I grew up thinking women had just two career choices: nursing or teaching. Lacking the prerequisites of a good nurse, I opted for teaching. I thought I had achieved Nirvana when I landed a faculty position at UCLA, but I soon realized that teaching, despite all its worthwhile attributes, wasn’t right for me. My eventual epiphany was that my choices weren’t nearly as limited as I was conditioned to believe. I began to imagine the possibilities and started to focus on doing what I love: building businesses that promote health.
I subsequently transitioned to growing, running, selling, and even taking public several businesses in the health-care arena. I learned that to reach the top, it was important to get into a revenue-generating role. So I went for it.
I tell the women I mentor that there is no one right path. Everyone has to decide what is best for them and what they love to do. It’s important, especially for women, to understand that while it may be possible to have it all, it may not be possible to have everything at the same time. Decide what things are most important to you, and figure out how to sequence and fit them in your life. you will have to make some compromises along the way. I certainly found that to be the case.
Because my husband and I both chose to pursue challenging careers, we decided early on that our family would benefit if we put down deep roots. We made a pact that neither of us would pursue career opportunities that would prevent us from living in los angeles. Of course, that led to some missed opportunities along the way, but it proved to be a good strategy for us.
I’m thrilled how things have turned out so far. Although my career has and continues to be fulfilling and rewarding, my deepest pride is reserved for my success in raising a family. Any missteps or mistakes I’ve made along the way (and I’ll admit to a few) in retrospect were just opportunities to refocus and keep going.
Finally, I believe that it is very important to surround oneself with role models. My most important role model has been my husband. In both his professional and personal life, he personifies an enduring commitment to integrity, hard work, and service.