Today we’d like to introduce you to Scherrie Keating.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Scherrie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I knew from a young age I wanted to be a nurse. During high school, I became a candy striper at my local hospital. Upon graduation, I entered the nursing program at Fitchburg State College and began working as a nurses aide. I earned my BSN and soon found my passion caring for patients with cardiovascular disease and Diabetes in ICU and Cardiac Rehabilitation.
My career took a surprising turn when I found myself laid off from the hospital I had spent my entire career working at. I was devastated and floundered for a while until I received a call from a friend telling me about an opportunity to start a new Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at another hospital. Having no experience in developing programs, but also needing employment I decided to apply. I cried the entire interview, was offered the job and told: “they saw something in me, I didn’t see”. Looking back I believe that opportunity was the start of my journey to where I am today. The program was started and I was working as the manager and staff RN.
My heart still missed working at the hospital I spent all those years at and my hope was I would someday return.
That dream was soon to come true. I received a call that they were interested in starting a Diabetes Self Management Education Program. This time, I knew I could do this. I was hired, the program was developed, ADA recognized and open to patients. Within 6 months of being back, I was given the opportunity to become the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program supervisor then promoted to manager. I was exactly where I wanted to be and loved what I was doing.
One day, I received a call that again changed my career path. I was told I was being laid off due to a middle management reorganization. 31 years in that hospital system and within 10 minutes it was gone. This time, I knew from past experience another door would open it was just a matter of time. Within 9 months, I was hired as a telephonic Diabetes Educator. Unfortunately, within a year, the organization downsized and I found myself laid off again.
The good news was, I had all the qualifications to take the Certified Diabetes Educator exam and now had plenty of time to study. I passed the exam then started the process of looking for a job. During my search, I saw an ad for the Diabetes Prevention Program. In all the years of working in Diabetes, I never knew Diabetes was preventable and that there was a program available to teach these strategies. I researched the information, made a few calls, enrolled and completed the CDC, National Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach Training. It was then, I knew what I wanted to spend the rest of my career doing. Increasing awareness of the Prediabetes epidemic and helping people prevent and manage Diabetes.
I went back to the hospital I spend most of my career at to see if they were interested in partnering with me on my mission. They hired me as a per diem Certified Diabetes Educator with the possibility of developing a Diabetes Prevention Program in the future. I knew this was a start but didn’t give me job security or the ability to move forward with my passion of helping people prevent Diabetes. After much thought and support from my husband, I decided to start my company. I continue to work at the hospital as a per diem Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) as well as teach CPR and ACLS.
My company was founded on 9/17/2016, on my 8th cancer remission date.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Having develop and implemented programs during my nursing career, I felt I had many of the skills needed to start my own company. I can say, they definitely helped, but I quickly realized I had so much more to learn and didn’t really have a viable business plan. What I did have was a dream, the passion to help others, an incredible drive, years of nursing experience and a national epidemic little people knew about. I knew in my heart I could make a difference in the lives of others and build a successful company.
After becoming an LLC, a friend/mentor recommended I join the North Central Chamber of Commerce. On my first day at a sales leads meeting, I sat next to a person who heard my story, then sponsored me to speak at a local Council on Aging. From there she invited me to a networking event where I met someone else who became very instrumental in growing my company. I was invited to join different networking groups where I continued to meet new people and develop relationships that have lead to lifelong friendships and business partners.
I began to take advantage of the many educational opportunities provided by the Chamber to include weekly free business coaching through the SCORE program. Through networking, I was referred to and received a grant through the Small Business Assistance program to start my website. I launched my business facebook and linkedIn pages. I began writing programs on prediabetes and management of Type 2 Diabetes. I started cold calling senior center directors, local cable shows, radio stations, participating in health fairs and was hired to give a few classes. I appeared on many local cable shows, a few radio shows and was given the opportunity to produce and host my own health and wellness show on Sterling Lancaster Community TV called Talk Me Healthy.
One day, at a networking event, I was approached to provide a continuing education program (CEU) for nurses and social workers. At that point, I was open to any opportunity to speak anywhere on any topic of interest relevant to my nursing experience. I still didn’t have a solid business plan or direction of where I wanted to take this company. This CEU program opportunity was a major turning point for my company. Nurses and social workers need continuing education credits to renew their licenses and my company was able to meet this need. Word spread and before long I had written 7 CEU programs and getting opportunities in multiple venues to speak include the Massachusetts Dental Hygienist Conference and the upcoming Massachusetts Nursing Association Clinical Conference.
I realized, I finally had a viable business plan offering community and CEU programs to help people prevent and manage Diabetes. I started attending the National Speakers Association- New England Chapter and began working with a business coach who has been instrumental in helping me realign my mission, goals and future company direction.
Honestly, I have been blessed with some many wonderful people that I have met along this journey who have believed in me, my mission and have opened doors of opportunities where I can share my passion and expertise to help people prevent and manage Diabetes.
Diabetes Kare Consulting, LLC – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Most people don’t know they have Diabetes until they present with a complication such as an eye, kidney or nerve disease. Based upon the Diabetes Prevention Program, simple, proven lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by more than half.
My company’s mission is to increase awareness of the prediabetes epidemic and help people prevent and manage Diabetes through education, consulting and health coaching.
I offer prediabetes risk screening and prevention education, evidence based group education classes, webinars, CEU programs for healthcare professionals caring for individuals with Diabetes and monthly healthy living education on my TV show Talk Me Healthy.
To find out if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes, it only takes a minute, click on www.diabeteskareconsulting.com.
I would love to share a story of how my company impacted the life of one of my program attendees. A nurse in one of my Prediabetes CEU classes filled out the risk screening questionnaire and received a score of 5. Based upon that score, I always recommend contacting your healthcare provider for follow up testing. She learned she had prediabetes, was able to apply what she had already learned in the class to reduce her risks of developing Type 2 Diabetes by more than half.
Having opportunities like this to offer prediabetes risk screening and provide life changing education to help others lower their risks of developing and improving management of Type 2 Diabetes and its serious complications gives me purpose and joy each and every day.
I believe together we can make a difference in the lives of the millions of people impacted by Diabetes and its serious complications.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Personally, for me, success means sharing my personal story, passion and expertise to make a difference in the life of one person every day. I believe, everyone has a story, everyone has a why and that your why can change your story, life and significantly impact the lives of many!
My story is that I was diagnosed with a rare fingernail melanoma 10 years ago this September. I was given a 50% chance of surviving. Through faith, family, friends, the best medical team at MGH and keeping my “why” in focus to motivate me through some dark times, I am alive today. I believe having cancer was the worse and best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today or be able to use my story as a testimony to give others hope and empower them to start now and make small healthier choices to change their tomorrows.
My journey has brought me to this moment, to do what I am doing to give back and make a difference in the lives of many! For me, that is a blessing and what I consider my success.