Female Founders: Dr. Anna Cabeca On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Practice personal care, follow a nutritious healthy diet and have a regular fitness regimen for optimal energy and overall health. It will help you detox, and will empower your body to perform at its best, you will feel better about yourself (and will look good too) but most importantly it will sharpen your mind to be as dynamic, flexible, resilient and creative as possible.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anna Cabeca.
Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG, is best-selling author of The Hormone Fix and Keto-Green 16, she is triple board certified and a fellow of gynecology and obstetrics, integrative medicine, and anti-aging and regenerative medicine and holds special certifications in functional medicine, sexual health, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She lectures frequently on these topics throughout the world to large audiences and is known nationally as The Girlfriend Doctor and is host of The Girlfriend Doctor show. She has personally developed natural products to help women balance hormones and thrive thru menopause including the highly acclaimed Julva® cream for the vulva and MightyMaca® Plus, a powerful superfood blend. She now lives in Dallas with her daughters, horses and dogs.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Well, as a young girl, I wanted to be a ballerina, a nun, or a doctor, but eventually I became a doctor, kind of by default! LOL
I always had an interest in health and medicine. I had undergone many ear surgeries as a child and my mom suffered from a significant heart disease. What puzzled me, and that is something I recognized early on, was that the research the medical team based her care on was a research done on men; and somehow that didn’t make sense to me, we are all human yes, but men and women are physiologically different, and I felt there needed to be a much more inclusive and comprehensive research done, in order to have a more accurate diagnostic, findings….. And that is what led me to become a very active women’s health advocate; it really set the tone for everything that ensued from that point forward.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I would say the most interesting story is how I met Sheri Salata afew years ago; from our first conversation, she started calling me “The Girlfriend Doctor”. That name stuck with me! Also, given that Sheri has been the executive producer for Oprah for many years, I totally embraced that recommendation and title.
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?
There are so many people who helped me along the way. My mom and my father have been extremely supportive, and I also believe my cultural upbringing had a major impact on shaping me into who I am today. But when I think of a mentor in the business world, it is hands down — JJ Virgin. In addition to being a fabulous professional role model, she has become a good friend. I met her in 2004 and splurged on a full one day coaching program with her. It really opened my eyes onto delivering my message from the one-to-one model to the one-to-many model. And that really was the start of developing my group programs and my educational material to my bestselling books. I think when we have a lesson to teach and a message to convey, spreading the word in an as helpful and effective way as possible is essential.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
I think women have a tremendous gift to be founders and leading entrepreneurs, they are creatives and nurturers. Women are extremely gifted to lead and run (just look at the majority of households). I think what holds women back from founding companies is insecurity in their own capabilities in what for the longest time has been a male dominated environment, time commitments and predominantly family responsibilities. I’m a single mom, and I completely get that. Yet there’s not one day, one minute that goes by that I regret what I’ve created. Yes, it requires an ability to juggle multiple balls at all times; and there always is a sacrifice to pay, you miss a soccer game, or you have to rely on someone else to help with homework. But, the biggest lesson I have learned as a woman, and as a mom, is that you lead by example, and you teach and raise your kids by example; and if you yourself are happy, satisfied with who you are, and feel accomplished, the children will follow your lead!
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
Women need to hear and know how intelligent and how capable they are, and how important their message is to share and their gifts are to be delivered into this world. They are not to be minimized, shut up or put down. And it is time for society to come around as a culture that really supports girls, young women and teens, and remove sexism so that both women and men can live up to their highest potential.
I believe the government can help with funding women led/owned businesses; and mentor groups and masterminds should be established to support those businesses, as our challenges are real, and so different than for men.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
I stated that in the previous 2 questions.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
I don’t know of myths about being a founder. What comes to mind though is the word freedom!
If you think that by founding your company you will have the liberty to do all that you want to do whenever you want to; well that is a myth. Once you are set up, you need to keep it going, and you’ll be surprised how often the word “obligation” comes into play. What being the head of your company gets you, however, is some sense of control of where and how your life is heading, professionally and personally; and most importantly, a deep seeded sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. But freedom, in the true sense of the word — no, that is not how this works, not if you want to be successful, and stay on top of your industry.
The bottom line is, starting anything from scratch is hard and challenging. It takes time, perseverance, a vision, and an unnerving ability to keep going even when it looks like you’re going nowhere, and it requires a deep, undeterred commitment.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
I think some of the personality tests can really help look at which type of individuals should/could be a founder, e.g. the Colby test or the Myers-Briggs test have shown pretty accurate results. I think some of the essential qualities required are resiliency and determination. You have to have a tough skin, and be able to stay focused and pick yourself back up if you ever want to be in a position to lead your own shop (so to speak).
I was asked a question earlier this year that I thought was on point; the journalist asked: “So how do you handle failure in your company?” And I said: “ I haven’t, I don’t see anything as failure. I see everything as a lesson, what can I learn from this, how can I grow from that?”
In other words, you need to be someone who can handle risks, the unknown, and can face criticism and rejection, and not be afraid to get right back on the horse. It also requires a large amount of creativity, you need to be able to imagine what could be, not what already is.
Some people need predictability; less challenge, and more operational task oriented functions, those should probably get a regular job, and come work for me LOL. All jokes aside, we need people like that on the team, as they keep the wheel going, and help keep creative minds grounded.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your opinion and experience, What are the “Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
Number 1: Practice personal care, follow a nutritious healthy diet and have a regular fitness regimen for optimal energy and overall health. It will help you detox, and will empower your body to perform at its best, you will feel better about yourself (and will look good too) but most importantly it will sharpen your mind to be as dynamic, flexible, resilient and creative as possible.
Number 2: Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, your dream, your goal: from initial concept to detailed visualization, and to what the ultimate mission truly is; and hold on to that!
Number 3: Meditate; have a daily spiritual practice to keep your cortisol levels balanced, and to keep you grounded; be it a religious, or more in the form of a yoga practice; whatever speaks to you. The key is to have faith and have the ability to believe in what you can’t see or what hasn’t yet occurred. It will fuel your courage and the capacity to persevere when the going gets tough.
Number 4: Hire team players who are self motivated, take initiative, go-getters, but most importantly, who understand and relate to your vision in such a way that your growth becomes a shared experience, meaning that your success is also their success.
Number 5: Join a top level mastermind group with mentors and friends you respect, admire and can rely on, and whose skill sets dovetail with your own to create a geometric expansion.
Dr. Anna Cabeca, triple board certified OB GYN, author of the bestselling books “The Hormone Fix” and “Keto Green 16”. Check out Dr. Anna on “The Girlfriend Doctor Show”.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I’ve been an advocate for women period; in business, at home, when it comes to their health (sexual and overall health). In my office center in Georgia, we hire single moms, victims of human trafficking, women who come from all walks of life. We provide a very safe and empowering work environment.
And I am on the board of directors for “House of Hope” and “House of Dawn”, both amazing organizations that help support less fortunate women and give them the skills and opportunities that they need to succeed, get an education and independence.
We are very blessed that some very prominent 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.
Without question: Oprah Winfrey. I have always been inspired by her positive, assertive and knowledgeable aptitude and attitude,, her authenticity and her heart. She is phenomenal, and to me represents THE Female Founder and Entrepreneur, who not only broke the gender barrier, but also the racial one. And that takes incredible strength, resilience and utmost emotional intelligence!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.