• Gianna

#53 "Every decision she’s proud of making was made with her heart, not her mind"

Blog #53 is all about Jane Chen. She is a cofounder of Embrace Innovations which has helped save the lives of 300,000 babies in 22 different countries. She is living proof that if we believe it, we can make a difference. 

Jane spent her four years in high school studying hard, running on the cross-country team and swimming. Before she graduated, her chemistry teacher wrote in her yearbook, “the journey is more important than the destination”. She took this advice with her as she began the rest of her life. 

After Jane graduated high school and college, while working in management consulting, she read an article in the New York Times about the Aids epidemic in China. It broke her heart and she decided to do something about it. She found a small nonprofit that was helping orphans whose parents had passed away because of the epidemic. She became the program director and began focusing on raising money which ended up helping several thousand students obtain an education. Jane’s experience working with the nonprofit in China taught her that a group of people working together as a team can make a real impact. She began to believe that she could put her heart and mind into a cause and with the support of others, she could be part of true change…maybe even solve some of the world's most prevalent problems. 

Jane continued to follow her heart. She went on to get her Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government and her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. While working on her MBA, Jane took the class, Design for Extreme Affordability, which focuses on creating products for people in developing countries. Her team decided to work on an incubator that would cost 1% of the traditional cost of $20,000. An incubator is used to regulate newborn babies’ temperatures when they are born prematurely. They are extremely expensive and require constant electricity, which makes them less accessible to people in developing countries. 

Jane’s team from Stanford successfully created the Embrace Infant Warmer which costs less than 1% of the traditional cost. It is also easy to use, portable and does not need a continuous power supply. After graduating,  Jane moved to India with the Embrace team, where 40% of the world's premature babies are born, to start saving lives. Jane is now the CEO of Embrace Innovations and has helped lead their product to save over 300,000 babies in 22 different countries. 

I always ask my Grounds of Change interviews what they would say if they could talk to their high school self. Jane told me that she would remind herself that every decision she’s proud of making was made with her heart, not her mind. She's learned that by tuning into her passions and leading with her heart- she can change the world. 

So, what can we learn from Jane? Next time, you swipe through that Instagram story or read through that article that showcases an injustice or problem in our world that breaks your heart, don’t just move on. If the internet can tell you about the problem, it can lead you to someone doing something to fix it. Take the next step to find out how you can become a part of the solution. 

Like I said before - Jane's high school chemistry teacher wrote in the back of her yearbook that it's about the journey not the destination. Her journey has sent her to help hundreds of thousands of children. I believe if Jane were to write in our yearbooks, she would write that every single person has something wonderful to offer to this world. Just like Jane took her teacher’s advice, let’s take hers. Your journey can change the world-let it.

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