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PA Leadership Series: Kasey D’Amato, PA-C

Have you ever felt STUCK in your career as a PA? Do you need to negotiate your salary or contract but have no idea where to start? If any of these situations apply, you will LOVE Kasey. She is a powerhouse, a Dermatology PA, a business owner and self labeled “serial entrepreneur” and life coach and she could change your mind about the PA profession.

Kasey and I have had many conversations about the PA profession, she believes, as do I, that the sky is TRULY the limit. There are so many amazing opportunities for PAs out there, if you know what you want and where to look! She owns many businesses, but notably, owns Certified PA Consulting (CPAC), a consulting company which helps PAs and physician practices negotiate fair market wages and contracts. She and her team have helped many PAs through difficult financial times and I’m SURE you’d be interested in hearing what she has to say! She also offers a “boss mindset” course that you might find helpful. Check out her interview and if you are interested, she’s been kind enough to offer a discount for anyone interested in her services! Click HERE to learn more.

Kasey Damato Physician Assistant Headshot
Kasey D’Amato PA-C, President Certified PA Consulting, Certified Life and Career Coach, CEO Airelle Skin, Real Estate Investor

Tell us a little about yourself! How long you’ve been a PA, where you went to school and anything else you’d like to add.

I grew up in small-town Maine, went to undergrad at the University of Miami, and graduated PA school in 2003 from USC Keck Medicine in Los Angeles.

I went right into Dermatology immediately out of school and was fortunate to work alongside a group of physicians who mentored not only my clinical education but also my business education.  In 2009 When I started my first business, Certified PA Consulting, they were very supportive.

In 2014 when I launched a major skincare venture and raised over $2M of investor capital I had to learn business very quickly, and in 2017 when I expanded my real estate portfolio around the country and started my 3-year process to becoming a certified life and career coach I took my skills to a whole new level.

In 2019, I realized that my mission in life is to help other PAs and other people realize that their degree doesn’t define them, that the world is their oyster, and that the sky is the only thing limiting them! It is my purpose and mission to help other PAs achieve their dreams!

What is your role as a leader? (entrepreneurial, administrative, academic, political, etc.)

I am a serial entrepreneur and success-driven coach. I love growing businesses and I love helping people find their career passion. Whether it is what I call a “micro business” which is what all PAs have; basically a revenue-generating job/partnership with someone else or whether it is a PA owned business or someone who is lost and feeling burnt out who is finding a new path outside of clinical care, I absolutely LOVE helping people figure out their passion and see the “lightbulb” go off in their heads when they realize that it was not at all what they thought it was!

When someone says to me that they went from tired, bored, lost, confused and after one-hour phone call they all of a sudden are so energized that they can’t sleep at night and can’t stop dancing around their kitchen because they have just discovered their true passion and realized that their PA degree isn’t holding them back, it is a tool that can propel them forward, and now they have a clear road map to success it is the most rewarding feeling in the world!

What does your typical day look like?

Oh Boy, I don’t think I have had a “typical” day in over a decade.  I live in Chicago, my clinical practice and skincare business are both based in Los Angeles, I speak at conferences all over the country on the topic of PA salaries and negotiation and entrepreneurship, I travel around the world for launch events for my skincare line, I travel and work with my real estate management teams across the US, and I spent hours a day on the phone and zoom meetings with various teams within my companies and I spend as much time as I can coaching privately coaching people and hosting FREE webinars to help other people reach their career goals!  My days are usually 16 hours long and it is not uncommon for me to work 7 days a week but when you love what you do is it really “work”?  I don’t really call it work anymore, it’s my passion and mission to help others and I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

If you are clinical, how is your practice set up? What is the structure and what is your relationship with your supervising physician like?

I do see patients just a few days a month in LA-mostly a high profile Hollywood clientele. I am set up as a 1099 independent contractor with my Supervising Physician (SP). I have a great relationship with my supervising Doctor, he even invested in one of my non-clinical businesses! I create my own schedule and operate very independently. I have only had two SPs in my 17-year career (the first one retired and sold the business) and they have both been absolutely amazing. When you find the right SP, it is like the right marriage. You just “click” and support each other’s success and the rest is history!

Do you divide your time into clinical and administrative tasks?

At this point in my career 10% of my time is clinical and the other 90% of my time is spent on entrepreneurial and business-focused tasks and I am super fortunate that I have amazing support teams both in my clinical office and in my non-clinical businesses. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for amazing staff teams all over the country. I try to help staff reach their goals and help helped many Medical Assistants (MAs) become Registered Nurses (RNs) and helped others get into PA school!

Did you pursue a leadership role or was it offered to you?

My opinion is that leadership is not something that is handed to you. It is something that comes natural to some people and it is ALWAYS something that needs to be refined as you learn and grow. Natural leaders will gravitate towards leadership positions but might have an abrasive style and non-natural leaders will tend to shy away from leadership roles but that is a shame because I have seen some amazing leaders blossom from people who didn’t know they had it in them!

..Leadership is not something that is handed to you. It is something that comes natural to some people and it is ALWAYS something that needs to be refined as you learn and grow.

Kasey D’amato, PA-C

How did you prepare for your role? Did you take any leadership courses?

Wow, this is a great question. How can you prepare for life? You can’t! You gotta seize the opportunities as they arise and realize at all times that “life is happening FOR you, not TO you”. Most people become paralyzed in indecision or fear and become immobilized but the trick is to focus on the long term goal and realize that there will be bumps in the road, it won’t be an easy path, crap WILL happen….and that’s okay!

Here’s an inside secret I want to share….you can NEVER prepare yourself for life so stop wasting time researching and researching the “best” options, just jump in and do SOMETHING. If you mess up a little bit, that’s a good thing, you will learn and do it better next time. Life is not a game of “Perfection” and it’s time that PAs and Healthcare providers who want to explore non-clinical options stop focusing on how to prepare. As I tell all of my coaching clients, it’s not about the “How”, it’s all about the deep deep “Why”.

You can NEVER prepare yourself for life so stop wasting time researching and researching the “best” options, just jump in and do SOMETHING

Kasey D’amato, PA-C

Do you have room or opportunities to grow in your current leadership position?

Are you kidding? I think of about 10 new companies per day that I want to start! (LOL!) I have to hold myself back because at some point I do have to realize there isn’t enough minutes in the day for everything. But I literally see opportunities for myself, for my clients, for fellow entrepreneurs on a daily basis. I love a great brainstorm session with others who also see opportunities everywhere-it’s invigorating when you open your mind up to the possibilities.

Are you satisfied with your position? If you could do it all over again, would you?

100% Yes! I love what I do. I love helping other people. I love helping fellow PAs. I love balancing everything and I love the variety. If I could do it all over again, I would do it all…but sooner and bigger!

Do you think PAs are adequately educated about how to be a leader? If not, do you have any suggestions on what should be taught?

Yes but what sometimes discourages me is that many PA’s don’t recognize the leadership ability in themselves. PAs can sometimes perceive themselves as “the underdog” and that is a shame. PA’s really do have 99.9% of the skill set needed to be amazing leaders and it’s really about confidence level.  This recurring mindset was part of my inspiration to launch my new MASTER THE BOSSMINDSET Masterclasses in 2020. In the “Master the Negotiation Mindset” class I teach PAs how to think like a boss during negotiations and in the “Life and Career Mastery” class I teach PAs how to accelerate their clinical or non-clinical career and how to become strong leaders.  My mission is to inspire a new generation of strong PA leaders. 

Do you have any suggestions for newly graduated PAs interested in becoming leaders in their community?

Yes, set short and long term career goals and find a mentor. Know where you want your career to be in 5 years? 10 years? Who are the leaders in the PA community that you can follow and mirror what they do? Finding a mentor, even if it is a virtual mentor on social media, can be hugely helpful. Get a professional coach if you want to really advance as a leader.

I also think getting involved with PA organizations is hugely impactful and very helpful in learning how to be a leader and work with a team.

Volunteering in the community with educational workshops is another very powerful way to be perceived as a leader.

My passion, and mission, is to use my experiences as a PA, serial entrepreneur, and life and career coach to educate, inspire, and motivate the next generation to take massive action to live their life on a whole new level; to inspire people to think WAY outside of the box; and to motivate people to make massive changes if they are unhappy to find their true passion and their new exciting path to success.

Kasey D’Amato, PA-C

Anything else you’d like to add?

My passion, and mission, is to use my experiences as a PA, serial entrepreneur, and life and career coach to educate, inspire, and motivate the next generation to take massive action to live their life on a whole new level; to inspire people to think WAY outside of the box; and to motivate people to make massive changes if they are unhappy to find their true passion and their new exciting path to success. I also want the PA community to know that they are not alone- I was you once! I was a new grad, I was a clinical only PA, I started in the same place and I am in your corner, rooting for you every step of the way!

Do you offer a discount code for EmpoweredPAs readers?

Yes! They can use “EMPOWERED10” This offers:

  • 10% off any salary or negotiation consultations for anyone who needs help navigating the waters negotiating their salary or benefits package.
  • 10% off career coaching for PA’s who feel like they are at a crossroads whether they should make a change from clinical care to nonclinical care. Or how to balance doing both. Conflicted about their identity as a PA and doing something non-clinical- we can coach them through that process.

Where can people learn more?

kasey@certifiedpaconsulting.com

certifiedpaconsulting.com

kaseydamato.com

Instagram: @kaseydamato

Facebook: facebook.com/kaseydamato

Thanks to Kasey for sharing and all that she has done for EmpoweredPAs! Make sure to follow her on social media, and if you need any HELP as a PA, or feel stuck in your career, let her know we sent you!

-Courtney

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Courtney
Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.