Diana Starr Langley, iMedRecovery: Bringing Recovery Home to the Family
BY MELISSA WALKER
iMedRecovery provides online substance abuse and addiction treatment through a clinically effective recovery program for adults and adolescents by licensed therapists offering treatment services at home, school, or office – guaranteeing privacy, flexibility, and convenience to clients and users. Co-founder Diana Starr Langley spoke with impactmania to discuss her experiences, impact maker and the transformative services of her latest venture.
Diana, what did you learn from founding, running and selling your first company, that you are doing differently now with iMedRecovery?
I think I’m doing a lot differently since my first company was an asparagus company.
I picked and sold it along the highway when I was in third grade. My first company, real company, was medical manufacturing back when I was 26 years old. We put the first ultraviolet absorbers in sunglasses, eyeglasses, and then intraocular lenses for cataract surgery. It was an exciting time.
I know I was a lot more impetuous, entrepreneurs suffer from ADD, so I’m sure a lot of that was going on.
I think what’s different is that I know the difference. I know what the road looks like, and I didn’t think I’d ever do another a startup in my 60s.
I mean, it just seems insane to me, but on the other hand it’s the most fun I’ve had. The other companies have been my ideas. This one is not.
This was the brainchild of Dr. Rishi Khatri, my now business partner who’s a 37 year-old lawyer and doctor, and a consultant in the space of recovery and accrediting detox centers and rehab centers.
He really knew that there was a need, and that we could fill it.
I’m the business arm, and he’s the medical arm. And we have a clinical director, a fabulous gal Heather, who oversees all the therapists. We have therapists that live all over California right now, and eventually all over the United States.
What advice would you give to women who want to start a business?
I think, Nike said it best. They said, “just do it.” I think, if you come up with something that the world needs and that you have a passion about, it’ll get you through the bad days.
Women can have it all, they just can’t have it all at once.
And I think that’s one thing I didn’t realize, that I had segmented my life. But it was the one thing I probably did right. I grew the companies before I started growing a child.
I was 36 when I had Kelley, so I was able to really focus until then. Business is not 9 to 5. You work hard 9 to 5 to get enough money to start your own company, so you can work 9 to 9. And it’s true. It’s a very demanding proposition, and if you’re not willing to commit, there’s no such thing as trying to do a business.
You either do it, or you don’t do it. There’s no such thing as part-time businesses, really, because they’re going to get part of you, and you’re only going to get part back.
It’s not really going to be successful – it can’t really be your life’s vocation – if you’re giving it part time.
But on the other hand, I did keep my day job when I started my first medical company back when I was 26. And that paid for the employees to work for me during the day while I was working my day job. So, I think you can do part-time for a while.
But if you really want to grow a business, you’ve gotta just be committed.
Who is your impact maker?
That’s an easy one, that’s my mother, Lee Langley. She and my father, at 23 and 25, started a delinquent boys school. A residential delinquent boys school. We lived on campus my entire childhood. But when my dad was 38, he died (I was 12) and my mom had three little girls. And she continued on.
She ran the school for another 15 years. But if that wasn’t enough, during that time she also put in all kinds of programs that really made an impact in the delinquency world, and all those programs are being taught in social work schools today. And then she went on at 55, to go to work for her 27 year-old daughter, which was a major risk for her to take, giving up her secure job and her pension. It paid off thankfully. She never regretted it.
She had an incredible spirit of taking risks and doing things outside the box. She was a great mentor for me.She was wonderful to have at the office. She was the mom.
She was also just an incredible human being to have around. Caring, loving, and intellectual. She’s 88 today, and still just as vibrant and smart – just an incredible, lovely woman.
So, what’s next?
Up until the last ten years, or so, I’ve been really, really committed to philanthropy, especially for the United Boys and Girls Clubs, and doing a lot of their big fundraisers and helping them raise money.
I’m still doing it, but I’ve cut back a little bit. I’ll end up going back to that because I know that running this company is not what I’ll be doing 25 years from now, like I did my first one.
I think what’s next is to really look for the person that can take this after we get it launched and we get it going, and find the right person to take it to the next level. I think, that’s gonna be my number one job. And then, I can go back to helping the Boys and Girls Clubs.
It’s a family affair.
Well, it’s sure turning out to be. It seems like that’s a Langley tradition. If you think about when my parents started the delinquent boys school, we all kind of worked there. It was a seven day a week kind of job for them, so we all worked at the school and lived on campus.
My sister, Janice, was my CFO for the medical company for over 15 years. Then my mom joined in marketing.
Today, with iMedRecovery, my sister is back being the CFO, and my daughter Kelley is doing sales and marketing.
It’s so fun to be working with family again. I’m lucky I have a very talented family, and we all seem to love working together, so here we go again.
Product photo courtesy iMedRecovery. Diana photo and video by Melissa Walker.