Leading a Black, Woman-Owned Business: How Our Unique Perspective Helps Rhythm Thrive

 

by Rhonda Bray

This year marks Rhythm Management’s 10th anniversary, and lately, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on how we got started and the incredible things we’ve been able to accomplish. When my sister and I were envisioning Rhythm 10 years ago, we knew from our collective clinical experience that there was vast potential for remote patient monitoring to improve patient care. We also knew there was a significant need for a better approach. Rhythm was founded in an effort to revolutionize remote patient monitoring through a high-touch (human centric) solution, and has since become one of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America. However, an important aspect of Rhythm’s origin story that many people may not realize—and one that we are extremely proud of—is that Rhythm was founded by a Black woman, the leadership team is extremely diverse, and the company continues to be a minority-owned business to this day.

We’re confident that Rhythm has benefited greatly because of our experience and perspective as black, women leaders. Research has shown time and again the benefits of diversity in our country’s corporate landscape, and the incredible financial contribution of minority-owned businesses to the economy. Minority-owned businesses currently create 6.3 million jobs and generate $1.8 trillion in revenue annually. Economic contribution aside, greater diversity also inspires new innovations and ideas and increases worker retention. This has been recognized at federal and state levels through initiatives such as the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, which promotes growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses--like ours. 

Despite significant progress, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to improving workplace diversity and diversity among business leaders. Seventy percent of U.S. firms are still owned by white men. Black Americans make up 13% of the U.S. population, but own only 7% of businesses. It is often harder for women and people of color to get sufficient loans, and when they do, they often come with higher interest rates. Once a minority-owned business is ready to launch, it tends to have difficulties accessing the market and increasing revenue. Black women founders, who receive less than 0.2% of venture-capital funding, are especially underfunded. COVID-19 may exacerbate gender disparities in the workplace, as lack of child care has caused four times as many women as men to drop out of the labor force.

We’re grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to make Rhythm what it is today, and we feel fortunate to have found partners who believe in us. This is why it is important to us that Rhythm provides opportunities for women and minorities to excel and take on leadership roles. Our commitment to this is reflected in our executive team, which is largely made up of women, and we are continuously planning new ways to help everyone in the Rhythm team feel heard.

Our background has also given Rhythm a unique perspective into the world of remote patient monitoring and healthcare in general. Vast racial and gender health disparities exist, and as black women, my sisters and I are particularly attuned to the health equity gap in the United States. This is what makes us particularly excited about remote patient monitoring, which can help close that equity gap. The potential we see for how remote patient monitoring can benefit all Americans is one of the reasons we are so dedicated to working closely with practices to increase patient enrollment and connectivity. This dedication has become one of Rhythm’s greatest differentiators. We are excited to continue this work and see how we can further increase patient reach and engagement in the years to come.