Meet Karen Cross: Surgeon, Scientist, CEO, Surfer and a Single Mom
Karen is not only CEO of MIMOSA Diagnostics, but she is also a single parent of an infant, a surgeon-scientist at St. Mike’s, an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Diabetic Foot Canada. On the business side, she and her business partner, Dr. General Leung, have invented and are ready to commercialize technology that is poised to revolutionize diabetic care and democratize access to health care, globally.
My first job ever was…Babysitting 2 children, stuffing envelopes at a bank, working in a retail store in a mall, and selling t-shirts at fairs. I always seemed to have multiple things “on the go” all the time and it has only propagated over the years but it has served to my advantage and I can accomplish quite a bit in a day.
I became a doctor because… I wanted to help people and care about them. I was also fascinated by the human body and its intricacies. Medicine is the cutting edge of science and innovation and I wanted to be a part of something that could make a big impact for people.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I needed to change things for people and patients faster; I wanted to make a global impact.
My proudest accomplishment is… Being a MOM. I never thought I could know what true love felt like until I had my baby boy. Being able to manage all my lives professionally and being a single mom is my proudest accomplishment to date.
My boldest move to date was… Becoming a surfer at 38…..and then taking a leap of faith to transition from medicine to becoming an entrepreneur. I am breaking down the barriers of the traditional doctor, challenging the system, and making it a better one.
I surprise people when I tell them… I am a Surgeon, Scientist, CEO, Surfer and a Single Mom.
My best advice to people starting out in business is… Don’t give up. Just because one door closed; another will open. This has been my motto and it has served me well. I never give up on something I believe in and I just find a way to make it happen.
My best advice from a mentor was…
- If Plan A doesn’t work then don’t do Plan A again….
- Not everyone gets to make a difference in other people’s lives but if you can then you should because there is no greater gift you can give someone than the gift of love and kindness – continue to be kind
“Life is just a series of lemons and is more about how you make the lemonade.”
I would tell my 20-year old self… This quote : “Where should I go, to the left where nothing is right, or to the right where nothing is left”. You have always broken down boundaries and paved your own path; just embrace it.
Have more confidence in your capabilities. Don’t be afraid to be who you really are.
My biggest setback was… There are so many. Life is a series of “failures”. You learn more when something doesn’t work out then being always successful.
I overcame it by… Changing my mindset. Life is just a series of lemons and is more about how you make the lemonade. Embrace the growth mindset (and Read Carol Dwek’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”).
Work/life balance is… Really tough as a professional and single mom. Outsource what you can. Hire good people. Focus on what is important to you, what restores you. It is quality over quantity.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… Surf or go for a paddle with my surfistas and baby G or maybe meditate by the water. I would just like to have a little more tranquillo.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I am a terrible cook, I like organized closets and I have a spiritual guide and not in that order.
My advice for entrepreneurs who need funding is… Take the money. But take it from people that can help you grow.
The one thing I wish I knew when starting MIMOSA Diagnostics is… It is not like Surgery where there is a hierarchy and unwritten rules; people are more approachable and there are less boundaries.
I stay inspired by… Being one with Nature and on the water. My best thinking and clarity of thought happens on my board.
The future excites me because… I am creating it. We are years ahead in terms of our technology and MIMOSA will revolutionize the practice of medicine and democratize access to healthcare.
My next step is… To put MIMOSA in the hands of patients giving them power over their own health.