Last month, our CEO, Pamela McNamara, spoke at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Leadership in a Diverse Environment. The agenda addressed the challenges and opportunities that women face in leadership positions, both in the Navy and beyond.

McNamara was excited to be involved as NAVSEA launches this empowering movement, at a time where it is more critical than ever. As Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations noted, “Diversity shines light on the biases and barriers” faced to win in today’s competitive environment.  Admiral Richardson highlighted the move towards autonomous systems, and the changing role of leaders that can interpret complex situations, adding value and opinions to situations that robots cannot, and executing smart, timely decisions.  

The talks at the event were inspiring, especially one by Nicole Manson, Legal Counsel at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on “Leading with Courage, Confidence and Competence”.

McNamara’s own talk was titled, “Creating Your Personal Vision and Using it to Build High Performance Teams for Success”. Drawing from her own personal experience as CEO of industry leaders such as Arthur D. Little, CRF Health, and Cambridge Consultants, she spoke about harnessing the ‘common ground’ of her team members’ ‘personal visions’ to achieve bold results. Referencing work by Peter Senge and colleagues (in Senge et al’s book, Fifth Discipline Field Book), McNamara and those in her seminar shared experiences harnessing the power of personal visions and the common ground in mission-driven businesses and teams to achieve major impact and make a sustained difference.  

This article was originally posted on Springboard Enterprise’s Inc Blog

If I could only offer one piece of advice to other entrepreneurs from my 30+ years of experience in business, it would be that the key to success is teamwork. While that may seem like an obvious statement, or even a cliche, the bottom line is that without a great team, a great idea will either underperform or fail.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and stress of growing a new business. “The customer comes first”, “ensure your investors are happy,”, “capture revenues and achieve a high profit margin as quickly as possible” are valid priorities and reasonable thoughts to have as you grow your idea into a business. But an idea simply doesn’t become a business without an incredible team. So my advice to entrepreneurs is to search for these vital ingredients in potential team members:

1. Find bright, curious, and challenging individuals who are smarter than you.

You want to surround yourself with teammates who challenge you, albeit, in a positive way. If you’re the smartest one on your team, your ideas won’t be tested until they reach the market. However, if the individuals have the courage to challenge your ideas using critical thinking and curiosity, your product will only be enhanced. At CRF Health, I was surrounded by extremely bright, inquisitive team members. At times it was difficult to be challenged by these individuals on the path I wanted to take our product, or the way that I was doing something. But it was an incredible and humbling experience to work with such a team, and their pushback ultimately resulted in a better product for our customers.

2. Find individuals who have courage, conviction and integrity.

You want team members who will do the right thing for customers, other team members, investors and all stakeholders — not just “the boss.””. An example was when I worked on a deliverable for a strategically significant, important customer with unrealistic deadlines. My head of operations came to me and told me the deadlines the customer demanded weren’t feasible unless he was going to work his team “beyond the bone,” sacrificing quality, putting at risk the solution, the customers and the company in the short and long run. We chose to be honest with the customer about the challenge and realities, adjusted the plan to be more realistic and proactively managed their expectations. We delivered a better product while ensuring that we kept our own employees engaged and productive. The customer ended up giving us more business for our honesty — which wouldn’t have happened if my team members didn’t have the courage or conviction to speak their mind and to find more practical solutions.

3. Find individuals who share a passion for your company’s vision.

While my companies and jobs have been challenging and have brought me away from my family for long stints, I have always loved what I do. I enjoy getting up in the morning and working on something that I am passionate about. Among the most important ingredients in recruiting team members is to learn about their passions and to discover if or how those overlap with our company’s vision. If a team member turns up to the job, views it as a “clock in, clock out” position, that won’t benefit the fast-moving business — like we are — nor that team member. At Health Helm, Inc., all of my teammates are passionate about health care and patient success. Whether it’s because we’ve had a family member that’s undergone surgery and has felt lost post-discharge, or because we’re passionate about improving health care system, we all find some connection with our core purpose to make a difference with a patient and their caregivers.  We enjoy working together. This makes a huge difference — we are intrinsically motivated and more determined to produce the best possible product for our patients, their clinical and family caregivers, and our customers. The key is to find individuals who can articulate why they want to join your team, and why they are passionate about and share some meaningful purpose with your company’s vision.

I have been extremely fortunate to lead teams that have encompassed these ingredients. My past and current team members have navigated through times of challenge and chaos, and to celebrate in times of success. Our “power team” at CRF Inc. — great gals and guys with diverse talents, experiences and ideas — were key to achieving quality, results and to scaling profitably.

It has been nearly one full year since Health Helm, Inc. participated in Springboard Enterprises’ Tech Innovation Hub in New York City. Health Helm’s CEO, Pamela McNamara, reflected recently on the valuable takeaways from participating in a competitive program like Springboard, and how far Health Helm has come since.

Last September, our team successfully pitched to Springboard’s advisors to secure a spot in the competitive network’s Tech Innovation Hub. The pitch alone proved to be a refreshing and valuable experience for Health Helm because the exercise compelled us to carefully examine our short- and long-term strategies, and home in on our goals as a company. Rarely has such an exercise promoted so much personal self-reflection and development for me as a company leader.

The Springboard Bootcamp itself was an exciting experience that greatly benefitted our team. During the Bootcamp, we deconstructed our entire company strategy, and began to reconstruct it with the support of Springboard’s advisors.  The incredible advisor network of strategic partners, successful entrepreneurs, and investors coached me and the thirteen other impressive CEOs who were chosen for the 2016 Tech Innovation Hub. I emerged from the Bootcamp with a clearer message for Health Helm’s patients, clinicians, providers, and our investors.

What were some of the biggest takeaways?

We confirmed that Health Helm has the right focus. The advisors agreed that Health Helm has a clear target market, with identifiable target customers. They also agreed with our strategy to conduct and publish a formal clinical study. While such a study takes time to complete, it provides invaluable clinical evidence that we are achieving our patient care goals with honesty and efficacy. The study demonstrates that our platform works well in the hands of patients and providers. Additionally, it demonstrates the configurability required by hospitals, which will only work with a broad-based platform.

The second big takeaway came when we addressed how to deliver an impactful business pitch. I have been delivering presentations in high-powered business situations for over thirty years, but Springboard’s Bootcamp reinforced that there is always more to learn, and always room for improvement. While repeatedly dismantling and rebuilding Health Helm’s investor pitch felt frustrating at times, the exercise succeeded in strengthening our message. It succeeded in prompting my own internal reflection on my strengths and my abilities to lead a team. The Bootcamp reminded me that investors are not only interested in the business idea, but just as importantly in the complete leadership team, which in our case is incredibly strong.

Serial Medical Tech / Digital Health Entrepreneur Offers Experience and Leadership in Successful Cloud-Based Platforms

Boston, MA May 2, 2017— Health Helm, Inc., an emerging digital health company commercializing a superior patient-care coordination solution, Trusted Patient CoachTM (TPC), announces the appointment of Nancy Briefs to its Board of Directors. Briefs is a successful serial entrepreneur in the medical and digital health market with 30+ years of experience.

“We are very excited to welcome Nancy to our board of directors,” said Pamela McNamara, Co-Founder and CEO of Health Helm, Inc.TM. “Her 30+ years of successful leadership in building companies and her recent experience leading a transformative digital platform at InfoBionic will definitely serve Health Helm, Inc. TM well as we commercialize our platform.”

“I am honored to join the Health Helm, Inc.TM Board of Directors and work with this exceptional team,” Briefs said. “Ms. McNamara has been a leader across the healthcare technology landscape for decades, including her previous work at CRF Health and as CEO of Arthur D Little. I look forward to sharing my experiences and contributing to the future direction and growth of Health Helm, Inc.TM.”

Ms. Briefs received a BA in Psychology and a BSc in Business from Emporia University and received an MBA in Marketing & Finance from Golden Gate University.

About Health Helm, Inc. – Health Helm, Inc. has developed their proprietary software platform, TPC, to address the growing problems of high post-discharge hospital readmission and medication and care-plan non-adherence by patients.TPC closes the communication loop between patients and their clinicians, is configurable to post-acute and chronic conditions, and uses real-time analytics and functionality to enable increased adherence by patients to their care plans. Health Helm, Inc.TM is led by a team with extensive healthcare, clinical practice and clinical trial, and patient adherence experience.