Jed is a first-generation Filipino-American who was born in Los Angeles, California and later on moved to San Diego when he was a teenager. He has spent 11 years in the military, serving as a Navy Corpsman for the Marines and later became a specialized X-ray tech. He was deployed to different countries like Afghanistan, Qatar, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Guam, Palau, and Solomon Islands. It was this during this time that he witnessed the need for better medical care in the world.
He always had an entrepreneurial mindset that started off early in high school, when he created a local clothing brand. This transitioned to his adult life where he continued to make fashionable lifestyle wear mixed with fitness culture. Although he had a passion for creating merchandise for others to wear, he wanted to create something that would have a deeper meaning and have the ability to help more people. He realized that he could combine his entrepreneurial mindset with his TikTok audience and quickly discovered that he could reach more people.
He started to use his newfound influence to raise awareness about issues that he is passionate about, and that’s when he realized he could do more.
This sparked an inspiration for him to rebrand his long-time lifestyle clothing line into RADDEPT. With every sale, his company donates 10% to a charity that provides radiological services in underserved communities around the world. His goal is to make fashionable clothing for healthcare workers while also making a positive impact on the world.
Jed is proof that one person can make a significant impact on the world. His story reminds us that even the smallest actions can lead to something greater. We all have the power to create positive change in the world, and it’s never too late to start.
HOW THE MILITARY MOLDED ME AS THE PERSON I AM TODAY
The military helped me mature as a person. People always compare their “10-year transformation,” how they have changed physically, and honestly, mine was a complete mental 180. I grew up as a child of a single mother. We were pretty poor, and at times we were homeless, bouncing around to my mom’s friend’s houses. She worked in the real estate realm, and the companies she worked for were either shutting down or downsizing due to the economy.
I started rebelling around high school so she kicked me out to live with my uncle in San Diego. He was a prior Corpsman in the Navy and became a solid role model. Eventually, after high school, I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for 3 years while attempting to complete the prerequisites for nursing school. I ended up joining the Navy so I could have nursing school paid for when I finally applied.
What was supposed to be a 4 year in and out Naval career, turned into an 11-year career that molded me into the person I am today. I excelled with being able to do the grunt work while developing excellent leadership traits. I used my background to help mentor the junior personnel and still continue that habit to this day. I remain in contact with peers, mentors, and mentees, and they all have a significant impact on my life.
THE BIGGEST BARRIERS IN HEALTHCARE
With my military experience, I have noticed that the biggest barrier to accessing quality healthcare for underserved communities is their access to ancillary services. During my last deployment to pacific countries, I recognized that the host nation’s patients had access to primary care visits and surgeries, but the patients had to pay out of pocket for ancillary services like medical imaging.
If you asked me about the significance of radiology before I ended up in this role, I would have laughed and said, ”They don’t do anything but push buttons.” But after completing school, I learned that Radiology has a significant impact on medical treatment – from early detection for diagnosis to being the eyes in the operating room or figuring out the next step for lifesaving intervention.
This deployment opened my eyes to the fact that many patients outside the United States are seriously prone to a lot of diseases that are uncommon in our country. Healthcare quality (although heavily scrutinized by the media) is actually pristine in America and we are lucky to have all these safety protocols in place.
RAISING AWARENESS FOR ANCILLARY SERVICES THROUGH RADDEPT
The first step I hope to achieve this year is to establish a community with my brand RADDEPT. The power of a community can achieve great accomplishments. My first milestone this year is to give 10% of each purchase to charity. I hope to collaborate with more people to be able to give more.
I plan to shine light on the effectiveness and importance of ancillary services. There is always a spotlight on becoming a doctor or a nurse. I plan on creating relatable merchandise for ALL healthcare workers. I’d like to be able to create products that I could donate to countries like the other ones I have previously traveled to and administered care to.
ONE DAY AT A TIME
My biggest advice for someone who wants to make a positive impact on the world but doesn’t know where to start is to take the first step and go for what they want.
One thing that always resonated with me was “Lay one brick a day and eventually, you would have built a well.” This is how I tackle the majority of my life goals. Small baby steps and take it one day at a time. If I keep focusing on the bigger picture, then it becomes overwhelming. Small daily/weekly goals and all those combined will help accomplish the bigger goals.
Also, surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Have mentors and mentees, everything you learn is important, but it is more important to spread the knowledge to the next person!
CONNECT WITH JED RODRIGUEZ
Social media is super important in today’s society. One thing I have learned from having my previous brand for years was the power of ad spending and email marketing. Now, I realized that TikTok could also act as a running ad, and I plan to maximize social media by influencer marketing and collaborating with other creators in the healthcare niche, in order to drive awareness and change.