“What’s the Future of Chiropractic look like?” An Interview with Dr. Edwin Cordero, President of Sherman College!
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Dr. Tabor: Hello, and welcome ladies and gentlemen to Practice Growth Strategies. I’m Dr. Tabor Smith. And I am honored to have our guest that we have here today, Dr. Edwin Cordero, President of Sherman Chiropractic College. Dr. Cordero, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us. We really appreciate it.
Dr. Cordero: Absolutely, Dr. Tabor. For me, it’s always an honor and a pleasure that I can be able to share a little bit of what my experiences are and my wisdom with not only the chiropractors, but perspective students or students that are interested in trying to find out about chiropractic anyhow. So thank you for the opportunity to allow me to be able to share with you this morning.
Dr. Tabor: Absolutely. Awesome. And we do have a lot of students that listen to our podcast. We also have a lot of doctors. I know that everybody listening, as well as myself, we’ve heard a lot of great things about you. And I’m interested in your story. Why are you a chiropractor and why do you do what you do. And I’m also personally interested, how did you become President of Sherman Chiropractic College?
Dr. Cordero: This is a long story, and I’ll try to give you the short version of it. But I’ve been married for 33 years to my beautiful wife, Debbie, and have two beautiful children.
Dr. Tabor: Congratulations.
Dr. Cordero: Thank you so much. I have two beautiful children. My daughter Michelle is 30 years old and she works here at Sherman College with me. And she married a chiropractor about seven to eight months ago. So you know, trying to keep it all in the family. I have a son that’s 29 years old, and he’s a worship pastor living out of Longview, Texas. And he’s out there with his beautiful wife Bailey. Our first grandbaby [inaudible 00:01:29]. So I’m real excited.
Dr. Tabor: Congratulations for that, too.
Dr. Cordero: Thank you. I’m too young to be a grandpa, but, you know, sometimes that’s what happens.
But you know, it’s funny, Dr. Tabor, about 24 years ago, my wife had an injury. My wife is an entomologist, and she was doing some investigative work for the State of Florida at the time and she had an injury. She had a slip and fall. And unfortunately, she had some issues and challenges with her back at the time.
I was totally clueless of what chiropractic was, even though I wanted to start investigating about chiropractic. But this kind of was the drop that kind of overflowed the cup. I finally said, “Well, you know what, my wife went and got some help.”
Her chiropractor at the time was a chiropractor that really didn’t come from a principle, philosophical subluxation-based types of practice, but he helped her. And I was so impressed at how quickly she responded to chiropractic care that I went and I sat down with this chiropractor, and sat down with him and had a conversation.
And through that conversation, I realized that, “Wow, this is something that I can do. This is something that interests me. This is something that I can help people. This is something that I can give back to the community. I can become a professional and be able to take care of my family.” So it was a win-win-win type of situation, and I started to pursue.
Well, unfortunately, it took me about, I don’t know, eight or nine years because of life to actually take the step forward. And in 1989, I made a commitment. I said, “That’s it. I’m going to go to chiropractic school.” I checked out Life Chiropractic College because at the time, I was living in West Palm Beach, Florida and it was the closest college to me. Now, that’s a major mistake and I’m going to tell you why.
Now, students with the experience that I have, I realize that students, they pick schools based upon geographic locations instead of picking schools that will give them the value that are going to give them science, the art and the philosophy and the business acumen to make them a great chiropractor so they can go out there and use their gift of chiropractic to take care of their community and take care of humanity.
So I went ahead and picked a school. I was fortunate enough that at that time Dr. Sid Williams was still at the school, was at the helm of the school. But Dr. Williams obviously taught us a lot of things. And what was great about it was that I became a chiropractor. I was able to get out into the community.
I went back to West Palm Beach, Florida where I had a successful high-volume practice for 24 years. So being in West Palm Beach, Florida for 24 years really, really, really gave me the love for chiropractic.
I started getting invited, Dr. Tabor, to go speak around the country, especially the US at the beginning, and then internationally, and speaking of philosophy of chiropractic. And so, I traveled all over the world doing that. And two years into my traveling schedule, I got a call.
And the call was from the Board of Trustees of Sherman College of Chiropractic. And they called me up and said, “Look, we have a position that’s opening up. We’ve been watching you. There are several other people that we’re looking at as well. Would you be interested in doing an interview and being able to apply for this position?”
Well, Dr. Tabor, you can understand this, you get a phone call out of nowhere and somebody is telling you that, that they’re interested. And I’m like, “Is this a joke? Is this true?” I really didn’t know how to take the call, so I kind of hung up on the guy. And so he calls me back up again. He said, “No, no, no, seriously. I’m part of the Board of Trustees and you’re one of the people that we’re interested in. Would you be interested in applying?”
So I’m a man of faith. So I started praying about it with my wife, and I came to the conclusion that, you know what, this is something that I think that I have something to offer. What it is at the moment, I wasn’t sure. But I figured, you know what, why not? I have a successful practice. I have a successful marriage. I know how to handle patients. I have a high-volume practice. So I said, “You know what, I’m going to give it a shot.”
Well, I got the opportunity to apply. They went through the whole process. And what’s interesting about it is out of 20 people that applied, I made the final three. And this is the interesting thing, Dr. Tabor. I was the only one out of the 20 that really didn’t have the experience to run a school. I didn’t have the academic knowledge. I didn’t handle budgets of multi-millions of dollars.
But to me, I really didn’t care because I knew that I was a professional. I knew that I handled a successful office. I knew that I was ex-military, so I had the dedication and commitment to do the things and see the projects through, and I felt that there was a lot of great qualities that gave me an opportunity.
So out of the three finalists, they went through this process and lo and behold, I was selected the President of Sherman College of Chiropractic. So it’s not what you can control, it’s things that are out of your control. And in this situation, I had no control over the opportunity to even apply. I had no control over the experiences that I had.
And Sherman College, at the time, was looking for somebody that was outgoing, somebody that can go out and help recruit prospective candidates, that can go out and be the face of Sherman College and represent.
And we went from 165 students in January of 2013 and this past quarter, we had 400. So in three years, we almost doubled and almost tripled the numbers of new perspective students. We used to recruit in five different states. Now, we’re all over the United States.
We’re in Puerto Rico. We’re in Costa Rica. We’re in China. We’re all over the globe right now trying to create awareness and bringing principle chiropractic to those individuals that maybe would never hear what principle chiropractic was all about or nor would they hear what Sherman College was all about.
So it’s a great story and I left a lot of details out. But maybe for another time, we can have a more in-depth. But it was just a pleasure to be able to serve at a higher level, and I went from adjusting spines to adjusting minds, and it’s a pleasure and it’s an honor. These three years have been an amazing journey and I’m looking for many years of being able to continue to be at the helm of Sherman College.
Dr. Tabor: Awesome. I actually love that story. And I commend the people at Sherman College. I think every president should have . . . that should be the requirements, is number one, principle. To me, I think that’s so important. And I think that’s probably why you grew so quickly, because that just draws students when you’re passionate and you’re principled about chiropractic. I know that science is highly important. But I believe principled is one of the most important things.
And then also, I think a president should have a level of success in practice, of course in life, but have had that experience and that success, and you bring that to being President at Sherman. And for that, I think the students are very fortunate to have you.
And as well, I also agree. I think that choosing a chiropractic college is one of the most important decisions in your career or your choice to be a chiropractor, because it does matter. I’m actually a graduate of Parker. And I researched and I didn’t just go to Parker. I’m actually from New Mexico. And I didn’t just go to Parker because it was one of the closest, but I asked a lot of the chiropractors around and at that time, that was the school that they recommended.
Dr. Cordero: Right.
Dr. Tabor: So for students listening, go to different chiropractors, people in your community or even outside of your community that you find that are successful chiropractors and talk to them and get their opinion. And by the way, if you’re listening to this podcast, they’re already doing something right, they’re listening to Dr. Cordero. And so, thank you for sharing that story with us.
And moving into chiropractors who are in practice right now, we always try to give them some tips or suggestions. And I know you having success in chiropractic and you probably have a million things you could share with a chiropractor right now, but give us one of the most important things you would say when someone’s striving for success in practice, what would you tell him?
Dr. Cordero: Well, that’s a trick question, Dr. Tabor. I’m going to why. Success means different things for different people. So what’s successful for me is not necessarily success for you or for somebody else. So number one, you have to determine what success is for you. Is success for you, money?
And then, so therefore, you work your practice based upon having money as the primary objective. Is your success is that you want to help people? And then, so therefore, that’s how you determine your success, by the amount of people that you’re able and willing to help.
So number one, you have to determine what success is. So let’s assume that success is being able to take care of people in your community with the gift of chiropractic, being able to communicate this amazing message of chiropractic, which is the science, the art, and the philosophy that we all understand and we all love.
And then we can go into our local communities and be able to shout from the mountaintops and say, “Listen. We’re here. We have the answers. We can help you. You don’t have to suffer unnecessarily. You don’t have to go and do extracurricular things like physical therapy or surgery as a first choice. Why don’t you give chiropractic an opportunity and allow us to be able to teach you what chiropractic is all about.”
So number one, I think that one of the things that makes us successful is the fact that we can communicate the message of chiropractic. But to be able to communicate, we need to understand what chiropractic is all about. We need to understand where we came from. One of the things that I do that is I travel all over the world speaking to chiropractors and chiropractic students.
A lot of people don’t know about our history. They don’t know about the 33 principles. They don’t know anything about our forefathers that that allow us to be able to practice principled chiropractic the way that we want to practice today. And we forget about the people that went before us. We stand on the shoulders of giants.
So as a practitioner, I have to understand that there were sacrifices that were made to allow me to be able to do what I do. Therefore, I’m not going to waste my time. I’m going to communicate the truth. I’m going to communicate the principles to my patients so they can understand and they can bring in their family members and they can bring in their neighbors and their coworkers and the people that they go to the church and worship with, so our community can become more effective.
I need to be a good communicator. So If I’m not a good communicator, then I have to find somebody that can teach me how to communicate. If I don’t know about [inaudible 00:12:17] chiropractic, then I need to go back and read, or I need to go get educated about our history.
And then we need to have a purpose and a passion. This is not something that a lot of professions you don’t get excited about. I’m sure somebody that’s selling bread at the supermarket doesn’t get excited to get up every morning, there’s no sense of purpose and passion. But in chiropractic, you need to have a sense of purpose and passion. You need to have a “why.” And once you have that “why,” you’re able to get up every single day. You’re able to tell the story to as many people as possible.
And you don’t stop and make a justification to those people that don’t want to participate in your office. You move on to the next person. And what’s going to happen is that you’re going to be that person in your community that people are going to want to search you out because they know that you stand for something bigger than yourself, that you have a sense of purpose and passion, that you can communicate. And more importantly, that you can deliver the goods, that you can make the adjustment when it’s necessary and not to give the adjustment when it’s not necessary.
A lot of people are abusing. They think that they need to justify to the patients that they need to adjust them so they can get paid. You know what, I’d rather that a patient is clear, that their bodies function at 100%, and that I don’t have to adjust them, that they’re clear. That’s the objective.
So I know I kind of gave you a couple of different things, but I think they’re all tied in to the same thing, purpose, passion, clarity, and certainty, so that way, you can become the best chiropractor that you want to be.
Dr. Tabor: Absolutely. I 100% agree with you. In fact, you reminded me of an audio that I listened to recently from Tony Robbins. And he abbreviates it RPM and he says you’ve got to know what success is. You’ve got to know the results that you want to get. Once you know those results, you’ve got to know why. Because if you don’t have a big enough “why,” you’ll never reach those results. And then the M was the map, you know, that’s when you get to planning and you get to, you know, scheduling out your future.
And so I have another question that will move us, what you just said, will move us directly into that question really well, how does a chiropractor, you mentioned learning how to communicate, maybe learning our history, learning how to get passionate about chiropractic, what are you doing now? Maybe some different things you can share with us. I also follow you on social media, so I know you’re at a DE seminar here recently?
Dr. Cordero: That’s correct.
Dr. Tabor: Are those some of the things that you suggest a chiropractor do to find that ability to communicate and with passion?
Dr. Cordero: Well, I’m going to share something and a lot of people are going to be alarmed. I think that what happens is that in all our chiropractic colleges across the country, there’s something always lacking, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the school is not teaching, but there’s something lacking. And a lot of times, the students need to be proactive, and the doctors when they graduate from our institutions, need to be proactive and try to find out what is it that they’re lacking.
For an example, one of the things that I did when I started Life Chiropractic College back in 1989, what I did was I started attending dynamic essentials. At that time, Dr. Sid Williams and Nell Williams started this seminar where they would bring people from all over the world and they would teach them a principle. And the principle is loving, giving and serving out of your abundance expecting nothing in return.
And a lot of people confused the loving, giving and serving expecting nothing in return as giving things away, and that’s not what that means. What it means is that people need to understand what chiropractic is. They need to be proactive in their care. And you as the doctor of chiropractic, you need to be able to communicate, like I said a few minutes ago.
In the Bible, it says you should never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. So in chiropractic, if we have a basic fundamental principle that the right hand is the loving, giving and serving hand, then the left hand becomes the business hand.
So we’re all in business. We’re entrepreneurs. And therefore, we love our patients and we want to give and serve them with chiropractic, but we have to run a business. And to be a successful business, you need to have somebody that can manage that business and have that business acumen.
So in my situation, personally, I was the loving, giving and serving part of my organization, and my wife, who was my office manager, was the businessperson. She was the one that came up with the plan. She was the one that collected the plan. She was the one that sold the plans and shared the plans with our patients that came to see us.
So we learned 90% of what we did in practice from Dynamic Essentials. So there’s seminars out there that’ll provide you with the support. They’ll provide you with the know-how. They’ll provide you with a coming from the heart aspect that you need to go and search so you’re able to be able to go out there and become proficient at what we do as doctors of chiropractic.
Some people come out of school and have very little business acumen. So therefore, that’s something that you need to fortify. Some people come out and they’re very weak in their techniques. So you need to then go to some technique gurus and be able to learn that technique portion of it.
Some people are very weak on the business model. So then you need to learn how to run a business, so you need to go and pursue that. And that’s why one of the things that we’ve been very successful here at Sherman College is that we’re including these things in our curriculum.
So now our students, when they graduate, they have the certainty and the technique. They have the certainty of being able to deliver the message. And they have the certainty of the business acumen, because we have a Practice Success Program that we’ve implemented from Quarter 1 through Quarter 14, depending at your level of understanding.
We have a consulting group that comes out and helps our students to become the best that they can. So I would definitely encourage people that if you’re looking for some answers, if you’re looking for a group of people that can give you support, you need to look at what’s out there.
For me, Dynamic Essentials. New Beginnings out of New Jersey was another organization that’s been very, very helpful in my growth as a professional. And I know for a fact that both are principled organizations that are there with their members and the people that participate in the groups.
Anywhere between 300 to 600 or 700 people that attend these events that are much more successful maybe than what I was when I first started. And I learned from the masters. So if I wanted to learn business, I spoke to so-and-so. If I wanted to learn technique, I spoke to the other so-and-so, if I wanted to learn about communication.
So I think it’s essential that we belong to these type of organizations that are going to create a movement and help us to become better doctors of chiropractic and serve the communities that we’re blessed to be able to serve.
Dr. Tabor: Absolutely. And I’ve heard wonderful, wonderful things about those organizations and those seminars that you just mentioned. And you it’s funny, you talked about your wife, very similar for me and my wife. My wife’s a chiropractor, actually.
But when I first started, I started really small in my own office, and I was basically the only person in there. I didn’t have a CA. And my wife was pregnant. So we had our first son, and so she was at home. But she said, “I have to get back in the office as soon as I can. Dr. Tabor keeps giving all of his care away.” You can’t keep the doors open when I learned, when I’m trying to give everything away.
Dr. Cordero: Well, and you know what the funny part about that, if I could interrupt for a second, is the fact that that’s what makes us great human beings is that we have a heart to serve people.
Dr. Tabor: Yeah.
Dr. Cordero: That’s a great chiropractor. If you have that heart that you’re willing to give it away for free and you’re still okay with it, that makes you an awesome chiropractor. But as far as a businessman, it makes us a weak businessman or businesswoman. So we need that right hand and we need that left hand, and we can’t allow both hands to intermingle.
We need to be that loving, giving and serving individual. And then we need to have somebody, whether it’s your spouse or whether it’s your office manager. Or if it’s one of your chiropractic assistants that’s trained to be able to handle the financial component of it and that balances us and allow us to be able to handle taking care of the people and serving them and be able to be great businesspeople at the same time.
Dr. Tabor: Absolutely. Well, let me ask you one final question. It is another tough question. But I think you’d be a good person to answer this. What do you see for the future of chiropractic, and what are your concerns and what are you trying to do? What do we need to do as chiropractors to help ensure the future of chiropractic?
Dr. Cordero: That is a phenomenal question. I’m going to be real honest and I’m going to give you some information that maybe some people don’t want to hear. But you know what, unless we confront the challenges, we can’t move forward in our profession. Our profession has gotten lazy throughout the years. And so what’s happening is this.
You’re a great chiropractor, Dr. Tabor. And in your community, you take care of your people and you’re ultra, ultra busy, and use high-volume practice, and you’re sharing the message. But guess what, that is not enough. We need to understand the whole organization of chiropractic, how does this work.
So first of all, students need to go to a chiropractic institution that’s going to teach them the science, the art, and the philosophy, that they get the business acumen, that they have their “why.” And then they can take action steps in their communities to be able to better serve their communities. And then we need to have the practitioners that are out there to understand and realize that, yes, you’re busy in your community and you’re making a difference.
But guess what, the majority of chiropractors out there that don’t have a “why,” that don’t have a purpose, that don’t have a passion, are not practicing chiropractic. They do everything but chiropractic, and we’re creating confusion amongst the population.
People think that chiropractic is massage. People think that chiropractic is physical therapy. People think that chiropractic is some type of orthopedic devices. People think that chiropractic is acupuncture because a lot of chiropractors that are not making it, then they go to try to implement things that are not chiropractic to survive from a financial perspective.
So you may be super busy in your office, but there’s 10 or 12 or 15 chiropractors, that are not doing what they’re supposed to do. So there’s people that don’t know what we do. So as chiropractors, we need to take responsibility and say, “Well, guess what, I’m busy in my practice. I’m going to mentor students that come into my office to be able to see, so hopefully, they can get excited about chiropractic.”
And when they graduate, they’re able to duplicate, to a certain point, the success that they saw in your office or in my office or some other chiropractor’s successful office as well. So we have a responsibility. I have a responsibility to teach the students and to ensure that they’re getting their education and they’re prepared. You as a practitioner has a responsibility to the community, but to mentoring students.
Did you know, Dr. Tabor, that in the 1800s, when our profession started in 1895, the majority of those people that went into chiropractic, it was because they had miracles happen to themselves or to members of their families through chiropractic?
Dr. Tabor: Right.
Dr. Cordero: Today, students come to school because they want to make money and they want to have a title of doctor.
Dr. Tabor: Right.
Dr. Cordero: They have no sense of purpose and passion. And so, schools are graduating a lot of chiropractors that are not sharing this message. So you as a practitioner, principled chiropractor, you, your wife and anybody that’s listening, we have a responsibility to mentor our students, to be involved at the school.
Maybe you can come and talk to our schools and talk to our students so our students can see what success looks like, they can hear success, they can touch success, and then get motivated so when they get out we can then perpetuate this principle , having principle subluxation-based chiropractors that are out there.
And then we need to support the trade organizations that are like-minded. Why give money to trade organizations that are not really going to help our cause and principle chiropractic? So if you’re giving money to trade organizations, they’re representing the cartel and therefore, your money is not going to ensure that principle chiropractic, subluxation-based chiropractic, could be perpetuated.
So we have a responsibility to support these trade organizations that are congruent with our message, with our vision, and what we want to see in our profession. And if the schools can teach the students and then the practitioners could mentor and come and speak to them and teach them the wisdom and the experience that they had, and then we support these trade organizations that are congruent with our vision and mission and purpose, then chiropractic is going to move in the right direction. So right now, those things are not happening, Dr. Tabor.
And as I travel the world and I speak to chiropractors and trade organizations and I speak to students, I realize that we’re at fault. So we need to take action. I started to take action by creating global impact in chiropractic.
We’re in Puerto Rico. We’re in Costa Rica. We’re in China. We’re in different places around the globe, not because of the ego of “Oh, Sherman College is doing these things.” It’s that I want to perpetuate chiropractic by creating awareness in places that they don’t know what chiropractic is.
So we need to start becoming proactive and joining the movements that are moving forward our principle chiropractic and not kick back and feel successful and feel “I made the money I need to make, so I’m okay.” We need to take responsibility. And anywhere that I travel, that’s the message that I bring.
I see our future of chiropractic being very bright, very good as long as we’re graduating students that understand what we do, why we do it, and they can be become contagious to the vision of bringing principle chiropractic to every man, to every woman, to every child, and adjust them when necessary.
And as long as we can do that, I think that this profession is moving in the right direction, maybe 20 years from now, maybe 30 years from now. And that’s why it’s so important that you leave a legacy, that I leave a legacy, and anybody that’s listening, that we leave a legacy by ensuring that our prospective students and students that are going through chiropractic college are being supported, Dr. Tabor.
Dr. Tabor: Man, Dr. Cordero, I can tell from your answer to that question that you’re actively and passionately, actually, working on the answer to the future of chiropractic, and I appreciate that. In fact, I have to tell you, that’s probably one of the best answers I’ve ever heard.
It reminds me that I was fortunate enough early, when I went to school to have some very strong mentors. And to be able to shadow, to be able to even an associate, a first-year associate that I did in a highly, highly successful practice. That shaped me into being able to be successful in my practice. I actually can contribute a lot of my success to having that mentor and seeing that successful practice run.
So just because of your answer, I’m going to open my office to a lot more students now because I can see that that is a solution for the future. So I do appreciate that answer to that question. And I appreciate this interview. It has absolutely been a beautiful interview with you. I appreciate your time being here. And to close, is there anything that you want to tell us about, anything we can reach out, some information on how we can find more about what you’re doing?
Dr. Cordero: Absolutely. First of all, you can go to our website, which is www.sherman.edu and get any information of all the activities and all the things that are happening here at Sherman, and how people can be part of.
We have this major event that we do, it’s our Cadillac, if you want to put it from that perspective, event that we do, and it’s our Lyceum. And we actually do, and this fun, Dr. Tabor, we actually do our Lyceum, which is our homecoming. We do our Lyceum under the big tent. We have a big white tent that fits about 600 or 700 people on campus.
We have people coming from all over the world, and they come and they listen to over 32 speakers that have been invited from all over the world. We got speakers coming in from New Zealand and Germany and from all over the world that are going to come and participate and share their wisdom with our attendees.
So that Lyceum is coming up at the end of the month, April, I’m sorry, April 28 through the 30th. And if anybody is interested in coming and rubbing shoulders with the most successful chiropractors around the world, you can do that. But you can go right to our site www.sherman.edu and be able to find out what we’re doing here at Sherman College and how you can participate.
And if anybody wants to send me a message, I’m going to give you my personal address. When I was in practice, one of the things that I did, Dr. Tabor, is that I would always give my cell number to all my patients. I’m all in. It’s not I’m done at 5:00 and I go home and I don’t want to know about my patients till the next day. So on my business card, I would always have my cell number because I want people to be able to get a hold of me at whatever time. I’m all in to help you.
So when I became president, I’m all in. And when a prospective student comes in, when anybody comes into my office, I give them my personal e-mail because I want them to have access to me. And therefore, if there’s anybody that wants any questions or anybody that has any comments or if anybody wants to invite me to speak at their event or their organization, I am available and willing to help the profession.
My personal e-mail, ecordero, C-O-R-D-E-R-O, email@example.com. That’s my personal e-mail, and anybody can get a hold of me if they have any questions or any comments that they would like to share with me.
Dr. Tabor: Awesome. And I will put all this information to make sure it gets in the show notes for everybody. And just to reiterate, I think everybody should be listening to more audio, doing more podcasts because it’s easy to get into your system. But there’s nothing like being at an event in person, like you said, rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest. So I encourage everybody to get out and research more live events that you can be to. Be at Lyceum. Go to sherman.edu and look for more information.
And Dr. Cordero, thank you again, so much for being here. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I have very deep respect for what you do.
Dr. Cordero: Thank you so much, Dr. Tabor. Thank you for the invitation. I’m honored and I’m blessed to spend the time with you and your audience, towards your podcast. So thank you so much for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.
Dr. Tabor: Awesome. Thanks.
Dr. Cordero: Bye-bye, now.