Who will enjoy this book?

This book shares my true-life story — the twists and turns of a flight nurse turned entrepreneur. None of it would be possible without the ups and downs of a challenging childhood, my Irish heritage, a fast-tracked nursing career, the adrenaline involved in rescue and evacuation, the highs and lows of launching a startup, and my experiences in global business. There is huge crossover appeal and many audiences that can benefit from this book!


If you are part of the flight community, you’ll be interested in how we developed medical kits, first aid training, and the “telemedicine” component of MedAire. We continue to support the health and safety of passengers worldwide with ongoing R&D.


If you are part of the nautical community, you’ll be interested in how we developed environment-specific medical kits and training for commercial vessels, yachts, and superyachts.


If you are a nurse, paramedic, or physician, you’ll be interested in how we introduced emergency telemedicine or “‘aeromedicine” to the aviation and maritime industries.


I’m a third-generation nurse and refer to nurses as “superheroes,” especially as front line workers during the COVID pandemic. If you are considering a career in nursing, emergency and critical care nursing, or flight nursing, I hope my story inspires you.


“Excerpted from the book — “Carl Schramm, author of The Entrepreneurial Imperative: How America’s Economic Miracle Will Reshape the World (and Change Your Life), believes in our “unparalleled skills as entrepreneurs” to impact “how our government, corporations, and nonprofits operate, but also our day-to-day lives as working Americans.” What an amazing book! I read it when it was first available in 2006 and completely agree that one of the rewards of living in America is the ability to apply our skills, ingenuity, and passion as entrepreneurs. We have the freedom to build, and build we have!”


What makes an exceptional corporation? What is corporate culture? I grew MedAire based on my personal values and ethics — very much a “handshake is a hug” philosophy and motto. Perhaps MedAire’s success will propel others onto a similar customer-focused and team-focused trajectory.

CEOs (emphasis on female CEOs)

It wasn’t always easy to navigate the corporate world, but my background as a flight nurse and director of flight personnel prepared me for a public role. In the 1980s, it really was rare for female entrepreneurs to launch startups and lead companies. Thus, the book has a unique appeal to women in leadership positions. I happened to operate within male-dominated industries and learned to dazzle at the podium and conduct business in board rooms without losing a sense of who I was and where I came from.

Technology (emphasis on women in technology)

I’ve been called an inventor, innovator, pioneer, etc. Today I wholeheartedly support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) training and careers for all students, and especially female students.

Academics (recommended reading)

There is a learning component in this book. Case studies can be extracted and syllabi developed around the MedAire story. I’m available as a guest lecturer and enjoy speaking with professors and administrations of higher learning institutions about the educational value of the book. Academia bulk rates are available.

Inventors (emphasis on female inventors)

Those who think outside the box might enjoy this book. It is filled with ideas, inspiration, and “light bulb” moments, as well as opportunities ripe for the picking!

Women empowerment

It is possible for a flight nurse to found a global company — I’m living proof! Gone are the days when corporate reality favored one gender over the other. Today, it’s possible to accomplish whatever you put your mind to…and I’ve written this book to encourage women to do just that.

Free enterprise proponents

Excerpted from the book — “When I hear politicians downplay the entrepreneurial impact on our nation, I remember the long nights I laid awake, praying that I could meet payroll and wondering how to fund the next round of innovations — innovations that would improve the safety and security of millions of travelers. Many small businesses become large businesses because company leaders put in the sweat equity. No one should discount the immense effort it takes to invent and create, provide jobs and benefits, and (especially) make the world a better place through vital products and services. Yes, entrepreneurs have always been the builders. Free enterprise has always been the path to opportunity and invention.”


Excerpted from the book — “I consider my time at the ballot box a sacred duty… When high profile people announce that they will leave this country if their candidate of choice doesn’t win, I know they haven’t spent time in a socialist or communist country. I have. I can assure you that people in those countries do not have the freedoms we enjoy. Those oppressed citizens are monitored, rationed, and yearn to be in our shoes, here in the United States, where there are opportunities to improve the lives of our families and ourselves. If the oppressed citizens build a business, it can be taken over by the government. If they dissent, they can be thrown into a gulag. Traveling abroad opened my eyes to the blessings of the “Land of the free and the home of the brave.” I wanted to kiss the tarmac every time I returned home.”

Survivors of challenging childhoods

Excerpt — “A dark and frightening element lurked in my childhood, a convoluted story, as you’ll see. It may sound somewhat choppy, a bit out of sync, and that’s because the dysfunction colors the memories. So, bear with me as I do my best to share these recollections, some still suppressed (I’m sure), of a family that faced many trials and tribulations.”


I’m fascinated with my Irish great-grandparents, Timothy Sullivan and Kate Burke, who immigrated from County Cork, voyaged to New York, and crossed the country to settle in San Francisco, California. Thanks to them, I’m third generation Irish and so proud of this heritage. My book includes my great-grandparents’ story, or as much as I could find. Genealogist Joanna Cicely Fennel came to my aid to help piece together the puzzle. If you’ve heard of the television shows Who Do You Think You Are? and My Family Secrets Revealed, her name might be familiar. But the real draw was her credentials — an Irish-born member of the Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Working mothers

“Excerpted from the book — “As a working mother and passionate marketer, I mapped each continent, country, and city to coordinate my itinerary and conserve airfare costs, always budget-conscious. But I was also “motherhood-conscious” —  concerned that I had to leave my boys for weeks at a time. You bet I experienced heaping doses of working mother guilt — and then some. I’m sure those years were a bit of a blur to my sons as they finished high school and headed to college, and I also had to adjust to these absences myself. I missed my boys, and they missed me. I wondered how traveling fathers handled the absences. Did they pine for their children and worry from afar as I did? After all, it’s pretty typical that fathers travel for a living. No one raises an eyebrow. But it’s unusual for a mother to do so — a seemingly unnatural separation. And yet, lives, literally, hung in the balance. There was no other company that safeguarded the traveling public like MedAire — airline crews and maritime crews as well. And so, I followed my calling to bring MedAire’s safety net to these sectors.”

Available Now!

One Life Lost, Millions Gained

The Story of a Flight Nurse Turned MedAire CEO

As a flight nurse, all Joan ever wanted to do is save lives. In 1984, the loss of a young patient in the remote mountains of Arizona compelled her to pioneer global telemedicine — quite a feat in those days. As an unlikely CEO, Joan found a way to connect ground-based emergency physicians to flight crews from anywhere in the world — a safety net for you, the traveler, during medical emergencies. This entrepreneurial story shares the passion and sacrifice required to build a legacy, which continues today through the international company Joan envisioned and her numerous industry awards and honors.