Venicia Owens didn’t plan to become a medical lab technician.

“I kind of stumbled upon it,” she says, “though now I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”

Growing up in Chicago, Owens loved interior decorating and thought she would pursue a career in that field. But one day her cousin suggested that they both go to school to get certified as medical assistants. Her cousin told her, says Owens, “Let’s do it together, to motivate us, and this is something extra we can have under our belts.” Owens agreed, and they enrolled together.

During the program, one of Owens’ instructors told her, “You do so well with the lab portion of this course. I think you found your niche. You need to continue with this.”

Asked why she took so well to laboratory work, Owens attributes it to her attention to detail, a level of focus she always brings to lab work, ever mindful of the importance of a medical lab’s results.

“You’re dealing with people’s lives,” she says. “A lab test could determine the course of treatment for a patient. In this field, you have to care about that. You have to have that passion and that attention to detail. You have to care.”

From Chicago to Atlanta

After graduation, Owens started out working in the lab of a Chicago hospital. Then a series of events came together to bring her to Atlanta.

A mother of three children, she was going through a divorce when a friend who had moved to Atlanta called her up. The friend was about to have her 40th birthday, and she invited Owens to come visit for the party. Never having been to Atlanta before, Owens immediately fell in love with the city.

Back in Chicago, Owens applied for a job in the lab at Emory University Hospital. Two weeks later, Emory offered her a job. She flew back to Atlanta, “and the rest,” she says, “is history.”

A Collapsed Bridge Redirects Her to a New Opportunity

Owens worked for a few years at Emory, then took a job at Piedmont Hospital for a few years more. Then, in 2017, the infamous I-85 bridge collapse in Atlanta changed the course of her career.

As with many Atlantans during the months that followed the collapse, Owens found her daily commute caught up in massive gridlock. She was driving two hours each way to get to work. “I just couldn’t do the commute anymore,” she says.

So she looked around and noticed that LifeBrite Labs was headquartered much closer to her home. She reached out with her resume, and LifeBrite invited her in for an interview.

“When I walked through these doors and did that interview,” she says, “I swear something in my soul was like, ‘This is the place for me.’ The interview went well, and it just felt like home. I knew this is the place where I want to be.”

Owens was hired to work in the prep department, which receives the samples from the accessioners department and prepares them for LC-MS.

What Home Feels Like

“The people at LifeBrite are friendly and easy to get along with,” says Owens. “They make your day go by a lot faster.”

“Amber and Christian [Fletcher] are so supportive,” she says. “They’re all about growth. I love these guys. And working for a company with owners who are young and Black motivates me even more. I tease Amber. I tell her I’m not going nowhere. You’re going to have to drag me out of here, and I’m going to be pulling at your ankles.”

It all comes together to inspire and support that passion they all share: that commitment to help doctors save lives and improve the quality of life of their patients.

“My father has said to me,” says Owens, “if you love your job like it’s a hobby, that’s the job for you. And I honestly treat this job as a hobby. A hobby is something you love, something you enjoy doing. I love to decorate and do DIY projects. And I love doing my job.”

And here at LifeBrite Labs, we love having Owens on our team.

Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Laboratories, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early.