During the pandemic, Lauren Barker became CFO of Uresta — and was subsequently promoted to CEO a few months later. The company offers a simple solution to a very common problem: Stress Urinary Incontinence (also known as SUI or bladder leakage), that affects one in three women due to pregnancy, childbirth, aging or other contributing factors like surgery. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, she recently moved back to her hometown with her partner after spending the last several years in Toronto working in finance. Lauren is currently running Uresta remotely from Winnipeg, with employees and support functions throughout Canada.
My first job ever was… working at a clothing store.
My proudest accomplishment is… I am proud of myself for being in a position where I can help women – whether that is mentoring a young woman pursuing a career in finance or talking with a very happy customer who tells me “Uresta gave me my life back” by stopping her leaks.
My boldest move to date was… leaving a lucrative career in finance to run a startup that I was passionate about. I am making the least amount of money I’ve ever made and loving every minute of it.
I surprise people when I tell them… Upfront I can be quite shy, but once you get to know me, I can be quite goofy and silly. Maybe in another life I could have been a stand-up comedian …
My best advice to young girls thinking about a career in finance or entrepreneurship is… never let the feeling of being inadequate or anxious prevent you from pursuing a job or trying something new. You don’t want to regret that you never pursued a specific career path or opportunity because you were scared.
My best advice to people who want to pursue their passions outside of work is… set a to do list each week with items that are small and doable. Boiling things down to small achievable tasks each week will help you towards whatever audacious goal – whether it’s learning to play the guitar or starting a business on the side.
I would tell my 20-year old self… stop worrying about the future and focus on the present. Things that bother you today are going to be miniscule to you in a few years’ time.
My best advice from a mentor was… Not necessarily advice but I’ve had many mentors give me the confidence to apply to an intimidating job or better advocate for myself in a work setting. In finance being one of the few women in the company or the only woman in a meeting can be intimidating. I remember someone saying, “you’re smarter than that guy,” when considering a job a peer was applying to. Whether or not it was true it was the push I needed to apply and I got the job!
I meet so many women interested in pursuing a career in finance that are doubting their capabilities or intimidated by the lack of women in the industry. I’ve had men colleagues ask me how they can help further women in finance, and I often tell them that they need to encourage women more, make them feel worthy of applying for the job or encourage them to share their opinion in a meeting.
My biggest setback was… I’ve definitely been disappointed in the past when I didn’t get a job I wanted or an opportunity that didn’t materialize. Looking back I wish it bothered me less.
I overcame it by… everything happens for a reason. Many of the good things that have happened to me have been the result of another door opening when one closed. I truly believe luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… I wish I had more time to call friends and stay in touch. My days are busy and sometimes calling up a friend vs. working out is a decision I have to make.
I stay inspired by… speaking to our customers at Uresta. It doesn’t matter how hard of a day we’ve had and entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. When I have women literally crying tears of joy because their bladder leaks dictated their life and Uresta has been a game changer, it makes it a whole lot easier to get up and do it day in and day out.
The future excites me because… change and the unpredictability of life – it may also be what scares me the most! But if I look back at where I was 5 years ago, my path has taken so many unexpected turns and I would never have imagined at 29 years of age I would be running an innovative women’s healthcare company focused on bladder leakage (I probably would have laughed at the idea!).