There seems to be a view in popular culture that life and personal development are linear. You go to high school, onto college, maybe grad school but maybe not, find a job, turn it into a career, rise through the ranks in the same field your degree is in until you retire to travel/write the great American novel/etc. But anyone old enough to read this sentence has enough experiences to know the truth: Life moves in fits and starts, curveballs come when they’re least expected, and even the best laid plans can be rendered moot in the blink of an eye.
Tammy Lee’s path to becoming CEO of Red Wing-based Nanocore has been straightforward…in much the same way that Alice fell straight down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. With Lewis Carroll’s classic tale as a guide, Lee told the story of her seemingly-impossible career path to over 200 attendees at our sold-out Women in Health Leadership event, opening with this key quote:
Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lee’s impossible path started covering the Moorhead city council for a local TV station, included consecutive stops at Fox News and the press office of a Democratic senator from North Dakota, and led through corporate mergers and reorganizations on multiple occasions. It wove between politics and travel before it ever crossing into healthcare and featured a few painful detours including an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2006, which led to one of Lee’s key life lessons: “How you lose matters as much as how you win… but losing can still be really hard.”
Yet through it all, Lee’s curiosity, desire to tell great stories, and belief in helping others never wavered and that is what eventually opened the door to her current role as the head of Nanocore. Attendees had the chance to see the nanopause Bolero, nanocore’s innovative treatment for hot flashes and night sweats, and hear from Lee why she is so excited about the future of the company.
Another of Lee’s characteristics – her commitment to raising up the women around her – was on full display all afternoon as she joined in the pre-lunch networking time and stayed long after her talk to meet with attendees, give advice, and make plans for future meetings to help connect women with the resources they need to advance their careers.
As she closed her story, Lee left the crowd with a final encouragement from Wonderland: “Dream boldly, for ‘Life, what is it but a dream?’”
We are grateful to Tammy Lee for sharing her inspiring journey and for being willing to provide such concrete help to the next generation of women leaders; to our sponsors Fredrikson and Byron, Deloitte, Fang Consulting, Preferred One, and University of St. Thomas for their support; and to everyone who took a beautiful summer afternoon to join us! We hope to see all of you again on December 11 when our Women in Health Leadership speaker will be Seanne Falconer, Executive Director & Associate Cancer Center Director for Administration at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center.
Medical Alley is fortunate to have many strong female leaders in our community and the Women In Health Leadership series is the perfect way to meet other dedicated, influential women in health technology. This is your ticket to an afternoon of networking, lunch, and to hear from special guest speaker, Seanne Falconer, Executive Director & Associate Cancer Center Director for Administration – Masonic Cancer Center, U of MN.