104 - Changing The World Through Leadership with Dr. Andrea Hayes-Jordan - Transcription - John Laurito

104 – Changing The World Through Leadership with Dr. Andrea Hayes-Jordan – Transcription

Summary: We sit down with guest Dr. Andrea Hayes Jordan as we discuss the challenges in pursuing your dreams and how to overcome them, as well as managing change when it comes along and how to be a leader without dictating. 

John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader

John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading other people. I’m John Laurito, your host with a fantastic guest here today. I am super excited and given her busy, busy schedule, I am incredibly honored to share some time with Dr. Hayes Jordan, who has a remarkable background and a series of accomplishments, one of which being the nation’s first black female pediatric surgeon among many, many, many accomplishments. But, Dr. Hayes, welcome to the show. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Thank you very much for having me, John. 

John: My pleasure. There’s so much that I want to talk to you about. And I know we’ve got an audience of listeners that’s really anxious to hear your story. So maybe that’s a good place to start because we’ve certainly got a lot to talk about. But maybe you can share with the audience a little bit about your background and then we’ll kind of get into some of the incredible things that you’ve done and how you’ve impacted the world around us. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Sure. Yeah. I was born in Los Angeles, California, and I left there after high school. A very well-kept secret is that I graduated from Beverly Hills High School and I don’t like to tell people that much. But it wasn’t because I lived in Beverly Hills. That was because there was a minority program where they allowed very people at certain grades to get in, sort of as it was a college. So I left L.A. and went to Dartmouth for undergraduate and medical school, and I did my undergraduate and medical school at Dartmouth and then went back to California for my surgery training. So for surgeons, we do five years of training to become adult surgeons. And operate on adults, and you have to do an additional two years to get another certificate in pediatrics or do some double boarded in adult and pediatric surgery. I did an additional two fellowships, one in molecular biology, so I have a laboratory where I do genetic research on very rare tumors and I also did an additional two years of pediatric surgical oncology. So my specialty really is pediatric surgical oncology and taking care of cancer and children’s surgical cancer in children. So that’s sort of the training it took. After I graduated from medical school in 1991, I did 11 years of training to become what I do today, which is a very, very specialized surgery. And as you mentioned, I am the first African-American female pediatric surgeon who is board-certified in this country. And that has been part of the journey but has resulted in me having a position now that I really enjoy.

John: That’s tremendous. Now, when was it that you knew that you wanted to work with kids and in particular cancer? How did you get drawn to that? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Well, you know, that’s an interesting story because it’s interesting how God works in your life. So I was a student at Dartmouth and I thought I wanted to be a surgeon. I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. I decided that when I was a third-year medical student and in order to get a position in surgery, you have to go through what’s called a match process, where you apply to a bunch of hospitals and they interview a bunch of people and then the computer matches the list. So the hospital gets their top choice and the applicant gets their top choice. So as a fourth-year student, you sort of can spend that time. That’s the last year in medical school. You can spend that time going to places to sort of show off so that you can match there in your residency program. So I wanted to go to Stanford for my residency. So I flew all the way from New Hampshire to California and had arranged to do a six-week sort of mini internship, if you will, at Stanford to sort of show off and tell them that show that I was great and that they should choose me. When I got there now this is before the Internet, and many of your listeners may not remember this time, but it was when you had paper mail. So I had received a letter that said, come be here on this day. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: By the time I got there, it was several months later and the administrative assistant said, I’m sorry, we have too many students on the general surgery team. You’re going to have to choose a different team. And you have two choices, either pediatric surgery or orthopedic surgery. And I’d already done an orthopedic surgery rotation, so I chose pediatric surgery, but very reluctantly, I was very disappointed. I wanted to be on the adult surgery team and I did not want to be on the pediatric surgery team, but I didn’t have a choice. So I ended up on the pediatric surgery team. And the second day I fell in love with it. And it was a phenomenal experience. My boss at the time was a pediatric surgical oncologist, a very well known pediatric surgical oncologist. And that’s how I got interested in pediatric surgical oncology because that’s what he did. And I spent that couple of months with him on that team. And his name is Steven Shochet and so fast for Dr. Shochet. It became the chair of surgery at St. Jude. I’m sure you know, St. Jude, that’s the Children’s Cancer Hospital. So he became chair of surgery at St. Jude from Stanford. During the time I was completing my training. And after I completed my training, he invited me to come train with him doing pediatric surgical oncology at St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Hospital. And so it’s sort of serendipity. That time frame that I just described was about 10 years, actually, from the time I met him to the time I went to St. Jude to train. So and who would know that that would turn out to be what I needed? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: The reason I ended up training at St. Jude was because I didn’t match in pediatric surgery, so no one would hire me as a pediatric surgical trainee. And what I found out over time was that they didn’t have any. There were no other black female pediatric surgeons and they were reluctant to train me in this country. Just a few seconds on how training works in surgery. So in surgery, there are several hospitals that have training programs that have been accredited. And at this time, this was in ’98, ’99, and 2000. And in that time period, there are only about 21 programs in the entire United States that we’re training pediatric surgeon. So there are 21 positions in the entire United States. So I applied the first time, I didn’t get in. Applied a second time and didn’t get in. After the second time, I didn’t get in, that’s when Dr. Shochet asked me to come to training there for two years. And then I applied the third time and didn’t get it. And I ended up getting a disappointing job along

the way. But I knew that God had put me on this earth to do pediatric surgery and I was not going to stop until I got there. The United States medical system is very connected to the Canadian medical system when it comes to training. So the Canadian pediatric surgeons had five physicians and we had 17 positions to make up the 21 I was telling you about. 22 positions. So they were all part of the same pool as far as the match, and one of the positions in Canada was not filled by a Canadian, so they offered me that position. So I got the training and then came back here right afterward. So it all works out. 

John: But it took you three times. Was it the third time that finally got you in that program? Wow. So as you’re talking, I’m realizing I’m thinking, well, you were just it was almost like fate. You were meant to be in pediatric oncology and doing what you’re doing. It was almost you know, it sounds like that was not in your mind until that letter or that trip out to California told you that, you know, you were not the plans had changed, so to speak. It’s interesting. And I think Steve Jobs, I think, was the one who talked about it’s hard to connect the dots looking forward, but it’s easy to connect them looking backward and realize how things happened and why they happened. Do you ever think about that and say, wow, you know what? Everything did kind of fall right into place and not but it took a lot of work to do that, though, was the signs were there, but you really had to push hard to get in there and do it. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Absolutely. Absolutely. Even now, even today, you know, being recruited from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center here to University North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Now, looking back on where I was 14 years ago and how I got here, everything had to fit perfectly to get me to where I am now. So I think Steve Jobs is absolutely correct. You can connect the dots pretty easily once you’re looking backward. 

John: Yeah. Were there decisions that you made or certain things that you thought were small at the time that you look back and you’re like, wow, had I not done that, then I wouldn’t be where I am right now or the little things like that, that being big? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Yeah, this is one of the things that is quite a little thing. But I had a patient at St. Jude that had this rare disease that is now the focus of my practice and my research and meeting this particular patient. You know, obviously was more than serendipity, and this was back in 1999, and I met this patient and he had this very rare cancer. And I was told by the people who were teaching me in the hospital that there wasn’t any cure for it and that he was going to die. When you go into surgery, surgeons have a common personality in that we all go into surgery because we like to fix things immediately. Go into the operating room, you have a problem, you fix it when the patient wakes up from surgery, the problem is fixed and you move on. When we can’t fix things in the operating room, we’re not only frustrated but often angry and sad at the same time. So this 12-year-old boy, we opened his abdomen and he had so many tumors in his abdomen, two, three hundred tumors that were innumerable, really. And the surgeon I was learning from said too much disease. We can’t help this child. And then we just closed him back up and we didn’t do any surgery, actually. And I had to go tell the mom that there was nothing that could be done and the child wasn’t going to survive. That’s not a feeling you want, and certainly, it’s different from medical doctors because, I mean, no doctor wants to tell a patient bad news but in the medical field or managing diabetes or high blood pressure or something that’s chronic and long term, it doesn’t necessarily get fixed, quote-unquote. It just gets managed. But for a surgeon, we like to fix things. And I wasn’t able to fix this child. So that got me

immediately interested in why we couldn’t fix this child. And fast forward from 1999 to 2017. When I published the manuscript that showed that we had improved the survival in this rare disease from 10 to 20 percent to 60 percent. So who would know that meeting this child in 1999was going to result in this major change in the outcome of these patients in 2016? 

John: That is unbelievable. And it’s a remarkable thing that you’ve done. I think about that one child, that experience that your interaction with that child and as unfortunate as the outcome of that was and how difficult that was for you, that put you on a track to now change lives. I mean, how many lives do you think have honestly been saved because that success rate or survival rate has gone from 10 to 15 percent to 60 percent now? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Well, it’s hard to know because along the way, it’s a very rare disease. First of all, there are only about 100 to 150 cases each year in the whole United States, a couple of cases per state. So it’s very rare. But along the way, I’ve taught other surgeons the technique and I’ve taught other doctors how to recognize the disease. And I’ve taught other doctors how to approach the disease as far as a treatment pathway and doing chemotherapy first and then doing surgery and then doing more chemotherapy and radiation therapy. So the some of the people, some of the patients I’ve touched, I’ll never know the numbers because they were touched through other doctors and not directly through me, but I’ve been around the world to many different countries teaching that technique, as well as to several different states in the United States teaching the technique. Switzerland, Russia, Switzerland, Moscow. Germany. France, Australia. And several states in the United States as well, so the patients that have encountered those doctors since have taught them are probably innumerable. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I never like to say that I saved anybody’s life because God saves everybody’s life. I just sort of show up for work and do what I’m supposed to do and God takes it from there. But I think I’ve operated on a couple of hundred patients over the years, over a couple of hundred patients. And, you know, we always say in pediatrics that you save the life of a child and you save more than just that patient’s life. When adults are saved from whatever illness they’ve lived their life, most of the time they’ve had their children, if they’re going to have any in their past, childbearing age, usually. But if you save the life of the child, you save generations because that helps them to grow up and have children and those children are going to have children, et cetera, et cetera. So saving the life of one child really saves generations. So even if I’ve only saved 100 or 120 of those 200, you know, those children are going to go on to have their own families. And so it becomes exponential. 

John: Wow. That’s going to make you feel amazing. And it sounds like, you know, a lot of your time is spent doing and performing surgeries, and a lot of your time is spent educating and teaching other doctors. What is that? I mean, is that a pretty even split now in terms of impacting patients directly and also impacting them indirectly through other doctors? Or you spend more of your time doing one over the other? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I’m not quite even split, but I am a tenured professor, so as a distinguished professor, that gives me the responsibility of teaching and also recognizes that I have taught quite a bit in the past. I do surgery one and a half days of the week, one to one and a half days a week. On average. I run my laboratory, a molecular biology laboratory, a few hours a week, and then I have a significant amount of administrative responsibility as the

surgeon and chief of the children’s hospital. And I’m also the division chief of pediatric surgery. But I spend many hours per week, teaching and answering emails from other surgeons or doctors that are asking questions on advice on how to manage their patients. I probably spend quite a bit of time, 10 to 20 hours per week, depending on the week doing teaching and things like that. 

John: Wow, that’s amazing. And was something you had in mind years ago or is that just a natural outcome of all the great work that you’ve done, that you’re now in that position? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I always wanted to be a full professor. I knew I was going to be a full professor, you have to sort of work your way up from assistant professor, associate professor to full professor. So I knew I wanted to teach as part of what I did. I came from my mother. Both my parents are teachers. My whole family really aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma, grandpa, teachers, and professors at some level. So it’s sort of in my blood, so to speak. I knew I would be teaching part of the time and I knew I would be doing surgery and also learning. Teachers are always learning, too. Every time I go to another hospital to teach I learn something else. This week I’m traveling to Michigan to teach them how to do surgery. And I received an email the other day from Australia about going back to doing some more teaching there. So it’s quite gratifying and it’s but it is quite time consuming as well. 

John: So on that note, let’s talk a little bit about some of the challenges because I’m just envisioning your life and your world and you’ve got so many things going on and obviously incredibly important things you’re teaching. That’s leadership. I mean, you’re the surgeon in chief at UNC Children’s Hospital. You’re really you have so many people that are looking to you for advice and for guidance and everything. I mean, what are the biggest challenges that you face? What’s the toughest part of that role? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I think the toughest part of the role is that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do because I lack so many hours a day. There’s the mentorship that I enjoy mentorship. There’s high school students, junior high school students, medical students who look up to me as a surgeon, look up to me as a black female surgeon, and I’d love to spend time talking with them and providing leadership in that way. But there’s just not enough hours in the day. It’s hard to get everything in. I work about 12 or 13 hours every day, but Monday through Friday. But it’s challenging to fit things in that I enjoy doing, it’s a lot to do. And leadership is a part of it. And I’m learning how to be a leader and I’m still learning. I came from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where I was the leader of a small division of surgeons. And now I’ve grown in those responsibilities. And as you lead more people, your skillset needs to change. There’s a title of the book I’m picking up. This is what got you here. Won’t get you there. And that’s what that’s exactly how it is. You know, all the skills that I learned to get me to this point now are going to be different skills that I need to get to the next point. 

John: And that’s a great point. And it’s something I talked to leaders about all the time, that it’s not a destination. It’s a journey to learn how to be a great leader. It’s you’ve got to be in it for the ride and enjoy that journey because you never get to a point where you feel like you know everything and you’re at that pinnacle. 

John: But on that note, what would be some of the things that you look at that you regard as most critical traits or skills that a leader needs to have and maybe even in the context of

today’s world, with everything that’s happening now, what would you say today’s leader or more properly, for the title of this podcast tomorrow’s leader needs to have? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I think the characteristics for tomorrow’s leader is one of which is transparency, as being transparent and honest with the people who are following you and walking the walk, as I say, be who you’re asking them to be. Be an upstanding, ethical leader who’s creative in their thinking. My gift that I bring to leadership is I am able to think very clearly on the spot and come up with creative solutions to problems. I think leaders have to be able to have creative solutions and manage change, managing change. Is critical because you go into any leadership, anything, anything in leadership, in an organization, a company, a hospital, and there’s going to change, something’s going to happen. The pandemic. Something’s going to happen. That’s not going to be an expected part of the process. And you have to be able to manage change. You have to be able to come up with creative solutions, demanding that change. And then the transparency, which is the other part of it, that transparency comes from knowing who you are as a leader. I have to understand who I am. And I relate to the world today. I am by nature an introvert. And so I have to learn these extroverted skills and you have to know who you are as a leader and part of knowing who you are. You mentioned the times you live in and 2020 is understanding what your implicit biases and understanding where your blind spots are, so to speak. So if you can understand where your blind spots and where your implicit bias may be, that’s helpful. I have implicit bias and I’ve learned what that is so that I can walk in my world and try to avoid acting on it. Everybody has implicit bias. For some people is something simple, like a color. You know, I love purple and I have to be careful that I don’t buy everything purple. So I think leaders today really have to understand who they are in the context of this world so that they can manage people with transparency. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: We all feel, hopefully, that we treat everybody equally and everybody is treated with dignity and respect and in the medical field that’s even more important because we want patients to feel comfortable in our space. And so the last thing you want is for a patient or anybody to feel like they can’t go back to a doctor’s office because they’re afraid of the actual doctor and then they get more ill. So we have to be really self-conscious in the medical world about making sure we’re managing the implicit biases. And now now that the awful things have happened this year with George Floyd and everything else, we’ve gotten to get a lot more training in that. And all the hospitals across the United States are making it a priority to train physicians and nurses so that we can be the best we can be. 

John: That’s great. Well, there’s you know, I think about a couple of comments on what you said, which I thought was fantastic, you know, talk about blind spots. I mean, I think that a lot of leaders ask or wonder, OK, well, how do I even know I have blind spots? Or if I acknowledge that everybody’s got blind spots, how do I figure out what mine are? I mean, what’s your advice to them? How do they do that? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I asked someone who’s worked with me for a while, who you trust. A lot of the things I’ve learned about leadership, I’ve learned from bad leaders or leaders that are not bad intrinsically, but have done things that are detrimental to their leadership. So I don’t 

want to do that. So if someone would ask me, for example, I had a leader who was very micromanaging, was very “Why aren’t you at this meeting, why are you at this meeting late” and in medicine, there are competing responsibilities of patients. You have meetings and

sometimes you might be a little bit late for a meeting if you have a critical patient that you have to attend to. There are several different competitions. So you as an adult have to manage your time. You don’t want a leader who is saying, why aren’t you here right now? And I don’t see you? And I’m like, wait a minute, you know, I know what I’m doing. I gotta manage my time the way I know that makes sense with my responsibilities and what’s urgent or emergent at the time. So I think asking the people around you who work with you, they’ll tell you your blind spots, they’ll tell you, you know, it’s painful. Yeah. I went through this 360-degree evaluation a year ago, and it’s a little scary to look at the comments, but they’re always accurate. 

John: So that’s a great point. I spent a lot of time with leaders that don’t seek advice or feedback and the answers are there. But a lot of times, I think it’s almost like somebody’s not going to a doctor because they don’t have symptoms. They don’t know they may need to go to a doctor. And they have a reason to go, but they just don’t even know. And the same thing, I think, for leaders and people that want to lead themselves to lead others better, there are ways and clear ways that they can get better. And you don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes you need somebody else’s guidance to tell you. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I just finished a course called Executive Leadership and Academic Medicine. And that’s one of the things. The first thing they do is they say, OK, you’ve got to get this 360-degree evaluation. And just the process of asking other people to criticize you is a little bit scary. Yeah, you’re thinking I think I’m doing a good job, but maybe I’m not. But once you are able to hear about that, once you’re able to see it in writing and understand what they’re saying. Oh, yeah, I guess I do that a lot. I got to stop doing that. 

John: Mhm. Yeah. And people are willing to give that feedback too and it’s not, you know it’s not for lack of willingness to give it, it’s just some that they don’t, they’re not going to do it unless they’re asked to give it to you. So you’re right, that’s a great valuable exercise. One of the questions I want to ask you, you talk about change and obviously, you’ve been through you know, you talk about how things have changed so much and, you know, paper letters versus now everything’s email, text, and everything. And I know how I lived in that world before working, before voicemails were even around there, obviously. Certainly cell phones and computers in this day. There’s so much changing at even a much more rapid rate. And a lot of this comes down to leading yourself through change. You’ve got so many people, you know, hundreds, if not thousands of people that react to your ability to manage, change and lead yourself through change. How do you do that? Or what would be your advice to people? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how you view change, whether it’s good or bad, and how you kind of navigate through that and lead yourself mentally so you don’t go into a bad place when regarding it. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Now, managing change and leading to change is challenging because we’re human beings or adult human beings and we’re sort of set in our ways. And one of the statements I keep in mind is the only person that likes change is a wet baby. It doesn’t adults don’t like change. So no one’s going to like you as you lead through the change. And so I don’t expect people to like me, but I do expect everybody to be heard. The first thing I do, what I’m trying to lead through change is get everyone around the table, literally, figuratively, and literally to discuss what they think the problems are. And they may not see the problems

as I see them, but I need to understand their way of thinking so that I could try to bring them around to my way of thinking that I think is best for the institution or best for the patients or fill in the blank, but. You first have to get the right people around the table to make the decisions that can manage the change and then everyone has to be heard. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Now, that’s difficult in itself because, in any group of individuals, there’s always someone who and, you know, in your sphere, everybody knows that there’s one person who wants to talk all the time. And then there’s one person who never talks and then there’s another person who’s always angry, and then there’s another person who is always happy all the time. So you as a leader have to manage the conversation so that everyone gets hurt and not just the person who’s more talkative or more of an extrovert. So understanding that personality differences and hearing everyone and then what I try to do is try to start with one or two things that we could all agree on, you know, make it something very simple and very broad and say, can we all agree on this? OK, yeah, that makes sense. OK, how about can we all agree on this and then get more and more granular? And then when you get to the place where you don’t agree, try to identify it, go back to, OK, here’s what we agree on. And then in the parallel column, what are our goals? What are we really trying to we as the group are trying to accomplish? And if we’re going to get to this goal, then we’re going to have to have this change or what other alternatives are there? Yeah, I often try to stack the deck and now say, OK, we can do this, this or this. And usually, the third one is what I want to do, what I think is the right thing to do. And the other two are obviously not good enough. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: So you can sort of stack the deck that way, but you want them to make that decision versus you saying it’s the answer. No, but I want to come to that conclusion. Right. So I sort of bring them to that conclusion, which I know there. That doesn’t make any sense. OK, well, then this is what we have to do. Yeah. 

John: So then you get more buy-in from them and they feel a sense of ownership to the decision, even though it came from you really you laid it out in a way where they connected the dots and ultimately they were part of that decision. They don’t feel like it was dictated to them, so to speak. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Yeah. So finding commonalities and identifying the common goal I think are critical and then trying to bring them to that conclusion slowly and not expecting that it’s going to happen fast. Change doesn’t happen quickly. Yeah. So you have to expect that it’s going to take some time. 

John: Yeah, that’s great. And that’s such a great way to put it, is find that commonality, that common goal, ground everybody toward that. And that helps, I would imagine them understand what’s most important. Granted, there may be some discomfort in this change, but it’s all toward the same common vision. And then they may or may not like it, but they understand it. At least I’m hearing you say, OK. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Right, exactly. They think that’s exactly correct. They may not like it, but they understand that. They understand why they’re doing it. And that’s OK, everybody. I think that when you’re managing change, you have to accept the fact that everybody is not going to agree. They just have to understand that it’s necessary. They have to not disagree. But everybody is going to agree. I tell them at the beginning, I don’t know. We’re not here to

get a consensus. We’re not here to be all in agreement. I just need you to understand the issues and not be sort of go against what we’re doing. Don’t disagree. Not all agree. 

John: That’s a great point. What’s your view on risk-taking as a leader? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Yeah, so risk-taking is also very personality dependent and very institution dependent. Certain businesses may be in a position where they’re always taking, they’re always taking a lot of risks. And some institutions may by nature have to be risk-averse. If you’re dealing with life and death. So it depends on the situation that you’re in, but when you’re deciding what the risk is and what I do in medicine, it’s a risk. It’s always a risk-benefit ratio. We always take risks. I take risks every time I put a child to sleep in the operating room and I on a daily basis have to communicate risk to my patients and the families of my patients. So, you know, something as simple as a hernia repair that I think is simple is still a child’s life that’s in my hands. Something as complex as three or four hundred or five hundred tumors that need to be removed in a 16-hour operation is complex. But they both, my responsibilities, communicate to the patient and the family the risk that’s involved, but also the benefit that would be involved. And at some point that one may help balance out that the risk might be too high. So we shouldn’t do the surgery. But if the risks are lower than the benefits and the benefits way outweigh the risks, that’s when we move forward with making that decision. So I think giving people the information on what are the risks and what are the benefits can help in that decision-making process. 

John: OK, that’s helpful. And then people ultimately feel there more. And that’s transparency, to your point, before also letting people understand whether it’s parents of patients or patients themselves or it’s people that work for you in an organization, they understand what’s at stake and also what the benefits are if we do it right. And here’s what happens. Here’s what the cost and the sacrifice might be. But here’s what the outcome can be exactly. You’ve been obviously your pioneer. I mean, you’ve done things that nobody else has done, and that requires stepping outside, I’m sure, your comfort zone because you’re doing things that you’re getting in uncharted waters and into new roads and everything. How? How. How hard or easy was that for you to do that, and is there a way that you kind of push yourself to step outside your comfort zone when you sense that you’re up against it? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Yeah, being outside your comfort zone is always challenging. I think what keeps me, everybody has their center and their focus. My center happens to be God, I happen to be Christian. And so that’s what keeps me sort of grounded. And when you’re going through what I was going through as far as not being accepted into a training program, a pediatric surgeon, you’re going through that time, you have to have something that grounds you. So for some people, it’s a marathon running or biking or meditating or yoga, or whatever it is you have to use that to get back to your center before you can sort of move out of it. And you can’t let other people define who you are. The sticks and stones may break my bones and words and other virtues are wrong. Words are very hurtful. And so you have to be able to manage other people’s words by understanding that you are your success. Who you are is not dependent on who other people think you are or who other people think they know you and they don’t know you. One of the individuals who didn’t hire me as a pediatric surgery trainee who was the chair of the Department of Surgery said we just can’t take a chance on a black woman. And having that, I can’t let that statement define who I am. I know I am a black woman, but I’m also an outstanding surgeon, a very intelligent individual, etc., etc.

There’s a long list of things that I am. And so you can’t let anybody tell you who you are. You have to know who you are and you have to live through a lot of sometimes negative things that are said about you or to you that may be said to you, in your presence or they may not they may be said behind your back, but you still have to know who you are in this world and how you relate to the world around you. And I think once you’re grounded and not you’re not going to sway based on what someone is saying about you or not saying about you. 

John: That’s fantastic advice. I love that you’ve got a lot of people I know we’re short on time here, so we’re at the close. I know you’ve got a busy day ahead of you for those listeners that are in awe of you and what you’ve accomplished and are thinking about their future and whether it’s leading themselves or leading other people. Any last words of wisdom that you might give to somebody or piece of advice? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: I just don’t give up. I know that that’s I guess that’s the Jimmy B. statement, but you can’t give up on yourself and you can’t give up on what you’re dreaming. And it just sounds so trite, but those really are true words. If there’s something that you really want to do, even if it’s sort of floating in the back of your head and you’ve always thought about it and maybe your parents or your friends or brothers or sisters or husbands and wives are saying what you want. You just do engineering or whatever it is. And you’re thinking, I really want to be a writer and really just go with what your instinct is telling you. And don’t be afraid. I say to my children, I have 21 and 25 year old. You know, the decision making becomes easy. If you say, you know if you had all the money in the world, what would you do then? It’s. Oh, yeah, well, I would definitely do that. Well, that’s what you should do. If you have all the money in the world, that money isn’t an object because we are constrained by our finances and our circumstances and where we’re living and how much money we have in our pocket. But if that wasn’t a constraint, what would you do to make yourself happy? And whatever the answer to that question is, that’s what you’ve got to do. Even if it’s hard, even if it’s going to take years, even if there’s no one who’s doing it, even if you can’t find anybody else who’s doing it, even if you don’t know anybody who looks like you is doing it, you still have to keep moving forward. 

John: Yeah, that is fantastic advice. I love that. And that’s a great way to wrap. I know we’re at the top of the hour and this has been absolutely fantastic. If people want to either learn more about you or maybe help your cause, is there what? How can they do that? How can they connect with you or learn more? 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: Oh, yeah, I have an email address and I have a Twitter handle. Twitter handle is A. Hayes Jordan M.D. and I can give you my email address so you can post it so they can see it. Yeah, we’ll do that by email. That’ll be fine as well. I would love that. 

John: Perfect. Well, this has been fantastic. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am for your joining and hopefully, we get you back another time. That’ll be great. 

Dr. Hayes Jordan: All right. That’s wonderful. Thanks for having me. 

John: Especially when we’ve been here with Dr. Andrea Hayes Jordan surgeon in chief for UNC Children’s Hospital. Thank you for joining us today on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. And as always, I appreciate your feedback, your likes, your subscribes, your shares, your comments, all that kind of good stuff. And go down below. Go to that five-star review,

leave your thoughts. Of course. I appreciate that as well. Thanks and appreciate your time today. 

John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at john@lauritogroup.com Once again, that’s john@lauritogroup.com. Thanks! Lead on!

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