What inspires you as a chiropractic practitioner?
Without question, helping people is my greatest passion in life. It fuels everything I do both personally and professionally. As a chiropractic physician, I have the opportunity to help people improve their quality of life. Most of my patients present suffering from some sort of pain. Sometimes the impact this has on their life is profound. Helping them get back to what is important to them, like family, work, fitness, whatever that might be, is the most rewarding part of what I do.
Talk about your journey as a woman at the top of your field and the challenges you faced along the way.
I would say the decisions I made along my journey to begin integrating my chiropractic practice into mainstream healthcare and the business community have certainly set the stage for the opportunities that have followed. Historically, mainstream medicine and chiropractic have conflicted with each other. Opening my first chiropractic office in the medical building across the street from the hospital was the first step. Pursuing an integrative rather than antagonistic relationship with other healthcare providers, imaging centers, community leaders and organizations opened doors and created relationships which ultimately lead to the opportunity to create Mountain Valley Orthopedics’ first chiropractic department in 2011.
Certainly, there have been challenges. The ever-changing field of healthcare is a constant. Over the 18 years I have been practicing, we have seen drastic changes in insurance reimbursement – most specifically as it pertains to the cost of care for the patient. Increasing demands on documentation for physicians continue. A variable economic climate that impacts business and the trend of practitioners moving into group- and most recently hospital-owned practices, are just a few.
Personally, as a mother of two teenage daughters, striking that delicate home/work balance is the greatest struggle. My girls are my heartbeat and ultimately the reason I work so hard. Hopefully they are learning that they can pursue their passions in life and still raise a loving family and celebrate a happy home.
Why did you get into chiropractic?
When I was a teenager and young adult I suffered from chronic, often daily, headaches. I was on prescription medication for migraines and living on over-the-counter pain medication. At the age of 22 I was introduced to chiropractic care. It changed the quality of my life and ultimately changed the course of my life. I had graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and was contemplating law school. Changing career paths to become a doctor was an unexpected direction for me. Over 20 years later I wouldn’t change that decision.
Do you sit on any boards?
I am Chairwoman of the Board for the Pocono Family YMCA; Immediate Past President of the Pocono Alliance Board of Directors; Secretary of the Stroudsburg Planning Commision; Member of the Rotary Club of the Stroudsburgs; and member of the MCTI Academic Advisory Council.
What challenges did you face to begin to raise $100K for lymphoma?
I will be able to better answer that question in June! You are referring to my upcoming Leukemia and Lymphoma Man and Woman of the Year campaign. Four years ago, my close friend Sarah Raley was diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma. Although not a runner, I registered to run a marathon to raise money for LLS. I have since run two marathons and two half-marathons for LLS, raising over $13,500 to date.
I have subsequently set a personal goal to raise $100,000 lifetime for LLS, thinking it would take years of running to accomplish this goal. The universe decided to put this plan in fast forward. This year, Sarah nominated me for the Man and Woman of the Year Campaign, a philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research among a group of motivated and dedicated individuals in communities across the United States. Candidates form powerful fundraising teams and compete in honor of two local children who are blood cancer survivors. Our team’s goal is to raise $125,000 which would be a chapter record for Woman of the Year.
In what ways have you learned to become adaptable and flexible in building your business?
In healthcare there is really no choice in the matter. In business you have to learn that sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t, and you have to be ready to try “plan B, C D”… as many times as it takes. I guess the concept is change the plan, not the goal. I have gone from a partnership to solo practice to small group practice and now a large multidisciplinary practice. The goal has always been to help people and be able to support my family. That won’t change. The format and the plan are always dynamic.
What is your advice to women seeking to rise in their profession?
Be courageous. That does not mean fearless. Some of the best decisions I have made were the scariest. Taking a deep breath and walking through the fear with confidence is essential. Learn and lead. Know you will never know it all, but you will know enough and you will also inspire others as they follow their own path.
How would you define “success”?
Honestly, the older I get the more I define success by happiness and fulfillment rather than financial or other material standards. Certainly, those things are important but at the end of the day I have succeeded if I have served the needs of my family, my patients and my community. Seeing my children growing into happy, healthy young adults who are compassionate, hardworking and respectful members of society is my greatest success.
What are your strengths?
I fairly organically rise to positions of leadership. so I would say that is a strength. I pretty much have no “comfort zone.” Whether it is pursuing a professional opportunity, running a marathon, leading a community organization, or trying to fund a cure for cancer, I’ll take on just about anything.
How do you develop yourself and continue to improve?
I read or listen to things that inspire me. I started the practice of posting a positive, motivational or inspirational quote on social media nearly every day. It is a practice I usually do first thing in the morning and it sets my mind on the right track for the day. If it also resonates with someone else that is a bonus!
I also surround myself with people who inspire me. My fiancé is a perfect example. He is a father, 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps, a teacher, coach, and community leader and my respect for him drives me to be a better person.
What are your “words to live by”?
I came up with my personal mission statement in 2008 when the Chamber of Commerce named me Citizen of the Year: “Be grateful for what you have, work hard for what you want and help as many people along the way as you can.”