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How a Medical Student Became a Business Strategist

My name is Brooks Yates and I’m a business strategist. I wasn’t always an entrepreneur, though.

As a child, I was extremely shy. I was more of an introvert than I like to admit, but it allowed me to learn about myself and ultimately understand the need of connection with others. With three brothers and four sisters, I did nearly everything with family and learned that family comes first. We played sports together, laughed, cried and shared good and bad times alike.

When I was very young, I had juvenile arthritis.  My parents tell the story often, beginning with the fact that they never knew if I would ever walk.  Since then, I have played competitive sports and attribute my health to healthy eating as a child and playing a lot of soccer.

As I grew older, I began to get an idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up.

It began at an early age, though. I remember watching a documentary about children with cleft palates and a group of doctors that went there and operated, fixing not only the cleft palates, but improving their lives.  I thought I always wanted to be a surgeon.  I even went to the University of Utah with that intent.  As I approached graduation and the time to take the MCAT or qualification test approached, I was working as a Blood Gas Tech at the University Hospital.  

My epiphany moment came during a heart surgery.  I came in and stood waiting for drawn blood that I could go back and test.  As I stood there, I became extremely bored.  I became so bored, in fact, that I began looking at the white walls and ceiling tiles and found myself counting them.  My mind became super clear and allowed me to realize that becoming a surgeon was not in my future.  

I had spent my undergrad earning a Biology Pre-Med degree, but I minored in Business Management. That minor opened my eyes to a passion for business, and when I realized that being a surgeon was not for me, I chose to enroll in the business school. I’ve had a passion for business ever since.

It’s had its own challenges, but challenges I love and was and am so happy to work on and overcome. The first challenge came from my direction change. Switching from medicine to business, I felt like I couldn’t compete with colleagues who had been studying business from day one. I was different. However, I quickly learned that no matter where you start, you have an advantage just by working hard and making sure that everything you do allows you to learn new skills and apply them in work settings.  Learning new skills every day allowed me to jump well ahead of those that had been doing the same thing for many years.

That hard work has paid off and taught me how to create opportunities. There’s one specific experience that occurred a long time ago.  

Early into an internship (which is another springboard into the business world), I had the choice to take a site Director position, which was a huge step up in my career (managing hundreds of employees) in Laredo, Texas.  Now, although I have nothing against Texas, my wife did not want to move from Utah, where our families lived and where she was happy.  

At that point, I had a decision to make.  I could take a great opportunity, or, try to find something else.  I decided that before I had to give a final answer to our VP of Human Resources, I would call everyone I knew and ask if they knew of any other job openings.  

After about the tenth phone call, I had found an opening.  I went to the interview the next day, was offered the job position and then had two options as opposed to one.  Now, it’s my belief that that’s what good entrepreneurs do, they create more options rather than get stuck with one.  Since then, I have learned that is also the key to great negotiation.  That moment had an impact on me.  I realized that what I had to offer was important to people.

I’m tactical and strategic. I start with a vision, but can turn that vision into specific steps, making it much more manageable and realistic.

Since then, I’ve helped so many businesses prosper and have started my own. I am the founder and CEO of Avisae, a premier health and wellness-focused organization. Established in 2012, with strategy and luck, the company enjoyed day-one success, with profitability of 109% in the first year of operation, 31% in the second year and 300% in the third year. Before this, I had helped a similar company achieve success as well. I served as the Vice President of International Operations and was extensively involved in the expansion of the business into 21 countries, representing an overall value of $456 million. 

To a beginner entrepreneur, those numbers seem impossible. But they don’t have to be. I know how to make them your reality.

I am a business strategist.  It is my belief that all skills are learned and it is my goal to help others learn these skills as well.


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