I have many milestones in my personal cancer journey: my diagnosis date, the day I had my bilateral mastectomy, the day I started chemo, the day my hair started to fall out, the day I finished chemo, the day I had my final implants “installed,” the day my hair started to grow back, etc. There is mixed opinion within the cancer community about which milestones to celebrate (if any), but my personal view has always been: when in doubt, celebrate. So in that same vein, I have upheld that mantra when it comes to the evolution of Consano. And this month we’ve hit another milestone. In August of 2012, we filed with the government to officially create a company. Consano was born. It would still be months before the website launched (don’t worry, I’ll be celebrating that milestone, too), but it was then that the months of planning, speaking with patients and researchers, and conference calls with academic institutions seemed to officially come together.
So I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the key things I have learned over the past year (in no particular order):
- It takes a village. This had been true in virtually every area of my life. It took the support of my friends and family to make it through my cancer treatments, providing meals, childcare and mostly love on those darkest days. It has also takes many people (and in our case, most working for a huge discount or for free!) to make an idea into reality. Never have I been so impressed with the breadth and depth of talent of my friends and family. I always knew you guys were smart, but being able to interact with many of you on a professional level for the first time has shown me how lucky I am to have the resources within my own community to turn this idea into an actual company.
- Having a start-up is an emotional rollercoaster. I think my friend Charles Hudson put it best when he told me that when you are running a start-up, you can have the best day of your life on the same day that you have the worst day of your life. There are many ups and downs, highs and lows. It certainly keeps things exciting. And this is where I refer back to the importance of that village of support – those are the people who are there to celebrate the highs and commiserate about the lows.
- Persistence pays. When you are trying something new, not only do you need to find stakeholders who believe in what you’re doing, but you also need to be willing to go back to the people who are more hesitant, even after you hear a “No.” This is not something that has always come easily to me, but I’m getting better at it. Now when I hear a “no,” I think, “Sounds like a maybe to me.” And “maybe’s” have a high likelihood of leading to Yes.
- Collaboration is key. There are so many wonderful companies and organizations out there that do fantastic, complementary things. Our mantra at Consano has always been, “Together we are stronger,” and I feel like that is particularly applicable when it comes to finding like-minded organizations with which to partner. Think of all the good we can accomplish when we work together for the same goal!
- Enjoy each day. This is, perhaps, the most important lesson that having cancer taught me. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so even if it’s a crazy day of highs and lows, I try to embrace it. There is beauty to be found in most of the moments of our life, even if it’s sometimes difficult to see. And there’s always something new to learn, and new people to learn from. I feel so lucky to have gained many new friendships along this journey. I’ve also added new facets to many of my long-time friendships. That makes it all worth it!
I wanted to take this moment on the “One Year Anniversary” of Consano’s incorporation, to share my gratitude for all of you. Without your support, advice, input, questions and kindness Consano would not exist. Of that, I am certain. So I thank each and every one of you. Words cannot adequately express how much you have all helped me to heal.