VSB Alumna Creates Comfortable Footwear for Healthcare Workers
Paula Belatti ’14 VSB started her career on Wall Street as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase. She then went on to work as a healthcare investor, both in private equity and venture capital. While Belatti enjoyed finance, she knew she wanted to contribute to building something innovative from the ground up. In 2019, Belatti joined Clove founder Joe Ammon to create a shoe that was custom designed for healthcare workers. The 20 million people who work in healthcare today are on their feet all day—in fact, they take up to 60,000 steps a week (that’s equivalent to a full marathon!); yet despite this, they don’t have the right footwear to support them and protect them on the job. As such, the Clove sneaker meets a specific set of footwear needs that was being completely overlooked.
Belatti and her team created a sneaker that was easy to clean, comfortable for all-day wear, and also stylish enough to wear outside of the hospital and Clove officially launched in November 2019. While initial demand was strong, customer responses took on a deeper meaning in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic emerged. Belatti saw firsthand the impact that COVID-19 was having on frontline healthcare professionals, both from customer support emails and from her own family members (her sister, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law are a pharmacist, ICU physician, and public health nurse, respectively). The Clove team knew they had to do something for their community. In fact, they started with a donation of shoes to the COVID testing unit at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia during the start of the pandemic back in early March.
After that first donation, the requests from healthcare professionals across the country began pouring in. As COO, it was Belatti’s job to manage all of the outreach and coordinate the hundreds of donations with her team. She received the most heartfelt letters thanking them for their efforts. Belatti read every single request personally and will never forget the outpouring of emotion from these brave doctors and nurses. To date, Clove has donated more than $70,000 of product to healthcare workers, including over 200 pairs of compression socks to Villanova alumni around the country fighting the pandemic on the frontlines.
Belatti said, “As a small business, Clove is so grateful to be able to support its amazing customers during this difficult time. I am blessed to have a job that I love, to work with incredible people every day, and to serve those on the frontlines.”
The Clove team from left to right: Joe Ammon, CEO; Paula Belatti, COO; and Jordyn Amoroso, CBO