Most Influential Women: Martha Gulati, MD

Business News | 18 Jul |

Az Business and AZRE magazines announced the publications’ lists of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2019 in the July issues of the magazines. Each day, azbigmedia.com is profiling one of the Most Influential Women of 2019.

The Most Influential Women for 2019 will be honored at a dinner and reception that begins at 5:30 p.m. on August 22, 2019 at the Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. For tickets or for sponsorship information, email Josh Schimmels or click here for more details.

To buy copies of the Most Influential Women in Arizona issue, click here.

Today’s spotlight: Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FASPC

Title: Physician executive director, Banner – University Medicine Heart Institute; division chief of cardiology and professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Dr. Gulati was awarded the 2019 Bernadine Healy Leadership in Women’s CV Disease Award by the American College of Cardiology in honor of contributions to the cardiovascular profession.

Source of pride:I would say the accomplishment that has given me the most pride is my first critical research project on women, defining the level of fitness for a woman at every age. It had never been described before and the assumption was that the male norms held for women. We showed it did not and ended up getting this published in the New England Journal of Medicine. And it is now the standard used for women in every stress lab. From a work standpoint, I think currently my greatest accomplishment is my current role, as chief of cardiology and Physician Executive Director of Banner Heart Institute. Probably for the first time in my life, I took a chance on something I didn’t entirely know I would be comfortable with or even good at. As someone advised me, I took the leap and put myself into the midst’s of unknowns, where things were not predictable, and not routine and certainly less sure of success. But it has been probably the best thing I’ve done. I fear things a lot less, I am more ready to take chances and I am proud of what we have grown here in Phoenix. We have a lot more to do, but we have done amazing things. We have a growing academic cardiology division and the first of its kind in Phoenix. We are bringing the best of cardiology to the valley and the state, and this will improve the heart health of Phoenix and Arizona. Between the clinical care, the research and the teaching of the next generation of cardiologists, my division of cardiology and myself have a lot to be proud of. And a lot to look forward to, as well.”

The personality trait that helped you succeed:Emotional stability and adaptability have helped me succeed in medicine and as a leader. I am a pretty even-keeled person. I listen to my team and can adapt to most things, including changes. Right now, medicine is changing rapidly. Sometimes for the good or bad! I genuinely like the people I work with and those whom I have hired to build our academic division of cardiology. I am very lucky to have hired and surrounded myself with an awesome team, that works well together. But being a calm force in the midst of sometimes a crazy storm helps keep us towards achieving our goals.”

The personality trait that got you into trouble:Probably my biggest weakness professionally is my lack of patience. I want things to happen and I want them to happen quickly. Nonetheless, not everything works at my speed or my desired speed! Given that much of what I am working to develop is new, it is easy to want things ‘yesterday’ but it does take time to change a hospital, change a culture and make things happen. I am definitely becoming more patient (please just don’t ask my husband if that is the case at home!) but in my defense, my impatience is only to build to our potential and I believe that potential is so great, it makes it hard to wait!”

Best childhood memory:I spent my summers on Lake Huron in Canada and one of my best memories was sailing- anywhere, anytime. But one time we had high winds that came out of nowhere and the person I was sailing with (and whose boat it was) was pushing the boat out and didn’t get on the boat. I had five passengers on board and none of them sailed. It was a pretty big boat and with that wind, I needed help because I didn’t have any centerboard to help me come about and we quickly took off and the shoreline was getting further and further away. I had my father, sister and brother on board. As well as two friends who were former Vietnamese refugees (and didn’t have good memories of boats, to be honest). I was trying to stay calm and make smart decisions, and save this boat (as well as my people!!!). Honestly it was more likely we were going to be in the lake, and I made everyone get their life jackets on because I wasn’t clear I could steer this boat back in the high winds alone. The owner of the boat watching from shore was also pretty sure the boat was history. Somehow, I calmly told my sister how to help me, I got some centerboard down and was able to turn the boat to shore and eventually gently glided it to the shore. Somehow I stayed calm. Somehow I saved that boat, and the people on it. Somehow I got the boat around and eventually got us to shore. But it was an adrenaline pumping, scary rise when I had to figure out how to get this boat from hitting the shore or rocks. Yet as scary as it was, it now is one of my favorite moments that taught me about myself, my fears and my ability to conquer them face on. I was 16 years old at the time. And when I am scared and I think I can’t do something, I just take deep breaths and remember I thought the same thing when on that boat. And it all worked out. (PS. The owner of the boat, Dr. Marvin Jewell, didn’t get on the boat because the current basically made his shorts drop. He let go of the boat to pull them up and the boat was gone because of the winds. He learned that day that modesty was highly over-rated, but also, that he could trust me with his boat).”

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