Former music producer Brandi Rolfe forges new career in Park City
Brandi Rolfe is a born caregiver. A compassionate heart has defined her life since she was a young girl, growing up surrounded by animals on a small farm in Danville, California, near San Francisco.
"My mother thought I’d become a veterinarian, an obvious assumption to make about a little girl who collected and cared for every animal imaginable," Rolfe says.
The backyard menagerie included horses, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats and an assortment of other small animals.
"I was their sole caregiver and did everything from delivering kittens to mending lame horses. Being a kid, I was emotionally attached to them and it pained me to see them suffer."
She followed a winding road throughout her early career, while a deep yearning to care for others smoldered unfulfilled. That all changed when she moved to Park City six years ago with her husband David, pregnant with their first child. Since then, the 30-something mom has worked tirelessly to realize a distant dream. Later this summer, it will become a reality.
Rolfe began riding horses at age eight and competed in dressage through high school. She excelled in school and discovered other interests as she grew, ultimately admitting to herself she wasn’t going to be a veterinarian.
She attended Arizona State University in Tempe, where she studied dance, her second love. She took her degree in Theatre there in 1995. While in Tempe, she was heavily involved in the local music scene. From there, the move to Los Angeles for a job in the music industry seemed only logical.
"When I was offered a job at iconic A&M records, I jumped at it," she says.
Rolfe spent the next several years immersed in the glamorous, frenetic Los Angeles music scene. From 1997 through 2007, she was the executive assistant and artist manager at Sanctuary Music for legendary record producer Peter Asher. She coordinated recording projects like Wilson Phillips’ "California" and the Robin Williams Comedy Tour album and managed performers like Peter and Gordon, Donald Fagan of Steely Dan, Macy Gray and Courtney Love.
She met David Rolfe, a gifted guitarist and record producer, at an L.A. dinner party in 2003.
"He was collaborating with Asher on the Wilson Phillips album," she recalls. "He was there alone and I was with my boyfriend at the time. David and I started talking and we instantly hit it off. We had so much in common that I quickly realized he was right for me. I broke up with my boyfriend as gently as possible and David and I have been together ever since."
They were married in Lake Tahoe in 2005.
Though Rolfe was very successful in the music business, she felt something was missing.
"I had friends who were pursuing careers in healthcare and, suspiciously, I always felt twinges of jealousy," she admits. "I started volunteering at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles in the Labor and Delivery and ER departments and began taking classes in health science at UCLA."
She went on to certify there as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Rolfe was ready for a change.
"I had been working with Courtney Love for five years and was literally at the end of my rope," she laughs.
When the newlyweds moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2007, David continued to produce records while she took a job with a local hospital as an ambulance-based EMT.
"My years as an EMT were some of the toughest, yet most rewarding of my life. When we lost a teenage patient in spite of our best efforts to save him, it was a life-changing experience for me. I became really determined to develop my knowledge and skills further," she says.
When Rolfe became pregnant in 2009, the couple made another life-changing decision: they moved to Park City. They had both been here many times to ski and vacation with family.
"My parents moved here 12 years ago and we wanted to be close to grandparents and raise our son in a safe, family-friendly environment. Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is home, this is for good," she says.
David’s parents also moved to Park City recently. She says she’s grateful to be surrounded by extended family while rearing Alex, their thriving five-year-old.
Settling in Pinebrook, her husband continues to write and produce music from his home studio. Rolfe renewed her medical career here when she took a job assisting at Mountain Family Health, a busy family practice. She also volunteered at the People’s Health Clinic.
"Mountain Family and the clinic were both hugely important for my growth as a human being and in helping me figure out what kind of health provider I wanted to be," says Rolfe.
2014 she was back in school and recently graduated from the accelerated nursing program at the University of Utah. Last summer she began a grueling rotation working on the medical oncology floor at the Huntsman Cancer Center.
"I knew how demanding, complicated and challenging this floor was. Cancer treatment is complex and this job allows me to be in an intense environment and sharpen my critical thinking skills. It has exploded my level of practical experience," says Rolfe.
Most who had worked so hard and come so far would be content to call it good. Not so with this busy mom. Last spring she applied to the prestigious Doctorate Nurse-Practitioner program at the U of U. It’s a highly competitive program, accepting only a few students each year. When Rolfe got the news last month that she’d been accepted into the program, she was ecstatic.
"I really look forward to continuing my studies. My ultimate goal is to help people through quality health care, service, compassion and education. I want to acquire all the skills and experience I need in order to do that."
Rolfe has come full circle from the compassionate young girl shepherding her flock of critters on the family farm. Graduating from animals to people over three decades has been hard work, but well worth it, she says.
"While I do wish I had followed my passion earlier in life, I feel fortunate to have discovered it at all."
Favorite activities: tennis, skiing, running
Favorite foods: Mexican
Favorite music/performers: "I have very broad musical taste. David Rolfe is, of course, my favorite musician."
Favorite reading: "Since I’ve been back in school, all I ever read are medical journals."
Animal companions: Kobe, a 16-year-old cat
Bucket list: own another horse; vacation in the Maldives; go to Wimbledon and the French Open
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.