The Menopause Revolution in the Workplace

Hosted by

Steve Boese

Co-Founder of H3 HR Advisors and Program Chair, HR Technology Conference

Trish Steed

CEO and Principal Analyst, H3 HR Advisors

About this episode

The Menopause Revolution in the Workplace

Hosts: Steve Boese & Trish Steed

Guest: Joanna Strober, CEO & Founder, Midi Health

Today, we met with Joanna Strober of Midi Health to talk about a new revolution in the workplace – menopause care! We chat about the transformative impact of menopause on the workplace, exploring expert insights on hormone imbalance and its implications for both employees and employers. We explain some of the benefits of implementing menopause support programs in the workplace, and unveil the innovative concept of virtual care clinics, providing a unique and progressive approach to supporting employees through their hormonal transition, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and thriving work environment. Join the conversation today!


Thank you for joining the show today!  Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

This episode of At Work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. Are you ready to drive growth and tackle the challenges ahead in the new year? With insights from 600 business and HR leaders, Paychex has just released its 2024 Business Priorities Report revealing the strategies you need to succeed. Packed with insider tips on improving employee benefits to automating workflows, this report is your strategic roadmap to success. Get ahead of the game and download your copy today at Business success this year is just a click away.

Transcript follows:

Announcer 0:00
Welcome to At Work in America, sponsored by Paychex. At Work in America digs in behind the headlines and trends to the stories of real people making a difference in the world of work. And now here are your hosts, Steve Boese and Trish Steed.

Steve 0:27
Welcome to the At Work in America podcast and video show. My name is Steve Boese, I’m joined by Trish, how are you today?

Trish 0:36
I’m good, Steve, how are you?

Steve 0:39
I am well, I’m excited. We’re recording this on a Thursday. So jobs market data coming out on Friday. Tomorrow, as we record this, I’m excited about that. I’m excited about the start to the year, first month wrapped up Trish, how’s the first month been for you?

Trish 0:56
That has flown by how is it already the end of the month? Seriously? I feel like what happened? I don’t know. But no, you mentioned that the jobs data coming out tomorrow like what are you? Are you anticipating any any changes? Are you I know you file it so closely. And I listened to you every week when it comes out. So what do you think for tomorrow?

Steve 1:16
I think moderating job growth. So maybe 175,000 new jobs added which would be you know, down from the trend over the last few years, but still still solid wage growth, probably slowing down as well. Look, despite high profile companies laying off people, we see it in the news, sadly, almost every day, right? The job market overall has been really strong. And the layoff rate with the macro level hasn’t changed at all right? So it makes news, right much like, you know, a car crashes and train wrecks make the news, you know, when a company like say, a Google which might have 100,000 employees, when they lay off 1000 people, which is sad, of course, for those people it’s very, very small, on a percentage level, and then it’s doesn’t even register right on the macro labor market. There’s 160 million people probably working in the United States right now. So yeah, I’m excited for it. But I’m excited for a really good year. And I’m excited for this show coming up as well, Trish.

Trish 2:16
I am too. So we are going to be talking about menopause. We’ve done one show in the past calendar year about that. And it’s not enough, right. It’s something I’ve just seen. In fact, in the news yet again, there are some major female stars who are investing in a menopause technology as well. I just saw yesterday in fact that it’s Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. So again, you’re talking about women who are getting into that perimenopause, and menopause era. And we’re going to have a specialist come on and talk to us about that. And from an expert angle, what do we need to know about menopause for our workforce?

Steve 2:56
That’s going to be it’s a great conversation, a great topic, Trish and some really cool personal stories as well that are shared. Let’s thank our friends at Paychex. Trish, of course, this episode of At Work in America is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. Are you ready to drive growth and tackle the challenges ahead in the new year, with insights from 600 business and HR leaders? Paychex has just released its 2024 business priorities report, revealing the strategies you need to succeed. With rising interest rates and inflation along with the struggles to keep top talent and develop leadership, it can be tough out there. This report reveals that a whopping 98% of companies are planning to use artificial intelligence to tackle these issues. And that’s just the beginning. Packed with insider tips on improving employee benefits to automating workflows. This report is your strategic roadmap to success. Get ahead of the game and download your copy today. Business success this year is just a click away.

Steve 4:09
Thanks again Paychex and let’s get ready for a great conversation. We are excited to welcome our guest today. Joanna Strober. She’s the CEO and Founder of Midi Health, the leading virtual care clinic focused exclusively on women navigating midlife hormonal transition. The company brings insurance covered expert care for the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause to women nationwide. Joanna is also a frequently quoted expert on issues related to digital health, women in business startups and leadership. Prior to becoming a founder Joanne has spent more than 20 years in direct private equity and venture capital investing in health and consumer companies. Joanna, welcome to the show. How are you today?

Joanna Strober 4:51
I’m good. Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Steve 4:55
Yeah, we’re excited to have you. This topic is fantastic. New for us. Well, new for me anyway, Trish to talk a little bit about it as well. We’ve only done one show in the 15 year, run out of our little HR podcast, we’ve done this our second show on the topic. And I suspect not the last right. And so maybe we’ll start there, Joanna and talk a little bit about and this, this subject is menopause, supporting women in the workplace, going through menopause and menopause like symptoms, it’s blowing up. So I’d love to get your thoughts on sort of why but then also get a little bit about your story and your what brought you to MIDI and why this is such a passion project for you.

Joanna Strober 5:38
Part of what I learned is that we have this idea in society that menopause is for old ladies. And if you see pictures of menopausal women, they’re in their 70s, they have gray hair, they look old. And that seems to be our image of what menopause is. But the reality is that menopause is something or perimenopause starts in your 30s. And all that it means is this period of time when estrogen is going up and down in your body. And that decrease in estrogen creates a lot of problems. So for me, it manifested in anxiety and lack of sleep. So I was in my mid 40s. And I stopped sleeping. And I was waking up every night in the middle of the night. And I would then I would have anxiety. And honestly, I was tired during the day. So I was overeating. So therefore I was gaining weight. And my body was not mine anymore. It was really off. But I went to a my my regular doctor, and they said, Well, you can try sleeping pills, but you can’t take them very often. But if you really need sleep here some sleeping pills, and maybe you should go get to sleep test, because maybe you have sleep apnea. And someone else suggested another doctor, well, you must be having a lot of anxiety. Why don’t you look at therapy, because you obviously are working out a lot of things. I was fine, I did not need therapy. All I needed was hormones. It took me so many doctor’s visits to and finally I went to a hormone specialist, I had to pay him $750 Because nothing was covered by my insurance. And I was sleeping in a week. And it was just this revelation that we have this huge percentage of women like me, because I started talking to my friends about it. We’re all on the same place, that we were having all these symptoms, and no one was associating them with hormones and saying, This could be a hormone imbalance. Why don’t we help you? And so that’s really what what my revelation was, this is a massive part of our population that doesn’t get treated, because honestly, they still have their periods. So therefore no one thinks they’re in menopause. So that is like that. To me, that’s been part of the puzzle pieces that we’re putting together.

Trish 7:53
You know, Joanna, thank you for sharing that. As you’re telling your story. I’m just sitting there nodding like oh, my gosh, as you said that I didn’t realize you could be in your 30s and perimenopause. I really admittedly don’t know much about this, even though I’m in it. As he mentioned, we’ve been doing this show 15 years. And at that time, if I think back, I’m 53. If I think back 15 years ago, I wasn’t sleeping at all. And I wore it like a badge of honor because that’s when I started blogging, and podcasting and doing all the things and I would literally be up at two or three in the morning. And I’d start working. So just when you said that, like I’m like, Oh my gosh, I actually thought that was a good thing. And I made use of the time I got you know, I want to at least share a little bit of the reason why we even have you on the show. And it’s because I am actually, you know, a a client of MIDI. I was referred by another woman in the HR tech industry, who said, have you seen a menopause specialist? And I’m like, what is that? I have had all the symptoms, right? I’m not 53 have gone completely through most of it, and had the sleeplessness and the you know, the hot flashes in the anxiety out of nowhere, like you’re saying feel crazy, really. And like you I had been to doctor after doctor. It wound up manifesting in migraines, massive migraines four to five times a week. Just to give everyone a perspective, like I’ve had them two and a half years straight. I’ve spent about five to $7,000 a year out of pocket on migraine treatments. I’ve had every possible Eastern Western medicine treatment. The very first thing I did when I started getting them was go to my regular physician, and I asked her I said Could this be menopause related? And her answer was, well, it could be but there isn’t enough evidence and so they wouldn’t treat me for hormone replacement, I specifically asked for it. So I would love to just hear you. I know there are tons of statistics on this right. And for anyone listening to this show.

Joanna Strober 10:11
That’s one example, that’s a medical thing that’s going on. It’s not, this is not something we need to talk about. It’s something we need action and medical action bonds. So what what you know we have done is basically create this national clinic, we’re in all 50 states, we have trained providers in all 50 states. And our job is to provide medical care to women, during this age process, honestly doesn’t take very many visits, we can make you feel good after two or three visits, we give you the right medications, you get them covered by insurance, it’s not something that you have to pay for out of pocket. We also are in network with insurance companies. So all the claims go through your medical benefit. Sometimes we have to work with an employer to get it set up with their provider. But it’s pretty easy to do, we just set up a national network for your employees to have access to it so that it can get covered by claims, some rate employers and I’m going to plug them make it so you can waive co pays and deductibles. So that’s something we can do so that women don’t have to pay anything for their their care. But that’s just that’s just a benefits decision that they can make. And we’ve seen some big employers do that which makes us happy. But the aren’t you know what our job is? Then to go to the companies and we give these great webinars on perimenopause on early menopause. On the intersection between cancer and menopause. You might know that if you go through cancer treatments, you’re going to go into early menopause, you need to know what treatments are available for you. You might be someone who has an oophorectomy, which means you went into terrible early, you know, provoked surgical menopause. And we immediately can take care of you for that. So you don’t have to suffer at all, you can get rid of all the suffering after having an oophorectomy. So we also have special treatments for women who have hysterectomy is to make sure that they get the right hormone. So we have a bunch of webinars that we bring our experts to talk to the women and we just did last week, we did one that had 2000 women come and accompany when there were 700 questions. So people have a lot of questions, which is great. But from our perspective, we are we are number one, we’re a medical benefit. And then number two, education is key. So we come to educate your population on here’s what’s going on in your body, here are the things you should be thinking about. And then if you come to us, it doesn’t take very much time to help you to feel better.

Trish 12:44
Thank you for for all of that I again, I’m new to this myself, I didn’t even know there were webinars, I’m like making notes like I need to, I need to see some of these webinars, right, because we don’t talk about these things. Our mothers don’t necessarily teach women or men, what the signs are, what the symptoms are. And in the cost. Thank you for sharing to that it’s very easy to have this covered under your health benefits. I know Steve and I we own our own small business, it is covered under our benefit plan.

Steve 13:13
I’m glad you mentioned that because I’ll just call myself out here I because we’re a small company, and I’m the administrator of our company’s benefits. And I was about to wonder myself like, hey, how do I get this covered? I had no idea if even was and like I set up our benefit plan. So I’m glad you talked about that, Joanna, in terms of what might it take for an organization to include this type of coverage and support not just coverage, but support for their employees? Right in the standard benefit plans that they’re offering today? So I’m glad you touched on that, because that’s really important, right? Because organizations certainly, many organizations are worried about efficiency, right? We heard about the year of efficiency and the year of productivity. And sadly, organizations are still letting people go and that’s another story for another day. But there’s a there’s a huge benefit to rolling this kind of coverage right into your benefit plans in terms of just employee health advantages their health and well being which is important in its own sake, but also from Hey, you mentioned I think we talked about or at least in the notes anyway, you talking about from mid 30s on to end up that’s your prime career. This is when you’re achieving you’re growing in the organization, you’re taking on more leadership roles, you’re quite honestly you’re more important to the organization, right as a leader or as a as a contributor. Maybe joining we talk about some of the impact that organizations maybe that maybe even works with you can anonymize them. You don’t have to call it anybody specifically, but just what are some of the impacts and the positive results that organizations are seeing right from from embracing this kind of coverage and support for their employees?

Joanna Strober 14:55
Yeah, you know, there’s some really interesting research on women not applying for promotions because of menopausal hormonal symptoms, but 50% of women say they haven’t applied for a promotion, in part because of some of these symptoms. So, and there’s a huge study that came out that said that 10% of women actually quit their jobs because of these symptoms. So there’s a lot of impact on women at work. It’s not just, it’s not just that they’re not performing as well, right? It is. And you can fix that immediately, right? It’s actually, it’s really about keeping them as impactful as they can be in the workforce. During the time when they are becoming your senior leaders. They’re becoming your managers and the people who are really important to your organization. And so, right now, honestly, you’re also spending a lot of money probably on them the wrong way. Like you think of me, they sent me to a $10,000 sleep study, like because I wasn’t sleeping, all I needed was a generic medication, that’s $10 a month. If you think about the reduction in therapy, because honestly, forget about, we have the therapy because of the anxiety. And then we have the marriage therapy, because I actually joke all the time, that video isn’t the marriage saving business. So we can eliminate a lot of marriage therapy, if we just get women to feel better. And so in probably for the men to when their wives are feeling better, they might want to go to less therapy, too. So it is all very interconnected. Helping people to perform their best is is fundamental to having a good workforce. And you can do this so inexpensively, if you just get people the right treatment at the right time. You eliminate the poly shopping, you eliminate the wrong treatments, and just getting the right people the right treatment at the right time can can be very impactful at work.

Trish 16:48
Yeah, and especially as you mentioned, it’s not just your employee, it’s their partner as well, who can be affected by this. And I think that, you know, there’s still a large number of employers who have entire families on their plans. And so you’re right, this this sort of alleviates that. It does cut down on the cost you mentioned, you know, can you go $10 a month, I think mine was $14 for a month instead of I was paying $1,100 for eight pills a month for migraine medicine alone. And then when you add in all the treatments, like I said, I read somewhere that the average person spends about $5000 a year on migraine treatment. So that right there, that’s a huge expense. If you’re a benefit administrator, you know, go go because I am I’m gonna look at Yeah, right, look up and see what that would cost. And you know, Steve, you kind of alluded to this too. I mean, it makes people just feel better, right in your in the prime time of working. I think it also ties to the fact that, thank goodness, the younger generation is coming up and more openly talking about our well being. Because I think those of us who sort of have issues, we don’t normally talk about this, I wouldn’t normally go to Steve and say, Hey, I’m really struggling today with how I’m feeling I’m feeling anxious or hurting or whatever. So I think it ties to that. Well, the general well being discussion to being more acceptable in the workplace, right. But I was definitely the person going to Steve is my coworker saying like, I just can’t do this today. And he had, I’m sure his hands were tied to right. He’s having to cover for my work. And feel empathy for me. I’m trying to do the best I can. So it, it alleviates a lot of those issues. And I think it does this far reaching. So yeah, it’s more than a discussion. Thank you for pointing out it needs to be an actual medical solution. What would you recommend? If I’m, you know, as we kind of just wrap up? What do you recommend? I’m an HR leader, I’m a Benefits Administrator. What’s my first step? Is it is it coming to the website is going to my benefits, you know, company I work with? What do you recommend?

Joanna Strober 19:00
Well, clearly, I recommend going to the Midi website, which is And there is a section on there for employers and you will put your information in and we will follow up with you. We are working with a number of big and medium and small employers and we have packages that are very accessible. You don’t have to pay for anything except for the care. So there’s no PMPM there’s no management fee. All we do is we work with you to come up with an agreement to market to your population so that we we agreed mutually how they’re going to learn about us and and then we set up your plan so that it covers MIDI as a benefit if it doesn’t already. Honestly, if we now have 50 states with United Healthcare. So United Healthcare is a really easy one to set up. It’s already set up. Some of them are more just take a little bit more time but it’s very easy. And then we come and we do presentations for your workforce and we talked them about all the different ways that you might come into menopause and how we can treat you and then The women come. And then we give the employers reports, we can give you a lot of information about your employees, what they’re going through how many visits, they’re having just the basic information, so you understand what you’re seeing. And then population, maybe you’ll find out that like sleep is the worst one for your population, or the joint pain is unusual in your population, but we can give you a lot of information about that. So and then we track you know, we do track outcomes, and we’re able to report whether people are feeling better. So the number one thing we’re seeing is the mental health, right, we’re seeing the anxiety and depression reduce reduction. And so that’s actually super exciting for us. So we can show you that we can probably reduce pretty clearly reduced both therapy costs and the cost of medications, just by getting people on the right meds, but we do we make it really easy for employers to work with us. So yeah, I urge them to come to join And then there’s a section on the employer site, and then just put in your information.

Trish 20:55
Thank you, I would say if you’re if you’re an individual, like in my case, I’m someone recommended. So yeah, just go. I’m an individual, please just go just start. Because, you know, I’m thinking if I were in a bigger organization, I would be totally the advocate, someone told me, they’re like, You need to be an advocate for MIDI, because I’m telling everyone I’ve ever got three or four people to sign up already. So I think there’s that aspect too. If your employer is not doing this, and you aren’t the person who has control of that. Take advantage on your own and then take that information to your employer, right, educate your employer. Because it’s really it’s really easy to get started with BlueCross BlueShield. I know that was covered. So again, no problem at all.

Joanna Strober 21:38
As of two weeks ago, we are in all 50 states. So we have I mean, this is the first time I’ll tell people, but with UnitedHealthcare, we’re in all 50 states. So and we’ll be there soon with some others. So but even if you if we’re not.

Steve 21:57
Unless you know something I don’t know there aren’t any more states.

Joanna Strober 22:03
I didn’t, what I meant was more plans. Not the state’s the we’re working on more plans, but the that, like in California, we have 70% of all PPO plans. So California is one that’s very easy to get access to us. But you can also do cash pay, and we’re but you know, and we’re working on more insurance coverage. But yes, I’ve heard everyone’s try it, you’ll feel better.

Steve 22:29
The testimonials I’ve heard just from yourself, Joanna, from Trish from a couple of other people I know personally, the personal testimonials are remarkable, like how effective this treatment is. And how quickly as you said, you talked about this interest rates in the two, it’s all of a sudden, boom, I’m feeling better. And it’s remarkable, right, which is fantastic. And so yeah, we’re trying to get word out.

Joanna Strober 22:51
Thank you.

Steve 22:52
It’s awesome. We the last question we’re trying to ask our guests this year is about celebration. So you know, because we’re celebrating our 50th year of podcasting. And so, maybe Joanna is in your celebration, you’re getting into all 50 states, like what is the thing you’re celebrating? Is it something else? Is there one thing you’re looking at, boy, boom, I’m so happy about this.

Joanna Strober 23:16
You know, I am really proud of our team. It’s been it’s been two years of MIDI, and it’s really working. I am just every day I woke up, I wake up, to be honest, I say to things like this is really working and don’t fuck up.

Trish 23:33
I love it.

Joanna Strober 23:36
So, that is my lifetime all the time. It’s like, it’s so exciting. And don’t fuck up. Excuse me, I can say that on the podcast and say that, yes, like, that is how I’m thinking about right now. But honestly, I’m really excited, I think we have the opportunity to provide this care to a lot of people. And that is just so motivating and to me worth celebrating. So that’s really, I feel incredibly lucky right now to get to do that.

Steve 24:03
That’s fantastic. And that’s a great way to sort of end our conversation. But we hope folks don’t end the conversation about these issues. So we want you to go to To learn more about MIDI get your organization involved, get yourself involved. We’ll put some links as well for how to find Joanna she’s on LinkedIn, we can find her there, the company as well and and Trish, I’m glad we did the show. I’m glad this is our second conversation on this topic. I’m feel smarter already. But more than more than just feeling smarter. I’ve seen the impact just in our little tiny world that we operate in with people I know like Trish and others. So that’s fantastic for me, and I think a great testimonial for the power of this platform and the power of of talking about these issues and then taking action on them.

Steve 24:54
Great, great, great stuff. All right. Joanna Strober, CEO and Founder of MIDI Health, a leading virtual care clinic posts exclusively on women navigating midlife hormonal transition. Thank you so much. Great to see you. And thanks for spending some time with us today. Trish great stuff. Thank you. Thank you for the inspiration once again.

Trish 25:14
Thank you know, I’m very excited. I just want to spread the word so yeah, it’s life changing.

Steve 25:21
Yep. Great, great stuff. And thanks to our friends at Paychex Of course. So remember to find all the show archives at My name is Steve Boese. For our guest Joanne Strober, for Trish Steed, thanks for listening. We will see you next time and bye for now.

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