Tragedy to Triumph: An Interview with our CEO, Delia Passi

Breast Cancer Survivor Inspired to Create Women’s Choice Awards

When Delia Passi accompanied her friend to a mammogram appointment in 2003, she never dreamed that her own life would be changed. Her best friend was nervous about the mammogram and asked Delia to accompany her for moral support. Delia agreed to ride along and decided to also have a mammogram. Delia was 42, feeling great, and had no reason to believe that the mammogram would not be normal. She assured her friend that there was no reason to worry about the routine procedure.

As it turned out, Delia was only half correct. Her friend’s baseline mammogram came back normal. Delia’s scan did not. It detected “suspicious calcifications” deep in her breast. She underwent a surgical biopsy and a cluster of small cancers was detected. She awoke from the anesthesia to a cold statement from her doctor – “You have cancer.”

Passi remembers, “That was the moment my life changed. I didn’t have friends with cancer, or relatives with cancer, so I didn’t know where to begin. I turned to the internet, which was a big mistake. It was scary as hell to read about my life expectancy in statistical averages. It was a very painful and emotional time. I tried to act strong, but inside I felt like I was dying – literally.”

Overwhelmed with the diagnosis and the flood of information, much of it incorrect, Delia moved from appointment to appointment, feeling lost. “I just went where I was told. At that time there was no resource to empower women to learn the difference between an accredited breast center and an imaging center with no oversight. How was I to know if their equipment was not up to date with the latest technology? I didn’t understand the difference between a board certified radiologist who specializes in detecting breast cancer and an imaging technician.Because I had no way of identifying quality care, I ended up with two lumpectomies and finally a mastectomy due to poor imaging or unskilled technicians. It was torture.” Passi started thinking there had to be a better way for women to deal with such a life-changing diagnosis. Women needed a place to go for trusted  and recommended sources of health care. When she could not find that better way, she decided to create one. That is when she decided to create the Women’s Choice Awards.

The idea that began as a way for women to advise other women about health issues has transformed into a vehicle for a variety of referrals. “Our mission is to give women a collective voice so that they can help each other identify brands, products and services that deserve her loyalty and referrals. We are a trusted referral source for women who are searching for the most recommended hospitals, businesses, brands, and services.” Since it began in 2010, the Women’s Choice Award has become a symbol of excellence. When a woman sees the Seal she knows that other women across the nation have rated that business as a business they trust. Delia Passi has not only given women a voice, but has also empowered them to help each other to make better and informed decisions. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had no idea where to turn for advice. Those days are gone.” The Women’s Choice Awards now cover not only healthcare but also products used in daily life such as financial services, automotive, pet care, home products and services, food, beverages, wellness, and products for babies and children. Powered by women, for women, the Women’s Choice Awards was named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies for the last three consecutive years. While the diagnosis of breast cancer is not something we would wish on any woman, Delia Passi certainly took tragedy and turned it into triumph – for all women!