Shelly Lanning: A Trailblazer’s Journey in Transforming Women’s Healthcare and Leading with Resilience

Shelly Lanning: Pioneering Change in Women’s Health – An Inspiring Tale

In this enlightening episode of Bright Founders Talk, we sit down with Shelly Lanning, Co-Founder and President of Visana Health, to delve into her remarkable journey in healthcare and venture capital. With a career spanning over two decades, primarily in healthcare venture capital, Lanning has a wealth of experience in various aspects of healthcare, including devices, biotech, and tech-enabled companies. Her interest in science, particularly in its application to the human body, naturally led her to the healthcare sector.

Shelly discusses her career trajectory, emphasizing her long-standing fascination with science and its relevance to healthcare. She reveals how her personal life experiences, especially around women’s health, have shaped her professional focus. At Visana Health, she contributes to addressing gaps in women’s healthcare, offering virtual care for conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and more across all 50 states.

The conversation also touches on the unique perspective she brings as a woman in leading Visana Health and the complexities of healthcare in the U.S. Lanning’s partnership with her co-founder, Joe Connolly, is a highlight, illustrating a synergistic collaboration that combines their diverse skills and experiences for a common goal. They discuss how their complementary skills and shared vision for comprehensive women’s healthcare have been integral to Visana Health’s success. This interview not only sheds light on Lanning’s impressive career but also provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of women’s healthcare.

Shelly Lanning: Pioneering Change in Women's Health - An Inspiring Tale
Shelly Lanning: Pioneering Women’s Health with a Personal Touch

Shelly Lanning, co-founder of Visana Health, has been a healthcare enthusiast from the start. She recalls how her childhood curiosity in science seamlessly intertwined with her professional life. “I always liked science,” she says, reflecting on how the mysteries of chemistry, physics, and biology captivated her, especially when related to the human body. This natural affinity led her down a path where healthcare wasn’t just a career choice, but a personal calling.

At Visana Health, Shelly is doing more than just running a company; she’s addressing the often-overlooked areas of women’s health. Her journey is marked by strategic investments in women-centric healthcare firms, a reflection of her own life experiences. She speaks passionately about Visana Health’s mission: “We are a real medical clinic, focusing on conditions from endometriosis to menopause,” highlighting their all-encompassing approach. This isn’t just business for Shelly; it’s about filling voids in healthcare that resonate with her own life’s journey.

Shelly’s partnership with Joe Connolly, her ‘partner in crime’, underlines the power of complementary skills in business. While she jokes about initially making fun of Joe for being a male in a predominantly female-oriented field, she admires his business acumen and shared vision for women’s health. “We definitely have a lot of overlap, and yet, we are very complementary,” she notes. Together, they blend decades of business experience with a deep understanding of healthcare pathways, creating a dynamic duo at the helm of Visana Health.

Being a woman, I understand the confusion around women’s care. It’s often fractionated, causing people to run around with no coordination

Shelly Lanning: Embracing Challenges and Finding Balance in the Entrepreneurial Journey

Shelly Lanning, a seasoned entrepreneur, opens up about the rollercoaster ride of her career. She emphasizes the value of adversity, saying, “It’s really easy when things are going well… But when something goes sideways… that’s where you really learn a lot.” Shelly’s journey isn’t just a tale of achievements; it’s a narrative of resilience, of pivoting in the face of unforeseen challenges, whether it’s a failing business model or a lawsuit. Her mantra? “It’s what you do with it when something goes wrong.”

Speaking with a spark in her voice, Shelly dives into the qualities essential for entrepreneurship. Confidence, she notes, is key, especially in male-dominated environments. “Getting to a point where you feel really confident in your opinions,” is something she encourages fervently. Alongside this, she advocates for patience and focus, highlighting her own energy and drive while also acknowledging the importance of slowing down to concentrate on what truly matters.

When asked about work-life balance, Shelly offers a candid glimpse into her life. She doesn’t sugarcoat the reality of an entrepreneur’s schedule, admitting, “I don’t know any entrepreneur who’s really going after it, who has a very good work-life balance.” But for her, it’s about finding joy in the work and in the people you surround yourself with. From late-night brainstorming sessions to celebrating small victories, it’s clear that Shelly finds fulfillment in her dynamic partnership with her co-founder and in maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

It’s really easy when things are going well… But when something goes sideways… that’s where you really learn a lot

Shelly Lanning: Breaking the Silence on Women’s Health and Cultivating a Passionate Team

Shelly Lanning, a trailblazer in women’s health, shares her experiences in challenging societal norms around traditionally stigmatized health issues. She recounts a telling incident: hosting a gathering of her friends, successful women with access to excellent healthcare, yet initially met with silence when discussing topics like fibroids and endometriosis. “It wasn’t until they all went home that my email was blown up with their personal experiences,” Shelly reveals. This moment highlights a significant shift in the dialogue surrounding women’s health, a change she finds both encouraging and long overdue.

Addressing the broader scope of women’s health, Shelly emphasizes the importance of looking at it through a business lens. “Everything is a business,” she states firmly, advocating for a focus on economics, outcomes, and the integration of women’s health into the fabric of healthcare policy and decision-making. She believes that the business aspect is crucial to transitioning women’s health from just a conversation piece to an integral part of healthcare.

When it comes to her team, Shelly prioritizes passion above all. In her quest to change healthcare models, she seeks individuals who are not just skilled but are also genuinely passionate about making a difference. This passion, she believes, is key to navigating the challenges of an early-stage company. Shelly also touches on the dynamics of working remotely, emphasizing the importance of creating a strong team culture, even in a virtual setting. She shares how her team uses unique methods like personal presentations to connect on a deeper level.

It wasn’t until they all went home that my email was blown up with their personal experiences

Shelly Lanning: Navigating Remote Work Dynamics and Championing Women’s Health

Shelly Lanning dives into the nuances of managing a remote team, balancing the needs of seasoned professionals and junior members alike. “It’s on us to make sure that [junior team members] are integrated,” she asserts, highlighting the importance of adapting to new ways of working and learning in a remote environment. She shares her own journey of seamlessly working from multiple locations, a luxury of experience that contrasts with the challenges faced by newer team members who miss out on impromptu learning moments once common in office settings.

To combat the ‘silo effect’ of remote work, Shelly emphasizes regular team meetings and one-on-one touchpoints. She also values the power of physical meetings and staying an extra night for a meal, stressing the importance of human connection in a digital world. Her approach is a blend of pragmatism and empathy, ensuring that despite time zone challenges, her team remains focused and cohesive.

In the competitive American healthcare landscape, Shelly highlights the importance of clarity in a company’s mission and offerings. Asana Health, with its comprehensive care for women and data-driven approach, stands out by not being a mere point solution. “We treat more than just one organ; outcomes are better when you look at a whole woman,” she explains, underscoring the company’s commitment to holistic, evidence-based care.

It’s on us to make sure that junior team members are integrated

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