Q: What attracted you to Accolade?
A: At first, it was their mission. Accolade is a unique concierge healthcare company that helps people get the right care the first time. With a mission focused on helping improve health for millions of people, I couldn’t think of anything nobler. Frequently, when people need healthcare assistance, they are in a state of anxiety and vulnerability; they’re confused by the process, anxious about their situation or concerned for themselves or family members. To have the opportunity to help people at these difficult times in their lives is incredibly gratifying.
Accolade had an impressive foundation of experience and success, and was looking for a catalyst to elevate the company to its next level of growth. Technology will play a big part in that growth strategy. The healthcare space is one where the pace of innovation has accelerated almost exponentially, and if you are not constantly innovating, you run the risk of obsolescence. I was drawn to Accolade because of their mission. The opportunity to make such an important impact through innovation, and my experience in building companies, is how I hope to further develop innovation, growth and success here.
Q: How are you applying your experience, having built one of the world’s most successful SaaS companies, to Accolade?
A: Business success is derived from a number of factors. First and foremost, though, it’s about people and culture. By that, I mean our capacity to attract brilliant people who are excited about the mission, and the ability to retain a culture that is totally focused on a core set of values that guides how the company does business. It is about more than just profit and loss. It is also about people achieving their own internal vision for their lives. The best businesses have great people and cultures that those people cherish. This was my experience and everything at Accolade exists to make that happen.
The best leaders I have ever worked with focus on culture and people, do their best to remove obstacles for their people, and then get out of the way and let them run. That’s my job here and I am excited about it.
Q: What product and data science practices can further benefit Accolade’s technology and consumer experience approach?
A: The biggest trend happening across data science is personalization; the idea that I can use the information in the ecosystem to personalize your care. We can use this technology to stay continuously and immediately updated on the care experience with every individual, find the best provider, know the next steps in the care process, and anticipate what the potential outcomes will be for each individual. Personalization and matching are where data science applies in tangible ways with Accolade.
The Accolade model is based on a foundation of technology and data science. We combine an exceptional team of Health Advisors who work with individuals and their families whenever they need support. This team has a tremendous collection of data and information at their fingertips, from the latest science on how life factors influence behavior and healthcare decision-making, to health plan and claims data, to clinical information and a range of tools and services to recommend based on individual care needs. It’s a sophisticated model that works because of this combination of amazing people, science and technology, and it’s what separates Accolade from others in the field.
Q: What are some of the specific challenges you have successfully overcome and how will those experiences inform your approach to leading Accolade?
A: Every business goes through moments where it contemplates the changes required to scale to the next level. It is a constant process. To breakthrough, you have to be close to the market and listen to customers. You have to be willing to adjust and experiment with your offer and everything about the way you deliver it, because the market is voting with their dollars. Too often, entrepreneurs fall in love with their product and not with the market and the buyer. To succeed, we have to have a deep connection with our buyer.
Q: What are the benefits of working with a group like Carrick Capital Partners and how, if at all, did they influence your decision to join Accolade?
A: When you look at investors, you want people with operations experience and who understand the entrepreneurial journey. You want someone who has been through it. The people at Carrick check those boxes.
Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and painful. Sometimes you need a pat on the back, sometimes you need help thinking through things, and sometimes you need a push. Investors who come from an entrepreneurial background understand this.
Q: What are your goals for Accolade over the next five years in terms of both growth and also measurable impact on improving healthcare?
A: On a macro level, I’d like for us to impact the market enough so that no company would have their employees enter the healthcare process without a concierge system to help them. Healthcare is fragmented and complicated. Some of the biggest healthcare challenges and cost savings can come from supporting people throughout this process, helping them make better, more informed, more relevant decisions about their care. We need to influence the market to understand that effective support is a necessity and to realize that you won’t get good results and health outcomes without this approach. In five years I believe Accolade will be a thriving, growing, profitable business that will have impacted healthcare by establishing a concierge service as a core part of the healthcare ecosystem.
Q: What are you most excited about at Accolade?
A: I came here because I saw a company that wanted to change the world, and that is what I want to do. We are going to have to do incredible things that no one has done before. When we succeed, we can change the way the world approaches healthcare. That is what I wake up for, and I believe the same is true of everyone here. You can’t not be excited by the opportunity to change lives and make people’s lives better. It will be challenging, but there is enormous joy that comes from doing something so difficult, so important and so rewarding.