WHEN A HIGHER CALLING HELPS

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Elizabeth Holmes is the founder of Theranos, a company that is dedicated to saving lives by inventing medical tests that are fast, convenient, and cheap. Theranos is definitely a disruptor to the medical testing industry as Kimberly Weisul reports (“The Longest Game” Inc. October 2015. pp. 48–51, 146–147):

Theranos, now valued at $10 billion, has developed blood tests that detect hundreds of conditions and diseases from a couple of drops of blood from the finger, instead of tubes of blood from a vein in the arm. . . . Holmes aims to enable anyone to get lab tests—for anything from cholesterol to cancer—on his or her own at a local pharmacy for no more than half of what Medicare would pay. Holmes believes that providing faster, more convenient, and less expensive access to lab tests will transform preventive medicine. En route, she may also undo the profitable medical test industry, currently dominated by two decades-old behemoths, Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America. ‘I don’t think anyone disputes that Elizabeth and her team are visionaries,’ says Gary St. Hilaire, the president and CEO of Capital BlueCross, which recently became a Theranos partner.” (p. 50)

In addition to the exciting progress Theranos is manifesting, I always find it interesting to look into the personality and motivations of the entrepreneur. In this case, Holmes senses a higher calling connected to Theranos. She is not operating purely with a social, financial, business mindset, as important as those are of course. Additionally and perhaps primarily, Holmes is operating with that sense of a higher calling:

For a scientist, Holmes has a notable relationship with her faith, drawing on it when the weeks in the lab were long and the criticism loud. [She affirms] ‘My belief in God has played a huge role in everything that I’ve done. . . . When you don’t have anybody to talk to and when you’re going through something that’s hard and believing that you’re doing that because there’s something greater that’s going to come from it—that you can’t even understand—that gives you the strength to keep going.’” (p. 147)

If you are among those that have embraced the spiritual element as a valid integrated element to your personal and professional life, then I say more power to you. Like many others, I have found that when various personal and professional situations stretch me to and beyond my limitations, it is my faith that keeps me on course. Holmes has obviously made that same choice. For her sake, and for Theranos’ sake, I say bravo!

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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