How do you empower yourself so you can become unstoppable? Samuel Gbadebo sits with Courtney Turich, a Shark Tank entrepreneur. Courtney explains that the first thing you have to do is to identify who you are at your core. What are your strengths? You need to let them shine. When you sink into negative self-talk in your mind, find a way to shift and turn it into something positive. Tell yourself that you’re a person who takes action. That you can get in front of who it is you need to present yourself to. And you’ll not take no for an answer! Need more empowerment? Join in the conversation.
We have with us a very lovely guest with some significant experiences behind her belt. She goes by the name of Courtney Turich. She brings an interesting story because she spent the majority of her career in MedTech. She worked in MedTech as an advisor and sales rep. She’s also been lucky enough to dabble into entrepreneurship, pitch an idea and be so successful that she landed herself on Shark Tank and partnered with Mark Cuban.
She continues to work with Fortune 500 companies to small startups, advising them with her unique experiences. She has a big mission to empower women, especially in the MedTech space. She has so many amazing things to share. I’m so happy to have this guest with us that you’re about to learn from. I hope you enjoy part one of this interview.
Courtney, how are we doing?
I’m doing good. How are you?
I am fantastic. We are so happy to have you with us. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Courtney Turich. I’ve been in the medical tech industry for many years from sales marketing to leadership and now I’m finding a place where I want to empower others to understand who they are at their core so they can thrive in this crazy world we live in.
Let’s talk about that a little bit. First, I want to understand how did you even discover to start having this conversation.
I started back at Stryker and in the medical industry in 2004 and that’s when I was introduced to Gallup. I never understood the depth components of the Gallup until I had a mentor of mine hone in on my strengths. That resonated with me for a long time. In many days, I would go back and reflect on my strengths, whether I was interviewing for a new role or needing to give myself a pep talk. It was this reoccurring theme that kept coming board for me.
As I started to work with more young professionals in the industry, I found this need of, “These individuals are so amazing, but they need to take it a step further.” If I can help them identify who they are, some of their questions, their paths in this world and the professional space might become more clear for them.
I know what you’re talking about. It’s core work. It’s so important, but people that aren’t familiar with what you’re talking about might not understand what that looks like. Give us a little picture of the self-talk. What’s going on in someone’s mind? What are they saying or what are you hearing from them that makes you say, “We need to have a conversation and they need to start to explore who they are?”
Many of us jump directly to our weaknesses. “I can’t do this. I’ll never learn that technology. I can’t get in front of that doctor.” There’s a lot of negative self-talk that can happen within our own minds. It’s finding that way and that shift mentally to start taking the negative and turning it into a positive. I want people, instead of being, “I can’t get in front of that individual,” to say, “I’m a person who takes action and I can absolutely get in front of that surgeon no matter what it takes because I’m not going to take no for an answer.”
It’s almost like you’re in a way, forcing people to sit down and think outside the box, to come up with solutions to some of the most common issues.
Yes, but focusing on what drives them to be who they are in this space. I don’t think we’re all created equal, especially when it comes to our strengths. We’re all very unique in our own way. I’ve seen multiple people who don’t fit into that mold who are very successful in this industry.
They have strong intrinsic drivers, is what you’ve noticed.
Yes. When you can help them identify what those are and tell them to let them shine and not run away from them, they then become unstoppable.
If you can share, give us an example of someone you’ve worked with in the past. What did you help them discover that turned the light on for them?
There’s one woman that I’ve worked with and on her StrengthsFinder, she always showed up that she was an intellectual. I noticed working with her, she always would run away from letting her intellectual side come forward. The more that we worked through that process with her, it started to resonate, “This is to my benefit, especially in the space we’re in working with surgeons that not only am I personally, but I can hang with them from an intellectual perspective.” It is amazing to see her in action in this day and age and her conversations. They’re at another level.
How long does it take to see this transformation in someone from the people you’ve worked with?
It varies. Some people, I’ve had months to work with and then with my current course, it’s a shorter amount of time. It’s challenging to have people dig into their core to open up. It’s life-changing still in a short amount of time, but it’s up to them if they decide to carry on the work that we’ve already started. It’s like a muscle going to the gym. You’re not going to get strong after one visit with a trainer, for example. It takes multiple visits. The same happens here. When you start reflecting on yourself and then covering things that catapult you to that next level, you have to have self-reflection and awareness for yourself constantly.
For people reading this, I want to have that something that says, “I need to talk to Courtney.” What are they experiencing so they can realize that they can look into this resource?
A lot of people, when you ask them a question, for example, “What makes you unique?” Nine times out of ten, they can’t answer that question. A lot of people believe that we’re all similar. In reality, we are all so super unique. If we can show that what we bring to the table is beyond our strengths and what makes us unique, that separates us from the competition. That’s one perspective. Another one is, “Do you know what you’ve achieved in life?”
I don’t care if you’re 15, 45 or 70. We all have accomplishments in life. We’ve all achieved something and we need to be proud of our achievements. We don’t reflect enough on what we have accomplished and pat ourselves on the back. We’re always looking to go to that next thing. “I accomplished that. It’s time to move on.”
We’re all guilty of that. If someone is sitting there saying, “I’m not clear what makes me unique or what separates me from everyone else. I don’t take stock into what I’ve accomplished,” they need to find you.
We will find it. Trust me. I had somebody who said I’m not unique and we dug and by golly, he is ready to rock and roll.
Let’s talk a little bit about you because for you to have this insight and to work with people regularly and create these transformations, obviously you’ve experienced some things. Let’s it back to the one question that I have to ask everyone. When you were in college, were you saying, “I cannot wait to graduate and become a medical sales rep,” or was it a completely different experience you didn’t discover later? Talk to us a little bit about how you discovered this industry.
No, I was not thinking that in college. When I graduated, I didn’t even know this existed. I was very interested in health and fitness and my undergraduate degree is in Exercise Science. My parents got divorced when I started college. My mom started dating an orthopedic surgeon and that’s when it opened up my world into this new space. He showed me what it was like to live a different life. I say he’s my stepfather, but he’s more like a father figure than anything. He gave me the confidence that I can achieve more.
When it comes from a sales rep perspective in the industry, being around him, I started to notice these reps. I’ve started to become more inquisitive of what they were doing. After I graduated college, I had a few interviews I interviewed with Zimmer and Smith & Nephew. They came back to me. It’s great interviews but at the end of the day, I didn’t have experience. A lot of people reading this heard that over and over again.
At that point, I decided to go back to grad school. I went for Information and Communication Sciences, which is bridging the gap between humans and technology. I’m like, “That sounds good. Technology is where it’s at.” I hated it. It was miserable, but I got through it. After I graduated, I went and worked for AT&T Business, designing and selling data networks, and lo and behold, within a year, I got a call from a recruiter. This recruiter was calling me for an opportunity with Stryker Navigation. It was a new division. They had no clue what to do with it and after a long grueling interview process, I got hired as one of the first five people within that division. The rest is history.
When you started with Stryker, were you pretty clear on who you are, what made you unique and the value you were going to bring or did you go through this discovery period early on in your career?
It was the discovery period. I don’t learn the easy way ever. I always take the hard way. That says something. I’m not afraid to get my elbows dirty. I’ve always had good mentors and that is key for me. My mentor at Stryker was a young individual at the time, but he wasn’t afraid to tell me how it was, what I was doing wrong, what I needed to do better and they ran me ragged. I was burning the candle at both ends, but at the same time, I loved what I did.Empower others to understand who they are at their core so that they can thrive in this crazy world. Click To Tweet
You were a great performer at Stryker, but you also have an entrepreneurial spirit and you went on to co-found this Monkey Mat company. Tell us a little bit about what that was and what that experience was like at the time.
For everyone reading this, what you see on Shark Tank is we don’t get a second take and it is reality. It’s always a little longer than what you see on TV, but I created the Monkey Mat with a friend from Stryker, and essentially what it was is this instead of carrying a big bulky blanket to a concert or to the airport, or traveling with kids, it’s a small little pouch with a 5×5 foot water repellent mat. It can all stock back in real quick and you can throw it in your bag. I didn’t have kids at the time, but I had a very active lifestyle out in Denver, Colorado. We’re always on our bikes. We were using it like crazy.
One day we decided to submit our application online for Shark Tank. You go to the Shark Tank website and you put your information in. You don’t put too much. You have to put headshots and a little clip about your company. You then send it off to this abyss without a response email or anything. Three months later, we got a call and it was Shark Tank.
What happened on that episode and then what happened to the Monkey Mat?
Even though we got the phone call, it was still a two-month process to get there to film. We got the okay to fly to LA and the week they wanted us to come, I was nine months pregnant. I’m like, “I’ve got to have this kid.” They gave us five weeks after I had my first kid to get there. We get there and as I said, it’s everything and more than you see on TV. We ended up getting a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, which was unbelievable. I didn’t think it was going to go down that way if you ever watched the episode, but we did get a deal and that was a cool feeling.
What happened after that?
After that, there’s a lot of due diligence that goes on before you close a deal with them, but essentially our deal did close. We filmed in July of 2013 and to put it in perspective, you can’t talk once you film. You can only talk when they give you a heads up that you’re going to air. You might air and you might never air. Fast forward in April of 2014, two weeks before we air, we get a call that we’re going to air. That’s when your world flips upside down because you’re a startup organization, you don’t have funding to go create all this inventory. It’s scary to go create all this inventory because you don’t know if you’ll be able to sell it, but we aired and then it catapulted our business to the next level. It was wild.
Can we now buy the Monkey Mat?
I ended up selling my shares a few years after. This is where it comes into my strengths because we weren’t making a lot of money. We sold millions of Monkey Mats, but everything that came in went back out for the inventory. It got to a point where I wasn’t making much money and I wasn’t being fulfilled. I came to the realization of, “No wonder, I’m not being fulfilled. I’m not using my strengths.”
I did not see this. Let’s all have some context here because when I see Shark Tank and I see these people close these deals, I’m like, “Okay.” I understand that business has its ups and downs, and things need to be worked out, but for the most part, I’m thinking, “If you got Mark Cuban on your side, success is inevitable. You entered a whole new realm of life. You’re going to be having this amazing company selling this product. It’s a wrap.” Put some context on that. If you can, share a little bit more detail about what happened. You getting backed by this billionaire, I would think money is plentiful, but what happened? Give us a little bit more.
Mark Cuban is amazing. He’s unbelievable when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs. I can’t say enough positive things about that man. He puts a whole support team. He pays for that support team that you have access to 24/7. You have an accounting, business manager who helps you find deals, marketing assistance and again, they’re getting pulled in many ways from various companies, but they’re there to help you be successful. He helped us at different levels.
We were on sales channels on TV. I got my stardom going there and got to be on TV selling Monkey Mats, which was fun. Me and my business partner came to a point where we didn’t know how to keep growing. “Did we want to grow it to that next level?” There’s like that pivotal moment of, “Are we going to go out and get more funding?” They gave us funding and you have to pay all that back.
Even though you were provided an initial round of funding, they’re not going to continuously give you funding.
They can, but we never went back for funding because again, we were at that crossroad with it.
The crossroad is to sell it and make somewhat of a profit or get another round of funding and let’s hope that we can take this to the next level?
You hit this crossroad and realized that you weren’t utilizing your strengths. Talk to us a little bit about that. What strengths weren’t being utilized? Why weren’t you being fulfilled?
The business became very operational at the end of the day. We were sitting behind computers. We were working and we’re getting our inventory from China. We have a warehouse that was shipping and receiving. We were working with our customers who are big-box customers, like Target and Walmart of the world. It became very logistical. I’m not a logistical person. It is not something that makes me shine. When I look at my strengths, they fall more into the influencing category. I want to be out and about. I want to be talking to people. I want to be providing positive insight, all of that and I wasn’t getting it anymore.
You made the decision to sell it. Share with us what you can, what was that like?
It might make me tear up because it’s a hard thing because as an entrepreneur, you put your heart and soul into it. For me, it felt like a failure at the time. It took me a long time to vocalize that I needed to leave or I needed to walk away and it was no longer serving my family and me anymore. It was a journey. It didn’t happen overnight. I remember talking to someone, another Shark Tank entrepreneur who closed their business down a few months before I decided to leave. I talked to her for the first time ever on the phone, I said, “I need to leave and I’m scared of failure. I felt like I was failing.”
That’s quite an experience. When we come to that place where we think we’re failing, the funny thing is in the grand scheme of things, it’s a boom for more success. We cannot see that. I can understand that completely. You make the decision, you finally decide to close it, you sell your shares and what happens next? Where did you take your career after that?
I go work for a startup with my old mentor. Interesting enough, the CEO at the company I went to was the one who managed me back when I was at Stryker Navigation way back when. The world is so small when we get down to it. I went to work for a startup called Veran Medical. Little did that’s when this came to the surface for me more than ever about honing in on your strengths and knowing how to let yourself thrive.
We hired a lot of young people within Veran. That was my opportunity to take those individuals under my wings and help them develop and shine. That’s when I realized there was this fuel inside of me, every time they had that a-ha moment, I got even more excited than they did. I’m like, “Yes.” It was COVID and everybody kept coming to me, “You need to look at this little more. You have a gift.” That’s when I started getting my coaching certification with that extra time to hone in on that skill.
That’s why you went to become a coach and learn the skills that you are able to exercise now. You got your coaching license, you’re ready to go and what happened next?
It keeps evolving. I went to the same coaching program as you did, iPEC.
It’s an amazing program.
It was very thorough. I’m still at Veran during the pandemic. This team has the best synergy ever that I’ve ever been a part of. Honestly, this experience was better for me at Veran than it was even being on Shark Tank because of the comradery and the teamwork that we all had built, we were all working for this common goal and it was to help patients with lung cancer and to sell this company.
It’s December of 2020, we sold the company. We’re all excited and then, lo and behold, it was like, “What happened?” As exciting as it was, we achieved our goal, but our life changed because now we’re part of this bigger organization that also didn’t meet our expectations. We worked in a different way and it was changed.
Going back to that fulfillment, it adjusted and you needed to say, “I need to reevaluate what’s going to fulfill me. Let me see what else I need to do.” You are a bit of a successful serial entrepreneur.
I love it. I don’t know if my husband does. He thinks I’m crazy but he stays by my side.When you identify your strengths and let them shine, you become unstoppable. Click To Tweet
Look at your track record and that’s impressive stuff that you’ve been able to be a part of and be a creator of. That’s beautiful and it’s wonderful to see. As we talked about it, you’ve taken all these experiences and you’ve transformed them into this coaching practice that is helping people experience their own transformations.
It’s fair to mention after Veran got bought out, I did go to another company which was imperative to where I am now because I was only there for three months.
Can you share what made you want to do something different after three months?
It was another hard decision for me because when I commit to something I fully commit. I made myself stick it out for three months, but after 30 days I knew it didn’t align with my own vision of myself and where I wanted to be. That’s when I had to make the hard decision to walk away and that’s what brought me to kick off my coaching, my course and to do a few other things and the industry.
What’s the name of your course?
It’s Med Rep Coach and the course is The Professional Development Academy.
I’m so glad we’re talking about this. You said that you made a decision to join an organization and then within 30 days you knew. If you can share because going through your program, they learn a lot about this, but if you can share quickly, what can people walk away with from this episode that they need to make sure they ask themselves so that they can prevent something like that happening to them?
I thought I did a lot of due diligence on my end to understand what I was walking into and I don’t believe I dug enough into the core of the company. In reality, I don’t know. Maybe I did have to experience it to be like, “Courtney, you’re not giving your all here and they’re not getting what they deserve.” It was this two-way street. It’s not fair for them to have me right now because it’s not doing me any good either.
That’s an even a great point to make because by you diving deeper into what fulfills you, you’ll know that in the process of research. If you’re teaching everybody the same thing, they’ll all know and learn that in the process of research, so that whenever they make a commitment to any organization or decided on any organization, they know it’s the right fit.
It is okay. Now more than ever, people can find other people within the company on LinkedIn, make phone calls and, more than likely, everybody’s willing to pick up the phone.
You can know a little bit about the culture from having those conversations. Let’s talk about this. I want to know what advice you have for the different types of people that are reading this. We have people that want to get into the industry, people that are in the industry and then we have people that are leading the way within this industry that are reading this. What would you like to share with those that want to get in?
With those that want to get in, a few things, because it’s very easy to get frustrated and want to walk away because getting your foot in the door can be hard. Again, there are so many avenues also to utilize your network and reach out to other people within the space and make yourself known. Not to mention, you have your course that you’re doing that helps outline and define for them, evolve for success, to start making that impact to get into the industry.
For me, I helped those individuals know how to sell themselves and know who they are at the core to be able to articulate themselves competently in that interview process. That is where I feel like my niche is with those individuals. There was one guy I placed and he didn’t have B2B. He wasn’t right out of college. He had a clinical background and watching him navigate his own process, he showed more drive than most B2B people or reps that I’ve worked with to find a network with people in the industry. I’m like, “If this isn’t an example that he is fully capable of being and having the job that he got,” it was amazing. It opened my eyes.
It is true when they dig deep and evaluate what they’ve been able to do, there are so many connections to make on experiences that don’t have anything to do with having a B2B sales role or even having a sales role that still showcases that you do very well within a sales role. That’s excellent. What advice do you have for those that are within the industry?
With those in the industry, this also has been interesting for me because a lot of the people in my course have been in the industry a few years, like 1 to 5 years. They’re at that level where they’re trying to take their career to the next level. They’re trying to hone in on their own craft and understand how to take it to the next level. Again, I can’t stress it enough, I’m a huge believer in understanding who you are at your core because if you can do that, you can go sell yourself to anyone.
Being the serial entrepreneur you are, having a relationship with Mark Cuban, what would you share with the leaders of this industry?
With the leaders of this industry is, keep putting yourself out there and making your employees, the people that you manage, feel that you’re not afraid to also be there and getting your elbows greasy too with them. Also, making them feel important and like a person. We’re all people at the end of the day. If my manager can make me feel that I’m human and it’s okay at times, that pushed me to be a better person, that’s all I’m asking for.
Courtney, thank you so much for spending time with us. We will keep tabs on everything you’re up to. Make sure you check her out. What’s the website where people can find you and look into your program?
They can find me at Med Rep Coach and I also have another website kicking off in the next few months called the Turich Project, where it’s a place for women to empower women in the industry and share their voices.
Courtney, thank you for the time you gave us.
Thank you so much, Samuel. Keep doing what you’re doing.
What a story we get to know Courtney and her experience on Shark Tank. What she learned from starting a successful business with very successful partners, realizing some of the dreams and what the journey looked like from that point on. She gets into it. Make sure you tune in for part two. You’re not going to want to miss it.
You might read this and think to yourself, “I want to live that life. I want to be in a space that Courtney was in. I want to work in MedTech,” or maybe it’s a specific field around medical device sales, maybe it’s pharmaceutical sales or biotech sales. There’s a field in medical sales that you’re saying you want to work in. Maybe you’ve been reading this or you might even read other shows and you’re saying, “I got to take some action. What do I need to do now?”
Look no further. What you need to do now is go to EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Attain Medical Sales Role, follow the prompts, fill up that application and schedule a call with one of us here at Evolve Your Success and let us help you make your dream a reality. We have clients successfully getting positions, living the lives they’ve always wanted to live and being exactly where they want to be. Why shouldn’t you be one of them? If that’s you and again, make sure you visit the website.
Maybe you’re someone that’s in the industry and again, you read this because you’re trying to find ways to show up better for customers, numbers, sales goals and your company, be the best you can be and put your best foot forward so that you can have even more opportunities in the future. If this is you, again, go to EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, follow the prompts, and get in touch with one of us here at Evolve Your Success.
Let us help you make your dreams a reality. As always, we do our best to bring you guests that are going to give you different perspectives and different experiences within the medical sales industry and dynamically different lifestyles. Make sure you tune in for part two with Courtney Turich, and as always, thank you for reading.
Courtney is an Indiana girl at her roots, but aspired to see what this world offered and hasn’t looked back since. Her personal and professional journey has given her the ability to live in 8 different states, which has constantly pushed her outside the comfort zone where she’s learned to thrive.Her expertise and diverse background in MedTech, Shark Tank Entrepreneurship, working with large Fortune 500 companies, to small start up has given her a unique experience in various aspects of sales, marketing, and leadership.
She is passionate about helping and inspiring others to be the best they can be! There is no challenge too high or challenge to low, she’s always willing to roll up her sleeves and dig in!