How (We)Work: Zoë Barry of ZappRx

This post was written by Boston Content committee member Lauren Landry, a digital content specialist at Northeastern University. Follow her, @laurlandry

Boston Content is proud to host its events at WeWork South Station, a coworking office space teeming with creators who are as inspirational as they are innovative. "How (We)Work" is a series dedicated to highlighting how those creators stay productive, creative and new. Prepare to start rethinking how you plan your day.

Image of Zoë Barry via Lauren Kallen

Image of Zoë Barry via Lauren Kallen

Zoë Barry is trying to “solve the really big problems in healthcare” and she is starting with ZappRx.

Barry founded the company in 2012 after discovering how hard it was for her brother, battling with severe epilepsy, to gain access to life-changing medication. She decided to use technology to make specialty prescriptions easier to process — and has raised $8.8 million and been named to Inc.’s list of 30 Under 30 Coolest Entrepreneurs in the process.

How does someone shaking up a highly regulated, outdated industry stay creative? For one, by saving bald eagles in Alaska. But read on.

Boston Content: What is your morning routine?

Zoë Barry: I exercise first thing in the morning; it's the best way to get the mind and body energized for the day. I always enjoy a nice cup of coffee before I head out the door. One investor told me to try to minimize reaching for my phone and checking work emails before I get up. I try, but like most entrepreneurs, my phone is in my hand far before coffee or a toothbrush.

What kind of content can you not start your day without?  

I typically send off a flurry of emails right before I turn down for the night. In the morning, these responses are what I first focus on. I like to see what has transpired, new emails that may have come through and get a handle on any “major fires” that need to be prioritized or put out. In addition, I’ve now found Twitter to be a great source of flash updates for what’s happening in the world. I don’t have time to sit down and read a paper; my Twitter feed is a great way to get a pulse check on what’s going on in the world in this moment.

What does your work station look like? 

I’m not big on sitting at a desk when I’m doing work. I have a conference room for meetings. Otherwise, I have my triple Zs: Zoë Zen Zone. This space has plants and a chair and an ottoman, which is where I like to take all my calls and do work from my laptop.

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How do you stay creative?

I've never been a very artistic person, but I'm creative in a business sense. I like to surround myself with those that are artistic and creative by nature, and hope it rubs off on me a little. My best friend is an interior designer, for example, and I had her design my work place and home to reflect my love for the outdoors and what I hope people see as my vivacious personality.

I spent a summer saving bald eagles in Alaska, I collect antiques and have a hunger to learn everything I can about wine and culture, which I do through as much travel as possible. By surrounding myself with interesting people from all different backgrounds, I'm able to gain more perspectives that lead to more creative ideas. You should meet the team we created here at ZappRx — we have a woman that left the fashion industry and another who was a corrections officer for a prison, mixed in with our tech guys that used to work at Google. I like to keep it interesting. 

How do you stay productive?

Exercise, exercise, exercise. It doesn’t always have to be physical; there are a lot of ways to exercise mentally. Everyone needs to find time to unplug and use another part of his or her brain.

What’s your favorite time of day to get stuff done, and why?

I’ve always been a morning person; this probably stems from when I was a competitive swimmer. I would have to be in the water at 5:30 in the morning, and I trained more than 30 hours per week. I like to wake up and look at the biggest challenges and top priorities for the day ahead — whatever it is that is absolutely critical, make or break, life or death — and start to tackle those problems head on. If you start with the most difficult task first thing in the morning, you are guaranteed to make some pretty nice headway throughout the day. If you push things off that are intimidating, they only become more problematic.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I go to my investors and my advisors. I find that these are the people that have often chose the path less traveled. I have a solid resource list here and enjoy how my network helps me come up with multiple perspectives. Trouble shooting problems with these experts gives me the inspiration to go out and solve the really big problems in healthcare. 

Are there any quotes you live by?

Easy: “Get $h!t done.” I also have a poster in my office that reads: 

I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to believe I can.”

Follow Barry, @ZoeBarryCEO