Women In Wellness: “Things move very slowly in healthcare; You have to ask for what you need” With Terry Weber of Biote
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I started out working in manufacturing, heavy equipment, oil and gas industries overseas. As a woman in male-dominated sectors, I was grateful to have the chance to be in the game. I volunteered to do the hard jobs in undesirable locations. My work was noticed, and I was promoted to even more challenging positions. Soon, I became known as a problem solver; no one cared if I was female.
As a young Chief Executive Officer (CEO), it was important to identify where the value is within the company, how to get the best effort out of the team and what the future of the business could look like. Through many decades and crises, I helped companies transition, or “pivot.” I was in the business of helping multi-billion-dollar companies to pivot to safety and innovation long before it became synonymous with agile business practices amid COVID-19.
Working in the auto industry, I found that customers were having difficult and overall poor experiences securing car parts and supplies from traditional mechanic shops. In seeking to improve customers’ overall experience, we revamped our company’s retail model, applying concepts from successful retailers such as convenience and grocery stores. With the move from dingy parts counters to modernized service-oriented and technology-driven retail chains, convenience and customer retail experiences improved and, in turn, we recreated an industry and created opportunities for all of our employees.
I eventually left the manufacturing and retail world to join the ever-transformative healthcare space. I served as CEO of Amen Clinics and BrainMD, where I helped enable the company to change the way psychiatry is practiced. I currently serve as CEO of Biote Medical, a world leader in cutting-edge, proprietary medical protocols that deliver a lifetime of personalized patient care.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
In my earlier career, I took over a large corporation in crisis. The majority of employees were first-generation immigrants and rural employees with poor access to quality education. By accessing technology and teaching everyone to be experts in computers, we saved the company and created jobs and computer literacy for decades to come. We trained together, succeeded together, crossed cultural boundaries, and created stability for thousands of families. This taught me so much about what true education is and what it can do to change a country. Hire for heart, attitude, and drive. Then train relentlessly, and you will never be sorry.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was the new CEO of Frederick’s of Hollywood, I let my personal morals affect my product decisions. I removed the more risqué items, which were near and dear to a core customer group. I should have gotten more opinions and stepped out of a decision I wasn’t informed enough to make. A typical CEO trap; I only did it once.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
One of my biggest influences has been my father, who was a battalion commander in the armed forces. He left his legal career to join the army and was an incredible leader. It was his success as a leader that inspired me to humbly lead and “never B.S. the troops.” Another significant influence was the nuns at the convent school I attended. Initially, I had aspirations to become a nun. I was inspired by the nuns’ leadership. They demonstrated that women could be strong, intelligent and speak out. I was surprised to learn that this wasn’t always the case. I didn’t know I was supposed to be quiet. In business, I succeeded in my career by speaking my mind and actively contributing ideas that ultimately transformed businesses and drove industries forward.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
At Biote, our mission to continually develop innovative medical protocols to help providers effectively treat the early indicators of aging, optimize health, and extend the healthspan of their patients. This work is critical now more than ever as we are coming out of the worldwide health crisis stemming from COVID-19. As an industry, there is a vital need to shift from reactive symptom-focused medical treatments to innovative preventative healthcare to protect society from such devastating illnesses in the future. This can only be achieved by strengthening the individual — taking measures to boost their immune systems, improve overall wellness and promote the healthiest lifestyle. Through the Biote Method, individuals are essentially bolstering their bodies’ defenses against future health hazards and truly improving their quality of life.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that affect the functioning of other cells, which means a wide variety of symptoms from weight gain to low energy can signal a hormone imbalance. Through my work with Biote, I’ve found that many women, and men, come to their healthcare providers complaining of troubling symptoms that get written off as the by-product of aging. Paying attention to our hormone health and optimizing our hormones, regardless of our age, can contribute a great deal to not only overall wellness, but to feeling younger, healthier, and happier.
- Thyroid optimization is imperative for quality of life in patients. Untreated thyroid disease causes patients to remain in a substandard state of health and increases their risk factors for a variety of diseases.
- Probiotics can improve gastrointestinal health by up-regulating immune function. Some clinical trials have shown that probiotics may reduce acute respiratory infections, many of which are caused by viruses.
- While a good diet goes a long way towards our general wellbeing, it is also important to be aware of the essential vitamins and nutrients that may be difficult to attain from diet alone. Clinical-grade nutraceuticals are often a necessary component of healthier aging and provide important nutritional support for vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may have created health deficits that have often been accumulating for years. That’s where vital nutraceuticals like Iodine or Curcumin come into play!
- One of the most important aspects of my work with Biote is giving a voice to patients and access to innovative protocols. Taking an advocating role in our own health is incredibly important, and something that can sometimes be missing from conversations between patients and mainstream doctors during routine visits. I’d like to empower everyone, especially through the Biote Method, to take ownership of their health — ask important questions, make good choices, and be present in your own process towards better wellbeing.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
With individual wellness starting to become more of a mainstream concern, the priority post-pandemic now needs to shift to businesses and how they prioritize the safety and health of their workers once their doors reopen and for decades to come. I believe that the public as a whole will be keeping a watchful, ever-critical eye on how businesses prioritize the safety and health of their workers moving forward. During the crisis, we saw both praise and harsh criticism of how companies extended healthcare policies and services to their workers. Now, as things start to reopen slowly, more attention needs to be paid by employers on how to best protect their employees’ immune systems to keep their business family healthy and functional long-term.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started in Healthcare” and why?
- When first starting out in healthcare, I wish I had a better understanding of doctors and how they are different from business professionals. Their training and daily environment are set up very differently from other working styles. I learn and adapt every day to improve communication with these medical professionals, build relationships and provide the most relevant, up-to-date resources that cater to their individual needs and, ultimately, the needs of their patients.
- In order to innovate, you have to take the criticism and the deliberate attacks of the many who oppose change. Sidestep, be creative, lead, and don’t look back!
- There is too much greed and concentrated power in large commercial healthcare institutions and traditional medical associations. Someone has to represent the public, the patients who need access and information.
- Medical schools fail to educate in many critical areas of nutrition, hormones, brain health, and aging. You have to find those emerging leaders and support them.
- Things move very slowly in healthcare. You have to ask for what you need. You must show a clear vision and build coalitions across special interests and competitors. This will be the only way to affect real change in healthcare.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
With the emergence of COVID-19, there were many aspects of individual health that were brought to the surface as more individuals had time to listen to their body’s needs and reflect on their overall wellness while social distancing, one of those being mental health. Our body’s systems are all connected, and mental health plays a significant role in overall wellness. During this high-tension time, many people are experiencing higher levels of stress, mood changes, low energy and other related concerns. We know that mental health issues can stem from many factors, including hormone imbalance, menopause and stress, among others. Nutrition and movement really contribute to mental wellness. I worry about our millennials in this crisis. We need to pay attention to the anxiousness these circumstances create in their lives and help build the resilience that will sustain them through adulthood. Individuals who are experiencing changes in overall mood, mental capacity or awareness should seek the guidance of a medical professional who can evaluate the condition and provide treatment options. It’s important that as we start to transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic, people continue to prioritize their individual wellness, including their mental health, and seek options to improve their quality of life.