Stop Holding Yourself Back

Thanksgiving 2018.  My brother was visiting from California with his kids.  He and I were hanging out in my office and I told him I had this idea to start a conference for women in medicine – to teach the topics that are usually

neglected in med school and residency, like business management, contract negotiation, being a woman leader.  These are the questions I was getting daily in DM from my Instagram following, so I felt there was a need.

There are so many issues that affect women in medicine disproportionately.  The gender-pay disparity is still problematic in medicine.  And, even though more than half of ophthalmology residents are women, we still hold a disproportionately small number of academic faculty positions and chairmanships (but that’s a post in and of itself).

I wanted to show younger women that we can be leaders in our respective fields – whether its being Managing Partner of your practice or chairman of your department.

But, it was a monumental task and all I had was a vision.  And, truly, no concept of how to make it a reality.  Until, I met three other physician moms, exactly one year ago.

When I met Drs. Natalie Crawford, Pamela Mehta and Danielle Jones, I felt an instant kinship with them.  We struggled with the same issues.  And they were all go-getters.  When I returned from our trip to California, I texted the three of them and asked if they would be willing to do this with me.  They answered yes within 10 seconds.

And, Pinnacle was born.

For all of us, female mentorship in medicine is important.  But, of course, we were worried, would anyone come to our conference.  Would they just view us as social media “influencers” (I hate that term by the way) and not take us seriously?

It looks months of planning, conference calls, task lists, hustling, spreadsheets and everything you can think of.  We didn’t hire a conference planner or a huge company to oversee it.  We did it all.  From printing name badges, to interfacing with the conference app and sending out our email blasts.  And, I think that attention to detail showed.  We were personally responsible for every aspect of the conference.  

It’s taken me a while to process Pinnacle.  We had 150 women attend and they left feeling empowered and engaged.  That was something I hadn’t predicted.  I knew we had a powerhouse lineup of speakers. 

Dr. Bonnie Mason giving her keynote address

I knew they would be inspirational, yet also create actionable steps for attendees to take.  And I knew women would feel motivated to institute one or two of these changes at home. But, what I wasn’t expecting was the sense of community and camaraderie.  Attendees got to know each other – they shared, they commiserated, they advised each other.   Seeing their testimonials of how Pinnacle impacted them was truly beyond my expectations.  Click here and here to read some of the attendees’ experiences.

And, my tribe rallied to support me as well. Look at these group of women who flew to Dallas all the way from HAWAII just for a weekend to learn, grow, empower and educate.

Our Boots & Bling Dinner Gala with my Hawaii tribe

It was one of the best highs of the year.   And it came about because of a shift in mindset.  I stopped holding myself back.  Every idea I have now, I ask ‘Why not?”   I still evaluate carefully, but, I don’t discount them automatically.  And, wow, can I tell you how freeing that is??  To come from a place, just assuming you CAN do something instead of the opposite?

Registration is now open for Pinnacle ‘Ohana. A life in medicine looks different for every woman. We wanted to host a wellness and leadership retreat that incorporates the entire family. Because, as a woman, we acknowledge that when we are in medicine, our entire family is too.

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Dr. Rupa Wong


Hi! I'm Dr. Rupa Wong. Physician. Private Practice Owner. Mama to 3 kids. Managing Partner. Educator. Textbook Author. Conference Co-Founder. Mentor. I am more than just one thing, even as a doctor and I bet you are too. I would love to help you envision the life you want, and then get after it. What are you waiting for?

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