Roberta’s journey so far and what she is developing for PNG

Sir Brian Bell Foundation CEO Bronwyn Wright recieved a wonderful message of gratitude from Roberta Morlin who is currently studying at Draper University, San Mateo, California in the United States thanks to the support of the Sir Brian Bell Foundation.

Thanks Bronwyn Wright, it has been an amazing experience so far here at Draper University in San Mateo, California. I love the environment where you meet like minded individuals enthusiastic enough to work hard at tackling some of the worlds most difficult problems and are also not afraid to fail. Silicon Valley, the tech hub of the world is a wonderful place for me to learn and grow my entrepreneurial skills for the good of Papua New Guinea and other developing nations.

Special thanks to Bronwyn Wright and team from Sir Brian Bell Foundation and Kumul Foundation for support and mentorship. Anthony Smare I am grateful as well, thank you. It is a challenging journey but I believe as long as you have a vision, it will never fail you regardless of the circumstances around you. Thanks again.

October 11 – Arrived at Draper University

Ms. Roberta Morlin outside Draper University just after she arrived for the beginning of an intensive 7-week Entrepreneur Program (26th September – 11th November), that gathers the world’s most promising young innovators to accelerate their ideas in San Mateo, California in the United States.

The program received thousands of applications from across the globe, with only 60 applications accepted. Ms. Morlin was one of the successful applicants.

This is an incredible success in itself. However, Draper University acknowledged her skills and offered her a scholarship for USD$2,000, towards the program.

October 20 – USA Update

Here are some great pics from our superstar, Roberta Morlin in the USA…she, is sharing some of her experiences and journeys while at Draper University. We love some of these pics, and we also have a selfie video, and it tells us just what she is learning and experiencing!!! Thanks, Roberta!!!

The pics below is of her Learning Programming, exploring the city, making new connections and meeting CEO of Startup Grind

Here is the video diary that we promised from Roberta. She videoed herself after the first week at Draper University…loving the selfie video…thanks so much Roberta!!!

November 13 – USA Update

Draper University of Heroes has shaped me to be a better version of myself. I’m not changing the way I see the world today after an incredible experience. All I can say is it’s never GOODBYE until I’m literally dead. To my fellow heroes… IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING ?…To all our mentors, industry experts and speakers THANK YOU for your valuable time.

The world needs heroes says Tim Draper ?. Colour the dull world we live in!!! #SuperheroGoalsForbes30Under30

21 February 2017 – The Right Pitch

By Gorethy Kenneth, Post Courier 21/02/17

DRIVEN for success and looking to expand her knowledge base at Draper University, this 27-year-old lass that you will read about is reaping the benefits of following her dreams.

Roberta Morlin, 27, from Manus and Bougainville, is an exceptionally talented and driven young woman with her very own Papua New Guinea story.

A young entrepreneur, Ms Morlin, just straight from Divine University after studying International Relations from 2008 to 2012 ventured into something else, another profession that gained her an international scholarship.

“I pitched a startup company for connecting doctors to patients, an online medical consultation platform,” she tells her story.

“After that I was still working and recommended to apply to Draper University and in July 2016 I was accepted into Draper and the scholarship was fully funded by Sir Brian Bell Foundation and Kumul Game Changers.

 “After that I was still working and recommended to apply to Draper University and in July 2016 I was accepted into Draper and the scholarship was fully funded by Sir Brian Bell Foundation and Kumul Game Changers.

“I studied innovative technology at Silicon Valley and was working on building the application, but then I ended up starting a health app,” she said.

“Being back I have now pursued other interests, while assisting Sir Brian Bell Foundation as well. I freelance and do market research as well as helping other people as a market research consultant.

“I don’t work for anyone, but while going through building this application, an artificial intelligence to help solve issues in PNG – medical consultation, I also assist wherever I can to help build other young entrepreneurs.”

From the Sir Brian Bell Foundation it was obvious, they had and still do have the desire to inspire the people of Papua New Guinea.

This inspiration is driven from a historical connection to both Health and Education.

Sir Brian had a long association with Health in PNG, and this will continue via support to individuals and organisations with the same values and ideals.

Sir Brian Bell Foundation CEO Bronwyn Wright said: “We all have heard the stories of great women from around the world, and how they started from small beginnings, they challenged the normal, they didn’t accept this is how you do it, and they have treated us to many amazing successes and triumphs.”

Mrs Wright said that Papua New Guinea has one of its very own success stories, and Ms Morlin is currently expanding her dream and following her heart with a desire of delivering a health solution to the women of PNG.

“This exceptionally talented and driven young woman was the finalist in 2015, The Kumul Game Changer program,” she said.

The Kumul Game Changers initiative, launched by UNDP with the support of the Australian Government in 2014 is aligned to the PNG National Government’s SME Policy.

Ms Morlin’s idea, to deliver an app that will allow women direct access to an online medical consultation with a doctor, won her a scholarship to pursue her dream.

25 September 2017 – Lily Magazine Chats with Roberta

At just 28, market researcher and tech-enthusiast Roberta Morlin is developing what she calls a “fembot” – a robot that consults with female patients online and is set to revolutionise the way women in PNG learn about life-saving health information such as how to detect if they have ovarian cancer before it’s too late. It’s a personal passion project for Roberta who has lost her mother and other loved ones to health problems she believes could have been avoided if there were better methods of accessing care. The ambitious young entrepreneur from Manus/Bouganville hopes to launch her “bot” by the end of this year under her startup venture, Fe’mahealth – a business she received expert coaching in how to grow during a seven-week course for startups at Draper University in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley last September.

Where are you based? 
Port Moresby – but the work takes me everywhere!

I’m the last born, but I have two brothers and four sisters. Most are married and have kids. My parents have passed on, and because of our age difference, I’m more like a daughter to my siblings. (For example) I call my sister mummy Joyce.

Do you do anything special with them?
Last Christmas my nieces, Jonelle (aged 17) and Bernadene (aged 25) and I noticed how depression was affecting a lot of people so we created a video…and we’re currently designing gratitude jars – the idea is for people to write good things on little coloured notes and put them in the jar, then whenever you feel down, lonely or depressed, open it and read every single thing in it. We’re not really selling the jar, we’re selling the experience we’d like people to have.

How would you describe yourself?
I am a researcher by profession – anything to do with market research. I also consult with private companies. I also like to challenge the norm. It’s boring when you do the same old thing everyday [Laughs]. I don’t want to go to work then go home then take my kids to school then go home. You don’t live life. And then you turn 75 and your’ like, “Yeah! I’m 75 years old, I’ve lived my life.” No, you haven’t! You’ve lived your life the same way 75 times! For me, right now, it’s travel, work, learn, build. I’m 28 and I need to achieve things by the time I turn 30. For me it’s ‘grind in your 20s, build in your 30s chill in your 40s’.

Is there a special man in your life?
I do have a boyfriend. I’ve known him for seven years. He’s a turbine engineer so at times he doesn’t really get what I say about the most technical things like the blockchain (online record of digital transactions) but he does take the time to just listen. He can probably listen to me talk till 5am about different ideas and whether it will work out or not. If I want to do something, he says, “Yeah! Do it!” You know how you have someone who just cheers for you? They’re like a permanent cheerleader [Laughs]. He just has the time and patience to be there. He’s really supportive to my work.

Who are you closest to?
I guess that was my dad, Bernard Morlin. He was the first medical nurse in PNG and he went on to become a doctor at the University of Hawaii. I lost him in 2008 before I started at Devine Word University (Madang). My dad had a huge impact on my upbringing and a really huge role in me being who I am today. I can read all day and talk about Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein but my dad is my hero. He gave me his best tool by giving me his books to read – medical books, books about financial success or how you should manage your money – and then just learning from him. My dad was lecturing in medicine in universities and when he had conferences I’d travel with him too. I’d sit with the pilot in the cockpit! I just wanted to ask a lot of questions. I didn’t understand, why does a plane fly? I was that adventurous and my dad was supportive of it. Even if he gone, it doesn’t stop me from visiting his grave here at 9 Mile (Port Moresby) and talking about the things that I do

Describe your sense of style
In the past I probably used to make sure that my dress had the same colour as my shoes and my bag [Laughs]. Recently I just started getting rid of all the clothes and shoes that I don’t need. I don’t have time to think about which outfit; time is the most infinite resource to me. I just put on a T-shirt, jeans and boots or my sneakers, get my bag and walk out the door and get work done. If there’s an occasion then I dress up, otherwise on the weekends I am probably in a T-shirt dress or maxi-dress. I love black, I think its slimming. But I also like maroon, purple. I’m not as crazy over clothes as I’m crazy over my shoes – I have to have my different types of boots. If I’m in heels, they’re heeled boots.

When did you know you wanted to work in this field?
I’ve always been interested and curious about technology. When I was at DWU I took International Relations, my thesis was based on cybersecurity and PNG’s national state security – how our country may be at risk because of internet connectivity. I recall when we were discussing with our supervisors and our mentors, my friends were like, “Why are you writing about that? It only happens in movies.” I said, “No way! This is going to happen in five years.” Hence now we have this (cybercrime) policy. But that’s the thing, you need to look beyond. The future is here and the future is technology.

You made it into the top five as a Kumul Game Changer two years ago. Tell us about your ongoing involvement with the Kumul Foundation. 
At a boot camp we just finished in June I was a resident advisor, a mentor. About 40 entrepreneurs attended. I’m immensely proud because they weren’t only Papua New Guineans. I was able to identify other Pacific Island entrepreneurs that we brought from Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands. We based our program on innovation, grit and the ability to build something with little to no resources. The program isn’t one where you come through you expect to get funding or investment because that’s not the way it’s run. It’s capacity building – you build a human resource. You teach people to think more unconventionally, and to see problems as opportunities in disguise. We had excursions, we took people to see what problems our societies are faced with and how we’re able to solve them.

Tell us about the “fembot”?
It started off as a medical app but it’s moved on from that – now it’s all artificial intelligence, robotics. Basically I’m training a bot to behave like a human and converse with a patient online, asks for their symptoms and make a predictive analysis. For example if a woman is showing signs of ovarian cancer, It will advise her to go to the hospital. It can’t do a diagnosis – the idea is that it will assist doctors not replace doctors. In my work with the Sir Brian Bell Foundation we are trying to make the health services more available for women to use. Like gynaecology services – we see the main problem is that people don’t know what cancer is, or if anything happens to their body their not sure. So the information gap is the issue.

What do you love about what you do?
I think its just that I am able to help other people. My mum Theresa was born with a heart defect. I think she could have still been alive but we just didn’t have the proper health care system to take care of her when she needed it. (Then) by 2012 my niece in Australia was only 22 when she was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure so her kidneys don’t work anymore. I even lost a friend from cervical cancer – she was only 25. So when I thought about it I was like, “Oh my God! It could be me tomorrow or my sister or my mother. How do you stop that from happening? What role would you play? For me it meant I had to do something within the health space.

What did you learn about Draper Uni? 
A methodology that I use every day  – in my life, for projects that I work on. They teach you unconventional methods of doing business, solving problems in a very creative way … how to be entrepreneurs and what you can build. Obviously because the world is changing so fast, you need to keep up. It has helped in the sense that I’ve invalidated about five different startups that I’ve started! Now I’m focused on two. I’m not the sane person I was two years ago. After going through draper I feel I can explore the world without fear. Before, I always felt limited, just being here in PNG – I needed to spread my wings and fly. When I was there, people understood me, we spoke the same language.

Did you have any special experiences there?
It was my first time in America. Silicon Valley was just beautiful, it’s the tech hub of the world. I went on the Fall program in September; a pre-accelerator program. Tim Draper is a billionaire who invested in Skype, Tesla and Hotmail. Draper is one of the top entrepreneurship schools. When I first met Tim, he asked me to introduce myself and we had to say what we want to be in the next 10 years. I said, “I want to be one of the most influential black women in the world.” He stopped me right there and said, “Remove ‘black’, just say ‘women’.”

What’s the one app in your phone you can’t live without?
Probably WhatsApp to keep in touch. It’s super easy.

Do you have a favourite place to visit?
I like traveling because you learn a lot. When you visit different places you just see the world differently and you see a lot of opportunities. I’ve recently just come back from Fiji. I’d love to go to Switzerland, because I’m a chocolate fanatic [Laughs]. I want to go to a place that’s nice and cold. If there’s anything I really want to do is to have a winter wedding. I just want to do something that’s totally different.

How do you spend your spare time?
I have my social media detox days, mostly on the weekends – I call them earth hours. Full 48 hours of no work, no social media, no ‘nothing’! Just books, sleep good food, great company. As much as I love technology I have to be human. I’m also a dancer. I started when I was small. I’m more into street dancing, It’s a hobby and a form of exercise. If you’re stressed out, get up, put on some good music and dance!

Fave movie?
Right now that’s Hidden Figures, (2016 film based on team of African – American female mathematicians who helped calculate the first US space missions). Without them America would not have launched its Mission Apollo. The great thing was they were women – apart from them being black. It’s inspiring.

Fave song?
“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. And I’m a big fan of (American rapper) Drake. I think he is my celebrity husband. My boyfriend knows that, so no hard feelings! [Laughs].

Do you have any advice for young people?

Explore the world as much as you can! Don’t waste time on silly social media drama – that’s not going to get you anywhere. Just really focus on what you want to do. Don’t ever compete with anyone or compare yourself to anybody because you degrade yourself as a human being. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything. Learn to embrace failure: Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he built the light bulb!

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