University of Missouri alumna and cervical cancer survivor uses her eye-opening experience for good
Eve McDavid, BJ ’08, combines her passion for women’s healthcare and her talent to promote change
By Lexi Symonds
In January 2020, Eve McDavid, BJ ’08, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cervical cancer right before the birth of her second child. She underwent intense chemotherapy in New York City where McDavid found a new outlook on life while also analyzing the field of technology. She took an honest look at how she spent her time and energy professionally and realized she didn’t have a previous understanding of how fragile life was until she was experiencing it first-hand.
“When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, I became fascinated by the field,” said McDavid. “I was undergoing treatment at one of the best hospitals in the world, and even still, I could see examples where technology that already exists in other industries and other fields of medicine could make an enormous difference in the preventive care and treatment women presently experience.”
Once in remission, McDavid made a drastic career pivot by converting her background in technology, business and media with the obvious need for human impact in women’s healthcare — more specifically awareness toward HPV and cervical cancer. She currently works full time to pursue her work while combining what she loves and what she’s good at – women’s rights and developing new solutions that solve important problems with real human impact.
“Cervical cancer is preventable, treatable and curable — but even still, more than 600,000 women every year are diagnosed with the disease and another 300,000 will die,” said McDavid. “It’s important for every woman to know the basics about HPV and cervical cancer to protect themselves and their loved ones from preventable cancer.”
McDavid is using her experiences to educate women about the prevalence of HPV and cervical cancer so the stigma surrounding the disease dissipates. An important element of this is providing people with the understanding that it’s incredibly normal to be exposed or diagnosed with HPV. She sees this as an opportunity to teach people what steps to take to ensure it doesn’t develop into cancer. Her mission is to make every woman aware of these concepts to prevent cervical cancer and she’s doing this by collaborating with the World Health Organization’s fight to eradicate Cervical Cancer by 2030 and with Weill Cornell Medicine to modernize treatment devices to improve women’s care, outcomes and access.
“When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, I became fascinated by the field. I was undergoing treatment at one of the best hospitals in the world, and even still, I could see examples where technology that already exists in other industries and other fields of medicine could make an enormous difference in the preventive care and treatment women presently experience.”
“While building a company and becoming a public advocate are quite different from what my career used to look like, I’ve never been more energized to take on the challenges of normalizing and advancing cervical healthcare so all women can access quality care for both prevention and treatment,” said McDavid.
She’s come a long way since she graduated from the J-School in 2008 with an emphasis in strategic communication and minors in business and psychology. After graduation, McDavid had an intense focus on landing a job that would set the stage for a successful career in media and advertising. She approached her career with expansive thinking and an aptitude for opportunities that aligned with her skills.
McDavid joined Google after working for several years in media and gained crucial exposure toward building and commercializing technology. During her time there, she worked in various industry level roles across private industry and the public sector where she identified the intersection of technology and product development. McDavid now uses her entrepreneurial skills as the CEO and co-founder of Mission-Driven Tech, a new women’s health venture transforming gynecologic cancer care with modern technology.
“I very quickly learned how to understand an industry by breaking it down to its three defining features: the people, products and processes,” said McDavid. “When analyzed this way, most industries behave similarly and so it’s possible to quickly learn the differentiating nuances, where opportunities lie and, most powerfully, where to dig in.”
Looking back at how she’s matured in the way and approach she takes with work, McDavid has found meaning behind opportunities she previously may have overlooked. These were valuable learning experiences that could have broadened her aperture at an earlier age. It wasn’t until her diagnosis put perspective on her profession and the way she approached life on a daily basis that she was able to see everything with her eyes wide open.
“Use your voice,” said McDavid. “You are always your best advocate and people can only help you as best as you can ask for what you want and need. Be clear, direct and vocal in every environment, professional and otherwise. For so many of us, this doesn’t come naturally, so practice, practice, practice to build confidence; it could save your life.”
Updated: January 11, 2023