For Paula Wickham, bringing Think Safe to life was not just a professional venture but a deeply personal one as well. Ms. Wickham left a long, successful career in corporate finance in 2005 to launch Think Safe, which offers patented medical emergency response products and services under the First Voice brand name. It was her […]
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For Paula Wickham, bringing Think Safe to life was not just a professional venture but a deeply personal one as well. Ms. Wickham left a long, successful career in corporate finance in 2005 to launch Think Safe, which offers patented medical emergency response products and services under the First Voice brand name. It was her financial background that indirectly brought Ms. Wickham to the first aid space. “As a commercial banker, I was in front of hundreds of businesses, networking with CPAs, attorneys, Realtors,” she said. “Through that, I would see a lot of people who said, ‘hey, you should look at this or that business plan.’ So, I was introduced to a woman who had an idea, and that idea was something that I became pretty passionate about.” That woman, Annette Carter, then a flight nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital, had received a patent in early 2004 for a product now known as an Emergency Instruction Device (EID), a “talking first aid book” that offers first aid and CPR instructions to minimally trained or even untrained people during workplace or public rescue situations. Ms. Wickham worked with Ms. Carter as a volunteer to help get her marketing and business plan off the ground. “Then my father died at home alone of a grand mal seizure,” she said. “Having that knowledge that there are people that if nobody’s around to help them, the outcome is not going to be good. When my father had a seizure, there were certain things that needed to be done, and most of the time people were around to help him. I love to do things that provide value, and I’ll work really hard to have a really great outcome on something that makes somebody’s life better.” Ms. Wickham then moved into the business full-time, and today, Think Safe offers a comprehensive suite of safety products, services and software, from the EID to automated external defibrillators (AED), CPR and emergency oxygen equipment, disaster preparedness and first aid, plus on-site training and maintenance programs. Under the tagline “Making Minutes Matter,” Think Safe has established an international clientele based on a reputation for innovation, with new hardware and software products constantly under development. Being a woman hasn’t had a significant impact on the arc of Think Safe’s growth, Ms. Wickham said. She says she prefers to think about new opportunities than dwell on possible obstacles. “Even though we might have applied for a bid that was diversity-based, we’ve never won a bid based upon it going to a woman-owned business,” she said. “For us, it’s really form over matter. We found we’re going to win the business because we’re the best for that particular service.” Above all, Ms. Wickham, an avid reader, sees herself as a passionate lifelong learner. “I graduated second in my (college) class,” she said. ‘There’s nothing worse than graduating second from a self-esteem standpoint. That’s really who I am. There’s nothing I would rather do than try to be the best. That’s really been the goal my whole life. You’ve got to do your best. Because failing really sucks.”