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Forty Under 40 Award winner Q&A: Andrea Mendoza

This year’s cohort of recipients will be celebrated at an event Feb. 7, 2024

BIV is recognizing Andrea Mendoza, founder and CEO of The ScoliClinic, and 39 other exceptional business leaders as part of the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards cohort.

Longer Q&As with each recipient are included in BIV's annual Forty Under 40 Magazine (out in print Dec. 11). Award winners will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 7, 2024.

This profile may have been edited for length and clarity.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Launching and growing The ScoliClinic is an ongoing highlight. When I started my business, I was unsure if there would be enough interest to sustain my full-time niche practice in scoliosis treatment. Over the past eight years, the company has bloomed beyond any expectations and has attracted an incredible team that supports the scoliosis community in ways that I wouldn't have been able to as a solo practitioner. The company's momentum has allowed us to add impactful initiatives that reach an even broader audience through research projects, a YouTube channel and an e-commerce store, and it is deeply satisfying.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Transitioning away from my clinical work as a physiotherapist was an internal tug-of-war. Logically, it made sense: The organization required my ongoing energy to evolve our processes, the growing team needed multi-dimensional support and I struggled to attend to my clients' needs. Emotionally, I had to process letting go of one-to-one hands-on work and therapeutic relationships I built with many clients. It took two years to fully transition into the leadership role. It was the right decision, as clients get detailed care from our dedicated therapists, and I can wholeheartedly attend to the staff and business needs.

How do you lead?

I view leadership is a privilege that comes with many responsibilities: Legal, fiscal, moral, social and more. To navigate a seemingly impossible balance, I try to think broadly and inclusively to consider how a given decision will impact everyone affected in the short and long term. I'm collaborative in analyses and intentional in communication. Most importantly, I believe I'm a student in the 'classroom of life,’ and view every situation with the learner's lens. We incorporate self-reflection in our everyday work and this continues my growth as a leader.

What is the biggest lesson you've learned in business?

I've learned that there's no such thing as competition. There may be other people that offer similar services to you, or companies that address the same customer needs, but we all have our unique approach and delivery of a certain product or service in the world. While it is healthy to observe what others in similar spaces are doing, I try to resist making decisions based on their actions. Instead, I focus on what our team's strengths are and offer what we feel our clients need, working at a pace and workload that's sustainable for us.

Best piece of advice ever received?

There isn't necessarily a 'right' or 'wrong' choice for a given situation, but rather that every choice comes with a consequence. My business coach helped me clarify how this applies in all aspects of business, relationships and life and, as a result, I've trained myself to consider the first and second orders of an outcome (and beyond). The ongoing challenge is trying to piece together the combination of choices that produce outcomes (benefits and consequences) to align with specific goals and values.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Keep working towards your goals, but keep your mind open to new possibilities. Avoid tunnel vision because life will bring you amazing opportunities that you cannot possibly imagine today. Just you wait and see.

What's left to accomplish?

Creating a scoliosis diagnosis and treatment pathway that’s commonly taught and implemented across Canada. Reinstating school scoliosis screening programs to identify and support teenagers as early as possible. Develop programs to support those who need treatment but face financial barriers. Another future venture?!

Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

I'm grateful to the many, many individuals who have fiercely championed and/or challenged me. My family, friends, support network and my team have been crucial to my success, and I'm grateful for their unwavering belief in me. I also want to acknowledge the people who have hurt, angered, frustrated, doubted, triggered and confronted me (whether they know it or not). Although it's often painful in the moment for both parties, each of these interactions has pushed me to explore deeper corners of myself and I am so thankful for these opportunities to mature and grow.

Read Q&As with all 40 award recipients here. Tickets to the 2023 Forty Under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 7 are now available.