#WomenWhoInspire: Aneela Idnani

December 14, 2017

 

What field or industry are you currently in? 

Mental Health Tech

 

What company do you work for? Are you the founder or CEO? 

I am Co-Founder & CMO of HabitAware.com and I pull out my hair. Hair pulling is a coping mechanism for the stress in my life and started in my tweens when my father fell sick with cancer. As a kid, I thought I was weird for doing this to myself. I felt alone and worthless because I thought no one would understand. These feelings, coupled with no hair, meant a vicious cycle of hiding in shame, embarrassment, makeup, and fake smiles. 

 

My story is almost the same for more than 30 million Americans suffering from not just hair pulling, but also sister mental health disorders of skin picking, nail biting, and other body focused repetitive behaviors. A few years ago, I came clean about my condition and set out with friends to build something that made me aware. That something is Keen by HabitAware, a smart bracelet that uses custom gesture detection to bring awareness to unwanted hand movements. Training Keen for a specific motion and position takes less than a minute with our app. After that, a gentle vibration shifts the unwanted behavior from the subconscious to the conscious mind so the user can retrain their brain and make new, positive choices.

 

We serve a large & largely underserved community whose typical go-tos have been to do nothing, to see a therapist, or to hide with wigs and makeup. Since launching in March 2017, we have been helping thousands take control.

 

What advice do you have for women who want to pursue leadership positions? 

Lean back. Learn to say no. Learn to delegate. Don't clean up after people and don't ever apologize.

 

Have you had to make any sacrifices in your personal life to achieve your professional success? 

It's not a sacrifice, it's just a reprioritization of how I choose to spend my time. My family and my customers are my priority right now.

 

What are ways you stay current? Do you have any favorite websites or podcasts? 
My belief is that if you have time for podcasts, you have too much time on your hands. I'm part old school, getting my news from NPR & 60 minutes and part new school, taking in Twitter and FB.
 

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