Global Comprehensive Fertility Support with Tammy Sun

November 8, 2022

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Tammy Sun is the Co-founder and CEO of Carrot Fertility, the leading global fertility healthcare company. Carrot’s mission is to make fertility care accessible and affordable to all regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or geography.

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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian, this is a very special edition. I’ve got it with us today, Tammy Sun. She’s the CEO and co-founder of Carrot Fertility. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Tammy.

Tammy Sun: Hi John! Thank you so much for having me. Hi.

John: Hi, and I’m so excited to have you on. This is such an important topic in your vision and your mission. And the business that you’ve created is covering such an important topic that needs to get more coverage and visibility. You’re making the world a better place. You’re making huge impacts, but before we get to all that, and we’re going to get to that, I want you to share a little bit about your background, Tammy. Your work today is in Bentonville, Arkansas. And before we find out how you got there, where did you start this whole journey?

Tammy: Yes. Well, I am in Bentonville. Hello, from Northwest Arkansas, and I’m excited to talk about Northwest Arkansas as well. I didn’t expect to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t plan to be a founder or CEO. I spent a lot of years and the earlier part of my career in politics, policy, and government. I moved to Silicon Valley many years ago and started working for a tech company called Evernote. I think one of the things that are interesting but not, I think talked about enough is that both governments as a platform for doing important and good things at scale. It’s not that different than technology as a platform because you can reach a lot of people through products and services, filling important gaps in the market. Not that dissimilarly from thinking about passing a new law or an important election. So, the transition wasn’t that challenging for me. Once I sort of started thinking about doing my fertility treatments and engaging in my fertility healthcare, I came up with a lot of challenges. It was very expensive. It cost tens of thousands of dollars for me to get access to that type of care. And I was just really inspired to think about if I’m having this problem and I was privileged enough to have enough money in a savings account, right? That could pay for the type of care that I wanted and that I needed. What happens to other people? Most people in this country don’t have $500 or a full paycheck in savings. So, that means that if it’s not covered as a part of your healthcare at work, you just won’t have access to it. That’s what we saw.

John: You got involved with politics, and you’re very, very, very humble. You are a presidential appointee by President Obama on the FCC. You held roles at the Clinton Foundation as part of the White House. First of all, where did you grow up? Where were your formative years?

Tammy: I was born in Taiwan, in Taipei. I spent a few early years there, and then my parents moved over, and we lived in New Jersey for most of my childhood and grew up there. So, I’m an immigrant.

John: When you were going to school, I’m from an immigrant background also. I’m Armenian, 3rd generation. I’m a true believer that some entrepreneurs have a huge leg up when they’re immigrants. Because we end up somewhat more resilient than just other people that have everything afforded to them and aren’t as a little bit as tough and resilient as flexible as others. Growing up, though, when you were going to college, what was on your mind then? Did you have any dreams to be an entrepreneur? Or is it all politics and policy then?

Tammy: It was mostly politics. And, I do say that with the caveat which is I don’t think I was exposed to entrepreneurship until much later in life. If I knew that that was an option for me, I might have decided differently. Although, again, I think people who are attracted to politics and government, and policy work in many ways have the same DNA as people who are attracted to Silicon Valley and technology and building products and services. You’re trying to do something that can impact the world in a really large way as quickly as possible.

John: Correct. Your mom and dad, were entrepreneurs, or what professions that they hold? And how did that work? And how that informs you as to your ability to jump over from government and policymaking to the fun world of entrepreneurship.

Tammy: So, you know, we were pretty you know, when I was very young, we were pretty poor. My dad was still in school at the time he was getting his Master’s and Ph.D., and he wasn’t until he got a job at AT&T Bell Labs in New Jersey. I mean, we started to enter the middle class. And, you know, I saw both of my parents, you know, really exhibit a ton of grit. Sort of building the life that they did for their two daughters. You know, I have one sister, and I think just observing that and understanding the sacrifices that they made to give us opportunities was a big part of how I thought about my career.

John: That grit, frankly speaking. Given that they did the immigrant journey and you got to be a percipient witness to that, that grit is imputed upon you and forever leaves you marked, for better and worse sometimes too, but for better in this situation. So, now you see this white space, you have a direct personal connection to this problem now that you want to fix. So, what then informed you to say, “Hey, I can be the one that does this, I can be the one and I’m going to get the right people around me and also the right dough”, and what gave you that ability to have the guts to do both, find the right people and to find the dough. Both, are not easy things by the way. Entrepreneurs have fascinating wonderful visions and great intentions but finding the dough and the right people to make it a reality is not an easy trick, magic trick, or let me say hat trick, to borrow a hockey term, to make it a reality. So, how did that go for you?

Tammy: Well, look, I think, you know, I saw, you know, the latest status at what two percent of venture funding or venture dollars goes to female founders. And I think at its height, that number had crescendo at 3%, and it’s back down. So, I won’t lie. It was hard.

John: Well, I bet you the number gets further, parse time, interrupting you, but I bet the number even gets further parse when it’s also a woman of color.

Tammy: Yes. Absolutely. Numbers are not good.

John: You are facing much bigger odds than a guy like me walking in with a great vision in a DC office or anywhere else. So, I just want to make sure that the audience realizes the odds that you were facing on the mountain you were climbing.

Tammy: It was tough and even back. I mean, today, I’m so excited. We’re on the show, we’re talking about fertility, we’re going to talk about menopause. Back then, it was still very early- five to six years ago- and it was tough sometimes to talk about these issues and get people to understand that this is a human health care issue, not just for a specific type of woman, and frankly, not even for women, it’s for men too. And so, it was an uphill battle with regards to, as you say, the dough and the funding. But I think the one thing that got me through, of course, the resilience and the things we talked about in terms of traits that, you know, I have my parents were, I’m grateful, my parents were able to give to me growing up. But the thing that was differentiating was, even as investors were saying, no. And a lot said, no. A lot of my potential customers were saying, yes. So, you know, I go from a meeting where an investor says, “Egg freezing, that’s never going to be a thing, that’s just for a tiny group of a specific type of woman.” Like, that’s not everything. I’d go from that meeting to an HR leader or somebody who buys benefits at a company, and I would sit down, and they would be like, “Thank God you’re here.” I was just talking to an employee who came into my office and said they couldn’t get access to the IVF through our insurance or, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to talk to you, I have women coming in talking about egg freezing, and I don’t know how to do it.” And so, I think the thing I would encourage people to do is like really listen to the customer, stay connected to the customer, and then and then the money and the venture dollars, and the financing all of that stuff will follow. If the customer if you have a strong customer base.

John: I love that. You know, being customer obsessed. A lot of people forget that that’s what we’re in business to be, servicing, and serving our customers. Who wrote the first check, who wrote the first? Who is the first believer of Tammy Sun?

Tammy: Oh, my gosh. Okay. So, there were, I think it was all on the same day but there’s a group of female angel investors in Silicon Valley called hashtag Angels. So, they were phenomenal. Jonna, hi. Everybody, Chloe, hi.

John: That’s right.

Tammy: And then, Charles Hudson from a precursor. Charles is one of the most successful, prolific, precede, venture capitalists now in Silicon Valley and I believe I was in his first fun. Just as he was launching the fun and he is fantastic. He happens to be a black BC and I think that is just like, something that I am also very proud of.

John: So, this year, the day and year that you got those first checks, which year are we talking about?

Tammy: Oh gosh. 2017, I think.

John: 2017.

Tammy: And I had not even really started. I was just coming up with an idea. We had tried all of these sorts of consumer angles. You know, we did a Y combinator in 2018. Finally, it started selling in 2018, but those were early days.

John: When you started though, where were you working? Your home, or out in a garage? Silicon Valley style, and where was this? Where was home for you, then? Where was your [crosstalk]?

Tammy: Oh, my gosh. It was a coffee shop called Max fields in San Francisco, that was connected to a laundromat.

John: I loved it.

Tammy: It was next a bunch of [crosstalk], for her for almost a year. I did my work on a laptop at a coffee shop with two dozen washers and dryers of being surrounding it.

John: When you first came up with this and you just wrote the business plan, did you have partners or was it, did you start building a team after you got the first checks in the door?

Tammy: I did have some early partners, and, you know, right now, one of my co-founders, Doctor Asima Ahmad. She’s our chief medical officer. So, she’s the co-founder. She’s my chief medical officer. She is a double board-certified OB-GYNE, as well as a fertility doctor. And we met at a fertility conference, sitting in a workshop for a low cost. How to get more people to be able to access IVF?

John: Wow. So, now you start raising money, and what happens next? How do you start honing your vision and your mission and what are your next steps then?

Tammy: Well, I started raising money and I think the thing that nobody prepared me for was how rapidly you would be rejected and as somebody who was pretty used to working hard and achieving a goal or being successful, I think that level and that velocity of rejection can be very challenging for somebody who doesn’t know that they’re walking into an expectation, where that’s normal. And so, you know, went through the process of raising precede round, raising a seed round. We ultimately ended up doing Y combinator, which is a startup thing in Silicon Valley.

John: Sure, you can beat it.

Tammy: Yeah, exactly. And went on from there.

John: You raised a bunch of money and by the way rejection never feels good, no matter how successful, or not successful you are. Mean, it’s hard, it’s hard to deal with rejection. You know, especially when it’s your baby.

Tammy: Yeah.

John: It’s all your baby, it’s one thing to be rejected, personally. It’s another thing when your beautiful baby that you’ve put a lot of thought into your life and what in your guts is.

Tammy: You think it’s beautiful, but someone just said your baby is ugly.

John: Exactly. And Coke for you in my house.

Tammy: Yeah.

John: It’s enough. Now you’ve raised some money. Where do you start, with your talking to clients? I mean, your client list today is just incredible for our listeners and our viewers out there that want to learn more about Tammy and her great company, carrot fertility. You can type in or I mean, your client list now is ridiculous. Clif Bar, Variety, Zoom, Plantronics, Eccentric, Etcetera. But how, who were the first two to five clients, and how that works?

Tammy: Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, we had a really small cohort of early Customers Palantir was an early customer. You know, we’ve been privileged to have several great, great, early customers. And I think, the timing is also really important here, the customers that were available to us, were able to make buying decisions because the culture had evolved just enough to that point to make this possible. So, what does that mean? That means for example, that you know, finally, the Supreme Court said, same-sex marriage, that is legal, right? We’ve decided on same-sex marriage. So, once marriage was decided, you could sort of see that the conversation would naturally over the next several years turn to “Okay, well, how are LGBTIQ people going to think about forming families?” What is the type of healthcare that they’re going to need to do that? Is it going to be adopted? Is it going to be IVF? Is it going to be surrogacy, right? So, there are a lot of things that come as a consequence of a big cultural, and legal shift like that. You know, we were just sort of coming to a point where more and more people were talking about infertility in the public. You know, some of the earliest companies like Meta formerly known as Facebook had just said, “Okay, we’re going to offer egg freezing as a part of our, as a part of our benefits at work.” And so, it was this sort of magic moment where all the stars aligned, and it brought this issue to the front of the pack, as something that we should all start to think about and care about more. And finally, the timing was right where you could build something, to service it.

John: So, I bet you start building carrot fertility. There’s a lot to talk about here on the macro, in terms of menopause, mental health, and wellness before we get into that. What was the first part of- You know, they always say, don’t eat the elephant, don’t try to deal with one bite. You know, baby steps along the way, no pun intended. Where did you start in terms of the white space that exists in this broken system?

Tammy: Well, there’s still a lot of white space as you said, nowhere near being able to say that we’ve accomplished our mission, which is fertility care for all people, regardless of age or sex or gender. But I think in the early days what we wanted to do was, we wanted to reframe the first lady conversation so that it wasn’t only about opposite-sex couples who were challenged with infertility important group. Very, very important that they have high-quality access to fertility treatments, but we wanted to change the expectations and the conversation around. Who else could have access? What about single intending parents? What about gay couples? Who needs access to a gestational carrier, who needs access to a donor egg, who needs access to adoption benefits? What about women and couples? And men who want to preserve their fertility, whether through egg or embryo, or sperm freezing. We want to just sort of set a new normal around what fertility was defined as, and what the new modern expectations are of employers when people say, “I want a comprehensive and inclusive fertility benefit.”

John: Understood. So, you’re going after this whole ecosystem of fertility.

Tammy: Yeah, exactly. We think fertility is life-long. We don’t think just starts and stops at one specific treatment. We think it involves the course of a person’s entire life and there are changing goals and changing clinical needs all along the way.

John: It’s 2022, now. You’ve been in this for six years, seven years.

Tammy: Yeah, exactly. Long-time feels like [crosstalk].

John: Long, it feels. Of course, it does. Are you where you want to be? And where are you right now in the journey?

Tammy: You know, really proud of where we are. You know, I always want more, always want to be farther. I’m proud of where we are. We have, I think the world is different. Just as I was saying before, in terms of having a new normal. I do think that the world is different today than it might have been if Carrot didn’t exist. I think that we have been an important voice and an important tool. that has shaped and reshaped people’s expectations around what human fertility healthcare means. There’s a lot more work to do and we’re continuing to push the envelope to serve our members and our customers all around things, like post-reproductive fertility healthcare, age-inclusive fertility healthcare, which includes menopause as well as low T. But I’m proud of where we are today. We have you know, 380 or about 400 just under 400 employees. We are a global company that’s available in 120 countries and we’re in 45 states in the US.

John: How many clients and how many people are you serving right now?

Tammy: Today. So right now, we’re about 400 [crosstalk].

John: Wow.

Tammy: Yeah, and about a million lives. But when we go, when we move in by the time, you know, q1 rolls around, we will be many millions of covered lives and double the number. Almost double the numbers.

John: How did covid change your business and how employers look, it is seeming a trend of better benefits being important for retention, and not only for employee retention but for employee attraction as well.

Tammy: Yeah, I mean. Look, covid put a spotlight on how important healthcare, the health, the strength of the healthcare infrastructure is in this country [crosstalk].

John: And maybe the weak and, maybe the weakness of it as well.

Tammy: The weaknesses of it. Weaknesses and how we can build resiliency.

John: Right.

Tammy: And I think part of it is really through Telehealth, right? And through telemedicine. You know, for us we double down on Telehealth during the pandemic.

John: Wait, what do you mean? Explain what you mean by that.

Tammy: So, a couple of things, you know, the fertility clinics during the pandemic were shut down. So, anything that was, I don’t know if you remember, “non-essential.”

John: Yeah.

Tammy: Was closed.

John: Right.

Tammy: So, there’s a lot of interrupted IVF Cycles, adoption processes that had been forgotten because people needed to travel to do things. So, there was just a massive, massive disruption in care. You know, we really sort of invested in building, you know, features and tools for members to be able to get as much care through Telehealth as possible. So, that includes, access to a fertility doctor, but it also included access to emotional and behavioral, and mental health experts with specializations in fertility family forming grief, and so on. The mental health and emotional health aspect of managing and dealing with fertility healthcare is something that we feel very passionately about, and we think it is an integral part of the fertility healthcare experience. Not just your physical body but also your emotional wellness. And so, we saw, over a 3X spike in the utilization of those types of experts on our platform.

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John: What’s the carrot RX brand that you built?

Tammy: Yeah, we also release that during the pandemic, which was, when you do fertility treatments, if you’re doing IVF, you’re doing everything. The medications are very expensive, and they are pretty invasive. So, you have to give yourself, you have to get this medication, it’s free, and a lot of it needs to be refrigerated, comes in an Inno-Pak. You have to mix medication and then, you know, load a syringe and then give yourself multiple shots per day, for up to two weeks. May be small. So, it’s complicated invasive, and complex. When I first did it, you know, my hands were shaking because, you know, I had never given myself, any kind of, you know, medical wrong there are

John: Right.

Tammy: Not a shot. But each little vial of medicine was like several hundred dollars. So, if you mess up, it’s a pretty expensive mistake.

John: Right.

Tammy: Right. So, sometimes people will, you know, have friends come over and do it or if you have a partner that they can help you do it, but it doesn’t matter because none of us are doctors. And so, we’re just sort of figuring it out on our own. And so, the carrot RX product makes this experience a lot better. So, it arrives at your house. You know, well-labeled, well-marked, fully branded, full instructions. One of our carrot experts will get on the phone with you to do an unboxing. So, you unbox all of your stuff. We tell you what has to be refrigerated, we give you specific instructions on how to store your medications. You can book a video appointment with a fertility nurse and that nurse will help you, over the video, mix the medication, okay? And then, coach you on how to do this shot and that that stuff matters when you’re in the high-stakes world of fertility treatments.

Tommy: High-stakes world, by the way, for our listeners and viewers who’ve just joined us. We’ve got Tammy Sun, in the station. She’s a CEO and co-founder of carrot fertility, to find Tammy and her great company and her colleagues around the world. Please go to Talk about the cultural differences between the United States serving the United States population and corporations here and the citizens of this country versus the other countries that you service. What are you seeing in terms of cultural differences and how do you have to adjust your business model for Asia, Europe, South America, and other parts of the world?

Tammy: So, such an interesting question. You know, there are so many differences between the US and countries around the world. Where the leading provider of global fertility benefits. We are the experts in this space and the thing that I am always just so struck by when it comes to the global landscape is every country has something about it. That is good, right? So, for example.

John: Yeah.

Tammy: In the UK they are making a lot more progress on menopause and from a policy perspective, from a cultural perspective than we are in the US. In Israel, there’s a ton of public funding for fertility treatments. So, when you go around the world there’s like there are good things in many countries but the tie that binds the thing that is the same is that there are things that are deeply broken as well. So, while some groups may have great access to fertility healthcare through the Public Health Care system in country X, other groups are prohibited from that access based on sex or marriage or sexual orientation, or gender, right? So, single women might not be able to get access to fertility treatments because they’re not married, right? Or same-sex gay couples will not be able to get access to IVF because they’re gay. So, while there are good things, the common thing is that it’s broken everywhere.

John: Right, right, right, right.

Tammy: We come in and we fill in all of those sorts of critical gaps. We work with some of the largest US multinational employers.

John: And you have employees in many countries around the world? Or is it mostly American-based employees, servicing the entire planet?

Tammy: We have teams everywhere.

John: Teams everywhere. Do you have one office somewhere? I mean, talk about how you ended up from Silicon Valley to Bentonville. I’m fascinated by that, I’m sure our listeners and yours will say, how did Tammy Sun go from Silicon Valley to Bentonville Arkansas?

Tammy: It is wild. I never thought that this would happen to be honest. It was a covid move and, you know, I lived in large cities almost my whole life. I lived in London. I lived in New York. I live in Silicon Valley. And you know, during the pandemic, it was just so challenging to be that isolated and to be in the Bay Area where there were really bad forest fires. I couldn’t breathe the air that year. I don’t know if you remember it was like, red, right? It was like the [crosstalk].

John: That was Armageddon.

Tammy: You know, what’s the movie that everyone was in? It was like Mad, Max.

John: Right.

Tammy: Like, it was the red sky.

John: You’re right, I agree with you.

Tammy: And there was no, it’s just small things but, you know, there was these goes not set up with air-conditioning like it’s not, it doesn’t have air conditioning the way that New York has air-conditioning built-in everywhere. So, it was just very, very challenging. So, you know, Phil and I decided that we were just going to sort of try Bentonville. It wasn’t that random insofar as my sister and her husband also live here. So, we have to excuse to come down, we thought it would be temporary but we’re building a house now.

John: That’s wonderful. I’ve been to Bentonville many times, and it just feels like just American good old mom apple pie and the girl back home. It feels like it’s just a wonderful part of the country that people sort of fly over most of the time, but it’s wonderful that you’re there.

Tammy: Yeah, it’s a great part of the country. Northwest Arkansas is, you know, teeming with talent. It’s got incredible art crystal bridges here. I mean, I would say it’s in the top percentile of art museums in the world, and it’s just a really interesting dynamic community. So, happy.

John: So, talk about running a company from Bentonville. Do you have one set of offices? And certain parts of the United States, where the majority of employees work out, or does everyone work dispersed?

Tammy: So, you know, we thought about this question a lot. As you know, people were starting to come back as vaccinations were happening, and what we were, you know, what was our policy going forward. At that point, we had hired employees, I think, in 38 states. Now, it’s like more than 40, but, you know, we have, we have folks in Ohio, and Iowa and North Carolina and Arkansas and California and New York of course. But we decided that we were going to be permanently fully distributed, and so that meant that we were not going to reopen a headquarters because we wouldn’t know where that headquarters should be. But we were going to take, you know, you’re going to take those, we can take the money that we would have. Otherwise, spent on like really expensive rent in New York or San Francisco or Chicago and we were going to reinvest it, and so many times a year, we bring teams together to be together physically. Not necessarily to work next to each other, John, because we all know that we can sit anywhere and work now.

John: Correct.

Tammy: But connect, right? To build those relationships and maintain that trust, put social capital in the bank. And then, as we are distributed, we can use that capital to work. Folks get together a lot accurately.

John: I had the opportunity. Thanks to your great team, to learn so much about you and carrot fertility before this podcast. How are you getting the word out there? And what’s the future look like? This seems like the opportunity is limitless and the sky is the limit for you, and all the trends are in your favorites. Am I reading that right, or where am I missing something here?

Tammy: No, you’re right. I mean, look where, you know, we’re in a tough, sort of challenging economic environment now, and there’s a lot of discussion about the macroeconomic environment, and what I like to remind people about our industry and our business is that you know, the secular trends that drive the expansiveness and the growth of fertility, it’s bigger than whatever this economic moment is, however long it lasts. It’s permanent, right? People, both men, and women are going to continue to have kids later and later.

John: True.

Tammy: Whether it’s starting a family, or earning their families. You know, tens of millions of people are going to enter post-reproductive fertility health care, which includes menopause, perimenopause, and menopause. That’s permanent. Well, pregnancy, right? These things are larger than any specific economic moment. And so, we talked about, you know, how we can be of service to a really important constituency in this country, which is health plans and employers, who are the payers of healthcare, right? You and I, I don’t know about you, but I get my health care through my job.

John: Me too.

Tammy: That’s just how it is in this country. You can like it, you cannot like it, you can pay for it [crosstalk]

John: It doesn’t matter. It’s the way it is.

Tammy: It’s the way it is, right? Like, more than half of all Americans, 150 million- we get our health benefits through our jobs. And so, we put these employers and these customers at the center of our universe at carrot, which is how can we be of service to this vital group in this country, which is very much on the front lines of healthcare delivery.

John: How does such an important topic become such a misunderstood and taboo topic? Even talk about over in our culture and society? When you’ve been during doing your journey and learning from so many great people that you’ve been exposed to, what have you learned as to why the nature of this is such a misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and taboo topic to even be out there?

Tammy: You know, there are a lot of aspects about how women, in particular, engage in healthcare and how they are served or unserved in the healthcare system that I think can answer that question.

John: Okay:

Tammy: You know, there’s a lot of bad news. But the good news is that you know, we’re in this really important moment where we’re able to sort of bring these topics to the table as a first-class citizen in healthcare, not at the side table. You know, not like it’s at the table as a first-class citizen, and you’re seeing it being baked into the healthcare stack at work, with gentle, with vision, with medical people who are looking at mental health benefits. They’re looking at fertility benefits, and I think you know, unfortunately, a lot of the health care system historically over time has not been designed by and designed for women. You know, you see it in every aspect of the health care system in terms of clinical trials and all sorts of parts of the system. But I think, you know, we are excited to sort of be engaged in the process that is reimagining and reinventing important parts of it for people.

John: Today, when you’re talking to our listeners, who are leaders of their company, their CEOs or CFOs or directors of HR and HR directors, you have 400 plus clients. You have lots of information now and a lot of evidence that you’ve learned over the last seven years. It’s good business to get involved with fertility benefits like Carrot that Carrot shares and offers the people in terms of retention, in terms of attraction of employees, and just employee happiness. Is this the proven science now on the facts that you can say and look at any CEO or director of HR and say, “It’s just playing good business for you to bring on our service to your company.”

Tammy: It’s just math [crosstalk].

John: [laughter] Tell me, share the math.

Tammy: You know, I think one of the things that are a double whammy here is that number one, you know, people love, love announcing and delivering care to their employees. You know, people cry. It’s life-changing, right? And you’re a benefits leader or you’re in HR. You know there are lots of parts of the role that can be challenging, and you know that are draining. This is a part of the job that a lot of our customers just love giving their employees, right? So, it feels great, but it’s not just that it feels great for them and their employees. It’s just math. So, you know, if you care about saving costs if you care about retaining employees, this just makes sense, the average cost of replacing an employee ranges, depending on the kind of role and where they are ranging between 50,000 and $200,000. You know, when you’re talking about women in the workforce in their 40s and 50s, many of whom are leaders, executives, and managers, $200,000 doesn’t begin to express how expensive it would be to lose a leader at that level and replace her. So, from a retention perspective, carrot works 98% of our members for more than three years, and we survey them every single week. 98% tell us that they are more likely to stay at that company in that job because they have access to Carrot.

John: That’s awesome.

Tammy: We pay for the house, just on that, right? And then you talk about the healthcare side like that’s a whole other story.

John: Let’s go back to the entrepreneurship thing. You were facing a huge mountain, not only as a woman, which is hard when you’re a woman entrepreneur in this country, there’s no doubt. There’s a lot more discussion of them, mark Cubans in this world than the sets our Blakely’s and a woman of color, nonetheless. Share with us what you were expecting that happened along the journey. And what were you not expecting that also happened along the journey, and how hard is it to be an entrepreneur? And would you ever go back to public service again? Where you were now smitten in this, is it for you?

Tammy: You. Oh my gosh. Well, I don’t know if I have another company in me after this is all done [laughter]. It might’ve taken everything that I possibly have [laughter].

John: I don’t think so. I think you have a long way to done here. So, I think you have a long journey [crosstalk] anyway. So, let’s not worry about what would happen.

Tammy: You know, one of the things that I was expecting is. It’s kind of a weird thing to say, but I knew that it would work.

John: Awesome.

Tammy: I knew that it would work. I knew that it would be very hard. I knew that there would be so many problems to solve, but I knew that it would work, and the way that I knew that was because I was just constantly listening to the customers. My connection to the customers was so strong that I could read what was going on. So, I always knew that it would work, even though I knew it’d be hard. The thing that surprises me, and it continues to sort of surprised me every day is like, I am just so, for a while I was doing many, many jobs. I was in customer service. I was in sales. I was in the product. And so, I sometimes wake up, and I just cannot believe that there are hundreds of people who are more talented than me at these jobs who get up every day and they make this their life’s work too, and they are just so relentless and, so smart, and so energetic, and they’re just doing such great work to move this forward. Sometimes, I wake up and I can’t believe it.

John: Awesome. When you started, are you are your parents still alive?

Tammy: They are, yeah.

John: So, when you started this and you first called it and said, “I’m leaving the FCC or leaving the Clinton Foundation,” or all the great things that you were doing and evolved within your previous career, earlier in your career, how were they with this whole journey when you were just embarking on it?

Tammy: So, as we discussed, my parents are immigrants.

John: Yeah. Yeah.

Tammy: And, you know, engineer, lawyer, or doctor like, that’s easy to understand.

John: Yeah. Very acceptable stuff for all the [crosstalk] lawyers.

Tammy: I agree.

John: I get it. I get it.

Tammy: These three things, pick up, pick one. I think, you know, entrepreneurship has been a learning experience for them as well. I don’t think they think that I’m unemployed anymore. I think they think that I have a real job, but you know, it’s ideas. It’s been fun for them too.

John: That’s awesome. That is so awesome. Any final thoughts about the future of carrot fertility before I let you go for today, I’m going to have you back on because I want you to continue to share this important journey. But Tammy, any final thoughts before we have to sign off for today?

Tammy: Fertility is for everybody. It’s for, you know, anyone who’s listening. It’s for you if you’re married if you’re single if you’re a man if you’re a woman, if you are gay, if you are straight, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you are of reproductive age, if you post-reproductive age, fertility healthcare is for you. And we are building a product where everybody can feel at home.

John: Tammy, I just want to say thank you for making the world a better place by affecting millions of people not only in the United States but around the world with all the future impacts you’re going to make on infertility and lives around the world. For people who want to find you, sign up, or learn more about the great benefits that you have, please go to Tammy Sun, you’re always welcome back on the Impact Podcast, and I thank you for making the world a better place.

Tammy: Thank you so much for having me, John.

John: This episode of the impact podcast is brought to you by closed-loop partners. Closed-loop Partners is a leading circular economy investor in the United States with an extensive network of Fortune 500 corporate investors, family offices, institutional investors, industry experts, and impact partners. The closed-loop platform spans the arc of capital from venture capital to private equity, bridging gaps and fostering synergies to scale the circular economy. To find closed-loop partners, please go to