What were your dreams or aspirations as a child? Who inspired you while growing up?
As a child, the most memorable dream I had was wanting to become a veterinarian, so that I could help animals. I even had a “Vet Pet Kit” and spent a lot of time taking care of my stuffed animals. While this didn’t happen, I do think that a thread of wanting to make a difference and help in some way is one of the reasons that I’ve spent most of my career in the healthcare industry.
In terms of people who inspired me while growing up, the standouts were largely accomplished female athletes who overcame obstacles to be successful. I remember watching Kristi Yamaguchi, Kerri Strug, Mia Hamm, and others and being in awe of their talent and successes. Watching how hard they worked definitely contributed to my overall work ethic and desire to succeed.
Where did you go to college? What did you study and what did you do after graduating?
For undergrad, I went to St. Mary’s College of Maryland in Southern Maryland and majored in psychology. I graduated in 2008, which was far from the most stellar time to be exploring a first job. I considered going to grad school right away and short term, I attended the Business Bridge program at the Tuck School of Business and worked part-time in retail at J.Crew and as a lifeguard. Ultimately, I wound up starting my first “real job” at Booz Allen Hamilton as a consultant for federal health agencies, which started to solidify my interest in the healthcare space and gave me a good understanding of both business and government.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
I spent about four years at Booz Allen Hamilton working for different federal health agencies across various aspects of information security, training, and strategy. The first critical moment in my career path came when I decided to leave my consulting job at Booz Allen and go back to school to get my MBA at the Tuck School of Business.
Going into business school, I was fairly certain that I wanted to pivot away from consulting and move into a corporate position. However, I ultimately decided that I wasn’t ready to leave consulting. Following business school, I spent a few years at Deloitte, focused on working with health plans and health services companies in strategy and operations consulting.
I knew that eventually I wanted to leave consulting, but wanted it to be for the right role and company. When an exciting opportunity came along to work at the then-unnamed and undefined healthcare joint venture started by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMC, this seemed like exactly the sort of thing that was worth leaving for. I spent a couple of years there, further solidifying my desire to stay in healthcare and helping me understand that the next thing for me should be a health tech startup, which ultimately led me to Cohere.
At my Tuck School of Business MBA graduation.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I am the SVP of Strategic Accounts at Cohere Health. In this role, I am responsible for our customer accounts and ensuring success at those accounts. Cohere’s accounts, implementation, and PMO teams all roll up to me and I work closely with each team to ensure that we’re delivering a great product and experience to our customers from the time sales hands off to implementation through the entire lifecycle of the customer. To make this happen, we work closely with all of the different teams across the company. I’ve really enjoyed the evolution of my role over my 3 years at Cohere and right now we are very focused on getting all of the critical processes and structure in place that we need to continue scaling.
For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?
Making connections across the industry you’re interested in is critical. My path to my current role at Cohere involved a huge number of networking conversations and exploring a lot of different opportunities. Talking to people is immensely helpful in understanding what’s out there and what you want to do. In my case, each of the previous roles I held helped me learn more about what I want and need to be happy and successful in a role. Networking conversations with others really helped refine this further.
What has contributed to your success thus far and what types of obstacles have you had to overcome along the way? What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I would say that two main things have contributed to my success thus far. The first is a strong work ethic and the drive to keep going through any obstacles thrown my way. This was instilled in me through years of competitive swimming, and it’s equally important in the workplace. The second is a willingness and desire to always keep learning and to not be afraid to mess up every once in a while. Without this, it’s a lot harder to succeed, since you aren’t willing to experience the uncomfortable feeling that tends to open doors. Both of these things have allowed me to overcome obstacles such as having to search for a new role in the midst of COVID, figuring out how to scale effectively to support additional customers, and finding ways to keep customers happy through difficult situations.
Overall, I’m proud to say I’ve created the path that got me to where I am today and to have built a very strong network that I’m confident will enable me to land on my feet no matter what happens.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
One of the most important skills is being able to build strong relationships. In my role this is critical both internally and externally, and without it I would not be able to succeed. I didn’t know it at the time I got my degree in psychology, but the people aspect of everything is often just as important as the work itself.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
The most interesting part is that every day is different and that we are constantly having to figure out how to approach new issues and problems. I thrive in an environment where I’m not doing repetitive things and working at a growing company is fantastic for that. There are constant opportunities to learn and grow. I also enjoy the people-related aspects of my work. I love building strong relationships with both colleagues and customers and really value those relationships.
The most challenging part is that we’re a growing company and have a lot of work to do to scale and effectively deliver for all of our customers. It can be tough some days, especially when we’re working to address customer issues, but it’s also very rewarding.
A dinner out with Cohere colleagues
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
I’m a member of the Health Tech Nerds community, which has been a fantastic way to meet others who work in health tech and to stay up to date on the industry. I’ve also worked to stay engaged in communities related to my undergrad and grad degrees. I was previously a member of the St. Mary’s Alumni Council and I love staying involved in alumni healthcare and women’s activities for Tuck School of Business.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I can generally be found doing something active and outside. I love running, hiking, skiing, and biking. I also enjoy traveling and exploring new places and try to do that as frequently as possible. My fiance and I got the opportunity to go skiing in Zermatt earlier this year, which was an incredible experience!
Beautiful views while skiing in Zermatt.
How do you manage stress?
Running is one of the main ways I manage stress. There’s nothing like a great morning run to calm you down and get you ready for the day ahead. Outside of that, time with friends and family is a great way to de-stress.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
I tried coffee once in college and hated it, so I’ve never been a coffee drinker. There are many days when I do wish that I drank it, though!
Any book or podcast recommendations?
My recent favorite books include Demon Copperhead, Corrections in Ink, and Remarkably Bright Creatures. My favorite podcast remains How I Built This. I am a big Guy Raz fan and I love hearing how various people built their companies.