I joined PWN a little over a year ago, shortly after starting my own business, Moonstone Geriatrics. I was referred to this group from a colleague I met at a networking event and thought it would be interesting to meet with other female entrepreneurs.
What is your current occupation?
I am a geriatric consultant, care manager and healthcare advocate. In brief, I assist older people (and often their families) as they transition through the later years of life. I am also the mental health consultant for Stepping Stones adult day health care as well as a consultant for Tech-Enhanced Life, a Bay Area company focused on utilizing technology to keep seniors safely at home.
What inspired you to start your own business?
It was really a lifestyle choice. My children, who are now 9 and 12 years old, were growing up and gone from 8am-6pm Monday through Friday. I was also at a point in my career where I felt confident that I had the experience and skills (organizational as well as professional) to make the leap. It was very, very scary and I had many sleepless nights but I have never regretted my decision. My life now is much more well-rounded…plus, I see my kids a whole more!
What to you enjoy about this work?
Every single day is different! Many of my geriatric consultations are one-time visits where I meet with families to help them figure out “next steps”. Every family has unique needs and different priorities so the work remains both challenging as well as interesting.
What role has networking played in your career? in this current business/job?
Networking has been tremendously important in “opening doors” for me in my new business. At my previous job, I had no time to network; in fact, I rarely left the office. Fortunately, I love networking. When I first started my business, I had NO clients, so I was networking five days a week. I also never said no to any opportunity to do something new or try something different. Now, I do not have the time to network the way I used to but I still consider it to be an important part of owning my own business.
What’s your favorite tip for success with networking?
Coffee! I rarely meet people for meals. But it is easy to meet someone for a 30 minute cup of coffee in order to get to know them better (and vice versa).
How do you think being a woman in your profession has been more or less challenging than your male counterparts?
The work that I do requires a great deal of empathy – for the older person who may be struggling as well as for the family trying to cope. In this way, I think being a woman is an advantage. However, when it comes to “marketing” myself and my business, being female is a disadvantage. I think that, in general, boys are raised to talk about themselves. Women? Not so much.
Can you describe the strangest/funniest/most awkward situation you faced in your work, and how your resolved it?
One of my first jobs as a social worker was on the wards in a hospital. One day, I got a call from a doctor asking me to go speaking to a patient about his “drug use” and to see if he I could convince him to go to rehab. When I got to the room, I headed straight over to a disheveled-looking man lying in bed. I spent about 20 minutes describing the damage he was doing (to his body, to his family, to his future) and highlighting the benefits of going to rehab for treatment. The more I talked, the more confused and upset he looked. As I was finishing my spiel, the patient in the other bed piped up and said, “Lady, you’ve got the wrong guy”. I was so mortified I turned on my heels and fled!
What do you do for fun?
I love to travel, play scrabble and exercise. I am currently training for the SF Urbanatholon, an 11 mile obstacle course where we jump over hurdles, climb over taxicabs and run to the top of Coit Tower.
What is something PWN members don’t know about you?
That I grew up in San Francisco.
What is your favorite lunch entree?