Amy Rees Anderson was a single mother of 2 when she founded Mediconnect, a medical record retrieval and health information exchange company. Under her leadership, the company became one of the largest health information exchanges in the world. She employed well over 1,000 people and growth in her company exceeded 1,500%. In 2012 she sold her company for $377-million.
Today, Amy is active in the community and works one-on-one mentoring and consulting other entrepreneurs.
Below is a transcript of Shauna Lakes Person 2 Person interview with Amy Rees Anderson.
Shauna Lake: Amy thanks so much for being with us today. Tell me about your rise.
Amy Rees Anderson: I didn't set out to go into business. I mean, I grew up in a family with 10 kids with mother who stayed home and took care of her kids and that's what I wanted to be honest. But I went to college and found myself getting married young and starting a family young and needed to be able to support that family initially I went to work to support myself and my kids
Shauna Lake: So its not like you were a gung ho business woman. It was a means to an end for you.
Amy Rees Anderson: Yeah for sure; it was more a way to feed the kids and I hated leaving them with sitters so I thought the only way I cannot leave them with a sitter is if I do it from home and it quickly turned into not so much from home but because it was my own company I could take my kids to work every day.
Shauna Lake: What was your first company?
Amy Rees Anderson: It was a medical software company--always in the medical field. In high school I worked in medical offices and when I went to BYU I worked in medical offices so I knew that space and that industry and it was just natural for me.
Shauna Lake: When did you start seeing success or did you just feel like there was a smarter way that you could do things?
Amy Rees Anderson: I think that part of it was that I would see people do things and I just thought there has to be an easier way to do that and technology was just, for whatever reason, I was just drawn to. It was really just an aha moment for me. I thought, hey this is an easy fix using technology that hasnt been adopted. So thats how I got started implementing new technologies and going down that path.
Shauna Lake: But wasn't it unusual for women, especially in that era, to even be thinking about using technology?
Amy Rees Anderson: Yes it was, the first time I ever went to the big technology conference in Vegas all of a sudden I was looking around and I was like wow Im the only woman here not working as a booth babe at the trade shows. I guess I didn't realize that there were so few women in technology at the time. When I was younger I just assumed that there was.
Shauna Lake: Did you ever feel overwhelmed being a woman in a man's world so to speak?
Amy Rees Anderson: Never from that; overwhelmed just being a woman with kids and going to work and all those things but never did I sit and think I don't belong here. I just thought it's interesting there are not more women here.
Shauna Lake: Did you ever use it to your advantage?
Amy Rees Anderson: For sure, absolutely! I mean people always say oh is it negative being a woman in business? And Im like are you kidding. It's great! Anytime youre a big fish in a little pond you can use that opportunity to parlay your career.
Shauna Lake: You became a single mom? Tell me what happened there?
Amy Rees Anderson: My kids were very young when I got divorced and it was scary. I don't think there is anything more motivating than wanting to feed your kids. It was hard. I learned there are just a lot of things you just have to let go. House isn't going to always be clean. Everything is not always going to be perfect and that's okay.
You have to throw your hands up in the air and say 'okay Im just going to do the best I can.' It was tough but I had a lot of people around me that helped.
Shauna Lake: You sold your company for millions and millions and millions of dollars and made you a very wealthy woman, how does having that kind of wealth change your person?
Amy Rees Anderson: I hope it hasn't changed me at all. I wouldn't want it to and I think if anything sometimes it changes some of the people around you. Where they think youre going to be different so there's that kind of wait and see. At our house anyone who knew us before and knows us now would say that. Money doesn't make you you. It's not what defines who you are and if it does than that is problematic because it can go away at any time.
Shauna Lake: What do you do for balance?
Amy Rees Anderson: I love that question. Everyone always asks me that, but I am so bad at it. I thought when we sold the business that it would be really easy to slow down. But the next morning I was up at like 6 am. I'd never had a situation where I didn't have to work and I didn't know how to not work. So it's been interesting, I still struggle. Some of the best advice I got going into business was from an uncle who was a successful entrepreneur and he said look before you go down that road set your rules and live by them. Set them now and live by them because when you get into a situation its really really hard. He said Im serious the first rule you break you'll keep breaking it. And he was totally right. We set the rule early on that I would never work on Sunday or weekends and I never broke it. I never did.
Shauna Lake: One last question, you've had a lot of success, but I bet you've had a failure somewhere along the way. What's your biggest regret or failure along the way?
Amy Rees Anderson: I think the biggest regret is that you can't get your time back. Luckily I learned it before my kids got too old, but when they were really little there was times that I would miss the little Halloween parade at school or whatever, and at the time you feel like whatever you're taking care of is so important that the world would blow up if you didn't handle it and that's just not true. It's just not. Life goes on, people get over it, and you can fix it tomorrow. I think that's the biggest regret is not learning that younger in life and those times that you miss something that you can't get back
For more about Amy, visit http://www.amyreesanderson.com/
-Written and Produced by Leslie Tillotson
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)