The Root CoFounder, Brigid Morrissey, sat down with The Root member and CEO of Inscope Medical, Maggie Galloway to get to know more about who she is and what she does.
B: I guess we can start off with you telling us a little bit about Inscope. but what I’m more interested in is everything before that – How did you first get interested in medicine?
M: It was not planned. I’m from Louisville originally, and I went to undergrad at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and I got my graduate degree in Conservation and Environmental Science, so nothing related to what I do now. So after I graduated, I took a job at Fox Hollow Farm in Crestwood, KY. It’s a family farm that is really all about education as well as bringing biodynamic and locally sourced beef and vegetables to the community.
B: Dumb it down for me. What’s biodynamic?
M: Biodynamic is a methodology of farming – they’re going to kill me because I’ll butcher this – developed by a philosopher named Steiner. He also did the Waldorf schools. It’s a somewhat spiritual take on caring for the earth and the food that we eat and looks at our agricultural systems more holistically. There’s a series of principles that they farm by and it has to do with different types of sprays, like all natural fertilizers. It’s a really intricate system that I only scratched the surface on while I was there.
Through that opportunity I got to meet a lot of farmers and thought, “there’s an opportunity for me to go and get a business degree and really help these farmers create sustainable businesses around farming.” So I had that idea and decided to go back and get my MBA at night at the University of Louisville. So while I was doing that I also got a job working at Humana, initially in management consulting and then in innovation to support me while I went to school. I ended up loving working at Humana, which I had no idea coming from a small family farm to a large corporation that that would be the case, but I got to work with really smart people on big problems and really institute change in healthcare.
So I was working at Humana and went to school at night and met Dr. Mary Nan Mallory – she was a classmate of mine – and Adam Casson, who is our COO and engineer – we were classmates together. She had a particular case in the emergency department one night. It was a car accident patient, and she had to intubate him, or put a breathing tube in the airway because this patient had a lot of blood and vomit in his airway. So she had a really hard time getting a view of the vocal chords to be able to pass the breathing tube in. So she was stuck juggling between multiple pieces of equipment in order to clear the airway and pass the breathing tube. She came up with a very simple solution, which was to integrate suction into the device called the laryngoscope, to be able to clear the airway with two hands rather than three. So it was this very simple concept, and since we were in business school together, she brought it back to our school team and said, “I think we can do something about this,” and we started looking at the market a little more broadly and realized there was a much bigger opportunity around applying modern camera technologies to medical endoscopes, including the laryngoscope.
So what we’ve been working on the last four years after meeting her and starting to work on this problem was a suite of imaging devices that all connect into a central platform. Our first device is a laryngoscope. We solved that three-handed juggling problem as well as increased access to better visualization technology, both in trauma and anesthesia.. routine surgeries as well. So, really, I never would’ve gotten into this space if I had not met her and been in business school together, and we decided that we had come up with a solution that’s really going to change the way intubation worked, and we really needed to bring that to market.
B: So you said you solved the problem with the laryngoscope. You’ve done pitch competitions and you’ve gotten funding, but have you been able to sell your product or are you still prototyping?
M: So, medical devices take forever to get to market. We do have a stepping stone product that we call the Inscope Direct that is in the market today. It’s primarily an EMS ambulance based product, and we launched that late last year. And then our main product is our video product – that product is still about nine months from market. So, one going, one in the works.
B: I have a friend in the medical field, and she mentioned how hard it is for hospitals to trust… isn’t that a big barrier for newer medical companies with new devices.
M: The FDA sets pretty rigorous guidelines. If you’re approved with the FDA, for the most part, hospitals will trust that the product works or that the product is safe; however, there are huge barriers to selling to hospitals. There are contracting barriers, process barriers… it’s not like I can just go over to Clark Memorial and just walk in the door and sell them our scopes. There’s a very lengthy process, lots of people have to sign off on it, there has to be a clinical benefit as well as a financial benefit – they really have to be able to see the financial benefit because the cost of medicine is outrageous. So the sales process for medical devices is extremely challenging.
B: I’m going to pivot a little bit – now I’m intrigued because I didn’t know you were into farming and all that, so were there hobbies that you had when you were younger that led to your study of biodynamics, and do you still have some of those same hobbies?
M: I think I got good and bad advice when picking a major – good in that I chose the major where I was having the most fun, and bad in that it didn’t set me up for the most lucrative or straightforward career path, and particularly because I graduated from college in 2009. It was a hard time to be a new graduate, and particularly in a field where nonprofits were being cut and there wasn’t a lot of funding for new positions in conservation and environmental science. So, going back, could I have given myself better advice… I don’t know. I mean I had so much fun with that major. I got to take really cool courses like entomology and limnology (the study of lakes)… at one point I could’ve identified most of the native plant species in the Madison, Wisconsin area through one of my courses, so it was a ton of fun.
B: Your shirt is very fitting. You dress like what you’re interested in.
M: That’s 100% fact. My favorite shirts… so I’m one of these people that when I find something I love I…
B: …buy all the same things?
M: Yes. I was telling… this is totally off topic.
B: No this is great! Let’s do this.
M: I was telling my husband while I was looking at my shoe collection, “All of my shoes are worn out, all of them are horrible.” I have no interest in any new shoes. I just want the same shoes that I already have but not worn out.
B: You know what you like.
M: Exactly. I know what I like. So I have my favorite shirts. I have one that has radishes on it, and two that have bug patterns, and they’re the same shirt in the same size. But I’m to the point where I can only wear those shirts very selectively because I’m worried about them going threadbare.
B: I haven’t seen your radish shirt yet.
M: Yeah, that’s because I’ve been wearing it for like twelve years now. But now that there are these used clothing online platforms, sometimes I can find my favorite clothes from ten years ago by searching online. I have a favorite dress that I ordered three of last summer.
B: So what’s your favorite shoe in your closet right now?
M: I have lots of favorite shoes. I wear a size 11.5 shoe, so it’s really hard to find the right shoes, so I have one style of Cole Haan heels in four colors.. so that’s the only dress shoe that I wear, and then Salt Water sandals, which are kids shoes, but they make adult sizes. They only really last one summer season, but I’ve bought the same pair the last three seasons. My Chuck Taylors are a mess but I love them.
B: I didn’t know you wore Chuck’s. So you’re pretty active now.. you bike and sometimes with Nate [her husband]…
M: I used to be very active. I used to lift every morning, or most mornings with my good friend. I was a college athlete, I used to ride bikes…
B: Wait. You were a college athlete?
M: I was a rower at UW all four years.
B: What was your favorite part about that? And how did you first get into it?
M: I rowed in high school, here in Louisville at Collegiate. I don’t know what high schools have rowing now because it’s gone in and out of favor, but Manual High School had a team, Sacred Heart had a team… so that was how I ended up in Madison. My college rowing teammates are my lifelong friends. They’re the best people. We only see each other at weddings these days, but they’re just instant friends.
B: Yeah! Because I know for me, they saw me at my worst times, but they saw me at my best times too. There are so many lessons that translate to your career or your life. Is there any specific moment or story that you have?
M: Rowing is all about grit because it’s one of those sports where there’s strategy, but you’re not trying to figure out what your opponent is doing. You are running your own strategy and you’re doing it with eight other people in sync. So to be a successful rower you just have to be able to withstand more pain than anybody else. It’s a really unusual sport because it’s the longest sprint distances of any sport, so a typical springtime rowing race takes a little under seven minutes, but it’s seven minutes of sprinting, and no other sport sprints for that long. So it’s just very painful, and the practices are really grueling because you’re doing the same thing over and over. And you just have to be able to stick with it. Particularly in Wisconsin, the weather was really awful. A lot of the time it was freezing cold or it would be snowing, so I think from a psychological perspective, the thing that I learned to do was just tough out hard situations for really long periods of time.
B: And I’m sure you’ve faced many in your line of work.
M: That’s the game of the game with startups is just surviving long enough to make something good happen.
B: For sure. So do you have any role models whether it’s in business or in life.
M: I think the reason I became a rower is because of Tori Murden McClure, who is the president of Spalding University now, but she’s the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean… and she’s just a total badass. And I remember.. and this is kind of embarrassing, because I know her now sort of informally, but when I was in third grade I was her for Halloween.
B: Nuh-uh. This is so good.
M: There’s a picture somewhere.
B: Does she know?
M: I think I’ve told her, and I know her husband now through the Rotary Club… anyways, it’s super funny. Anyways.. so when I think about somebody who has a lot of grit and a really diverse set of interests and really incredible leadership skills, she’s somebody I always want to emulate.
B: Is she from here originally?
M: No. She has an incredible biography. It’s a phenomenal book. She spent most of her childhood here.
B: That’s a good segway into my next question. Is there a book you’re always drawn to over and over again?
M: I love fiction books. My favorite author is Barbara Kingsolver, so I’ve read The Bean Trees a million times. Another of my favorite books is called Crossing to Safety. I also have this affinity for teen fiction, like fantasy, like Harry Potter, and a variety of really other embarrassing magical books… Lord of the Rings, the Golden Compass series, so even thought that’s quite embarrassing to admit it, I absolutely love those books.
B: I don’t think you’re the only one though. What house would you be if you were in Harry Potter?
M: I mean I think you have to be in Gryffindor. But I was also thinking about the book that I’ve read more times than any other book.. it’s actually sitting on my desk. It’s called Never Split the Difference: Negotiating Like Your Life Depended On It. I’ve read it cover to cover.. eight.. nine times, and every time I have to go into a negotiation, I read certain sections of it because it’s so eye-opening and game changing. It has changed my ability to negotiate. I used to get super nervous when having to negotiate various deals, but there are some Jedi mind tricks the author teaches you that are golden. And for those of us that are people pleasers.. I’m a compromiser, I want everyone to think it’s win-win, so I tend to negotiate bad deals because of that because I give too much, but for my job, a lot of what I do is negotiate, so that book is just kick ass.
B: Is there a line or piece of advice that particularly sticks out?
M: There are a couple methodologies that are really good. One is called mirroring, so when somebody says something to you, you repeat the last three words of what they said with sort of a question mark intonation. So if they say, “That’s not fair,” you would say, “Fair?” and then they’d have to explain why they think it’s not fair. And so you’re getting more information, and it’s a way to say “no” without saying “no” or it’s a way to make them divulge more without letting them know they’re divulging more. Another one, a big part of the book, is around calibrated questions, which are questions that help you gather more information and also they help the person you’re negotiating against solve your problems for you. Anyways, it’s a phenomenal book. It’s by an FBI investigator who negotiated a bunch of hostage situations. I’ve got it on audiobook, I’ve got a hard copy. I read it like once a week. You might have to buy a copy of it for your library downstairs.
B: I think you’re right. Did you notice the Harry Potter books down there?
M: Don’t tell me that. I’m too busy for Harry Potter these days.
B: Do you think you’ll read Harry Potter with Hazel [her ten month old daughter]?
M: For sure. One of the things my dad did growing up was, every single night from as early as I can remember all the way up through when I graduated from high school, he read to the whole family every single night. So we went through all of the Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Little House on the Prairie series, the Golden Compass. That was really cool for me, and that’s something I would love to do with Hazel. I’m not very good at reading out loud so I’ll have to get better or make Nate do it.
B: Do the voices and act it out?
B: So you have a little one, and you just recently moved, so is there anything about southern Indiana/Louisville.. living and working here, that gets you excited?
M: It’s funny, I was having coffee with a longtime friend this morning and he was like, “You moved to New Albany?” I grew up in Louisville. I had never been to New Albany until recently. There’s this bias if you live in Kentucky, which makes no sense because Kentucky is a hillbilly place, but we have this bias against Hoosiers. What I didn’t know is that New Albany is awesome. There’s a great downtown area, we moved to a wonderful neighborhood, all of the houses are gorgeous, they’re well kept, it’s a wonderful place for Hazel to grow up. The neighbors are all really successful, welcoming, articulate people, and I just had no idea that this charming little place even existed. Because you get in your little bubble and you don’t know what exists beyond that. So we’re thrilled to be here. I kind of want my whole little universe to be New Albany because it’s so charming and it’s so nice to have a community and a tight-knit life. And I travel enough for work that I really don’t need any more metropolitan in my life. I can get that when I have to go to San Francisco. I want it to be a secret, how great it is over here.
B: I know! It’s the best kept secret. That’s what I love so much about the small towns, especially the ones that are on the cusp of being big. I think that’s what the big cities are missing – the small town charm, and that’s what we lose in that process of, “We need to get bigger, we need to get bigger.” In that time you lose what attracts people there in the first place. And right now we’re in the best position that we could be because we get to ride this wave where there’s going to be a lot of activity and a lot of development but we get to be on the ground floor of that.
M: Well I’ve thought about that for you personally. You have this incredible ability to really shape the future of New Albany by attracting the kind of professionals you’re attracting to the space, the kind of businesses you’re attracting to the space. I think the Mayor should give you an award for the kind of work you and your dad are doing because that’s going to make a difference here.
B: I think so and I appreciate the kind words, but dad and I knew that this could be, would be, so much bigger than us because it takes you all. We can build this space, but if we didn’t have an Inscope, if we didn’t have a Maggie Galloway we wouldn’t be where we are. And a Kyle Keeney, who’s helping direct us and he’s directing the right people in, so it’s functioning like it’s supposed to. Because it is a collaborative space, and it’s fun, and you don’t know who you get to meet when you walk in.
M: Well and I think about that and our recent move from an Elevate Ventures perspective. So, we moved the company’s headquarters over to Jeffersonville initially because Elevate came in and invested in Inscope. So we would not have become an Indiana company without Elevate’s investment. And then a year later I was commuting across the river, but we realized that, “Hey, Indiana is really great, so your economic development play worked. Nate and I both moved our businesses here, we both moved our family over here. What they’re doing is working.
B: It absolutely is. You guys are exactly, I’m sure, the demographic they want. You’re young, you’re intelligent, you’re bringing new business, you have a family..
M: We’re creating jobs.
B: Yeah. Ok. Just a couple of the funnier questions. If you were a kitchen appliance what would you be and why?
M: So my favorite kitchen appliance is my Kitchenaid mixer. I think the reason I love my Kitchenaid mixer is that I love to make things from scratch, and I like to take on really hard baking and cooking projects, and that’s also my life. I like to build things from scratch and I like to take on really hard initiatives.
B: What’s one of the recipes you like to make?
M: Well I’m really into making, which I don’t make with my Kitchenaid mixer, but I’m really into making sourdough breads, and I also bake a lot of cookies and cakes and, well, before I had a kid… turns out it’s really hard to take on a six hour baking project when you have a six month old and you’re running a business… but before that, that’s what I would do to just relax and do really complicated cooking and baking projects.
B: That’s so cool.
M: Someday I’ll get back into it and I’ll bring some baked goods in.
[Side note: We had a member cookout a couple weeks ago and she brought in some peach pies!]
B: Ok, this could maybe speak to your leadership style. How would you direct someone else to make an omelet?
M: So…I don’t like omelets, so I would tell them to make a scramble. It’s something about the egg texture, which is not really my deal. I would prefer scrambled eggs with ingredients in them. And we belong to a vegetable CSA, and so we get vegetables from a farm each week. So if I had to tell someone else (Nate) how to make an omelet, I’d tell him to open up the fridge and use as many vegetables as possible and make a scramble. I would probably give very little direction. I figure they can figure it out.
B: Ok, so you say, “Here are the parameters, now go do it.” I like that style. Ok, last question. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it, so what would you do with it?
M: I think after going to Thailand, I am really sad about the condition of elephants outside of their native environment, so I would probably buy a native habitat for it and take it back there. I wouldn’t want to give elephant rides in downtown New Albany.