Featured: Lachandra Baker
Below is an article originally written by Jessica Behrendsen at PowerToFly Partner CoverMyMeds, and published on November 12, 2018. Go to CoverMyMeds' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
It's no secret how deeply we value our culture at CoverMyMeds. It's always top of mind when searching for new talent to bring into the mix, and the best way to ensure that valued culture remains unchanged is to find the right "keeper." Enter – Lachandra "La" Baker.
La was brought on as our senior manager of internal communications, and from day one has been a critical member of the team. La brings a contagious enthusiasm to CoverMyMeds and a working-knowledge of what is needed to grow a company in meaningful ways – through an "employee-first" mentality. Not to mention she does it all with a lot of heart, and a lot of laughter.
We sat down with La to find out what drew her to CoverMyMeds, and pick up some advice for other women in health care IT (HIT).
CoverMyMeds: Hi, La! I think I speak for everyone that has been able to work with you thus far in your CoverMyMeds career, we're so glad you're here!
La Baker: Thank you! That really means a lot to me! I love being here and collaborating with such amazing people. It truly gives me energy!
CoverMyMeds: Let's start by talking about your background before you found your way to us. What was your path?
La Baker: I have spent nearly 15 years in health care! Most recently at Cardinal Health and a few years at Mount Carmel Health System. Health care is one of those industries that will always be critical to people's lives. When people are in their most vulnerable moments, they want to have care that is comforting, meaningful and effective.
Seeing that care up close is remarkable and life-changing. Prior to my life in health care, I worked in the hospitality industry. I see similarities in both industries and I have loved the things I have been able to accomplish in both.
CoverMyMeds: That is one of the great things about working for an HIT company, to know you're building products that can improve the lives of patients, who also happen to be our friends, family and loved ones. That being said, what ultimately drew you to CoverMyMeds?
La Baker: I am a service-minded person. I love being able to make a difference in people's lives. Hearing CoverMyMeds' mission of helping patients and seeing how passionate people are about their work, it was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. My sister has been in IT for the better part of 20 years and health care IT for the majority of that. I always remember hearing her stories of how she helped monitors work in the NICU that detected and regulated the heartbeat of newborn infants or troubleshooting electronic health record interfaces to ensure those newborn records properly transferred. I realized there are so many pathways that HIT can take and it's all very interesting.
I never understood the prior authorization process until my husband was diagnosed with cancer. There were several rounds of chemotherapy and specialized medicines that he was prescribed. Knowing that a company like CoverMyMeds was helping us in the background to get our medications faster is heartwarming and admirable. I am very proud to work with such an incredible organization with such dedicated and caring people.
CoverMyMeds: In your role here, you work directly with employees across the organization. What are some of the best things about being in that unique position?
La Baker: The best part of my job is talking to all of the employees and finding out why they consider CoverMyMeds the Best Place to Work. We truly hire the best and brightest. I am in awe with how smart and talented our workforce is and how much they care about the patients we serve. I am also struck by how much our leadership team really puts the employees at the center of every one of their decisions. In addition to having a mission that we can really get behind, and make strides toward every day, we also get some of the very best perks and benefits I have ever experienced. It is truly a pleasure to come to work every single day.
CoverMyMeds: What advice do you have for young women who might be thinking about a career in HIT? Any lessons learned to pass on to the next generation of innovative, thoughtful women?
La Baker: Do your research on what's happening in the industry and be confident in the knowledge and experience that you bring to the table. Find a company where you can truly bring 100 percent of yourself to work every day. I worked for a company where the leaders tried to change me to be more like them. When I would not conform, they did not promote me. Since I've been at CoverMyMeds, I have been respected, supported and valued for being myself. It is very important for companies to celebrate diversity and encourage inclusion in leadership. It's exciting and extremely rewarding to work for a company that understands this and actively works toward it.
I would also tell them to keep learning. The health care world is changing daily. If we can have more of our employees bringing innovative ideas to the table, the more we can continue being leaders in the industry. Great ideas can come from anywhere in the company and none of us should be on the sidelines. We all have to be active participants in our success.
Below is an article originally written by Anna Johnson at PowerToFly Partner Braintree, and published on November 13, 2015. Go to Braintree's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Most of us have probably been in this position at some point: you're scheduled for a job interview at an exciting company, but it's still a few days away. As you anxiously wait, you prepare by furiously reading everything you can find on the company's website. If you're waiting for an interview at Braintree, this means that, at some point, you will run across Braintree's diversity statement:
As our industry finds itself at the center of the conversation about workplace diversity, we must shine a light down our own halls and ensure we're being reflective of the people who use the products we build. With this call to self-awareness comes a responsibility to continually make things better than they are. We're on the hook now. We acknowledge that we have room to grow, and we push ourselves to reach out and actively elevate those who might otherwise be suppressed. We do this through the events we host, the education we support, and the jobs we offer—in the hope that the change we bring about today will ripple through the larger community.
Now, I have to admit, when I first read this, I was impressed. "We're on the hook now" -- that's a bold statement. What's more, as a queer person, this type of statement is an integral part of my job search. Like anybody else, I want to work for a company that is a "good fit," and, for me, a company open to conversations about diversity is part of this fit. But, of course, words don't necessarily lead to actions, so I decided to suspend judgment and wait for my interview to see how Braintree put this statement into practice.
Interview day came, and I was, admittedly, a bit nervous. After checking in at reception, a sticker with a rainbow and Braintree's logo caught my eye. As I toured the office, I noticed more rainbow stickers: a couple on the office sticker board, where employees are encouraged to add any stickers they like, as well as on individual computers. Small and unassuming, many people might not have even noticed them, but, to me, they spoke volumes: this office was "out." Immediately, I was both more and less nervous for my interview. Less nervous because this was clearly a company where I was fully welcome. More nervous because I realized that this was exactly the type of company I was hoping to work for.
Presumably, my interview went well, because shortly thereafter Braintree called with an offer, which I happily accepted. The first few days at any new company entail quite a bit of acclimation, and at Braintree this includes navigating the landscape of our internal chat system, Slack. As I explored, I came across a channel named "Pride." The #Pride slack channel is many things: a place for new employees to introduce themselves, a place to discuss and organize company events, or simply a place to talk about the best new tv shows (is it Transparent, Grace and Frankie, or Sense8?) and share information and resources, such as adoption procedures in Illinois. Employees from all over the company participate on it, connecting people from a variety of departments who may not otherwise interact with each other on a daily basis.
For me, equally important to #Pride, is the fact that these conversations also happen IRL, amongst LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ identified Braintreeps alike. A perfect example of this is the recent Pride@BT social hosted by the office. Over 50 employees RSVP'd for the event, and we had a lovely evening sipping drinks, eating pizza, and playing ping pong. Again, an after work social may not seem like a momentous event, but, at least for me, little actions such as this speak to the everyday, open culture Braintree and its employees work to foster.
To return to Braintree's diversity statement, this blog post is by no means meant to let Braintree "off the hook." Diversity and inclusion are complicated practices, involving many different identities; they're not a one-off that can be addressed by a single blog post or a single experience. We "have a responsibility to continually make things better than they are." Along these lines, what this post hopefully does is point out the little actions a company and its employees can take in order to participate in this continual process. As a job candidate, I looked for and immediately picked up on these little things, and as I continue to acclimate to the Braintree world, the little things are adding up to make a huge difference.
Faces of T. Rowe Price: Niki Green, Senior Retirement Sales Executive
After being in the business for 28 years, I can say one of the things that really sets T. Rowe Price apart is that, from the leadership down, everyone truly works for the benefit of the client. That's not common, especially in sales. - Niki Green
After almost four decades in the financial services industry and experience at four different companies, Niki Green made a move to T. Rowe Price in 2016. With such an extensive and varied background in investment banking, she immediately recognized the uniqueness of T. Rowe Price's work culture, noting how long most associates had been with the firm.
The fact that T. Rowe Price's sales team positions are salaried was also attractive. "Salespeople are often compensated by commission, and I think that can drive the wrong kind of behavior," Niki says. At this stage in her career, she wanted to join an organization that would give her some autonomy and the ability to maintain relationships. "Many sales organizations are very numbers oriented and focused only on quarter-by-quarter short-term results," she explains. "They're not looking at the long-term picture."
While working for the past three years as Vice President, Senior Retirement Sales Executive at T. Rowe Price, she has witnessed first-hand the company-wide focus on doing what's best for the client in the long term. That philosophy drives the work culture. "Here, you're given this freedom and autonomy to create an experience for your clients that's also aligned with corporate goals," Niki explains. "Ultimately it's about growing assets and getting sales, but at this firm, it's achieved through a completely different approach. It's refreshing, especially for someone in my stage of a career."
As someone who has decades of experience in the business, Niki represents a variety of minority groups, particularly in investment banking. "Not only am I over 50, but I'm female, Asian, and a lesbian," she says. "I don't know that you could find much more diversity than me."
Whereas other companies might want to hire her so that they can check off a diversity box in their company profile, Niki believes T. Rowe Price values her unique perspective. "They put me in the position where I can succeed in an area that best suits who I am as an individual," says Niki. "And they help me draw on all my strengths as a way of building relationships."
At T. Rowe Price, Niki's diversity is seen as a rich resource, especially as the business environment is shifting with more women working as CFOs, CEOs, heads of human resources, and as other decision-makers at organizations. "Frankly, sometimes it's easier for those female advisors to work with a female sales rep on a closer level," says Niki. "After all women live longer and tend to make less money during their working years, and so a company must work toward helping women find suitable products to best meet their retirement goals."
Niki was one of a few women in her division when she started with the firm in 2016. In the years since she has helped recruit two more to the team. "Quite frankly, no one is killing it right now in regards to female representation," she says. Where T. Rowe Price particularly excels, according to Niki, is in matching associates with the types of clients who reside in that local area.
She believes T. Rowe Price has a unique perspective on diversity because its headquarters are in the vibrant city of Baltimore instead of someplace like New York or Boston. "It's an open culture, and everyone is encouraged to collaborate in a great way – much more than any company I've ever worked for," Niki explains.
Looking back, Niki has been able to maintain relationships with her advisors and clients through each of her company moves because of the reputation she has built in her local market. But she encourages those who are just starting their career journey to be patient. "You're building a practice, representing a brand, and doing the job that you can do to communicate the company that you represent," Niki says. They should also remember that people, both clients, and colleagues, have long memories. "Don't try to slight somebody to get that immediate sale because that could potentially alienate different relationships, and you're in it for the long run," says Niki. "When I realized that T. Rowe Price is so client-centered and everyone is in alignment working towards that common goal, I knew it was for me. You can't match the culture here."
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