Tulane alumna Sophia Omoro, MD, challenged her audience to dedicate their lives to actions more than results, at a talk Wednesday, Nov. 6, sponsored by the Tulane Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS).
Her lecture, titled “How Significant Are You?” advised the audience to discover “what you were brought into existence to do – not be” as the key to living a significant life. Omoro, a native of Kenya who graduated from Tulane School of Medicine in 2002, is an otolaryngology surgeon in Lima, Ohio and a social entrepreneur. She created Blooming Lily, a foundation established to empower young girls to identify and overcome life obstacles and is also the Chief Executive Officer and Sole Designer behind “odAOMO,” (The House of Aomo), a luxury line of modern women’s wear that is based on the principle of “giving back” and which supports improved social and economic conditions in Kenya through opportunity.
Speaking to a packed room of medical faculty, students, residents, and postdoctoral students, Omoro encouraged audience members to discover their purpose: “That which would never be done if you were not there to do it,” the thing that “feeds your soul” — but that “is for others.” The intersection of the internal journey and the external purpose is where the significance lies, she said.
“Your purpose should fuel your being and change your perspective,” Omoro said, adding that it’s easy “to coast on achievement, denial, inertia, and fear.” She pointed out that many physicians burn out after only a few years from the daily routine of practicing medicine. Stepping back to focus on a purpose-driven life is not always easy, she noted, comparing it to becoming aware of the difference between a heart racing from fear and one racing from excitement.
Omoro recommended building a platform from the “stability, ability, visibility, credibility, and responsibility” provided by success as a vantage point from which to look at and contribute to the world in new ways. “Using all of the gifts one has been given leads to hopefulness and certitude,” she said.
Omoro’s talk resonated with attendees. Laurianne Wild, MD, and Minolfa Prieto, MD, PhD, both Tulane alumnae, agreed that Omoro’s advice and perspective made them engage in some soul searching. “We are all just a small piece of this world,” said Wild, adding, “Until we find our true purpose, we will never be fulfilled — something will always be missing in our lives.”
Rhonda Coignet, ’05 MBA graduate from Tulane’s A. B. Freeman School of Business, is Accreditation Project Manager at the School of Medicine, and Program Manager of the Tulane Group on Women in Medicine and Science.