Dr. Mary Jo Gorman knows a thing or two about taking risks, fighting the status quo, and Being Brazen! She shares with us her Brazen ah-ha moment that led her to be an entrepreneur.
I wanted to be a doctor from a very early age. I’m from a big family so I worked hard to put myself through college and medical school. I was excited to finish residency and get a job taking care of patients. One of my first jobs out of residency was at a hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. I loved the work but I thought that the department could be managed better for the patients and the hospital. I guess some people would have started a committee, but I thought that the best way to make improvements was to start a medical group dedicated to doing a better job. I didn’t realize that I was being an entrepreneur! I just thought I was a doctor solving a problem.
I was new to the hospital and was one of the few women on the medical staff. I didn’t realize until we started the process of establishing the new group how political the situation was. There was some rooting for us to fail. But we thought it was a good opportunity for us, the patients and the hospital.
“It was pretty brazen to think that I could challenge the established conservative hierarchy at the hospital and win.”
I should note that I picked a fabulous partner to work with from the beginning. Without him as a teammate, we couldn’t have made it. I also hired help in the form of business advisers: attorneys, accountants, and a consultant. You may remember – I went to medical school not business school! I think part of what made it work was my exterior calm in a tough situation. I was exceedingly professional in all my interactions which built credibility as did having a great partner – it’s more likely for several people to succeed than just one.
I was at risk of losing my job because I was challenging the status quo. I started working a few other places so that I’d had a contingency plan if things didn’t go well. When I look back, it was pretty brazen (!) to think that I could challenge the established conservative hierarchy at the hospital and win. However, I just had in my mind that my ideas were better for the patient’s care–that was the focus that sustained me.
Some advice I would give to other women entrepreneurs is to:
1. Pick good partners. They should have complimentary skills and really be a teammate to you.
2. Have contingency plans to protect your income and livelihood.
3. Hire professional help but don’t confuse them with being your partner.
Follow Mary Jo on Twitter (@maryjogorman) and Instagram (@maryjogorman8950) and Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator on Twitter (@prosperstl). Visit their website at www.prosperstl.com
Dr. Gorman is an innovator and growth strategist who, since 1991, has started four companies. She brings a deep perspective from the different business models she has founded and operated. Her focus is healthcare, where the insights gleaned from her extensive knowledge of the healthcare user and buyer, enable strategies that develop new markets and models. She has led growth, capital assessment, exit strategies and venture capital funding efforts. She serves on public and private boards, participating in audit and compliance committees, using her experience to assist other companies.
Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) was created to advance women-led companies. The Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator is focused on increasing women entrepreneurs’ access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early stage capital markets.