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Dr. Christina Rahm speaks with her friend and colleague Stephanie Wooten about running companies, the balance between work and family, mentorship, and her passion for bringing international companies to the US to focus on air quality and creating safe environments. Don’t miss her three keys to health and happiness.
Dr. Christina Rahm
Dr. Rahm [00:00:00] Hi, everyone, welcome back to Scientifically Beautiful, this is Dr. Christina Rahm, and I am very happy today to welcome Stephanie Wooten. Hi, Stephanie.
Stephanie [00:00:10] Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Dr. Rahm [00:00:12] Stephanie is not only a friend of mine, but we also are working on different projects together in health care, not just in the United States, but throughout the world. One of my favorite things about Stephanie, other than how beautiful she is and her personality, she’s got an amazing personality full of life, and she’s used that to help people. But one of my favorite things besides that is her dedication to really empowering other people and bringing people together to do a common good and to help not just in science, but also in business and in different areas in society.
Intro [00:00:50] I hope you guys enjoy this episode of Scientifically Beautiful, which is on the Life is Tough but You can be Tougher network.
Dr. Rahm [00:01:03] So start with telling me about yourself and anything you want. It doesn’t have to be now, I’d like to know a little bit about you and how you got here.
Stephanie [00:01:11] Got it! Well, thank you so much. I so appreciate it. So, you know, I always say I’ve been very blessed throughout my career. One of the things that I always tell people is I had just phenomenal mentors from day one that really embraced and really helped me because I think when you’re graduating from college, first of all, you don’t really know the pathway that you’re going to take. And so, I started out and was working for a company. Many of you may know ADP and the head of that company actually recruited 16 of us to come over to another company called First Data. And we were, you know, everybody was executives, kind of, except for me. I was a manager. I was one of the youngest sales managers, as at the time for ADP and I was living in. I grew up in Indiana. And so, I relocated to Nashville and was basically brought in to build the infrastructure there. And so, I was very fortunate, had a phenomenal mentor at that point and then was able to promote. And I built a program for SunTrust Bank from ground zero and it became one of the most successful programs for the company. And everything we did kind of they duplicated that and then I ran a lot of other divisions. I definitely was in the corporate world at that time and during that time had two children. So, my kids are sixteen months apart. So that was definitely a challenge. I was I was building, you know, the foundation for this, this whole division from scratch and then traveling all over the country and it was challenging. My boss used to say, what entourage do you have with you now? Because, yeah, it was totally true, because I can only bribe my parents so much to continue to watch the kids, so I just would take them all with me. Yeah. And so, yeah, so it was kind of an interesting time. And my ex-husband at the time, you know, would sometimes meet us as well. But, you know, I was like, I got to have them with me. And so, I would say school’s kind of cramped my style because by the time they…
Dr. Rahm [00:03:23] We met each other, actually at school with our kids and I was the same way, I’m like, it’s school interfered.
Stephanie [00:03:29] I know.
Dr. Rahm [00:03:30] being able to take the kids.
Stephanie [00:03:30] That’s right, because once they were five and they were in school, I was like, oh, no, but they traveled all over the place. You know, I tell my kids, you remember how many times you went to Disney World because I had an office in Orlando, so I went there a lot. So anyway. But yeah, so I look back in those times and it was just crazy because, you know, you’re trying to balance everything. And then when I was building SunTrust, I had an H.R. person that was helping me hire. We hired, oh my goodness, probably at the height, probably had four to five hundred people working for me just in that division. And so, she had gone over to another company and said, I need you to come over there and do exactly what you’ve done and we’re going to take this company public. And so, I was like, I don’t even have a resume. I never had a resume, ironically. And so, I’m like, I’m happy. And she’s like, no, you really have to look at it. And so, I’m like, OK, I’ll take this plunge. And so, I went over there. The company was Vantiv, and we went public eighteen months early because it was, we were so successful. I built everything from small business. I had a part in and it was a great run. And then after that, I decided I really wanted to do something different and got into health care. And, you know, I always say my whole life we were in credit card processing and I was in money movement. And yes, that’s important. But the health care piece, I think, was really what touched my heart because I could really see a difference and we could really see that we were helping and impacting people’s lives. So that’s kind of, you know, a little bit of snippet from that, the kids now are… my son’s birthdays today, actually. So, they’re twenty-two and twenty-three and then we have two other sons with my husband that are twenty-six and about to be twenty-nine, about to be thirty. So between the two of us, we have four boys, all boys,
Dr. Rahm [00:05:19] I have 3 boys and a girl, and that’s a lot. It’s a lot. But I love having boys.
Stephanie [00:05:24] I do too. Yeah, I do. I tell my husband, though if we ever get the little girl grandchild, we’re going to be just bankrupt, we’ll be broke because all I can say that, you know, you can buy all the cute clothes and the boys… you buy a dinosaur, they get a truck from there. Sure. Yeah, it’s like, you know, yeah. So anyway, but that’s kind of the, you know, the fastest, I guess part of the story. And again, throughout my career, I just had some really strong mentors. But, you know, there was definitely a lot of challenges throughout, you know, throughout the whole thing you were saying, one of the things, some of the tough things and different things. So, I think there’s different things, I think from a personal perspective on, you know, just balancing the personal aspect with the kids. And you know, and all of the, you know, all of the obligations you have with work and especially the travel.
Dr. Rahm [00:06:18] And the guilt.
Stephanie [00:06:19] That’s exactly right. Yes, exactly. Yeah. From the business perspective, I was brought in and a lot of times to change the morale, to try to help areas where, you know, people weren’t clicking or whatever. And you know, when you’re doing that and when you’re trying to move mountains, not everybody is always on board. And so, you get a lot of roadblocks. And so, you either decide that I’m just going to continue to plow through or you don’t. And a lot of people decide not to like throughout the, you know, I had some people that said, I can’t do it, it’s too much work. And then you had other people that, you know, said, All right, I’m on, I’m on this train with you. We’re in this boat together, and let’s go and paddle as hard as we can. And so, I always say, you know, the one thing that I know how to do is I know how to hire people, and I’ve just had just phenomenal people that have worked for me. And…
Dr. Rahm [00:07:16] That’s funny. I work with a guy named Ted Baker. Yeah, I meant. And that’s what he says. And I see that in both of you that you recognize talent. And I don’t know how you… That’s not my gift. I recognize when I love someone’s personality like I remember when I first met you and your very strong personality. Very happy, very positive, but strong. Like, I could feel your strength. And I, of course, I get along very well with individuals like that. But as far as hiring, I think there’s certain individuals that just noticed talent and know how it can fit into a team. And you’ve shared that with me before, and Ted does too, and he’s built successful companies as well. So that’s interesting that you say that because I think one of the things that he’s taught me and you said this one time, I don’t know, we were sitting down, we were eating. You said sometimes it’s better people leave. And if it’s not the right environment for them, that’s very true. Yeah.
Stephanie [00:08:12] Yeah. You know, I always say, you know, it doesn’t mean they’re bad people.
Dr. Rahm [00:08:15] Yeah.
Stephanie [00:08:15] But this just wasn’t a fit for them.
Dr. Rahm [00:08:17] Right.
Stephanie [00:08:17] And you know, I always look and say, you know, there’s a lot of times where you’re spending more time in an office with someone than you are with your family, so you better be happy at what you’re doing. And if you’re not, it’s not a good fit. And even though you have a lot of challenges at the end of the day, you know you still know that you’re all driving to the same goal and that you’re all in there together. And these are people that you’re surrounded with that, you know, you feel comfortable and you know that everybody has your back. And that’s what you want to have happen. Because when you’re spending that many hours of the day with people and you’re trying to accomplish some goals, you’ve got to make sure that it’s a strong team and you know, it’s people that you want to be there with you.
Dr. Rahm [00:08:56] Yeah. And I know recently because I do want us to talk about some of the projects that we’re working together and what you’re leading because you do nonprofit, you’re a mother, you’re a wonderful wife, a wonderful friend, but you also do run companies and do things. So, you had asked me to come to Vegas on a health care project. Mm-Hmm. And it’s funny. So, Clayton asked me, or he said, you don’t have time, and I said, yeah, but I get to hang out with Stephanie. I said, I think I’m good. And then the office he said, you really don’t have time. I said, Yeah, I think I’m going to go because we postpone that but I was thinking, well, I can at least like, have fun.
Stephanie [00:09:35] That’s right.
Dr. Rahm [00:09:36] Work on something great. And that leads me to some things that we have worked a little bit on and we are working on.
Stephanie [00:09:43] Yes.
Dr. Rahm [00:09:44] You have become this presence and not just in the United States, but internationally to attract companies, to come here, to open things here so that we can bring in outside technology right into the United States. And one of those is something that has to do purifying the air. Yes, there’s a couple companies and during COVID and during viruses and not just viruses, but we talked about this with the bacteria and the fungus. It’s really important to get all of these things out of the air because if they’re in the air, we’re all being approached by it.
Stephanie [00:10:17] That’s right.
Dr. Rahm [00:10:18] You know, it affects us. So sometimes people can even go into a hospital system or a hotel or into an environment, and the air is not clean. That’s right. They can get sick. So, I do want you to talk a little bit about those projects and about how they help people and how we are integrating some of that into the United States.
Stephanie [00:10:37] Great. So, I have a few partners and we started working on some things together, and we started on this journey a year ago, and it’s called Eagle X Pro. And basically, we have air systems that clean the air not just in the air, but also on surfaces. You know, the interesting thing is overseas, it seems to have been a little bit more progressive as far as air quality and more concerned about it than we here in the U.S. in particular. And not all countries, but certain people were definitely much more driven into air quality than we were. And so huge opportunity here in the United States. And then when you start really looking at it, it’s not just about COVID, it’s about air quality overall. So, it’s pollen, it’s odors, it’s dander, it’s funguses. You know, it’s these superbugs that are happening. And so, you know, you don’t realize that the area that you’re coming into is this a safe environment? And now people are really thinking about that. And as companies are starting to open, whether it’s here in the U.S. or its overseas, employees are saying, I want to know what you’re doing to keep me safe. Right? And so, you know, we’re very fortunate in that our products have been proven and tested and we continually do testing on them. And we’ve got a new partner that we’re working with as well. That’s in the same type of arena. And basically, the positioning is different depending on the needs of the customer. But ultimately, it’s the same goal, is to make people be able to come into an environment whether you’re in your home or you’re at work or you’re in your car, you’re in an arena or you’re watching a concert, and you know that you’re in a safe environment when you’re indoors.
Dr. Rahm [00:12:24] Right. Which is really important. I think you’ve traveled quite a bit. Yeah, I’ve traveled quite a bit. And with all the stuff going on, you know, one of the big issues is the air. So, you can just walk out and get into a crowd of people. You have no idea that’s what you’re being exposed to. So, like you said, I know your husband is a famous musician with the Steve Miller band and he does a lot of different Wooten Brothers does different things. And so that’s an environment that definitely needs clean air. But I think, you know, for me, working on so many hospital projects and working with India and Cyprus and actually about twenty-two countries, we’re hoping to bring this into the environments because in these hospital systems, hotels, you know, another hot bed. And all of the different environmental things that have to do with universities and classrooms. We really need this because it’s a number of cases are going up still when it comes to virus, the current virus, as well as additional things that are happening.
Stephanie [00:13:25] Yes.
Dr. Rahm [00:13:26] And you and I discussed that this air purifier, which will actually rip things apart, attract the things that they need to get rid of and rip apart and get rid of it. Right. And you know, scientifically, it definitely works. I understand the science. I understand the ion exchange and how it rips it apart. My background in detoxification and eradication, I think this is amazing and I think it’s needed. And I think until you have things like this that are able to do it, we’re going to have continued problems. That’s right. But this device also will help with the fungus and bacteria and not just viruses, correct?
Stephanie [00:14:01] That’s exactly right. And a few years ago, my father passed away from a virus, basically one of the superbugs called C. diff. And so, you know, when I got into this project, you know, I really wasn’t thinking that this would be something that could help with that. And then we realized that it actually can. And you know, I say, if I can save one person from not having to go what we had to go through with my dad, that’s a tremendous win. And then when you start to really look at it, it’s not just about that. There are so many other things; this isn’t going to be our last rodeo. You know, every time you turn around, there’s something new and you know, you’re hearing overseas where different things have gone from animal to now, animal to human and those kinds of things. And so, it’s just going to continue to be a way of life, but it’s a way of life where we can actually have it and be safe, a way of life where we can actually be safe. And a lot of people don’t realize that. And I think that’s what is so important.
Dr. Rahm [00:15:02] No, I agree, because I think we’re living in a world that everyone is scared. And so, for me, I always say, I understand the issue and let’s talk about it. You know, we have cured other causes, right? We have the International Science Nutrition Society, which I definitely want to have this project involved with as well. But with all of that, if we have all these issues, we have to find solutions.
Stephanie [00:15:22] That’s exactly right.
Dr. Rahm [00:15:24] And that’s what I love. First of all, your personality is one. I feel like mine is, too. I want to find solutions, right? That’s right. We’ve got we’re going to have grandkids. We want to be here. We want to help. And so, we’ve got to be strong. So, hiding and not addressing issues or, you know, whether you’re for vaccines or against vaccines, the virus is still growing.
Stephanie [00:15:43] Right, that’s exactly right.
Dr. Rahm [00:15:44] The virus. Like I said, it’s everything around.
Stephanie [00:15:46] That’s right.
Dr. Rahm [00:15:46] So you’ve got to stand up. And in my opinion, as a scientist and a researcher, you stand up and you provide solutions for people. We can’t make everyone accept the solution.
Stephanie [00:15:56] That’s right. That’s right.
Dr. Rahm [00:15:58] But one of the reasons I really believe we will be on this journey together and continue to be on this journey is because this is one of the solutions. It’s one of the blockades that you need. I shared this with you. I worked with HIV, I worked with Hep C, worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb. You have to have these blockades to get rid of all these things. And this is one that I think is very important. And I’m very thankful that you brought this to me because of the projects that are getting ready to start at the end of this year. It’s one of the things that I’ve put into the different plans that they really need. Yeah, because I mean, and I got to tell you it, like when my kids go to school, like, here’s my question, you go to the university, you go to high school, what are they doing because they’re being exposed to…
Stephanie [00:16:44] That’s right.
Dr. Rahm [00:16:45] …all the different variants. And as these variants are growing, the fungus is growing everywhere, and we know there’s three new strains. We know that the current fungus that was there before the new strains is stronger. And so, I think to be able to have this is very, very important.
Stephanie [00:17:03] Yeah. And we agree as well. And I think, you know, just at a high level, exactly what you’re saying is no matter whether you’re indoors in your car or with your child or with your parents or in a nursing home or a hospital, you want air quality to be safe and you want to know that you know they’re walking into a safe environment. And basically, we’re bringing the outside air, the forest air, the fresh air inside, and that’s what we’re doing.
Dr. Rahm [00:17:32] I actually don’t know what’s more important than air like you have to have.
Stephanie [00:17:36] I know they have to have nobody really cared about it here in the U.S. as much, right? You didn’t think too much about it until really COVID that it’s really opened up so many people’s eyes. And it’s kind of sad that it took that extreme to happen because this has been something that’s been an issue for quite some time.
Dr. Rahm [00:17:52] Absolutely. And I know when I work in the clean room, like in your manufacturing, your clean rooms, the air is one of the top things they’re concerned about.
Stephanie [00:18:00] That’s exactly right.
Dr. Rahm [00:18:02] In fact, when we were talking about… there’s a pharmaceutical, actually multiple pharmaceutical companies involved in clean rooms and nutraceuticals and one of the projects that we’re working on. And one of their questions, actually, before I brought this up was what kind of air purifier do you want in the clean rooms and the hospital setting? So we know this is important. It’s just that in the United States and in some other countries, people haven’t been educated on this and that’s one of the reasons I really… Besides the fact that you’re an amazing person and I think you do so many great things. I wanted to bring this to people’s attention so they can reach out to you all. They can reach out to me. We can get people involved and make sure that we have clean air.
Stephanie [00:18:43] That’s exactly right.
Dr. Rahm [00:18:44] It’s not going to happen overnight. You know, the World Health Organization and the UN, all of these organizations have talked about the fact that COPD respiratory infections are growing. Seventy percent of those occur because of inside air, not outside air, and people don’t realize that. So, it’s actually the inside air that’s stagnant. And I say this all the time. People think that it’s in the air, so it goes away. It dissipates, right? That is not correct. That is not accurate. It’s kind of like heavy metals. You know, that’s one of my things. I don’t just go away there in the air and they actually go all the way up to the stratosphere. So, if you’re inside and you’re doing things and you’re in an environment, we’ve got to do a better job as governments, as societies, as companies, as having better inside air.
Stephanie [00:19:28] I totally agree. I totally agree.
Dr. Rahm [00:19:31] So before we get off of this call, I do want to ask you to give me three things, three bits of advice that you can share with our listeners that are on this journey with us, that care about health care. That care about science. Three things that you think they need to do to have better health and to have better wellness.
Stephanie [00:19:55] Well, I think there’s a couple of things. And just so if I start back from a personal perspective is that you need to be your own advocate. And I think people don’t realize that, and really, you know, don’t just take things at face value. You know, if somebody says, oh, our air is clean or what have you? You know, peel back the onion, ask those questions. Really understand what’s occurring. There are so many things that are out there that are just throwing things at the wall. But truly, in essence, are sometimes making it worse. So, no matter what you’re doing is be your own advocate. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether it’s, you know, your kid going to school or your child or your mother in a nursing home or your family in assisted living or hospital, or what have you, you know, make sure that you’re doing that, and I think that’s number one. So that’s what I kind of think from a personal perspective. If you’re taking it more from a business perspective, I think advice is that if you’re, you know, looking to grow and you’re wanting to progress in a professional manner, really I always say, grab a mentor. I had a friend of mine whose daughter is working for a company. I said, go and find out who the executives are and tell them you want them to mentor you. You know, at the end of the day, don’t ever stop learning. And I think that’s one of the things that I’m just always amazed about you. I mean, every time I turn around, you’re getting another degree. I mean, you’re just amazing. And it’s because at all of the accolades and everything that you’ve obtained you always continue to figure out how to better yourself. And I think that’s so important. And that’s important from a personal perspective, but also in business and people forget that. And so, I think that’s also the other one. And then, you know, what? Try to find that balance because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy doing what you’re doing. And you know, if something’s not working, find a way to fix it. And that’s what I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that whether it’s in business or whether it’s personally, you know, you don’t know how long we’re going to be here. We just lost a very close friend of ours just unexpectedly. He was on the golf course… and you just don’t know. And my point is life is precious and cherish the time you have. Don’t stop learning. Become your advocate and ensure that, you know, at the end of the day, you realize it’s just a special thing to really to be able to do what we’re doing and stay happy.
Dr. Rahm [00:22:37] And be thankful. I sometimes think I needed not be angry because I didn’t get something done or frustrated because I feel like every day there’s so much to do. I have to remember I need to be happy. That’s exactly right and enjoy it. And I love those things are definitely things I would put on top of my list. And also creating the right people in the circle to be.
Stephanie [00:22:57] Absolutely.
Dr. Rahm [00:22:58] The older I am I’m like, I don’t want to go there because I’m not sure I can be in that environment. I know so. So, I think that’s amazing. And you do have a nonprofit.
Stephanie [00:23:07] We do. We’re very proud of that. It’s called I Matter You Matter. That’s my bracelet and my necklace.
Dr. Rahm [00:23:13] Oh I love those, I need those.
Stephanie [00:23:15] Yes. And so, we’re very excited about it. My husband is a musician, and when he was on tour, he would go and speak at schools all across the country. And, you know, he’s had days named after him. I mean, just all of this great work that he’s done and we decided, gosh, how can what are other ways that we can give back? So, we decided to start the nonprofit to start a scholarship fund for a lot of these kids that we work with. And then also my husband does a lot of work with the veterans. And one of the things that should never, ever be in the same sentence is the homeless, homeless and the word veteran. We should never have homeless veterans, so we do a lot of work with veterans. And so those are two really main causes. And he does a lot of work. He does concerts and things like that for them as well. But at the end of the day, it’s just we’re trying to make it a little better. You know, it’s not a huge charity, but we’re trying to build it, and we started it not long ago. And so, we’re very excited about it. And you know, I tell him all the time, you know, through music, you can build a platform that can really change lives. And so, we’re hoping through our nonprofit, we can do that as well.
Dr. Rahm [00:24:25] That is wonderful. We were going to put information on you and your companies as well as the nonprofit, so you will hopefully get a lot of people that will ask questions because the things you’re doing are very needed.
Stephanie [00:24:36] Thank you so much. We appreciate it. Well, thank you for your time. I had fun.
Dr. Rahm [00:24:42] It’s great that you’re on this journey with our listeners. I want to do this again and I will not be wanting this, but we’ll try to. We’ll try to get it. So, thank you guys so much for being on this journey and episode of Scientifically Beautiful. Please stay tuned, next time we have another exciting guest. And so, we will be doing that very soon. Talk to you guys soon, see you later.
Stephanie [00:25:03] Thank you.