Interview with Flora Azucena, CEO of Alchemy Vision
Tell Us About Your Journey
By all intents and purposes, I should not be here today giving this interview, as I was born in a very, very remote town in Mexico. And in fact, when I told my co-founder Felipe where I was born, he Googled it and he was astonished and said, “How in God’s name did you even get here?” But I did. And ever since I was a child, when I discovered reading, I became enthralled, curious about stories. And even though I did not know how to read until I was nine, when my family immigrated to this country, again coming from a very, very far away place, I became curious. And it is that curiosity that has enabled me to open every door and led me to be where I am today. And that is being the founder of Alchemy Vision, a net tech company that is built to bring education to others, that, like me, did not have the opportunity to engage with education.
What is the History of Alchemy Vision?
The story of Alchemy Vision begins with finding the need and serving that need. That need I saw very early on, going back to 2004, as a pharmaceutical rep working with Pfizer. I climbed the corporate ladder, became a medical device surgical rep. Having worked with Bausch + Lomb for the past seven years in a surgical capacity, I observed that that need didn’t change. That need was undereducated and under trained staff that is supporting practices, that is supporting patient care.
It was difficult for me to provide that knowledge to these patient counselors, surgical coordinators, and lead technicians because they were lacking that foundational education to build upon. And so I was teaching and educating at this level when they were at this level. And then when I began to put the dots together, I noticed that that had been a pattern since 2004. The infrastructure of education and training is simply not there to support patient care.
What Are Some Inspirations That Motivate You?
What inspires me as a leader of Alchemy Vision are people like Nelson Mandela, like Oprah Winfrey. But Alchemy Vision was truly inspired by a fictional writer, Brazilian fictional writer named Paulo Coelho. I have read every single one of his books. I am an avid reader, but one of the books that really resonates with me was The Alchemist. I first read that book in my early twenties, and somehow that seed of inspiration stayed with me. We as people all have our personal legend. We as people are here in this lifetime to find what that personal legend is. And sometimes we have to leave behind all of that that no longer serves us.
What Advice Can You Offer Other Entrepreneurs?
When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who had a convertible car. It was a nice one. And he would ask me to jump on and be like, Do you want to go for a ride? And I would say, “Where are we going?” I could not get on the car just for the sake of going on a cruise. I wanted to know where we were going. That part of myself continues to be very much alive.
Starting a business is very much along the lines of “Where are you going?” “Who are you?” “What are you doing?” And when I started Alchemy Vision, I needed to have cemented where I was going, what is my purpose? And so to fellow entrepreneurs, I am going to quote Professor Jerry Porras. He’s a Stanford professor who wrote Success Built To Last. And that is, in order for you to lead and to create something of meaning, something that is truly built to last, you have to have a North Star.
That is your purpose. You need to have your values cemented. Those are your guardrails. Because if you can have those two things in place, everything that happens along the way are just the steps or just the walk, the journey. So if you want to be an entrepreneur, know your purpose, know who you are, and know where you are going, because only then will you be able to lead others.
What Value Has Gesmer Updegrove Provided to Alchemy Vision?
We arm ourselves with resources that will guide the path to success. But a crucial mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make is not equipping themselves with a legal team.
We live in a very litigious society, and it is equally important to include a legal team as part of our village, as part of our community. And it’s not a vendor. They are a very much part of our team. For me to bring Gesmer, Steve, Dallas to be part of our team, because I didn’t know it then. All I knew was that bringing them to be part of our team was going to be something that would strengthen our position from a legal perspective.
The entire culture of Gesmer is one of generosity, but also of knowledge and of fierce protectiveness for their clients. And the value that they bring to Alchemy Vision is not just their wealth of knowledge, expertise, network, but it is that intrinsic value that you feel when you speak to them.
Why Do You Go With Gesmer?
What I loved about Gesmer and Steve and Dallas and the team is that they naturally can connect with founders. They really understand founders, they understand our journey, they understand our learning opportunities, and they understand how to support and help and guide. And I think that that is something that a founder would be hard pressed to find at a different legal firm. A law firm is a law firm is a law firm. But the people behind the law firm is what’s really, really unique about Gesmer. And that is why we decided to switch from what we were happy to where we are elated and feel lucky to have as part of our legal team.
Click below to read more about the attorneys involved with See Yourself Health.
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