WIN SF Event Recap: When Innovation Meets Regulation


On July 24th, WIN SF collaborated with our friends at Circle of Intrapreneurs and Change Healthcare on designing an event to help our community innovate through highly regulated industries. The event, hosted at Stitchfix, featured a panel of four trailblazing women who are tackling innovation head on in some of the most highly regulated industries. The panel featured Sheila Vashee, VP of Growth & Marketing at Opendoor, Jordan Schneck, CMO and co-founder of Sunwink, Anjali Kapal, VP of Product Management at Change Healthcare, Nupur Srivastava, VP of Product at Grand Rounds, and was moderated by Annie Zaro, Chapter Co-founder and Lead at Circle of Intraprenuers.

Through stories if challenges and triumphs, the lessons absorbed from this remarkable panel were clearly broadly applicable, regardless of the industry. Some of the highlights include:

  1. Always listen to your consumers. Consumers are asking for innovation. The harder you lean into consumer demands, (i.e. not using citric acid in food/beverage products or eliminating single use plastic) the easier it is to uncover your next move. You are able to innovate faster and more effectively when you listen to your users. 

  2. Put consumers first. In some industries (e.g. healthcare), the buyer and the end consumer are often not the same. Companies often focus on the buyer as they seem to be the more lucrative audience. If you build for unmet needs, it will eventually benefit the buyer and make them more money.

  3. Regulators could be potential allies. Sometimes the people or organizations that feel the most like obstacles are actually the solution to the problem you’re trying to solve. For example, the FDA may be hugely impactful with solving a healthcare innovation problem. Or someone who is against the progress you’re trying to make may offer you a different perspective that unlocks a new way of looking at something.

  4. Team experts are key to success . If you need a lawyer, bring in a lawyer. If you need a specialist, bring in a specialist. Whoever you bring in, make sure they’re willing to challenge the status quo and do things differently.

  5. Find a support network and invest in it. Innovating is hard work. Regardless of where you are in your career, investing time into cultivating a quality peer group is always a good idea. Peer groups can be helpful in ways that work colleagues, best friends, or significant others can’t. Whether it’s discussing alternative ways to solve a problem or tapping an expert in a highly regulated industry for advice, being able to talk to a group of women who are having similar challenges in the workplace is priceless.

Big thank you to our partners at Circle of Intrapreneurs, Change Healthcare and Stitchfix, to our panelists, and to our WIN SF community for making this event such a success. We’ll see you soon!


If you are interested in learning more about The Circle of Intrapreneurs community that our moderator, Annie, represents, please click this link to learn more and sign up for the San Francisco chapter to stay up to date on upcoming events. The Circle of Intrapreneurs is a community of people who believe business can be a force for good. Our members are actively looking for ways to drive or are already driving social impact and profit within their current organizations. Fostering a supportive and inclusive community for women, as the WIN community advocates, is one way some of our members are driving social impact in their organizations. If you have questions, please also do not hesitate to reach out to Annie at

Written by Gabby Andrade.

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