Marcy Rogers: “Never take no as an answer and NEVER GIVE UP on your dream”

We must find a way to take pistol out of the hands of children and disturbed adults. There is not a week that goes by when we don’t hear of multiple shootings in various locations throughout the US. It’s a tragedy and it is escalating. When does it end? I want to see not just […]

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We must find a way to take pistol out of the hands of children and disturbed adults. There is not a week that goes by when we don’t hear of multiple shootings in various locations throughout the US. It’s a tragedy and it is escalating. When does it end? I want to see not just pistol control and reform, but we also need to replace violence against each other with compassion and gratitude.

I had the pleasure to interview Marcy Rogers, the CEO and Founder of SpineMark. Marcy has built her executive career in the healthcare industry through the development of niche surgical centers of excellence fueled by innovation and clinical research coupled with the creation of nonprofit 501 C (3) organizations to drive education, research and care for under or uninsured. A proven leader, she has over 30 years-built trust and rapport with physicians, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and public and private medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers. She is an entrepreneur in spirit with a sincere passion to foster patient satisfaction and accountability throughout comes substantiating medical care. Through alliances, partnerships and collaborations in the field of spinal care, Ms. Rogers gets things done. Her destination center model integrates and aligns stakeholders in the delivery of spine services and she has successfully demonstrated solid financial results as well as return on for the hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician groups she has managed and counseled. Ms. Rogers has established herself as a key opinion leader in specialty fields such as spine, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, interventional pain and plastic surgery among her clients, professional colleagues and peers.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Marcy! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My career in the field of started in 1972 when I met one of the pioneers of craniofacial surgery, Dr. Milton Edgerton, Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Although lacking experience in a medical field, Dr. Edgerton hired me as he liked my “energy.”

I will never forget my first clinic and the room filled with severely disfigured children and adults. Their horror stories, courage and forgiveness were incredible. I took up the challenge to help them and their families find medical solutions while simultaneously educating the public that the only difference between these children and everyone else was their face. Surgery was their cure.

Over the course of next 19 years, from 1972 to 1991, the formation of two foundations to educate our society and bring the needs of these children to the forefront of the American public led to the creation of an international medical advisory board of craniofacial surgeons, the recruitment of Cher as Honorary Chairperson with Dick Clark and Dear Abby, the passage of a bill in Congress proclaiming National Craniofacial Awareness Week in 1990, Congressional Hearings thanks to Martin Frost and Barbara Boxer with testimony from surgeons and 10 children and their families, Barbara Bush hosting a reception at The White House for Cher and the families, a cocktail party and auction at the Russian Embassy in DC, a reception at the River Club by Jessie Jackson, Jr. and Cher, and the Dick Clark Rock Ball in Dallas brought national and international recognition to the cause.

In 1991, a bitter divorce forced me to step away from the Foundation to preserve the children, cause and its legacy. I asked Cher to take over the organization which she did, renaming it the Children’s Craniofacial Association which is associated with Wonder, a movie released last year.

After relocating to California, I began working for a chronic pain institute and realized that all my work in craniofacial surgery needed to be replicated for patients suffering from back pain.

According to the world health organization, there are 1.8 billion people afflicted by back pain. Thus, my career in spine was launched! I formed a management services organization and a consulting company which ultimately led to the formation of SpineMark Corporation as the next generation of patient centric companies I would find to help those suffering from back pain attain the help they needed as well as to mainstream minimally invasive spine surgery techniques.

Simultaneously I began working with industry and medical device, technology, biologic and some pharmaceutical companies in the fields of spine, interventional pain, neurosurgery and orthopedics to bring value added support services and tools to their customers.

SpineMark Corporation was formed to create a standard of care for patients suffering from spine conditions and pain through the creation of multispecialty “Destination Centers” for their diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Care is always advanced through participation in clinical research studies under SpineMark CRO Management. Supported by a conservative care portal, patients are treated with holistic modalities and care. Most patients, 90% at least, do not need surgery. If they do, then we advocate for minimally invasive spine surgery techniques as a first “do no harm” procedure to see if we can eliminate the source of pain and restore function. If more invasive procedures are required, we do them only as a last resort.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Besides my work as a patient advocate and resource for children and adults from all over the world, the most interesting story focuses on my meeting Hassan Qabazard, Founder and Principal of Champion Hospital in Kuwait. In February of 2018, Hassan invited me to come to Kuwait for 4 days to discuss his plans to build a world network of unique hospitals starting in Kuwait. His vision, hard work, and creativity made those 4 days the most meaningful I have ever had. Destiny was at work in creating this very strategic and important relationship and this is now leading to the recruitment of a very comprehensive faculty of medical, facility, physician and allied health experts as well as the establishment of collaborative relationships with renowned hospitals and institutions in the US and abroad. Hassan made his mark in Kuwait with the creation of Champion “healthy clubs” and wellness centers. He has now taken those experiences into creating hospitals with a concierge touch from the ER to Admitting.

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?

The funniest mistake I made when I first starting was arriving on the wrong day to the wrong city for a meeting with a very important client. I went to upstate New York, but the client was in Manhattan! Lesson learned, hire an assistant and let them handle those details.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes SpineMark stand out is our commitment to patients. We do not receive any renumeration for these efforts but somehow patients find us! It’s been the most meaningful part of my life. Les Buck is a world class professional tennis player. His cardiologist asked me to help him as he was suffering from spinal stenosis and in a lot of pain. When I met him, he was bent over with Scoliosis and in a great deal of pain. I lined up 4 or 5 physicians for him to meet with and present his case. After going through a two staged very complex procedure at Cedars Sinai under the skill of Dr. Neel Anand there last year, I met Les 2 months post op for lunch, and I could barely believe it was him. He was pain free for the first time and looked so great I barely recognized him. He had resumed swimming, walking and had plans to pick up his tennis racket again. We are very close friends and he has tried to help me and SpineMark in more ways that I can count.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I formed a coalition of 12 plus companies who have disruptive novel products that I want to SpineMark to fund to get them to market in the US as soon as possible. The list starts with Prevacus, the first concussion drug in the world with Brett Favre as a major investor, followed by N2B, a consortium of CNS that failed clearance by the FDA for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, Brain Cancer, MS, Muscular Dystrophy and others. The will be reformulated and delivered in a unique matter directly to the brain, not systemically. Next on the list is TracPatch, a medical device that will completely change the paradigm of post-operative rehabilitation. There are 6 more to follow as medical devices, biologics, and molecules.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Lead from a place of passion, gratitude and empowerment as an Always Forward Leader. Never take no as an answer and NEVER GIVE UP on your dream.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Manage by example and create microcosms of success by allowing the team the luxury of success as well as the opportunity to use failure as stepping stone to achievement.

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 about that?

Lew Bennett, the founder of Howmedica and the Richards Group which became Sofamor Danek, a public company, has been one of the most influential leaders and advisors I have ever had in my life. Lew never had a bad day in his life. He awoke every day to tell the world that he “felt like a Million” to all those around him: strangers, cab drivers, his family, friends, business associates and all who he encountered. He took me under his wing, and we traveled the country on behalf of Sofamor Danek helping physicians, hospitals and surgery centers “win!” He was pure inspiration and love. The world was a better place when Lew was alive.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I am first and foremost a patient advocate who lives/loves to help people from all walks of life, race or religious denomination find the medical care they need whether they can afford it or not! I have negotiated hundreds of thousands of dollars of donated surgical, hospitalization and travel support for families and patients as a patient advocate for men, women, and children from all walks of life, ethnic background or race for over 30 years. If necessary, without hesitation, I used my own funds to help when required.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Don’t believe in what will be, ground yourself in what IS. Start up companies often fall into the trap of thinking the check is in the mail and make decisions accordingly, the consequences of which can be disastrous.
  2. Always think outside the box when problem solving! The tangible and intangible resources required for launching a business together with the sheer willpower to survive conflict and upheaval can be formidable. The entrepreneur must be a visionary as well as a street-smart practical problem solver. Don’t let Sayers talk you out of your dream. Live it!
  3. Don’t take no for an answer. Remember no may mean you didn’t ask the right question.
  4. Don’t underestimate sleep and getting at least 7 hours a night no matter what time you finally head to bed. Sleep is critical as is exercise and eating healthy to your well being and surviving long days and nights of work!
  5. Learn to say no! Hardest lesson of my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We must find a way to take pistol out of the hands of children and disturbed adults. There is not a week that goes by when we don’t hear of multiple shootings in various locations throughout the US. It’s a tragedy and it is escalating. When does it end? I want to see not just pistol control and reform, but we also need to replace violence against each other with compassion and gratitude.

Can you please give us your favorite” Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” Alan Turing. This quote is the wind beneath my wings through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Bill and Melinda Gates — because their commitment to philanthropy is unsurpassed in the country. Bill and Melinda Gates have been named the most generous philanthropists in the US, donating more than 36 billion dollars to charitable causes, including 4.8 billion dollars last year. Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the couple has focused on global health, education, and poverty.

Donald Trump — because I want to have a one on one discussion with him regarding trade, health care, small business, opportunities we could bring to him in health care that need fixing that would definitely remove bureaucracy, reduce the pathway for commercialization of novel disruptive medical devices, biologics/regenerative, new to help people in the US and abroad. We have a plan to create parity between the Chinese FDA and US to fast track approvals and foster trade revenues with just the first 10 products that would change lives for millions of people suffering from neurological, spine, inflammatory and orthopedic problems that are nonexistent at this time. Trade wars could become equally profitable to both countries instead of the bantering and posturing that is playing out now.

Keanu Reeves — because this man is doing so much to help at risk youths, children with cancer, the healthcare infrastructure and St. Jude’s and other causes from donations from his anonymous charity. I need his help with commercializing the first concussion drug in the world and the first prophylactic cream to mitigate the duration and impact of a concussion during high risk activities or contact sports. Concussions are now an epidemic and have increased 500% in children alone.

Cher — because Cher and I took the cause of children with craniofacial deformities from the movie MASK to both the US Senate and the Congress during the Proclamation of Craniofacial Awareness Week in September of 1991, the White House with Barbara Bush, 10 families and their children, Milly and Ranger, their dogs, and to Congress for Congressional Hearings and to Russia that sponsored an event at their Embassy during that week, as well. This cause was my life but because of a bitter divorce I had to step down from the very foundation I created. I never got to adequately thank Cher and want to do so now.

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