Jade Kearney is placing Black women at the forefront of mental health and wellness.

As the CEO of She Matters, Kearney created the digital health platform to ensure Black women and women of color find the support they need. Kearney hopes to provide women the assistance she failed to receive following the birth of her daughter while working to complete her second master’s at New York University.

“When I had postpartum, I was feeling the cultural norms of suffering in silence and I was invisible to the healthcare system. I experienced a lot of cultural stigma around mental illness and when it came to healthcare professionals or healthcare networks, I didn’t have any of them making the connection between what I had gone through physically while giving birth, which was preeclampsia and hemorrhage,” Kearney told AfroTech exclusively.

She Matters Platform

What originally began as an application for Black women to connect with therapists, grew to professionals across the healthcare industry. She Matters aims to improve the health outcomes for Black women by ensuring resources, communities, and culturally competent healthcare providers are accessible.

“This is to enable communication between Black women and the healthcare system. Both are integral pieces to the puzzle and we can’t do one without the other,” Kearney said.

Honoring its commitment, the digital health platform requires professionals interacting with Black mothers to complete cultural competency training. In addition, health care professionals will interact with medical and diversity experts through a multi-week health equity program.

Black Girl Tech Day

She Matters is the origin of Kearney’s mission to create a better world for Black women and has since inspired the launch of other initiatives.

One of Kearney’s latest passion projects includes Black Girl Tech Day,  an annual conference welcoming Black female founders to network, learn, and celebrate their entrepreneurial journey and contributions. 

 “As a Black female founder, it’s been hard to establish myself in the tech space, startup land, and the Silicon Valley culture. Culturally it’s outside the norm for us because we were never supposed to be a part of the puzzle. I felt as if this is a secret society that I know nothing about that I am trying to penetrate but I do not have the resources. It was not until I talked to friends in this space who were also Black women that I said we need to have a conference where Black women speak to each other and share resources such as funding and hiring for your tech company because it can be very stressful and take a toll on your mental health. I want to provide resources but also a community around this very difficult trajectory,” Kearney said.

According to information provided to AfroTech, attendees can look forward to expert panels, mentorship, and funding resources. The conference made its first splash in New York in 2021 and will expand to Atlanta, Los Angeles, and South Africa by 2023.

Lean While Black

Since launching her digital health platform and expanding into new arenas, Kearney has faced struggles as a Black female founder, but she is finding a pathway toward success. It’s a journey that can be a long fight for many founders of color, but Kearney hopes to guide entrepreneurs in the right direction through “Lean While Black: A Guide to Black Entrepreneurship.”

The book will share detailed insights into the lean startup methodology pertaining to Black founders. Kearney will dissect the scientific approach in addition to the various obstacles Black founders face due to biases and systemic racism in Silicon Valley culture.

“Everything that I’ve experienced, all the ups and downs, all the bumps in the road, I’m giving that away and sharing it with the culture so other Black founders don’t have to go through what I’m experiencing,” Kearney said.

She continued: “For you to be successful, you just follow these rules and lean startup, right? No, if you are a Black founder, what is laid out for you doesn’t necessarily always apply because you have this nuance of even doing customer discovery. You have to take in who you are and what you look like, because unfortunately when you live in a systemic race in society, that is a piece of the puzzle. I am taking lean startup methodology and applying it in the space for Black people to learn how to navigate the space but also for investors and accelerators to understand what we go through when we’re sitting in front of them.”