Don’t feel like you can’t think outside of the box. You can carve your own path and that is totally okay.
Anita Fofie was born in Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta. She came to the United States and attended Yale University for her undergraduate studies. She earned her BA in biology & behavioral neuroscience. Upon completion of her BA, she went home to Canada and received her Master’s degree from the University of Calgary.
She spent her time in the labs of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. During her time in the labs, she did poster presentations and her work was published in two medical journals as the first author in both publications. The work focused on an infectious disease agent near the end of a pregnancy. The intense research was accomplished with the thought of going to medical school in obstetrics and gynecology. But after OB-GYN rotation, Anita decided obstetrics was not the path she would take for her future.
Instead, she chose to study General Surgery. She completed her residency at North Western University in Chicago. Upon completion of her residency there, she moved to Seattle to do her residency for General Surgery.
Anita faced all the challenges of being a general surgeon with enthusiasm. It was a good choice for her as a single person. However, after getting married and having two children, it was time to change. She took a fellowship in anti-aging medicine and earned her certifications in esthetic laser surgery.
Anita Fofie moved back to Canada and opened a medical spa and skin care clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia. She developed a passion for dermatology and skin pathology during the three years she had her spa. She took time off after she closed the spa to do some writing and editing. She is now working as a medical liaison for a small medical organization. She is right where she wants to be for now.
Anita Fofie has taken few trajectories along her path, and they have served her well. However, she is quite clear about her next career move. She will make her move into the dermatology field in the pharmaceutical industry. Fofie has recently accepted a position as Dermatology Medical Science Liaison with Janssen Immunology: Pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a doctor. I remember at age four looking through my father’s textbooks. He was an oral surgeon. Even before I could read, I was fascinated with the pictures. As a small child, I always knew where I would end up. Nothing in my scholastic world ever held my interest other than the life sciences. It was just a natural fit for me to go to medical school.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
It is very difficult to be productive sometimes with two very active little girls. I think being organized and having a routine is key to optimizing productivity. I start my day at 7 in the morning, get the girls ready for school and daycare. After I take them to daycare, I always make sure to get in a morning workout. I do yoga or kick-boxing, or go for a morning run, or perhaps weightlifting. I make sure I get at least an hour workout which starts my day. I get to the office and start with addressing emails. I spend the next few hours with uninterrupted work. At this point, it is mommy time to pick up the girls from daycare and school. The rest of the evening is spent as a family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I start my process of thinking from the end. Instead of getting overwhelmed at a process from beginning to end, I begin by thinking about where I want to be and go backward. I break down tasks and projects into minuscule steps. This way it does not seem so overwhelming. That is what has helped me achieve the things in my career that have made me really proud.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Personalized medicine using genomics. It is a biologic treatment for dermatological diseases. Genomic therapy allows us to tailor therapeutic regimens for patients based on their own specific and unique genetics. We can actually achieve prevention therapy based upon your own genetic stamp. That is very exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have to attribute my productivity to my workouts. I noticed that my productivity goes way down when I do not workout. Also, my patience with my children goes down, and my ability to stay focused and on-task goes down. I find if I am not active, the day is like a domino effect. I need some me time to get some endorphins going. It is key to keeping myself on-task.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise the younger Anita Fofie to not feel like you have to go with the flow. Don’t feel like you can’t think outside of the box. You can carve your own path and that is totally okay. People may look at you funny, but if you’re in the right lane, everything flows. When you’re trying to drive in somebody else’s’ lane, you’re never going to shine.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Kindness always wins. Sometimes it is mistaken for weakness, but it always wins.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I meditate every morning. It sets my tone for the day. If I have to get up a half hour earlier, I will do that so that I can have that time.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Networking, even with direct competitors. Never burn your bridges. Keep all connections alive. Previously nurtured relationships may be able to help you. Value everyone in your network.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Closing my clinic. I did not go to business school and I found it hard to delegate. I should have leveraged my team’s strength. I learned my lessons. The savviest thing you can do is to find someone who is smarter then you and let them do what they do best rather than trying to do it all yourself.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think transitioning to the pharma/biotech/medical device sectors is a great thing for physicians to consider if clinical medicine is no longer the right fit for them. Medical Affairs in industry is a really exciting space and the sky is the limit as to what us MDs can do with our degrees beyond direct patient care. I am excited to be on the leading edge of where science and medicine will go when it comes to treating debilitating and disfiguring skin diseases.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Well, it was way above a hundred, but I treated myself to three hours of pure bliss at a spa. I just got to be me!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google is my friend! Outlook keeps my calendar and emails organized. I put everything in there. I don’t have to tax my brain!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It provides the fundamentals to leverage relationships.
What is your favorite quote?
Never let success go to your head and never let failure go to your heart.
• Very organized and self-sufficient
• Treats people with kindness and respect
• A risk taker who knows her own heart