Q&A 4Her – Lorna Johnson, Founder of Compassion for Teen Life
Lorna Johnson is a successful philanthropist, medical midwife, entrepreneur and healthcare guru. The founder of the nonprofit organizations Compassion for Teen Life and The Advanced Family Care Medical Group in East Los Angeles, Lorna always knew she’d be successful but never in this way.
On top of her work at her non-profits, Johnson serves on the Health Care Advisory Committee and the National Finance Committee of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
MyCity4Her recently caught up with Lorna for a Q&A 4Her interview where she talks about everything from the best advice she’s received to what she underestimated about her industry. Read the full interview below.
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
Yes, I’ve always known that I would be successful. However, I couldn’t have predicted the great experiences that have happened along the way.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
First, I would say that I underestimated the ferociousness of the power struggle between nurse midwives and doctors.
Being an independent practitioner (hospital delivery nurse midwife), I found myself caught in the middle between the registered nurses and doctors. It was not a fun place to be. The fights and struggles were pretty painful when all I wanted to do was to practice what I was trained and licensed to do. California doctors simply have not seen us as collaborative elements to the pre-natal and post-natal process, but as a threat to their practice, which I have seen as a very narrow and selfish focus.
To my knowledge, there were no other independent practice nurse midwives that were practicing in a hospital setting when I started in Southern California. I successfully challenged the prior standards with no support system, except for the restrictive trade laws. I knew that I could not continue working under such conditions for very long. This motivated me to plan an exit strategy. My business sense kicked in, leading me to make real estate investments. I invested in high-end real estate properties that are located in places I love to call home. Now, the rest are developmental moments that remain an inspiring part of my memory.
Anyway, back to the midwife industry; It has been my hope that the health care system will change and allow certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners the freedom to practice their trade in or out of the hospital setting. As a member of the President Obama Advisory Health Care committee, I have encouraged the use of certified nurse midwives and nurse practitioners as primary care providers to the full extent of our license. I believe that we have been the key to health maintenance and disease prevention. We have been the gatekeepers, the educators, and we can continue to save many lives as well as millions, if not billions of dollars to the country’s taxpayers in health care costs.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Go with your passion and give it your all. Do not allow others to tell you what you can or cannot do!
What do you love most about what you do and why?
Sharing with and inspiring others.
I love being able to share my life with others, in a positive way, giving back and putting a smile on someone’s face. The thank you notes I receive are priceless! It always amazes me how people are in awe of my accomplishments. After awhile, I actually started thinking that maybe there is something about me that really touches others. Things I take for granted are a big deal to others. I am humbled by it and I feel blessed.
What if you knew then what you know now – would you do differently and why?
I am pleased with what I have done. There have been many mistakes along the way, but I have learned from them and that is a part of who I am today. Even though I am happy with my achievements, I know that there remains a lot more that I can and will accomplish. I can take what I know now and move forward.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
I exercise, pamper myself with spa treatments/massages, travel the world and spend time with loved ones. I love meeting people from different walks of life, I love hanging around with people that have good intentions and that are thought-provoking.
How do you define success?
To me, success is doing something that you are truly passionate about and succeeding in doing it. Success is not being afraid to fail. Success is not putting limits on yourself.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Don’t let anyone tell you that “you can’t!” Just do it! In every obstacle that comes your way, figure out how to use it to your advantage to make yourself stronger and more successful. As women, we are given a sixth sense, don’t underestimate it, believe in it and use it.
Most importantly, whatever you do, do it with passion and in love.