Speak your mind and follow your dreams even if they are intimidating, because you never know when the opportunity may arise again.”
Theresa Siaw, Business Development Director joined the OMNI Healthcare team in 2015, where she launched a chronic disease reimbursement program for managed care patients with insurance payers. Offering a hand in both the development of the clinic and in the community surrounding the health center in Humboldt Park. Siaw dedicates her time to the community and importance of education. Currently, ‘A Community of One’, is a new program initiative Theresa Siaw launched to ensure better resources in Humboldt Park, Illinois.
Where did the idea for “A Community of One” come from?
From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to help other people around me. Growing up in Ghana, I saw a true distinction between poverty and wealth. When I came to the U.S., I continued to see how poverty and a lack of resources can easily lead to violence. That is when I decided to create “A Community of One” an organization determined to lowering the crime rate in one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods by providing better resources.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at 4 a.m. and head to the gym to get in a quick workout. Then, I wake my son up at 6 a.m. While he gets ready for school, I take a few moments to mediate. I ensure he has everything ready to go for school, and then I drop him off. Next, I head to my office at 8 a.m. The first thing that I do when I get to the office is write down my tasks for the day that are most pressing to ensure that I stay organized. Other than that, each day can be quite different and usually consists of various meetings or conference calls.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a great team supporting me and helping me with all my initiatives. We do a lot of brainstorming and thinking of ways that we can support our local community. We craft and execute events surrounding community needs in Humboldt Park. From there it takes a lot of moving parts and logistics to ensure our events are successful. I thoroughly enjoy helping the community, and to me it is a very rewarding experience.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Lately, I have been meeting a lot of women who are eager to start their own business, and who are turning to me for help. It is so great to meet so many ambitious, inspiring, and driven women who are still willing to ask for help when they need it. I love meeting these women and am always happy to help them in any way that I can! Even if it is just ordering from their restaurant for lunch to show my local support. I believe women leaders are the wave of the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The one thing that I do that makes me more productive is meditating. I think that meditating is a wonderful action for the mind, and is something that everyone should do! It is great for clearing my head and starting each day fresh. I don’t start my day without it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to not be afraid or intimidated by big ideas. Way too often I see women who are scared to stand up and speak their mind because of fear of being shot down. Speak your mind and follow your dreams even if they are intimidating, because you never know when the opportunity may arise again.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
No one in my office thinks that I can sing but I definitely can. I am a great singer!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
At the end of each day, I set aside some time to reflect on how the day went. I think about what I did right and what I can improve on. I vow to make an effort to learn from what I did wrong. It really helps me learn about who I am both as a person and as a business-woman. It is a great way to stay grounded and teaches you ways to constantly improve yourself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think that the main strategy that helped me grow my business is being able to communicate. If a business-owner cannot communicate effectively, your employees will not do what you ask and your vendors will not either.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure was hiring friends. They did not have respect for my business and thought that they could call in sick and not produce high-quality work because they “are friends with the boss.” This lasted a few months before I had to let them go.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Whoever can figure out how to make reliable healthcare options available via the internet or mobile device can make a fortune. In this increasingly digital age, whoever figures out how to make our everyday annoyances easily doable via technology will be highly successful, especially in telemedicine.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently, I bought a birthday cake and decorations for a colleague’s birthday and had the whole staff surprise him. It was great to see his reaction and to see how happy he was.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I always use Microsoft Word. I write a lot of letters and Word is just the easiest option for me. Also, I love being able to use word art and play around with logo options on Microsoft Word. It makes my letters look more professional.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. It tells the story of how one CEO overcame massive challenges in her business and gives really great personal insight into what makes a team work and what doesn’t.
What is your favorite quote?
“To be great is to be misunderstood”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
• Do not be afraid to speak your mind no matter what the potential consequences may be.
• Always listen and be open to someone else’s point of view.
• Do not ever forget to take time for yourself. If you cannot grow as a person neither can your business.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.