Empowering Women: Tracy Persson’s “My Breast Day” Journey
In the heart of the 2021 COVID lockdowns, Tracy Persson, a proud mixed Indigenous heritage woman from Grand Prairie, Alberta, faced an unimaginable challenge – a diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Emerging from 14 months of gruelling treatments, Persson recognized a glaring gap in the resources available for early detection and treatment planning. This realization, coupled with observing the alarming disparities in support available to rural and Indigenous communities, led to the birth of My Breast Day Inc.
“My Breast Day is not just an app; it’s a lifeline,” Persson emphasizes, underscoring her business’s dual mission – to empower individuals in their fight against breast cancer and to reduce healthcare disparities, particularly among underserved, rural, and Indigenous women.
My Breast Day stands out in the crowded digital health space. The app is a holistic breast health companion that offers everything from educational content on early detection to features that help manage treatment post-diagnosis. Persson’s vision is evident in the app’s user-centric design, which encourages regular self-exams, facilitates appointment and medication tracking, and provides financial management tools.
However, the entrepreneurship journey, as rewarding as it has been for Persson, hasn’t come without challenges. “Being an entrepreneur can consume you,” she admits, emphasizing the struggle of maintaining a work-life balance and dealing with uncertainties inherent in any start-up journey.
Persson’s participation in the 2023 Pow Wow Pitch competition, a platform that merges entrepreneurship with Indigenous values, further highlights her commitment to blending business success with cultural heritage. She describes the experience as heartening, stating, “Being part of Pow Wow Pitch has reinforced my commitment to ‘My Breast Day’ and my mission to make a positive impact.”
Drawing inspiration from her Métis and First Nations ancestry, Persson ensures that ‘My Breast Day’ embodies Indigenous values. Respect, balance, reciprocity, and community are not just buzzwords for her; they guide every business decision she makes.
Her journey, supported by influential mentors like Russell Thomas from Mastercard and Ronald Shaluk from RBC, has underscored the importance of data protection in the healthcare sector and the art of connecting emotionally while pitching a business idea.
For Persson, entrepreneurship is about creative freedom and carving her own path. “It’s okay to think outside the box, challenge the status quo, and dare to do things differently,” she reflects.
Her advice to budding Indigenous entrepreneurs is succinct: “Start today!” She emphasizes that every entrepreneurial journey is unique, and it’s essential to trust your instincts and redefine what success means for you.
In concluding her interview, Persson returns to her core mission. She stresses the importance of breast health awareness and early detection, encouraging every woman to take proactive steps toward their health. She says, “Early detection truly does save lives, and it starts with you taking charge of your health.” As she rightly states, even if one life is impacted positively by her efforts, she will have achieved victory.
Register to watch Tracy pitch at the Technology Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 15, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Tracy to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#61) before September 17, 2023.