Ann Holder

Stillwater resident Ann Holder was named Disrupter of the Year by The Minnesota Chapter of National Association of Women Business for the organizations Achieve! Awards. Holder founded Marani Health (formerly known as Odonata Health) in 2018 in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.

The Achieve! Awards will honor female business owners who are shaking up the status quo and supporting other women-owned businesses. This year’s award ceremony is themed “Connecting Our World.” It will be an informal outdoor event at 5:30 p.m. July 20 at SeaChange Print Innovations in Minneapolis

Disruptor of the Year award recognizes a member who typically operates in a male-dominated industry, according to a press release from MCNAWB.

“Her leadership, entrepreneurship and contributions to the male-dominated industry of medtech and to the under-resourced area of fetal and maternal health, are broadening opportunities for other future women owners,” nominator Amy Langer said in the release.

Marani Health’s mission is to improve maternal and fetal health care, according to the release.

Holder’s passion in healthcare grew while working at Medtronic. She worked as an executive with large hospital systems to launch new products and services. She later joined as an entrepreneur in residence with Mayo Clinic’s Mayo Ventures to develop fetal monitoring technology.

At Medtronic she spent the majority of her time in medical devices focused on cardiovascular disease. When she was approached by the Mayo Clinic health about creating a better system for maternal health, she started researching the issue and it was an eye-opening experience.

“Quite honestly, I didn’t realize how bad it was,” said. “I was blown away because I had been working in this area that had so much infusion of investment dollars in technology.”

While cardiovascular research is well funded, Holder found a lack of investment in fetal monitoring for labor and delivery, women’s health and general fetal, prenatal and postpartum care.

Prior to COVID, Marani Health was focused on improving in-clinic labor and delivery units, according to the release. As the pandemic hit, a rapid adoption for telehealth began to take place

“We developed a remote care platform to do remote blood pressure, fetal heart rate and contractions,” Holder said. “There’s a lot that you do that you can actually do at home.”

Holder’s team conducted market research that indicated an interest in telehealth prenatal care was a fundamental change that would persist after COVID, the release states.

She determined that expanding the pregnancy care platform into a broader telehealth segment would be an appropriate strategic shift.

“We want to disrupt the marketplace for remote monitoring,” Holder told the Gazette.

She pivoted the company’s business model which led to changes in the product development roadmap, funding and hiring plans, the release sates. The company has made this pivot and it will be applying for FDA 501K clearance this year.

In addition to serving as CEO of a business in a male dominated field, she attended United States Military Academy West Point where her class graduated less than 10% women. She served in the military and became an engineer where there ws even a lower percentage of women.

She grew up watching her dad serve in the Air Force.

“When I was a kid I loved the military,” Holder said. “I was around the air force when the F16s were the big thing. I just became very enamored with it.”

That led her to pursue a her higher education path through a service academy, and she met her husband at West Point.

“I have a very strong military family,” Holder said.

The couple now has four kids. Three of whom are now serving as officers in the Army. Her daughter is enrolled at Stillwater Area High School.

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