Last week, we were excited to celebrate our founder and CEO, Shavini Fernando, as she was a Washington Business Journal 40 Under 40 award recipient. The event, held at Convene located at 1201 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, highlighted the achievements and accomplishments of 40 enthusiastic and savvy business leaders in the Washington DC region.
We have all been to award ceremonies before; the ones where the winners come to the podium and give insightful speeches and share personal stories. This event was a bit different.
From the beginning, we mingled with a few hundred attendees with a picturesque view of Washington DC as our backdrop. As we gathered in the main event hall, we were given metal, spinning noisemakers to help us elevate the celebratory responses as the winners were announced.
The cadence of the awards event included short video vignettes from each winner answering a personal question or two, then asking the recipients to receive their award on stage and answer another question with a one-word answer. In the video, Shavi was asked what she does to relax on weekends. Besides climbing in a local gym, her main goal on weekends is catching up on her sleep. (To be expected by a founder and CEO of a growing medtech startup company). Shavi’s question to answer on stage, while accepting her award, was to name a favorite song. Her answer: Survivor. In the end, the group received an inspiring message of dedication and perseverance, and was ultimately serenaded in a Cameo video from Mark McGrath, leader singer of the band Sugar Ray.
What made this night so special for our CEO was to have her friends, physicians, and part of her OxiWear team in attendance to support her. As she shared in her LinkedIn post recently:
“It was an honor to be selected for the Washington Business Journal 40 under 40 class of 2022. It felt more special because I got to celebrate it with my OxiWear team and everyone who helped me from the beginning.
Dr. Kolb: My pulmonologist from Johns Hopkins who took me in to treat me when I had no insurance. I was given two years to live. Thank you for keeping me alive and for pushing me to develop OxiWear. If you didn’t dare me, there would be no OxiWear today.
Dr. Stephen Mathai from Johns Hopkins for supporting me throughout and being our Twitter influencer.
Dr. Evan Barba who helped me to start this as an independent study and guided me to have my first proof of concept prototype complete.
Jeanine Turner for helping me throughout at Georgetown CCT and helping me put my first pitch deck together.
Beth Marhanka for being such a cheerleader and helping me along with Don Undeen at the Georgetown University Maker Hub to get this together and for nominating me for the Bark Tank Pitch competition.
Michael Ledecky for making me go on the fitness avenue and connecting me with Randy Wilber.
And of course, my awesome OxiWear team who has been through thick and thin with me to get this out. Thank you for coming all the way to attend the event and celebrate it with me.
If it wasn’t for you all there wouldn’t be OxiWear, and I would have not gotten this honor. So, all credits should go to each and everyone here. There were more I wanted to invite but they were busy or out of the country.
Never forget how you started and who helped when you were nobody.” – Shavini Fernando