The Real 50 over 50 | Rachel Braun Scherl

About me

Rachel Braun Scherl is a champion for women’s health and a pioneer in the space, where she has passionately focused on driving the conversation on the business of women’s sexual and reproductive health. Rachel works on women’s businesses “from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes.” As Managing Partner and Co-Founder (1998) of SPARK Solutions for Growth, a strategic and marketing consultancy, Rachel has built an international client list that includes Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Pfizer, Merck, Bayer and Church & Dwight, as well as venture-backed start-ups. With her passion and commitment, Rachel has successfully launched, built and revitalized companies around the globe, based on the belief that sustainable, profitable growth starts with a sound strategy and is continually driven forward by connecting with customers, building partnerships, and creating revenue.

While President and co-founder of Semprae Laboratories, Rachel and her team built a company that developed and marketed sexual health and wellness products for women – creating a new category and transforming women’s health. Semprae attracted significant media attention and industry interest and was sold to Innovus Pharmaceuticals in 2013. As a business builder and Vagipreneur®, she brings deep knowledge of menstruation, fertility, sexual disease prevention, birth control, pregnancy, menopause and incontinence to help brands and businesses grow. Today, Rachel works with large and small companies that offer products and services for female sexual health, reproductive health and women’s wellness solutions, from menstruation to menopause. Rachel spends a great deal of time speaking publicly, loudly and passionately to drive awareness of and growth for the business of female health in all its complexity.

Rachel’s career-long findings, learnings and recommendations are at the heart of her best-selling book: Orgasmic Leadership: Profiting from the Coming Surge in Women’s Health and Wellness. Orgasmic Leadership provides unique perspectives on leadership and business building, and the money that can be made by capitalizing on market opportunities. It highlights the factors that drive, inspire, and sustain entrepreneurs in the rapidly growing global women’s sexual health and wellness space. And importantly, the book reflects a wellspring of deep personal experience in pharmaceuticals, consumer products and women’s health, as well as in-depth interviews with leaders in the sexual wellness field. Rachel tackles women’s long-neglected needs and critical topics with a strategic business focus, humor, insight, passion.

As an accomplished speaker, Rachel is featured at leadership and entrepreneurship events at colleges, universities, corporations and conferences, including CES, SXSW, Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie, Pennsylvania Conference for Women, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Duke University, Yale University, among others. Rachel has appeared on ABC News, CBS News and MSNBC, and has been interviewed for major platforms including The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, and CNN. Rachel has contributed over 4 dozen articles to The Huffington Post and Inc. In March 2020, Rachel launched her zoom series, “Quotes from Quarantine,” for which she interviewed over 100 leaders in femtech, sextech and women’s health to share strategies to thrive during the current environment. The results are currently being prepared by a leading business school for publication in academic journals. In May of 2021, Rachel and her OB/GYN co-host, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, launched a first of its kind podcast , Business of the V, which focuses on the intersection of patients’ concerns, unmet needs, unanswered questions and the businesses being created to meet those needs.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Duke, Rachel earned an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where she has stayed actively involved. She served on the Duke New York Women’s Executive Board for a decade and currently serves on the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Fuqua School of Business at Duke University as well as the Stanford Women on Boards initiative.

Rachel has received numerous business awards. In addition, Rachel serves as a Board member and Advisory Board member for female health companies and provides ongoing mentorship to many entrepreneurs in the sexual and reproductive health space.

What do you do and why do you do it?

When my business partner and I exited our business in 2013, I knew a few things for certain. I loved the women’s health space, I understood it, and I had the ability to make an impact. I was visiting my closest friend, who asked me what my 5-year plan was. And as we had joked in the past, she had been on year 10 of a 5-year plan and didn’t want the same for me. Based on my experience working in women’s health, specifically women’s sexual enjoyment, I knew I wanted to be a thought leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health. I wanted to work with businesses – large and small – including venture-backed (which I had come from) to help them position, message, gain distribution, build partnerships, and raise funding – all of the things that I had gotten to do with my venture.

Most importantly, I wanted to help companies succeed. So, I created a PowerPoint (because what else does a consultant do), laying out my objectives and the eight strategies and client work that would jumpstart this new chapter. And I set about translating my knowledge, experience, and strong relationships into growing other companies, writing a book, creating a podcast, and conducting hundreds of keynotes, panels, and workshops. And here I am, a Vagipreneur – a “go-to” resource in the space.

What changed for you after age 50?

My honest answer is it depends on the day. Overall, my 50s have been an advantage. I have gained wisdom, experience, battle scars, failures I recovered from, and a track record of success. I am kinder to myself in terms of scheduling – I stopped saying yes to everything. I gain strength from my network of entrepreneurs, academics, friends, healthcare practitioners, and former clients. Most, but not all of the time, I am able to avoid sweating the small stuff.

What would you tell the 20 or 30-year-old YOU?

Make sure you are kind to everyone, because who you see on your way up could be the same on your way down. Relations, honesty, and the ability to grow and overcome will serve you well throughout your career.

What do you think you’ll tell yourself in retrospect at the end of your life?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have one life to live, there is not a do-over.

Something else I’d like to share

I am an avid watcher of documentaries and 1-hour character-driven dramas. I read constantly. And I am quite confident that I am consistently the oldest person at Orange Theory. I can have a conversation with anyone – literally – about something that is relevant to them.

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