Having worked on the front lines of clinical care for several years, Mark Holterman is an incredible man with an incredible passion. He has been trained in both basic science research and clinical medicine, and he knows and understands those difficult challenges that come with bedside medical advances. His time as a general surgery resident and pediatric surgery resident have given him the knowledge and understanding that he needs to bring his creativity and inventiveness to life.
He has been in practice for over 20 years after earning his degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. However, this isn’t all he is known for in his lifetime and career. He does plenty of medical research in areas like stem cell therapy, cancer treatment, and even obesity research. Dr. Mark Holterman has a bit of work under his belt, which is why he is noted as one of the greats. Both a pediatric surgeon and a medical professor, Dr. Mark J. Holterman has given many medical research and scientific ideas the life they need to work in society.
Since his creation of the ever-popular fund, the Mariam Global Health Fund, he has worked, both supporting and funding, to develop several unique and advanced medical and healthcare treatments and technologies. His story is incredible.
How did you come up with the idea for the Mariam Global Health?
I spent most of my overall life drinking, eating, and certainly never sleeping all while witnessing the beauty that is scientific discovery. I was immersed in the clinical medicine, but I had no idea what I had in my hands. Now that I’ve matured a bit, I have decided to take my life experiences and try to make a difference in the world. In other words, an opportunist in many ways.
I know several extremely gifted scientists that are innovative. I knew several physicians as well, and together they have created these transformative technologies that could potentially improve the healthcare world that we know today. Personally, we tend to call them Impact Innovators because of what they are accomplishing. The lack the financial backing needed for their research, however, and their dreams are starting to die because of the lack of funds.
Then again, there are many social investors just looking for something good to do with their money. I like to call those Impact Investors. Mariam Global Health takes both aspects and puts them together. They look for those Impact Innovators, help coach the innovators, and then connects them to the Impact Investors.
Biotechnology has the potential to create quite an impact on the world, but it has been known as high-risk for so many years. My fund is there to help push that risk aside to help get the ball rolling on these innovations.
Can you give a glimpse into your day?
Ah, normally, I wake up and go to bed saying a prayer. You should always be thankful for everything that happens. I make my day productive by keeping my schedule as flexible as possible. Some things you cannot get out of, but most can be pushed aside if something more urgent comes up. I also have learned to delegate over the years to help alleviate the many tasks I have to accomplish during the day. I also enjoy research different trends outside of my own specialty area to keep my mind fresh and sharp (http://peoria.medicine.uic.edu/departments/surgery/surgery-faculty/name/mark-holterman/).
How do you put life into those ideas?
When I see a new tool, I often think to myself “this might be useful in helping this certain disease.” Then I take my idea to my business team for their thoughts and what we call a “reality check.” This check includes going over things like the idea was good several years ago, there are other companies working on it as well, only a few people might suffer from the disease, it might take too long to develop, or there might be a better treatment out there for this disease.
The best way to bring your own ideas to life is to find an expert, discuss the needs and the idea, develop different collaborations, and avoid getting too greedy. Greed can really take a toll on you.
Name one trend that is your favorite.
The Regenerative Medicine and Medical Photonics trend are incredibly exciting to me.
Name one habit that makes you a more productive entrepreneur?
I always, always, always ask for advice. I just swallow my own pride and ask someone for advice. It is always better to get advice from experts because typically physicians are just not that great on the business side of things.
If you could, what would you say to a younger you?
I would tell myself to think of your ideas as a friend and not necessarily your children. Sometimes, it is easier to tell your friends goodbye, but children may never leave you, you know. If your idea is valued, it will be a valued friend and be welcomed back in a few years maybe with the fruit you need the second time around.
What do you do all the time and recommend other entrepreneurs to do?
I always tell people to avoid groupthink. Bring your ideas to your trusted team. If you still want to bring it before outsiders later, wait until the idea is refined. Then you can bring it to outsiders who might not be skilled in the area. They might be able to find holes in your idea to help prevent a sinking ship.
Explain one strategy that you have used to help grow your business.
Work on refining. Basically, control your burn, run the course hungrily. Sometimes even a well-prepared business plan might not get that financial backing. Instead of giving up, go back to the drawing board and refine your concept. Keep reworking your plan, and pitch it again. Sometimes rejections can be a disguised blessing because, in the past, my team and I might have wasted a bit of money on these half-organized ideas.
What is one failure that you have had to overcome in your days as an entrepreneur?
The failure to simply appreciate the negative impacts that the Internet has on people. It can change people and their reputation so quickly. I overcame this failure by seeking help and accepting advice.
What web services and software do you love to use?
I love using Office at Hand, WhatsApp, or Slack. These services really help me and my team keep up communications no matter where we are on the globe. I can also manage my time better with these services.
Name one book that you would recommend to someone who might be following in your footsteps?
Meg Meeker has written a book entitled “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need.” It’s not a business-oriented book, but the ideas within the book are crucial to our society. It has many lessons that can be applied to all parts of life, including a human resource team.