Diving Deep

Name: Agnes Davis
Education: B.S. in biology from the State University of New York at New Paltz
Profession: Cardiovascular Perfusionist
New Job: Swimming Instructor
Age: 48

When Agnes Davis was wrongly terminated and blacklisted in her profession as a cardiovascular perfusionist, she was devastated and struggled for a sense of purpose until a television interview lit an internal spark. It was just the inspiration she needed.

First Job
At her sister’s recommendation, Davis decided in 1995 to pursue a career as a cardiovascular perfusionist, which is a medical professional who monitors and operates the extracorporeal circulation equipment during medical surgeries. “You have to go to a specialty school for 15 to 24 months. Then there’s classroom and hands-on training. I worked per diem first for about five months in New York City, and then took my first job at New York Presbyterian Hospital.”

Enlightenment Through Loss
In January 2009, Davis was wrongly terminated from her job at a different hospital. As a union member she pursued litigation, but what compounded an already demoralizing situation was her being blacklisted. She was also unable to collect unemployment. “I was devastated. My whole world turned upside down. No one would hire me. No one would touch me. I was so scared. I was so embarrassed.” Davis, who loved swimming, began to hit the pool as a way to escape her thoughts. “In March I saw Donny Deutsch on the Today Show and when he said this is the worst economy since the Depression but the best time to start a business, a light bulb went off. And then he continued to say, make sure your business has a niche, do something you love, and the rest will come. And it all came together for me.”

(Continued on next page)