25 Mar 2024
by Janet Jadavji

A Conversation with Janet Jadavji on women, tech, and breaking barriers

In celebration of International Women's Day and this year's theme, "Inspiring Inclusion," we sat down with Janet Jadavji, a seasoned professional in the Health, Social Care, and wellbeing sector.  

With over 25 years of experience ranging from social care to launching her own health-tech company, today she is at iPLATO Healthcare as Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships UK and International Markets. 

Renowned for her innovative approach, she has made significant contributions to enhancing patient care through technology, like Yecco. Her expertise in nurturing strategic partnerships and her dedication to healthcare innovation have led her to contribute to the development of digital solutions that improve patient pathways, like digital-first health checks and asthma reviews. As an angel investor, Janet also mentors startups in the tech and health sectors, and is now a key member driving iPLATO’s Women’s Network forwards. 

Q: Can you share your journey into the tech industry and the challenges you faced as a woman? 

A: My journey into tech started when I was looking for ways to care for my mum, who had Alzheimer's, without putting her in care. I wanted something digital to help her stay independent. As someone of Chinese and English heritage, it was expected of me, as a daughter, to take on this responsibility, on top of managing my own family and supporting my husband's tech career. Starting my company was tough, especially before COVID-19, when the idea of virtual care wasn't widely accepted. I often found myself as the only woman in health tech meetings. Warrick Hill from the Microsoft Accelerator encouraged me, saying tech companies without women are at a disadvantage because women bring unique perspectives that are crucial for innovation. In fact, research has shown a more gender-diverse workforce are 15% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. A big challenge is the stereotype that when women are assertive, they're labelled emotional, which wouldn't happen to men. 

Q: How have you contributed to supporting individuals from minority backgrounds in their digital careers? 

A: I've tried to help by sharing my experiences and being part of forums for black women in tech. It's important to recognise the need for support and address it not just in specific minority forums but more broadly. I've also linked the iPLATO women's network with other groups to help. Being of mixed heritage myself, I hope to inspire others to get involved. Starting a mentorship scheme is another way I'm trying to make a difference. It's about taking an active step to support each other and encourage participation from everyone. 

In wrapping up, Janet Jadavji’s journey and insights shine a spotlight on the critical need for inclusivity, diversity, and equity in the health-tech world. Her story is a powerful reminder that bringing varied perspectives into tech not only enriches the industry but also leads to more innovative and comprehensive solutions. Janet's call to action is clear: each of us holds the power to make our workplaces more inclusive. Whether it's through advocating for fair hiring practices, supporting mentorship programs, or simply listening to and amplifying diverse voices, there's a role for everyone in this mission. 

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Janet Jadavji

Janet Jadavji

Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships UK and International Markets, iPlato Healthcare