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  • Certified Woman Owned Business

    Certified Woman Owned Business

    Looking back, there was never any other choice but to own my own business. I come from a long line of strong women entrepreneurs. My hometown, Bethany, Missouri (population: 3500) is located 90 miles south of  Des Moines, IA, and 90 miles north of Kansas City, Mo.  Most residents of Harrison County are farmers, relying upon hard work,  cooperative weather, friends, family, and local businesses to be able to “make hay while the sun is shining.”  On a farm, there is always work to be done: feeding animals, painting fences, mowing the yard, etc., and I started working when I was old enough to contribute.

    I started earning money at 13,  I never liked people telling me what to do or how to do it and always thought that it was because of my “only child syndrome.” In my 20’s my issues with authority became a real problem.  After years in my own therapy and attending Group Relations Conferences, I realized that I was never going to be a great employee and needed to be my own boss.  Accepting that as my reality was so liberating. I stopped being resentful and started thinking about starting my own business.  It took a few years and throughout the process, I realized that there was no road map…. the group practice that I wanted to create was really different than most outpatient group practices.

    As a clinical psychologist with no training in business, it was hard for me to balance the vision for an integrative outpatient mental health practice with running a fiscally responsible business. I knew that the only way I could make it work was to surround myself with amazing people.  Especially, those who could hold onto the “making money” part of MBC so that I could pay employees, provide benefits, and create a workplace where people would want to work.

    To complicate my journey into business ownership, I have a personal life. I have been with my husband for 23 years, we have 3 daughters and 2 English Bulldogs.  How would I be able to manage it all?  I was working night and day, trying to be the best mom possible to my daughters, and worked myself into Workaholics Anonymous meetings. At those meetings, I learned to surrender and was able to see myself in others and take in some experience, strength, and hope.  With this new understanding, I began to ask for help, trust my instincts, begin leading with confidence, and let go of fear.  I would keep re-calibrating, trying new things, surrounding myself with like-minded clinicians and staff who believed in the MBC vision, and most importantly trusting the process. I wanted to be able to model leadership to my daughters, employees, clients, and peers all while making a statement about gender diversity in the business world.

    MBC opened in November 2015 with 2 psychotherapists and a massage therapist at 30 N. Michigan and we kept growing.  Within the first year, our water cooler filtration system malfunctioned and flooded the 3 floors below MBC. We could not use our office space and were displaced. We had to use a variety of different vacant spaces at 30 N. Michigan for almost 6 months. In the first 2 years of MBC, my mother and mother-in-law were diagnosed with cancer and passed away, 2 of my grandparents broke their hips, my grandfather passed away, and my brother-in-law lost his battle with ALS.  I had a full caseload and a family and was barely holding on to my sanity.  My employees were unhappy and I felt like my life was a 3 ring circus.  And that was pre-covid.

    Considering the challenges that we had with our office space, moving to telehealth and quarantining due to COVID-19 seemed like just another road bump. We did not anticipate that it would last 2 years, but it did.  I learned the value of therapists working in the community. We hold the stories that our patients need to share and it can be challenging. Having others, who understand, who are in the office next door, and can lend an ear between sessions is priceless.

    We opened our Lakeview location in response to COVID.  Working from home can be valuable, but isolation is not the answer.

    Being a wife, and mom while owning an outpatient mental healthcare business was really much harder than I ever anticipated.  I kept reading about fellow clinicians who were starting group or private practices and then closing them because it was just too much work and not much fun. I quickly realized that many of those fellow therapists were also moms, who were either not working or were working and miserable, because of inflexible and antiquated working conditions. By the way….. moms are wicked smart, extremely efficient, and often want to work, but can not be the moms they want to be and work for traditional corporations.  I wanted to create a supportive and inclusive work environment for all MBC employees. I figured if I created a place that would be great for moms, it could be great for everyone.

    MBC has worked hard to create policies that promote work-life balance and are family-friendly. These policies need constant consideration and are always under review.  Some of our policies include:

    • We have a system for clinicians to take maternity leave without losing long-term clients.
    • We contribute to eye, dental, and health benefits
    • We offer PTO and sick time
    • Clinicians create a schedule that works best for them. As long as they meet their full-time hours, they can choose their own hours.
    • Clinicians are in charge of their schedules so that they can go to their own doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, and kid appointments.
    • We have an amazing support staff that checks benefits, schedules intake & ensures that all documents are signed before the first session takes place, and then after the session, follows through with all billing.  This may seem necessary for all outpatient practices, but many outpatient mental health practices run with a skeleton crew and clinicians have to do so much more than show up and be a clinician.
    • All Full and Part-Time employees can enroll in a 401k plan to prepare for the days when we are no longer working.

    As an outpatient mental health practice that accepts private insurance the WBENC certification helps us with credentialling, we get “fast-tracked” for some contracts. For those of you who work with credentialling, you know this is a BIG DEAL.  However, at this point in time, we do not benefit from government contracts.  The WBENC certification benefits do not directly contribute to MBC’s financial “bottom line.”  However, I am proud to be the owner of Mind Body Co-op and proud to have the WBENC certification.