A Personal Search
Why do people start businesses? Sometimes for money, sometimes to find independence, but often because of something more deeply rooted. Catherine"Kye" Anderson traces her origins as an entrepreneur to a personal tragedy and the abiding passion that grew out of it. And she says that realizing thatconnection has made her work more meaningful.
It took 10 years in business before Anderson ever consciously made the link between the company she founded in 1977, Medical Graphics, a $23 million St.Paul, Minn., maker of heart and lung diagnostic equipment, and her father's death. When Anderson was 13, her father suffered a massive coronary. Justdays before he died, doctors had insisted his shortness of breath was unrelated to his heart. "I remember sitting on the radiator by his bed and a doctor comingby to read an EKG machine," says Anderson. "The picture of that doctor trying to make sense of a squiggly line and not knowing what was wrong hauntedme for years." Anderson became a medical technologist and then developed software to translate diagnostic measurements into easily read computer graphics.
"Many entrepreneurs are driven by some experience they keep buried deep down," says Anderson, who is chairman, CEO, and president of her publiclyowned company. "But it's important to recognize it and share it. It gives you a clarity of vision."