Surround yourself with the best: Get yourself a good embryologist that helps produce high-quality rates and a high-quality nurse to help our emotionally disabled patients to proceed.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Samuel E. Brown, the medical director and founder of Brown Fertility, a fully comprehensive fertility clinic headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and offering patients exceptional results through personalized care and world-class treatment plans. With locations in Daytona, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Ocala, Orlando, Tampa Bay and Tallahassee and over 60 years combined experience managing more than 10,000 IVF cycles, Brown Fertility physicians and embryologists consistently achieve fertility and pregnancy success rates above the national average.
Dr. Brown completed his Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Fellowship at the renowned Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine under IVF pioneers Drs. Georgeanna and Howard Jones, Jr. He is dually board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, providing patients more than 20 years of training and experience.
Dr. Samuel Brown is an acknowledged leader within his field and has been directly involved in the management of more than 10,000 In Vitro Fertilization cycles. He was also the first surgeon in the state of Florida to pioneer minimally invasive robotic gynecological surgery for treatment of infertility. He has successfully completed over 2,000 hospital based surgical procedures, including extensive experience performing tubal reversals.
Dr. Brown is a recipient of the Florida Medical Association’s Distinguished Physician Award. He has also been named one of “America’s Top Obstetrician Gynecologists” three years in a row by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and has been inducted into Strathmore’s Who’s Who for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Physicians. Dr. Brown was selected by his peers for the award “Best Doctors in America” in 2009–2010 and again in 2011–2012.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Infertility and women’s health care was enticing as a medical student after coming out of the basic sciences in college, learning chemistry and biology systems. Infertility is a positive area in medicine, where couples are having families, whereas most other areas of medicine are dealing with end-of-life issues and diseases. It was enticing in that it’s a very productive, positive area of medicine.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When starting my journey, it was complicated learning about the research involved in infertility treatment, learning how to do genetic testing, basic science associated with infertility education. It was also very difficult to find mentorship until I began my training at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Virginia, and was able to be educated and trained by the pioneers who invented the field of IVF. I was able to alsowork under a very famous scientist by the name of Gary Hodgen, who’s world renowned for the basic science associated with infertility treatment and learn research models under his care.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I believe mentorship is very important, and I was fortunate to receive it under Howard and Georgina Jones. I was also very inspired by my professors at the Jones Institute, especially their leadership skills and forward thinking and scientific studies.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Things are going very well in the modern environment. During the pandemic, interest in infertility has gone up, unlike the time of the Zika virus, when business suffered. Despite the pandemic, couples are interested in having families more than ever before. Grit and resilience and strong commitment to educate and train have a lot to do with my success and the success of Brown Fertility. Our patients are desperate to have families and putting forth the effort to give appropriate time for consultation and treatment. It’s a major effort but very rewarding in the end, once they’re convinced to do proper treatment and have a successful family.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t have many mistake stories to share other than that early in my career we had lots of triple and quadruple pregnancies that were a bit shocking to me. I was remorseful of those high-order multiple pregnancies, and it was shocking to see, two decades ago, how patients were very satisfied and happy to have triplets and quadruplets despite my fears of their having issues during pregnancies. The great majority had positive outcomes, which was an interesting outcome I did not expect. Learning to trust the team was also an important step with my education in infertility treatment.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes us stand out is that we are the largest in Florida performing more IVF cases or cycles than any other older, pre-existing centers. I believe the recipe of our success is that our pregnancy success rates are some of the highest in the nation and we provide such treatment at very affordable cost.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think most infertility professionals develop a great sense of satisfaction in helping couples achieve their dream of family creation. My advice is to have a strong faith in God. Having a wonderful family myself has also helped me through the hard times. I had infertility treatment with my wife requiring IVF, which helped me develop a sense of empathy and patience with out, at times impatient, patients. To avoid burnout I have learned to complete patient records on the same day of treatment.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m grateful for many things in my career, but the two standouts are learning IVF — the science and medical treatment of IVF with Dr. Howard and Georgina Jones, with the wonderful professors at the Jones Institute developed a wonderful sense of confidence and accomplishment and future success from their mentorship. A specific individual, Dr. Mason Andrews, for whom I named my son after, was an incredible motivational figure for me. He was the chairman of the OB/Gyn department that brought the Joneses to Norfolk, Virginia, and was also the mayor of Norfolk, Virginia, at the same time. I’ve never met a professional who had the ability to accomplish such difficult tasks in my lifetime. I also feel very fortunate with my embryologist who I feel is one of the most accomplished in the world, having performed more IVFs than any other embryologists living — especially with his amazing work esteem and intelligence that leads to pregnancy rates I never thought could be possible. I also believe in the team concept, with office staff and managers, and I’ve learned the importance of the “team” in this area of medicine.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I feel like our success is achieving a high volume in infertility practice with some of the highest pregnancy rates in the world has led to most, or all, of our patients achieving the creation of family success, which ultimately is our most valuable end point, and my contribution to the community.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love making families happy. My movement would be about helping making fertility treatment affordable for everyone and convincing patients regarding their faith in God with its link to science and medicine.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) Farewell to weekends: Know that you’ll sacrifice family and miss kids’ events to treat patients
2) Develop thick skin: Understand emotional behavior as cause of disease rather than a personal attack
3) Expect to Absorb Patient feelings: Expect to absorb patient’s blame for non-pregnancy results. We as the doctors know it’s not us and it’s the patient’s body.
4) Learn to depend on others: Without the doctor, embryologist and nurse, treatment is not possible
5) Surround yourself with the best: Get yourself a good embryologist that helps produce high-quality rates and a high-quality nurse to help our emotionally disabled patients to proceed.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!