STEM POWER: Alexandra Greenhill

B.C.'s Most Influential Women 2018 - Care Support Technology

Credit: Courtesy of Alexandra Greenhill

Co-founder and CEO, Careteam and myBestHelper

A graduate of Université de Montreal and McGill University, Alexandra Greenhill practised as a physician in Quebec, Ontario and B.C. before moving into technology. From 2013-14 she was chief medical officer of Vancouver-based Medeo Virtual Care, the first direct-to-patient telehealth app in Canada, purchased by Kelowna-headquartered QHR Technologies Inc. in 2014.

In 2011, Greenhill co-founded myBestHelper, a social network that matches families with caregivers, and three years later she created Littlecodr, a card game to introduce kids to coding. Careteam Technologies Inc., a platform that connects patients and caregivers to coordinate treatment, was launched in 2016 and went live in January. As for managing multiple ventures, she explains, “I have three children and I love them all dearly—they’re different stages, different ages. So if I can cope with three kids, I can certainly cope with three businesses.”

A mentor and a judge in many hackathons and startup weekends, she has received numerous awards, including Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards laureate, WXN‘s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Greenhill had thought women’s rights issues were a thing of the past until she began working. “As a woman, I had challenges in so many different areas, anything from direct job execution to leadership positions to being taken seriously when I had new ideas,” she recalls. She has learned to say, “Hi, I am Dr. Alexandra Greenhill” when introduced as “Alex” while male colleagues are called “Dr. So-and-so.” “That little moment creates credibility and gravitas and makes the rest of the interventions in the conversation much more effective,” Greenhill advises. “It doesn’t offend anyone when you do it, but it reaffirms.” If she notices a conference has no women speakers, she will send a polite email with suggestions.

How can we get more women into STEM?

From elementary school through to the workplace, there are moments that discourage women, Greenhill says. To make progress, it’s necessary to intervene at every level. Women need not only skills and training but also role models and working conditions to make them feel welcome. And perceptions about technology must change, Greenhill argues: “Anyone who does technology knows that it’s all about creativity, it’s language, it’s collaboration, and it’s actually fun.”