By Lucy M. Pritchett
January Taylor-Mills received a full basketball scholarship from Bellarmine University, founded her own successful medical billing company, and is now writing a book. She works hard and out loud to make her dreams come true. She’s a fervent fan of Chanel’s Mademoiselle perfume. And don’t even get her started on the importance legal pads play in her life. Photo by Melissa Donald.
From the time I was 5, I wanted to be a doctor. I would cut open my teddy bears and put them back together. I don’t know where the dream of being a doctor came from, but I do love taking care of people. Turns out medical school just wasn’t for me, and I had to change directions. Now I get to work closely with physicians.
Impetus to start your own company?
I have held every position in a medical practice from patient care to billing. I was working for a physician and trained with a medical billing company in order to take over his billing so he could focus on patient care. Along the way I realized that other physicians would benefit from my expertise.
I’m living my defining moment. This is my Turning Point. The merger with Dean Dorton is a great opportunity for our clients, employees, and myself. I can’t continue to work 80 hours a week. I will be able to do my job better because of the new team and expanded resources. Metro Medical has 35 employees and the consulting team with Dean Dorton has 20.
What is your position now?
I’m in charge of client relations, running the billing department, and developing new business contracts. This allows me to be more hands-on with existing clients and new clients. I want to give them my full attention.
Skill every woman should have?
Be independent and be able to provide for yourself at any time.
Personal trait you would change?
I hear people, but my mind is going a million miles a minute. My phone is dinging, new text messages and emails are coming in, and people are asking me questions all at once. I may not look like I am listening, but I really do hear people.
How have you changed as a leader?
It is very hard for me to delegate. It’s been a process allowing others to help me. I put a lot of faith and trust in my team, and I have to allow them to take on certain tasks for me. I work extremely hard, and now I’m working smarter.
I’m the only person in my family to graduate from college.
My receptionist Linda Roberts keeps a supply of snacks for me because she knows I rarely get to eat lunch. My favorites are Twix and Kit Kats. I’d starve and wouldn’t have my coffee if it wasn’t for her.
What keeps you organized?
Legal pads. Right now I have about 20 lying on my desk. I’ll start a to-do list and be on a conference call and grab a new pad and start another list. After a while I’ll go through the pages and tear out the completed lists. And Post-its. I have a niece who works for me part time and she leaves me Post-it notes with inspirational sayings on them in my office.
My mom and I share this one from Helen Keller: ‘Keep your face to the sunshine and you can’t see the shadows.’ We’ve both been through hard times, and we use that to encourage each other. My personal ones are ‘Dream big. Dream often. Dream out loud.’ And ‘Be better today than you were the day before.’ I have both of those written on a dry erase board in my laundry room as a constant reminder to me when I leave the house.
Must have every day?
Coco Chanel Mademoiselle perfume. I discovered it eight years ago when I was on a cruise. I’ve been wearing it ever since. I can’t live without it.
How do you make hiring decisions?
I use my intuition, and I’m a good judge of character. Rather than an interview, I like to have a conversation with an applicant. I want to know about their family, their interests. More than half of the staff had no prior experience in medical billing. I like taking chances on people. A lot of people have lent me a hand over the years, and I like to think I didn’t let them down.
I’m writing a book called Backside Dreams. I grew up on the backside of Churchill Downs so the book is part memoir and part the-ending-that-hasn’t-happened yet. I hope to have it published by the end of this year.
Let the whole world know what it is that you want to do, and you can do anything you want.
This category is sponsored by The Vein Treatment Center.