Cath Everett is VP of Product of the world’s number #1 period and ovulation tracker, Flo.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role?

I’m VP of Product & Content at Flo – the #1 period and ovulation tracker worldwide, with over 50 million active monthly users across the globe. Co-created with over 120 leading health and medical experts, and acclaimed medical institutions, the app has received over 129 million IOS installs on the Apple App Store alone – something we’re really proud of.

Flo also prioritises safety and keeps a sharp focus on being the most trusted digital source for women’s health information. In fact, as part of Flo’s commitment to privacy, our Anonymous Mode feature was named a finalist for Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards in the Rapid Response category.

I’ve been at Flo for two and half years, in which time I’ve built my department to a team of 70+ strong women’s health experts, product managers, designers and researchers, all of whom work tirelessly day in, day out, to deliver the most up-to-date, relevant, and high-quality content.

In terms of my career background, I started off in publishing at Hearst Magazines in 2007 – working on titles such as Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping – but at the time, the industry was tricky for women wanting to start a family. There wasn’t much flexibility in terms of your schedule, and you were expected to be in the office during set hours, working five days a week. So, I made the difficult decision to leave and move into tech – something which was totally new to me – joining travel platform, Skyscanner, in 2018 as Director of Copy & Content. I gained invaluable experience working across app and platform development, which equipped me with the relevant skills for the role at Flo. In a way, my career has gone full circle, as I’m now working back in women’s health but with a tech lens.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

I certainly knew whilst studying for my history degree that I wanted to work in women’s magazines. But it’s an incredibly competitive industry – even more so back then – and I’ve even compared it to the film, The Devil Wears Prada! But I managed to land a Features Assistant role in 2007 and work my way up, before becoming Features Editor in 2011. But as I mentioned, the industry at the time was a little unforgiving to those wishing to start a family – there wasn’t an opportunity to work four days a week or have flexible hours to manage the school drop-offs and pick-ups, so I decided to leave the industry once I’d decided to start a family.

A career in tech wasn’t really something I’d ever considered, which I believe is mostly down to traditional stereotypes growing up that “tech isn’t for girls.” But after joining Skyscanner, and now Flo, I understand the incredible career opportunities which working in tech can bring – it means I can combine my love for all-things women’s health with a platform that reaches millions of people every day.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’d say leading a powerful content creation team to grow in-app revenue from content by 75% at Flo during my first year. I have also been responsible for creating a new tone of voice for the brand, elevating it from being a functional tracking app to a friendly, approachable companion that makes users feel empowered. This has enabled us to tackle sensitive issues such as access to healthcare in complicated markets like the US and help inform women so they can make the best decisions for their health.

Our work with the App Store has also been invaluable in propelling the brand in terms of reach and scale. The App Store helps developers build, test and market their ideas to mass audiences, which in turn provides enormous opportunity for growth – connecting you to over 2 billion devices in 175 regions globally!

We’ve worked closely with the App Store team to get access to the tools, resources, and support we needed to develop Flo, including beta software, app services, testing tools and app analytics to name a few! Working with Apple also gave us insights into enhanced app development, market strategy and the ability to reach millions of users globally.

We have a close relationship with the team at Apple and continue to work more closely with them as we further build and strengthen the business.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

The decision to leave publishing was a huge one – I was truly jumping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown. But I’ve reaped the benefits as I’m now fortunate enough to live back in my home country of Scotland where I’m close to family and school friends. Having the balance of pursuing a career I love while having the flexibility to live where I choose means I now have the best of both worlds. What’s more, I have had the opportunity to build an incredible team of people, hiring top talent to come and join us at Flo. We only bring on board people who are passionate about our mission, so together we can transform women’s health for good.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology? 

Be open minded and acknowledge the things you don’t know, with a desire to explore them. Basically, stay humble, value the ideas of others and put growth over ego!

What barriers for women working in tech are still to be overcome?

Despite the huge leaps towards encouraging more women and girls into tech over the past decade, there’s still so much work to do. There are still not enough women at the top, and there’s not enough funding for female tech entrepreneurs either. A recent report found only two funding rounds involving all-female start-up teams in 2022 bagged more than €50m, compared to 215 deals for men — less than 1% of the rounds. At the same time, 85% of all consumer purchases in the US are made by women! So, there’s huge potential to fill this gap and give female-led startups the opportunity they deserve.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

At Flo, we’re proud that 57% of our employees are women. We also have female-friendly policies, such as giving parents returning from maternity leave a bonus. Many women returning to the workplace may ask whether they’re still relevant – my answer is absolutely yes, and at Flo, we can use their recent experience to build an even stronger offering to consumers. We are all about breaking down outdated barriers to enable returning to work and giving women the platform and support they need to excel as working mums.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

I believe we need to do more to encourage young women and girls into tech. But it doesn’t start and end there – it’s also about improving the hiring opportunities of women, promoting women for their hard work, and ensuring they have a voice within their companies and beyond.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I listen to ‘Women’s Hour’ on BBC Radio 4 each day. It covers women and women’s topics and issues from all walks of life, not just tech. But it helps me stay on top of the issues impacting women the most, which in turn gives me inspiration for content at Flo.

I also swear by ‘The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You’ by Julie Zhuo. It’s an excellent book for leaders and aspiring leaders and one which I’ve returned to over the years for tips and advice.