#WomenCrushingWednesday w/ Tracey Abbott

Name: Tracey Abbott

Company: Refuge Acupuncture, Founder, refugeacupuncture.com

Community Service/Involvement: Member of the Board of Trustees of the M.S. Society and Member of the Board of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce- M Club. Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and Presidential Leadership Scholar with President George W. Bush and President William H. Clinton. 25 years of business experience, 3 private company board of directors seats, 9 years international, and an M.B.A. in French from Hautes Etudes Commerciales (H.E.C.) 

CWCC Involvement has been so far limited to the M club and getting that program launched and I can’t wait to see how I can support! 

The Why: I support women in business in three ways: by creating job opportunities, by promoting us, and by sharing my networks. 

What was one of your biggest challenges? One of my biggest challenges in life was getting my husband out of a wheelchair to walking 5k, despite being diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) 13 years ago. I have coached hundreds of marathon runners across the line, but I had never seen the effects of this debilitating disease. We continue to overcome it every day through using TCM (acupuncture and herbs), carefully follow a whole foods diet, spend time in meditation and prayer. 

What’s your personal motto? My personal motto is “speak what you seek until you see what you’ve said.”

Advice for others in business (particularly if starting a business) would be to do what you do and/or like the best, and hire out the rest. I’ve spent 25 years across multiple industries (sports, food/beverages, management consulting, restaurants, private equity (investing), and now, Refuge Acupuncture. I have the tendency to want to do it all, from vision casting to marketing to accounting to legal. I have picked two areas I will always outsource to others, and that helps me from being spread too thin. 

Another piece of advice I have gotten is not to give away your company too quickly- investors are a great way to leverage for scale, but I prefer control over my vision and results, so I am currently bootstrapping Refuge Acupuncture by myself. I will look to raise capital after we have our proven concept operating for 2 years, and after we expand to 5 more locations in the Southwest. Equity feels easy to give away, and it is, but I’m very careful about whose money and whose advice I take. 

I also have spent a career building teams, and firmly believe that if I spend my time making sure I pour into the wonderful people I have around me, they create an unforgettable experience for our patients. There are three priorities in business- people, people, and people. 

Third piece of advice in business is to be generous. When you can afford to do that, whether with your time, or services, or investment, it tends to come back in different ways you hadn’t thought of. It took me a year to fully understand that great customer service, the kind that has people come back again and again, requires grace and generosity from time to time. 

What are you most proud of from this last year? I’m most proud of getting Refuge Acupuncture from concept to operating business in three months, following 5 years of thinking about it. Because the concept of Refuge came in a long meditation session, I found the name quickly and then the design elements “Between Heaven and Earth” came quickly as well. I was most worried about finding great acupuncturists to join me, since I am still in school and not yet working as an acu. I was able to choose the absolute best healers with 35 years of experience, who I knew would take great care of patients and gel as a work family. In our first month open, we are already partnered with Colorado Pain Care and have also been designated a teaching clinic, partnered with the Colorado Traditional Chinese Medical School (CSTCM). Refuge holds light for healing for all who enter our doors.

Thanks to our #WomenCrushingWednesday Partner: