WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT
for a woman who seized the opportunity to use her talents and created her own future:
Ayile says that if she sees a problem and she thinks of a solution, then it’s time to start a business. And that’s exactly what she does.
Problems: People need free rides to medical appointments. Millions of dollars’ worth of unopened medications are thrown out when a patient dies. There are people who cannot afford their medications. There are people who cannot pick up their medications and need them delivered to their homes.
Imagine a kind of Uber that solves each of these problems and you will understand what Ayile has accomplished.
Using a technology called blockchain she set up businesses to meet just these needs. The process providing free transportation to take patients to doctor’s appointments served 200 people per month across four states. That service stopped during the pandemic, but Ayile’s other solutions continue.
She is responsible along with Phil Baker for creating RemediChain, which reclaims unused medications and makes them available to vulnerable patients in need. Shortly after start up, RemediChain had collected over $2.2 million worth of unused oral chemotherapy drugs.
This was followed by Scriptride, which provides home delivery of prescription medications for those who cannot get to the pharmacy.
How did this happen?
Ayile worked in healthcare for over 18 years. Part of her work included tracking patient information to ensure that patients were going home with what they needed to get well and avoid being readmitted. Through this work it became apparent to her that treatment results differed based on patient income levels.
Less money, worse outcomes, more hospital returns. Those with higher incomes experienced fewer hospital returns, better health outcomes.
She also saw a huge amount of waste of unopened prescriptions which were being thrown out after patients died. She realized that if these drugs could be salvaged, they could be used by other patients who struggled to pay for their meds. She met Phil Baker, founder of the nonprofit Good Shepherd Pharmacy. He wanted to address this problem. And so together they established Remedichain.
This was shortly followed by Scriptride which delivers medications to those who cannot get to the pharmacy. These solutions all require secure data collection and that’s where blockchain comes in. What kind of data is collected for these businesses? Who needs a ride to the doctor? Who can donate unused medication? Who needs these medications? Where do they live? Picture blockchain as a safe, immutable ledger that can be trusted by medical professionals.
During Covid, Ayile and her husband transformed their business Communiride into a transport business concentrating on serving small businesses. Ayile is the CEO. Her husband, whose background is in logistics, works with the drivers.
She continues working with Phil Baker, now serving on the non-profit’s board and being the point person for Scriptride, the medication delivery system. Drivers do not know what meds are being delivered or anything about the client’s health condition, so confidentiality is maintained. How did Ayile become an entrepreneur? She started young, “pushing” candy sales in elementary school.
Ayile was born in Madison, Wisconsin. There she was surrounded and inspired by determined people who were always involved in community projects. Her mother was an attorney with her own business and her father an entrepreneur. In the sixth grade she met her BFF Amy. Amy is from a Nigerian family who moved to Wisconsin before Amy was born. Amy’s mother was constantly learning, eventually earning a Ph.D. and always keeping the kids informed about school and about community work. From this Ayile learned that if one solution doesn’t work, she “finds the solution tomorrow.”
She followed a favorite cousin to Nashville where she enrolled at Tennessee State University. There she met her husband and in 2011 they moved to Memphis to be near his family. The mother of four children, ages 2 ½ to 12, Ayile’s passions are community building and mentorship. Ayile is a huge Whitehaven booster.
Communiride is located there and 81 percent of the workers are Whitehaven residents.
Shortly after joining the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Ayile was invited to be a mentor through Epicenter. She is paired with a new entrepreneur with whom she meets weekly. Mentees are paired with an experienced entrepreneur to develop new skills. Pairs normally meet for an hour, but Ayile and her partner regularly meet for several. Ayile says she is sure she learns just as much as her mentee.
Ayile and Phil Baker received a Memphis Business Journal CEO of the Year Innovation Award in Ayile also chosen as one of the 2019 Forty Under Forty, influential urban elite professionals.
We can’t wait to see where her initiative takes her next!