Winning Against All Odds
Emanate Health Foundation Board Trustee Pat Serio is a woman before her time whose success was won against all odds.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Serio had an exceptionally difficult childhood. “Until I was 33, I had to have water, crackers and a blanket at the end of my bed,” Pat recalled, “because my mother didn’t show up when I was hungry, cold or thirsty.” With a mother who suffered from a mental health disorder and was absent for most of her formative years, Pat’s father was granted sole custody of her and her brother in 1952, which was exceptionally rare at the time.
They moved to California when Pat was 15, and she enrolled in Covina High School. Ambitious from a young age, Pat was an honor roll student. She met and later married the boy next door at the age of 19 and gave birth to their son three years later. Thereafter, Pat was hired by Los Angeles Die Mold as an office assistant and soon learned how to run the business from the ground up. The couple later started a plastics molding business together, Serco Mold, when Pat was 31.
Then in 1983, her marriage ending, left with no health insurance or paycheck, both Pat's father and Aunt Gertrude – whom had been like a mother figure – passed away.
STRENGTH IN THE FACE OF HEARTBREAK
Despite each heartbreak, Pat summoned strength from the resilience modeled by her father and beloved aunt. “I finally had to turn and fight, instead of being the victim,” Pat recalled. “The company was my baby, too.”
That fight turned into a battle for the business that they had built together over 14 years. Pat successfully ended up buying her husband out of the business. During the proceedings, she recalled the judge repeating, “The wife is taking the business?” over and over in disbelief.
“When I took that company over, my feet didn’t touch the ground for at least two weeks,” shared Pat. “It’s such an exhilaration to win.” That triumph in 1985 would be the catalyst of many more in the years to come, while the business grew from just a few employees to upwards of 50.
For example, Pat recently published a book titled Lady You’ve Got Balls detailing her years as the only female CEO in the tooling molding industry and is now working on a second book recounting her tumultuous childhood.
A GENEROUS HEART
Driven by the turmoil she experienced as a child, her sense of empathy and faith, Pat gives generously of her time and resources to causes that touch her heart. "I was always sympathetic to everybody and grateful to be alive," explained Pat. "My prayer when I go to church is, 'Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings, and use me to thy purpose.'" Years before her success, Pat became aware of an organization that provides shelter for homeless children called Covenant House LA from a newspaper article and began donating $2 a month – all she could afford in 1968. Today she is a board member.
A devout Catholic, Pat also donates significantly to Saint Louise De Marillac Catholic Church in Covina and gives to the Salvation Army and dog shelters as well. “I was always sympathetic to everybody,” Pat shared. “I’ve been trying to rescue the whole world, but it’s a little more than one person can do.”
AN EXTENSION OF GENEROSITY
Emanate Health Foundation CEO Michelle Stoddard described Pat Serio as “one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met.” Her involvement with the Foundation Board is a natural extension of that generosity. Pat also serves on the Autumn Nocturne Planning Committee and donates funds and in-kind gifts through Autumn Nocturne.
Explaining her inspiration for contributing to Emanate Health, Pat relaid, “They are very professional; everything is well done. I like that it’s a self-sustaining entity.”
After all she has accomplished, we are grateful to have a warrior like Pat Serio in our corner, in support of Emanate Health.