Michael has a new job. On Friday, October 8th, I logged out of my Deloitte Consulting laptop for the last time, and 17 days later, I logged onto my new MacBook Air for Hello Heart as a Director of Business Development and Partnerships.
In this post, I want to provide an update on what got me to this point, how I made the decision, what I’m excited about in the new role, and what I hope to achieve.
Why I left management consulting
I’ve written before about how consulting changed drastically as a result of the pandemic, and at least in my opinion, how those changes were mostly negative. Combine that with an unnecessary stress that I couldn’t quite shake, and an extremely hot job market, and I began looking for something different. As I started to develop criteria around my next move, I was able to narrow the list down to only a few items:
Transition into tech
This didn’t mean I wanted to become a software engineer or had to go and work at Facebook. Instead, I wanted to make sure I was going to a technology-forward company, a place that was agile, could move quickly, and had the opportunity to scale fast. Using a tactical example to explain what the work might look like: I no longer wanted to spend any time aligning boxes on a PowerPoint slide just to make the consulting presentation look good. At the end of the day, any company born in the last decade needs to essentially be a tech company in order to compete, so that was where I wanted to land.
This is closely tied to #1. The ability to move quickly, and be agile enough to pivot when needed, is easiest to accomplish when you’re still small. The benefits of a small company are plenty, but I was mostly excited about the opportunity to help build something, create new processes where they either didn’t exist or I didn’t like the way they were setup, and work closely with leadership (which is much harder to get exposure to at a large company given my experience).
Work in HEALTHcare
Outside of Arnold Tutoring and serving gyros at Park Tower Family Restaurant, my career has been focused in the US healthcare industry. What’s funny about that experience, is while I’ve learned a lot about the system, the major players, how health insurance is priced, the operations of health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and life sciences companies, I have almost never worked on making people healthier. The system is built to treat symptoms rather than causes and I’ve never been able to combine my passion for health and wellness with my actuarial and business skills to help people IMPROVE their health. My consulting gigs were centered around helping pharmaceutical companies strategize to sell more drugs, or advising health insurers on how to save 10% on their pharmacy claims. It’s not to say that all of these organizations are evil - it’s a competitive business and much of the work of their work does save lives (through scientific breakthroughs in medicine, or paying insurance claims for low-income families), however I felt there was way too much untapped potential to treat underlying conditions through lifestyle changes. So, if I was going to stay in healthcare, I wanted to truly work on something that, as it grew, meant it would be improving the health of more and more people.
How the opportunity arose, and how the move occurred
While looking across the health tech landscape for a few months, I never came across Hello Heart until one of their recruiters reached out to me on LinkedIn. I figured I’d take the interview for some practice and to learn a bit more about the company. Four interviews later I found myself signing an offer letter and fairly drastically shifting my career focus away from health actuarial consulting to helping a startup grow.
There were a few things that made this decision easy in the end.
Everyone in the process was incredible. From the initial call with HR to my final interview with the co-founder and CEO, I was blown away by the friendliness of the people, their diversity (from 4 different countries, male and female mix, and wildly different backgrounds), and the consistent messaging I received as answers to my questions. It was clear that this was a mission-driven company with an amazing culture into which all employees had passionately bought. Reflecting on the recruitment process, I felt like the whole company was truly in my corner, offering extra time to ask my outstanding questions, supporting me through the visa process and pulling for me to accept the offer and make it through the border with my new paperwork. This is an important lesson for me (and anyone who is responsible for hiring) to remember - it doesn’t take much effort to show people you care, but it can mean a ton to a potential candidate.
Every new sale we make will get a product into the hands of people that truly need it, and it can help improve their health, potentially even saving lives.
New personal challenge. The role offered to me checked so many boxes. It’s on the “Growth Team” and will leverage my actuarial experience, my health plan experience, and even some of my experience from Arnold Tutoring - building a business from zero to one. I haven’t ever worked in an established business development role, but I’m super excited and honoured to be trusted with helping grow this company.
My role and the first few weeks
I’ll be tasked with building out partnerships with health insurance companies in order to reach the employers which they service to become clients of Hello Heart. We traditionally sell our hypertension solution directly to employers who offer health insurance to their employees. To more easily access these employers, we’re partnering with health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and other health and wellness platforms. I’ll be working closely with our sales team and leadership while managing these key channel relationships.
Three weeks in, I’m absolutely loving it. To give some context, I’m writing this on a Sunday night, and I’m actually excited to wake up tomorrow, continue learning and making an impact. Hello Heart is based in California, but I’ll be working remotely from my apartment in NYC. However, last week I went to an onboarding session outside San Francisco and it was incredible to meet all of the new hires in the sales and growth functions, work closely with leadership, learn about the history of the company, its various functions and bold ambitions for the future. It was also cool to run every morning in the California sunshine, attend some team-building dinners, and see the office in Menlo Park.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say over the next few months and years on this blog, but for now I’m super pumped for this new chapter, hope to contribute in a meaningful way, and I know I’m going to feel like my efforts are actually helping to grow the business while improving the health of people at the same time.
Have a question? Drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond!
Thanks for reading,