Season 2
40 Minutes

E83 | Karen Correa, Ph.D. | What I Have Learned About Finding Self-Love

Karen Correa, Ph.D., has been a professional in the life sciences field for the last 30 years and currently serves as VP and Head of Global Clinical Operations for Takeda. Karen has another foot in the world of beauty pageants. She is a former Miss New Jersey and just this year competed again, and won, the title of Mrs. New Jersey. She continues to happily mentor other pageant contestants.

Karen is a committed life-long learner and a passionate champion for health equity. She is outspoken about her own journey of overcoming personal trauma and inspires others to find greater health, wellness and a deeper self-love.

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Karen Correa, Ph.D.  00:00

It took a long time for me to learn to love myself a very long time. I wish I would have told her that she was pretty and she believed it. I wish I could have told her that she was smart. And she would have believed it. And I wish I would have told her that the things that she’s experiencing in it is okay to share and detail. Don’t keep things a secret I just didn’t know.

Achim Nowak  00:26

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected FOURTH ACTS, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let’s get started. I am just delighted to welcome Karen Korea to the mind for that podcast. Karen is a seasoned professional in the life sciences field and currently serves as VP and head of global clinical operations for Takeda. She has another foot in the world of beauty pageants. Karen is a former Miss New Jersey and just this year competed again and won the title of Mrs. New Jersey. Taryn is outspoken about her personal journey of overcoming trauma. And she is passionate about mentoring other young women on personal wellness and self love. Karen is a fiercely committed lifelong learner. And I am so happy to welcome Karen to the podcast. Hello.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  01:52

Hello, thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here.

Achim Nowak  01:57

I’m super excited as well. You have in my mind and extraordinary life journey, where if I were to use a metaphor, I see you as a juggler who’s juggling many balls all the time, and there were up in the air a lot. I’m curious, I’d like to start this conversation with every guest when you were a young girl growing up. If mom and dad ever asked you Hey, Karen, what do you want to do with your life when you grow up? What What were you thinking at that time? Wow,

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  02:29

it changed as you can imagine over time. But I think that, unfortunately, unlike some people minds was driven by life experiences. So I was really excited in the beginning to be like a detective. Or even, you know, just a police officer, because I felt like it helped get some of the things that were done wrong, corrected. So it’s kind of where I was, I was driven to just from my personal experiences that I was experiencing a life. I’m like, I need a cop in my life. I need to become a cop. So I can protect people.

Achim Nowak  03:06

Yeah. So what are some things that in your mind needed to be protected? What kind of protection Did you think you would offer as a cop?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  03:17

I didn’t know at the time. But I thought that if I became an officer, I would be able to protect other young girls from this, some of the things that I had experienced as a young girl. And when you are a child, you just don’t understand when things aren’t happening. I was unfortunately, I had been molested as a young girl. And I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know why it happened to me. And I felt like I wasn’t protected. And I was scared. So I lived in fear. And I felt like nobody should be scared. And so I was like, if I’m a cop, like you’re protecting people, I didn’t know how that was gonna work out. But that’s what I thought. So

Achim Nowak  04:02

how? And I have a hunch we’re going to get back more to molestation young women and a little later in the conversation. So I don’t want to drop that thread. Where my mind just went. So how would you go from I want to be a cop. Oh, let me compete and become a New Jersey. How did that happen?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  04:24

How did you do that? I mean, it kind of still links together. So as a young child, I also was kind of bullied. I was not considered a pretty we’re not where I was growing up, you know, being of a darker complexion was considered ugly. So I went through this stage where I didn’t love the person I saw in the mirror. When I got to the older I start to say okay, and now have people say you’re you know, when I was younger, they would tell me Oh, you’re pretty to be dark. And I used to say that’s not a compliment. You know, you there’s a you Pretty to be dark. So that means you’re telling me that I should be ugly. It’s what you’re really sad, but you don’t think that I’m ugly. As I got older, I had to learn to love myself. And I was thinking to myself, Wow, how many more people are going through this situation to not love themselves, to love, you know, to listen to what other people think they should look like or they should be like. So what I did is I started doing a lot of mentoring in the community I mentored I would go and speak. And yes, I would get people’s attention when I told them my story. But I would notice that if, before I was speaking, or after I was speaking, that if there was someone who has something that they had accomplished, that was like, kind of more like a celebrity approach or something, they got a bigger attention. So I was like, huh, so one day, someone approached me and asked me about being in a pageant. And I was like, I don’t want to do that. I’m too old. I was like, 45 years old. And then I thought about and they were like, well, you have an opportunity to have a megaphone for your platform. And I was like, my platform. And she was like, Yeah, you do a lot of mentoring. So there’s your that’s your platform. Now you’ve given that a megaphone when you become a titleholder. And it just sparked. And I was like, I’m for it. And so I then started to compete in pageants. And I did notice that as I have a crown on my head and a sash on, I was able to get people’s attention, especially a younger girls, and so forth, I was able to get them to gravitate to that first. And then they started to listen with more depth. So I use that as a magnet. And so that’s what got me into it. And I love it.

Achim Nowak  06:40

I only know that world from watching the pageants on television, but you know, it is an insider. So I want to let you know, my impression is, you’re there, you’re an attractive woman, but you’re surrounded by lots of other attractive women. So what I’m imagining, if I’m insecure, it could actually magnify the insecurities. Because every person you look at is beautiful, possibly more beautiful than you. I would imagine. The shape of your body matters. You have to be able to answer questions intelligently and quickly. As an outsider, I just see this incredible pressure cooker. Do I see that correctly? Or what was it like for you? To say

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  07:23

it correctly, it is a pressure cooker. But I think that pressure was it was kind of like a catalyst for me, I actually saw it as an opportunity to push myself, you know, again, someone kept telling me I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t pretty enough. And I was like, and for years, I allowed other people to define who I was and what I thought of myself. So doing the pageant helped me define what I thought of myself. And if I didn’t win, I didn’t win. There was many times I didn’t win, but I sure gave it a heck of a run. And I think it made me more resilient.

Achim Nowak  07:59

So would you describe yourself as a fighter? Because unless you really like, this woman is a fighter, she doesn’t quit? See, she hangs in there? She has to NASA monitoring you correctly.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  08:11

You are absolutely correct. I truly believe I’ve been fighting since day one. I have been fighting so many battles. And I feel that to continue to keep fighting is important. For me. I think it keeps me going. I think I’m not that person that’s going to retire and sit on the couch. It’s just, there’s just no way I just fight. There’s just too much for me to do. So when I am moving and doing things I’m a little happier. My husband is like when are we gonna take a break? We do every weekend. I mean, so yes, I think that fire to me is, is what keeps me going. You know, it’s like a little fire.

Achim Nowak  08:53

A little fire. I love that that phrase of a little fire. Now in, in the personal website, your hand, and we’re going to talk about your professional career in a moment. You’re very open about and you already alluded to about overcoming trauma to, to learn to love yourself more deeply. And I’ve had my own traumas, my own life. But I’m not an African American woman. So I would imagine your traumas were different for me. But I know the kind of homework I had to do to start healing myself. How does one heal trauma? Or how did you start to heal trauma?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  09:34

Wow, that’s a really loaded question. And it’s actually a really good question as part of what I do when I help people get to their trauma and try to you know, unpack what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. The first thing you have to do is realize that you are there you have to realize where you’re at. You know, when you mentally sit back and say, Well, I’m not in a good space right now. So I think you can only do something when you recognize kind of like with someone who is drinking or smoking or whatever addiction or whatever they’re working on till you start to recognize where you at, you can’t move forward. And knowing that you are lacking self love, you got to know that you’re there, so that you can start to do something about it. So I think that the first piece is just getting that understanding and recognition of like, this is where I’m at. And then once you know where you’re at, you start to unpack that, I really focus on daily affirmations, I focus on putting myself around positive people, I focus on my self help type of approaches, I’m a big journaler, I would like to journal all the time I write, because I truly believe that it’s like an action for me, and I will write it down, I am beautiful. I am this I am that I can do that. And I’m just I do that speak those things into existence. And I think that’s really important. And then I start to look at what is it I have to do to make myself feel beautiful, what is that, you know, it could be something small, it could be something big. And I just make steps on that. And then I start to look at, you know, like I said, self help. So I’ll watch videos, I’ll I’ll pick something up, you know, the things that helped me and I recently picked up rhythms at rest, it’s like a 40 Devotions for women on the move, you know, I just picked that up. So it’s those things are important, because you need that

Achim Nowak  11:25

you give us such a good glimpse into I’m going to call it taking responsibility for how you feel about yourself. Instead of letting other people take it away from you, you take actions to own how you see and experience yourself. Am I hearing that correctly?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  11:44

That is absolutely correct. We so much let people define ourselves. And it’s easy, it’s easy for one someone to tell you that you’re ugly, or you’re or you’re fat or you’re skinny, or you don’t look this way or you you don’t have this or you’re not smart enough. And you hear that long enough, you start to believe that so you got to hear something else. So what I want to do is block out with people saying, I want to hear that I’m beautiful, and then I’m smart, and that I can do this. And that’s important and at different stages in your life. I’ve been divorced. And I’m like, I can’t be married, I can’t have a successful marriage. I can’t be a good mother, I can’t like you, no matter what you go through no matter what stage it is, you have to rewrite that story. And you have to keep focusing on because it to me, every new day is a new beginning. That means I was given a chance to try this again, whatever it is. So why focus.

Achim Nowak  12:43

You’ve had a long and impressive career and still have in the I’m gonna call it the life sciences, the biotech pharma world, you have a VP title in a highly respected company to Keita, you have a significant portfolio in terms of the amount of people that work for you. Did you stumble into that industry by accident? Or did you kind of go oh, this is something I want to work in? Or wasn’t good. You were anyway, let me stop here. How did you end up in this line?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  13:13

That’s a really good question. I really did kind of stumble. When I realized that I didn’t want to be a detective and do all that part of my life I really focused on, I still knew I want to investigate, I wanted to learn I love the sciences. And so I was like, I want to be a doctor because I wanted to help people. Throughout the whole it always was it was always a service service to attitude. I’m definitely a service minded kind of person. So it’s like, oh, I want to be a doctor. When I graduated from school. And that didn’t work out on my Google. What am I gonna do with my? What do I do with this degree? And so I kind of fell into research, and I have loved it ever since it’s been the best decision, I feel. I truly believe When God closes one door, he opens a window. So the window of opportunity was opened for me and the biopharma industry. And I had been doing it for 30 years. And I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world, because I still feel like I impact the lives of patients, which is my ultimate goal anyways.

Achim Nowak  14:08

Now, one thing, you and I, we know each other a little bit outside of this conversation, and we joked about this, I went back when I was in my 40s to get a master’s degree and everybody said, oh, you should get go for a PhD. And I could barely stomach finishing my master’s. But you went back to get your doctorate your PhD. And I say this with great respect that takes an incredible amount of drive and commitment. Where does How did you do that? Where did you come from? Why did you do that? I’m curious care.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  14:42

You know, to be very honest and transparent. I saw people accelerating in their career. And I felt like I wasn’t accelerating to where I want it to be. And where I wanted to make my greatest impact. And I would look at I used to imitate other people in other words that like If you’re trying to be them, I don’t want to be them, but I want to learn from them. So I’m like, What do I not have to get to that next level? What am I lacking? So I was always looking for opportunities to grow and develop myself. And I was like, Well, I got my masters. That was one thing. And then I was like, check, and then I would look and then I will look at like, the jobs that I was applying for. And I’d say see, sometimes, okay, sometimes they like, Oh, we’re seeking a doctor tutorial, or MD or a PhD? Mm hmm. Okay, well, I guess I need to go back and get my PhD. So what about growing myself, and then also making sure that I have everything I possibly need to get my foot in the door, because I truly believe that sometimes you got to have everything you can, you know, as they someone told me one time, take every opportunity, but need none. That was the deepest class, I take every opportunity. But Nina, I took every opportunity to get every education, I can get everything I could possibly have, I might not need it, but I’m gonna take it and I’m gonna have it and I’m going to use it to better me so that I am the best candidate. I want to know that I’m here because I deserve to be here.

Achim Nowak  16:09

Do you have a sense that as a black woman, you needed that competitive advantage over others? Was that part of your thinking?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  16:19

It was part of my thinking, you know, I come from a mother that didn’t have a high school education. And I come from a father that didn’t have anything passed. And all he did was have a high school degree and a little bit of college. So for me, it was like, I need to have everything. I don’t, I don’t even know where it stops. You know, I didn’t finish with that. I’m like, Okay, let me get two or three certifications. I did that as well. But let me go and get your certificate from Cornell, let me get my certification and clinical research, I’m gonna get my Board Certified Medical Affairs like I was like, I need to have everything I possibly can. Because I want to make sure that when I do get that opportunity, that I can be as knowledgeable as I possibly can, in the role and as effective as I can. So it wasn’t even also about helping me get the job. I wanted to help me make sure that I do well in the job.

Achim Nowak  17:07

Yeah, makes total sense to me. As you’re talking, I remember, in my family. We came from very blue collar backgrounds and my family. And my dad ended up, you know, having an international career as an architect. We were like, the only people only people who got out of that town. Do you know, I mean, and whenever we went back to see the family, it was like, I call it we put on the family show, like we pretended we were happy to see each other. But I think people weren’t happy to see us. We were like the aliens have been to visit. You know. So as I think about you, you describe your parents. And I’m thinking were they able to celebrate your achievements and your successes, or as part of them going? Wow, she sort of got away from us a little too much. With your with your doctor and all of those things. What’s that like in your family?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  18:06

Um, well, for my mom, unfortunately passed when I was 27 years old, what my daughter, my first job. So she got to see me get my bachelor’s and my master’s by but she did not get to experience. No, I was actually finishing my Masters, she did not get to experience me, experience me getting to where I’m at today, because I was only 27 years old. So unfortunately, yeah, that was really hard to be her baby girl and her not see me get to those levels. My father, on the other hand, did get to see me graduate get to get my Master’s get to get my PhD. He was around he passed actually four years ago, about it is his inner his four year anniversary was about a week or so ago. So he didn’t get to see all of that. And he was extremely, his flag is behind me. That’s my father’s flag. He served in military for 26 years. But he got to see that and he was so proud of me. And it was just a joy to know that the hard work that I saw him do and serving our country is the same hard work that I can do. So when people complain about their work, life balance, I sometimes can’t relate because I saw my father and my in my grown up be gone for months at a time I saw my father get up and have to be formation in the military, you have to be you know, be there at 430 and I saw him come home, you know, late at night and taking off his boots and passing out and have to get right back up the next morning or then I’ve got to go into field or whatever. So when I saw that I really saw hard work makes them a little corporate office or sitting in my home office in my little look at my T i So I don’t I don’t I can’t you know understand that. So Yeah, that they I think that I know they’re both looking down on me pretty proud, I hope and I owe it all to them.

Achim Nowak  20:10

A word from your sponsor. That’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast Fourth, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. I want to ask you a totally unfair question. But I want to ask ask it anyway. That’s okay. Because you’ve done so many amazing things in your life. But if you had to just tell, share with our listeners, one moment that stands out for you as a highlight where you go, Oh, yeah, this is why I do what I do. What this is why I love doing what I’m doing a moment when that seemed really, really clear. What moment would come to mind?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  21:12

Wow, my cousin, kind of like my best friend says sister we grew up together. We’re only a couple months apart. We both went off to college. And while we were in college, she had the joy of giving birth to the first like baby baby that we all got to help raise. Her daughter was named Brianna Marie McBride. Brianna Marie McBride died at the age of six years old. To neuroblastoma, my cousin, my sister, I got to watch her be a young mother and fight through the whole medical world as a 27 year old woman trying to take care of this sick child with cancer, and then to see her child pass. And to learn later on that there was things called disparities where African American children and Hispanic children seem to have maybe some higher prevalence of neuroblastoma, and even higher incidence of death and things of that nature. I started to really think I knew this is what I wanted to do. I love what I do. And I love what I was doing this whole time. During this time, I really wanted to push more about research and drug development, because I truly felt like we need to have more medicines. For people like Rihanna and other people that I’ve seen, lose family members. We cannot save everybody and I get that. But when I hear about the rare diseases and the things that people have, that they’re suffering for years, and and going through stuff, I mean, I don’t know, I’m just a teary eyed. I mean, I you know, I just watched the movie from scratch, and everyone’s talking about it. Oh my god, I bought for hours after that movie. Because the fact that there’s people that you and I are talking to, and we’re good to go. Like there’s people every day that are diagnosed with terminally ill illnesses and stuff. And so this is what keeps me going. And I love what I do. And I know that it doesn’t always get the positive of what we do. But drug development is about saving lives, prolonging life, increasing quality of life.

Achim Nowak  23:28

I just appreciate you for being such a champion for the industry, your work in the work that’s being done. I’ve been privileged to be a guest for almost 20 years in that industry. And, and I have the same respect and passion that you do, or want to go back to. Maybe you always felt that compensation because at this point in your career, you’re probably one of the most visible African American women in your particular company to Keita. I know you feel strongly about representation. Because representation means we have power or authority to make things happen. So I’m going to do the floor talk somewhat like what more representation would you like for yourself or other women like you to to be decision makers and champion the sort of work that that’s important to you.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  24:29

I think that is important for us to represent the positivity of women, and what we can achieve, and then women of color. More importantly, I think it’s important for us to remember that as we go up, we should always have a hand that goes back. You should be bringing someone and as many people along with you because yes, this door opened for me, but it wasn’t given for me for me. This door opened for me so that I can open the door from meaning many more it is, is when you will have at that point that you’re given to whom much is given, much is required. I am required to help each and every person that I can impact their lives. And I think the more that women realize that it’s important for us to nurture and support and encourage other women, regardless of their color, their background or creed, their socioeconomic status. It’s important for us to do that. Sometimes I think we so we get so caught up in where we’re at, like, I don’t ever want to get so big, that you see my title, or what I’m doing. Actually, I want you to see what I’ve what has been what has come up because of me. It’s not about me. Like, I want to like vanish in the back, almost like to me true leaders, groom leaders, more leaders. So I want someone to say, oh, my gosh, that’s Jane. Karen, you know, helped her or that’s what that Karen, but focus on what Karen accomplished through other people, like, how does she help this person? How does she help this project? How did she help this company? That’s what I really want people to see about me. And I think that as we see more women, you know, I think that’s what we need to be doing. And when we do that we can change the world. But if it’s really about if we focus on us, then it doesn’t go anywhere. That’s just my approach.

Achim Nowak  26:32

So as as I’m listening to you, I’m thinking about No, in the world of pageants, no, people aren’t car chat platforms. And we already spoken a little bit about your platform and things that matter to you. But I know a phrase, and I so appreciate you if you use the word self love, and helping women, men as well, I’m sure but a women have more self love. expound on that, if your why, why is that your platform that you are as passionate about as you are.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  27:09

Because if you don’t love yourself, you can’t possibly give up, no one deserves your love more than yourself. And you see it so much in women we give to our children we give to our parents that we might be taken care of a family member we give to our significant others, and then we forget to give to us. And then we you know, we have all of these health issues and challenges. And, you know, we’re sitting back and we’re the ones in the closet, the closet doors crying, and you know, just breaking down because we were trying to keep it all together. And so that’s when I was like, I have to love Karen so that Karen can help get her five children, for her blended family, her grandchildren, so she can help her nieces. And she can help her neighbors and like, I have to do that. And when I saw like I said my mother passed at the age of 27, when I was 27 years old. And what got to me as my mom struggled from loving herself, she died of alcoholism, she dragged herself to death, basically, because of all of the things that she had wherever. And I feel like when you love yourself, you choose different habits. And that will keep you from maybe bringing yourself down to another level. And I know that my mom loved us. But we needed her to love herself so that she could have been with us. And even onto that I been doing my ancestry. And I learned that my mother’s mother, I knew she had always had died when my mom was little. But she died seven months at the moment that was born. So my mom never knew her own mother. I’m not like this generational curse has to stop. I need to love Karen and I need to be here for my children so that I can, you know, be in my 80s and 90s and see my grandchildren and stuff. But it’s not just like, again, I just I really feel that women really pour so much into everyone else, that then they don’t pour into themselves. And it’s hard.

Achim Nowak  29:13

You already gave us some wonderful examples of what you do to practice self love early in the conversation. But as you’re talking about your mother and grandmother, I was thinking as a mother of five in a blended family, how you mothering differently. What are you doing as a mother to be maybe the mother that you never had?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  29:36

My youngest daughter Joy, my biological child, she and her name is Joy for reason. So I was pregnant with my daughter Joy when my mom passed. And she’s my joy because couldn’t be doing anything else. I mean, I have to give birth. I know when my mom didn’t get to see her. But what she reminded is that she said Mom, you’re kind of hard on us. I was a tough Mommy, you You know, so as when she became an adult, I realized I needed to listen more. So I’m mother a little different, I was really tough, I wouldn’t didn’t make the best grades and I wanted to. And I was at everything I was that mom that was involved in every little event of their life. I didn’t miss anything. But I also realized that I was just a little too much, or too much, just a little too much. So I learned that I needed to step back. And it’s not about being their friend. It’s just about being a good listener, as I just I didn’t listen as much as I should. So I spent a lot more time listening to my children, even though they’re now all adults. But I listened more than I did then. And it has really helped my relationship. And so as I do coaching, and wellness coaching with other adult parents, and with adult children, or teenagers, I’ve talked to them about what mistakes about that point of time of listening, and trying to really, truly understand them, and stop trying to parent them the way we were parented, or trying to teach them the way we were taught. This is a different generation and a different time, they have different issues than we have. So I had to learn a lot. And it’s a time but I think I’m thinking I’m getting there.

Achim Nowak  31:16

I listened more is such wonderful advice in so many situations. So I appreciate your for say that. Now, you’re, as I’m speaking to you, like I’m speaking to a very accomplished woman who has had a whole bunch of life lessons. She’s done her own homework. She’s a lifelong learner. You’re in your early 50s. So you have a lot of life ahead of you. And you are in a way a deprived a privileged place where you get to make some choices about how Karen wants to spend her time. So if you look ahead, and you could submit wave a magic wand in whatever Karen wants carrots kind of happen. What are some things that you’d like to do a little more often? what are maybe some things you’d like to do a little less of as you go?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  32:11

I want to do more speaking, I love being in front of people sharing my story. I truly believe that if I can share my story to millions, I want to because I love being able to impact the lives of someone else. No one should feel some of the things that I felt and not know how to get past it. And that’s it to know they’re not alone. Like, there’s so many people that are ashamed to talk about the things that they’re going through or been through and they feel like they can’t accomplish something. And I’m like, listen, let me let me give you my mistakes so that you can know that you can overcome them. And I think that that helps people because sometimes you see people and you’re like, oh my god, you know, we look at the Michelle and Barack Obama’s of the world and like, oh my gosh, they’re the perfect power couple. And everything was perfect. They gotten fell in love. And they were both in law school. And I’m like, that’s just not it’s wonderful. I love them. I would I would love to meet them. But let me talk about the Kiran went through a divorce and I’ve had this issues and I had this happen and this you know, and and I that there was perfect cuz I’m sure they had their own troubles. But sometimes when you see other people’s lives, you feel you see something that you feel is the way things are. And when you hear from other people, you see that they’ve been through some traumas and some issues, and then you’re like, okay, they wasn’t that making, they can be here today. Yes, I was homeless. My first year, second year in college. I was homeless, I know where to go. And that worked out. And I still graduated. So when you can tell those types of stories that people that’s that spark some opportunity for them to have motivation and hope. When I want to do more of that, like if I could spend my life doing that, and giving people hope, I would be so happy.

Achim Nowak  34:05

My sense of you is that you just have this I call it the helper gene, you just want to help people. And I know besides of your your marvelous corporate career, you already mentioned that the wellness support that you offer individuals and families and wellness is a catchphrase that means different things to different people. Right? It encompasses a lot. What do you talk about? When you can speak about wellness? What are you talking about? And how do you want to support people around a greater surrounding

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  34:41

wellness? So what I tried to do was I tried to get people to have wellness, to think about mentally where it is that they’re looking for some people they’re like, oh, I want to lose weight. I want to I want to feel good about myself. I want to look a certain way and I’m like but and then I try to get people to understand why you want to do that and and how you can do that. simplistically, I’m not trying to a lot of people focus on Well, let me get to the gym and let me but you got it, you know, I’m greatest battle was in our mind, our greatest battle starts in our mind. So what I tried to do is I try to keep people in that wellness state just emotionally, because until you put you first you gotta get past that emotional state. Once you get past that you can accomplish anything. But a lot of people can’t never get over that emotional stuff. And that’s why they just keep trying, and they keep trying, because they are not emotionally there. They’re not emotionally invested in their career, they’re not emotionally invested in their health, they’re not emotionally invested in their relationships. And if you’re not emotionally invested in something, then you’re divestment. So I try to get people to that point. And I do that a lot with sessions and letting people hear why and what and where and when. And when they kind of peel those onions back and start on. Okay. You know, they’re not like that. It’s like the light comes on, and then they can move in a positive direction. Because what I think they do they try to jump to, I’m gonna lose 30 pounds, or they try to jump to, I’m gonna stop smoking or I jumped to, I’m gonna stop drinking, are they going to jump to I’m gonna have, I’m gonna meet this perfect guy and have this perfect relationship. Where are they going to jump to? I’m going to be this VP or whatever, whatever their whatever that is, you know, I’m gonna get this great job. Okay, but are you emotionally invested into this? Because whatever. What do you think is worth having is worth working for it. But you got to work up here and your mind first. That’s your that’s your first battle, Phil.

Achim Nowak  36:37

Based on everything that you just said, and based on your experience in life, if you had a chance to so whisper in young Karen’s ear and give us some words of wisdom, to So to sort of be the friend that maybe young Karen didn’t have, in a way the friend that you are to other young women, but what would you want young Karen to know?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  37:03

I wish I could tell that young girl to, to love ourselves sooner. It shouldn’t have taken me 20 Plus almost 30 years to learn to love me. It really shouldn’t. It took a long time. For me to learn to love myself a very long time. I wish I would have told her that she was pretty. And she believed it. I wish I could have told her that she was smart. And she would have believed it. And I wish I would have told her that the things that she’s experiencing. It is okay to share and detail. Don’t keep things a secret. I just I didn’t know. I just kept it in. And I just held it in. And it I think it damaged me for a while. It damaged me emotionally and mentally. And even physically. It damaged me had had I been able to speak and go get help sooner. I think there’s some of the trauma other things that domino effect things that I experienced, I would have never experienced had I just been able to be helped sooner.

Achim Nowak  38:14

Well, I celebrate you for being an inspirational person that you are in for, for using yourself, I would say as an instrument to help others, which is I think, a wonderful way to use our life experiences, even if they weren’t always easy. And all of that stuff. So thank you for your honesty. I am sure that listeners who want to find out more about you or learn more about what you do. Where would you like to direct them Karen?

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  38:44

Wow, there’s so many ways to reach Karen. Bobby, my website is my greatest Dr. Karen emails come directly to me, you can email me directly. I am on all social medias. I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram. It’s Karen Korea, or Karen Smith Korea. So please reach out to me I try really hard to reach to follow up especially if you go to my website. I definitely follow up with people. And I know that this world it can be cruel. And I just felt like it’s once we know there’s someone out there willing to help us and that we can. There. I just don’t feel there’s nothing as long as we wake up every day we have an opportunity to make a difference in our lives. Every day is a new day. No matter what we go through. Every day is a new day.

Achim Nowak  39:31

Thank you so much for the gift of this conversation, Karen. It was a pleasure for me.

Karen Correa, Ph.D.  39:38

Awesome, I totally appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Achim Nowak  39:40

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