When the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus was getting off the ground I was man without a country. That’s not true. I had a country, but I just didn’t have an office. Oh wait, strike that, too. I had two offices. And that was the problem that led me to a better understanding of some of the problems of an entrepreneur. Confused? Let me explain.
In the early days of the BNMC, I split my time between two offices: sometimes I worked out of an office in the basement of Roswell Park and sometimes at the office of the chair of the BNMC board. While my wife and kids appreciated that I had a place to go to and wouldn’t be using the kitchen table as my desk, I was not as thrilled with the arrangement. Sure, the people I met there were great, but moving around from isolated office space to isolated office space made it difficult to establish sturdy relationships. To be more specific I lacked a consistent group of people to bounce ideas off of and people who would push me to do better through their shining examples.
To find the inspiration I was lacking in that environment, this man without a country, er, permanent office space left the fledgling medical campus and traveled around the country. I wanted to learn what others were doing on medical campuses like ours and to find evidence that we were on to something substantial for our community. These trips worked splendidly. In Louisville, for example, it became clear to me that we had all of the pieces in place to succeed, but we just needed to have them work more harmoniously. Similar lessons were learned in Boston, Houston, and Cleveland (just to name a few) I learned similar lessons that I otherwise wouldn’t have done if I had stayed in my isolation in the nether regions of Roswell.
Pat Whalen, the COO of the medical campus, is a very successful entrepreneur who has committed a great deal of his time to growing private sector jobs for our community and mentoring enthusiastic dreamers to help them become successful businesspeople. He often stresses to me how lonely it is as an entrepreneur because there are not many people you can talk with when going through the ups and downs of building a business. Pat’s lessons really struck a chord with me after my experience bouncing between buildings as the Wandering CEO with no one to commiserate with and share ideas.
Inspired by Pat’s ideas and through his leadership, the BNMC is building out space on the campus so like-minded leaders can have the emotional support and physical infrastructure they need. The truth is that budding entrepreneurs require assistance such as this to excel and we at the BNMC want to lend a hand that helps them thrive.
One of our major initiatives we have developed to do this is d!g, our design innovation garage. Read Pat’s blog post to learn more.