This week, I virtually sat down with Ana Pompa Alarcon Rawls, CEO & Founder of the findSisterhood app — a nominee for “The Pitch” at #BlogHer19 Health — to discuss the launch of her first-ever app, and why her company’s commitment to creating safe spaces online is more important now than ever.
findSisterhood is the first social networking app designed with female mental health and support systems in mind. Women can post anonymously or with their name, which means the platform doubles as a completely safe space to connect with others and find support without judgement or fear. The app has been a godsend for women facing domestic violence or sexual assault get help among other women, without revealing their identity. It’s also a place for laughs, sharing juicy stories or doling out dating advice.
Ana realized the need for this app after her own struggle with postpartum depression. During this dark moment in her life, she found that logging onto her social platforms often wound up making her feel worse – not better. Posts from women giving rose-tinted accounts of motherhood, raising small children, images of beautiful CLEAN homes, and healthy home-cooked meals were plastered across her feeds – and those pretty pictures didn’t necessarily line up with Ana’s own experiences.
The hole in the social networking market was obvious – where was the authenticity? Where were the women?
“Almost every major social networking platform is run by men. They can’t possibly understand how social media affects the women who are using their platforms and how to create safe spaces for people like me.” Ana craved representations and conversations that echoed what she was feeling — so she decided to do it herself.
The CEO and founder has found herself in a uniquely distressing situation in the wake of COVID-19 – as an immigrant mother of two, unable to leave the US at this time, and uncertain of when she’ll be able to see her parents (who live outside of the US) again. But rather than negating that anxiety or wallowing in her stress, Ana chose to rise to the occasion. She knew that if she was struggling, thousands of other women were too – and that those women could really benefit from her product.
View this post on Instagram
It is our privilege to share with you all today the launch of our latest product. The new findSisterhood app is available on iOS worldwide today. Please download, share with all your friends & family members, and most importantly: spread the kindness and support. We have never needed sisterhood more than right now 👯♀️💕 #findsisterhood #foreveryoneinneedofsisterhood (This is a new app, please make sure to download findSisterhood in your App Store)
Ana and her team took COVID’s outbreak as an opportunity to pivot, and increase their app’s ability to support it’s users. Ana and her team have consulted with leading psychologists, tech goddesses, and of course trial-users to create an app that allows women to support one another, to voice their stories freely, and to — well, find sisterhood. The app launches today, with an added feature that was not in the team’s original plan for the app — findSisterhood has a “Trigger Warning” feature, designed to allow users to filter their feeds for news or stories that will have the adverse effect on their mental well-being. This includes anything from suicide to sudden deaths, cancer to COVID-19 stories.
Ana’s selflessness and willingness to channel her own strife into motivation to help others feel safe and seen is exactly what we should all be striving for at this tumultuous time. I simply can’t think of a better time for an app like this to launch. In the midst of social distancing, self-isolation and an overall tone of anxiety on a global scale, findSisterhood feels like a beacon of hope and an incredible way to connect with women who are going through exactly what you are.