I ever ask is if reached out to me, Do not apologize for doing it. Their space expands so fill it you don't need permission to exist in my universe. I'm not a property. Most of the messages, most of the messages that I get start with I'm so sorry for bothering you know, we don't do that. Now. I love it base expands. So yeah, that's the only thing I asked.Dr. Amanda Crowell:
I love it. Well, I will add my own personal recommendation that you boogie on over to lte.com It's in the in the show notes, go over, consume the information, engage with the community. I know I'm gonna go check out the high rise. Sounds like you're building something really important. And I want to thank you so much for your time. I know you're very busy with your two company. It's just a mind boggling thought for me was I like an overwhelmed by my one. So thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.Lauren Howard:
Thank you for having me. This has been a delight.