An experienced benefits attorney, lecturer, and entrepreneur. Debbie Dickinson has put her Harvard Law and Wharton Business School degrees to use by developing a solution for one of menopause’s most challenging side effects. After battling hot flashes to no avail, this high achieving mother of four and her eldest daughter, Markea, co-founded Thermaband, a smart wearable thermostat designed to provide thermal relief naturally and discreetly. She's also a married mom of four incredibly compassionate and talented kids. Keep reading to learn more about how she started building Thermaband, what her greatest challenge is right now, and why she keeps a unicorn on her nightstand.
What’s one practice, goal, or purpose that helps get you out of bed each day?
I love the caption that says, ”be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says “oh no! she’s up!” My life is deeply rooted in faith and purpose, and I see each day as an opportunity to do something above and beyond what I can even imagine. If there are negative forces designed to oppose or thwart those efforts, let them tremble at the very thought that I am awake, up, and ready.
What’s one thing you try to remember each day?
I remember that each day is a gift, not a guarantee, and that many people wanted to live this day, but were not able to do so. My mom died when she was about my age and I honor her by living life more fully. We typically experience death once, but we have an opportunity—or one could argue, an imperative—to live life completely on a daily basis. To that end, I would rather have tried and failed miserably than never to have attempted a seemingly impossible or insurmountable task, for fear of failure. I believe in dreaming big, visualizing success, claiming it, and then taking that difficult first step with gratitude and expectancy.
What’s your biggest challenge right now?
On a personal note, my ongoing challenge is coping with menopausal symptoms. My most common ones include weight gain, anxiety, and hot flashes. I was very disturbed to realize that although women have been dealing with hot flashes since the dawn of time, few natural, discreet and effective solutions are available. This led me to my greatest professional challenge—developing a smart tech wearable that uses digital health data to provide relief for people who are uncomfortably hot or cold. In developing the Thermaband Zone, my daughter and I have collaborated with engineers, scientists, physicians, and a large community of women. The journey to create an effective solution for women has been challenging for sure, but extraordinarily exhilarating.
What’s your greatest reward right now?
My greatest reward, by far, is watching each of my four children overcome challenges, blossom, and flourish in the relentless pursuit of their dreams. It is still a work in progress, but it truly takes my breath away. My husband and I raised them to be independent, resilient, caring, and grounded individuals. We were blessed to have the opportunity for me to take a hiatus from my law practice to focus on raising them. I thought I’d take six months, then get back to my practice. Much to my astonishment, that six month period turned into 18 years, with several moves across the country and even another child. We all know that each child is unique and there are no guarantees for happiness or success, despite parental efforts, so just seeing their level of passion, contentment and conviction in pursuit of their chosen professions—which include entrepreneurship, medicine, culinary arts, and politics—as well as how incredibly loving and compassionate they each are, brings me immeasurable joy.
What do you wish someone had told you about this stage of life?
Menopause. Just as we learned about puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy, women should also understand what menopause is and its effects on our bodies. Instead, historically, menopause has been a taboo topic. A natural stage of life that affects half the population should not be a mystery that leaves women confused, isolated, and miserable. I dealt firsthand with feelings of isolation and lack of resources when I first experienced hot flashes. Moreover, I realized that I had been experiencing menopausal symptoms for years and had absolutely no idea my symptoms were related to menopause. Symptoms often occur earlier, last longer and are more intense for women of color. Knowledge is power, so I have created a private Multigenerational Sisterhood on Facebook of women ages 25+ discussing women’s health, wellness, and menopause. Open and frank discussions in a safe community of empowered women offering education, encouragement and humor have been incredibly liberating.
What’s on your nightstand?
The staples on my nightstand include a lamp, a soothing candle and aromatic oils (such as lavender and eucalyptus), a devotional, a clock, my phone (which I am mindful not to use if I truly want to sleep), a beautiful monogrammed stone coaster to hold a glass of water and my most recent addition is a ceramic unicorn. The unicorn was a gift from Averie, my second daughter, who is in medical school. She insists that my optimistic nature, unique perspective, and zany sense of humor makes me a unicorn.
What does self-care mean to you?
In a word, “restoration” in every sense of the word—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, which includes self-love and self-acceptance. Although it can be difficult, I try to offer myself the same level of encouragement, adoration, and patience that I readily give to others. That’s challenging because I am sometimes my greatest critic. In addition, I focus on being in tune with my feelings and emotions and also on managing all areas of my wellbeing with intention. This includes daily workouts, naps, eating healthy, connecting with nature and people who bring positive energy, and focusing on gratitude. I’m working on an earlier bedtime and increasing water consumption, so it’s all still a work in progress.