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Courtney Sanchez is a Vice President of Clinical Operations and Population Health for Point C. Her career started as a nurse and after years in larger healthcare companies, joined Point C to build their Care Management Program from the ground up. In 18 months, she helped build the Care Management team from 3 nurses to 25. With so much success and overcoming a challenging childhood, her biggest accomplishment remains being a single mom to her two boys.

Point C is a third party administration platform for medical and dental benefits for self-insured employers. Administrative services the company currently provides include claims processing, network management, and utilization review. Point C’s mission is to support TPA partners through business process innovations and product solutions that drive value for employers and enhance the member experience.

Transcript

Introduction

Courtney Sanchez: To me, the most important job that I'll ever have is being a mom. So, I am most proud of being a mother to my children, of being a role model, of having raised them as a single parent. And not only raising them but juggling a career as well as managing a household. I'm proud of that. So, I think that's probably what I'm most proud of so far.

I've not failed, but I would say secondly, I'm proud of the fact that I was able to get my education and to start a career. In my life when I was younger, I was a little bit of a troublemaker. And so, I had school counselors tell me that I was never going to amount to anything, that I would never make it to college, that I should consider just going into some type of a trade school.

And my parents told were 16 and 18 when they had me. I grew up in a very poor and impoverished neighborhood, and so I probably could have amounted to nothing. I think the odds were against me, but I decided, you know, with that type of motivation, I was going to prove the system wrong. And so, I not only have one degree, I have three.

I've graduated with honors with every degree that I've earned. And I don't just have a job, but I have a career.

Anderson Williams: Welcome to Everyday Heroes, a podcast from Shore Capital Partners that highlights the people who are building our companies from the inside, every day, often out of the spotlight. With this series, we want to pull those heroes out of the shadows.

We want to hear their stories. We want to share their stories. We want to understand what drives them, why they do what they do, how they might inspire and support others to become everyday heroes, too.

In this episode, I talk with Courtney Sanchez, who is Vice President of Clinical Operations and Population Health at Point C. Courtney's journey in health care started when she was very young and felt a spark of energy and excitement whenever she visited the doctor. And as her work and life have unfolded in a variety of directions, that spark has never gone away.

Courtney Sanchez: My name is Courtney Sanchez. I've been born and raised in Chicago.

I tell people I don't belong here. Technically, I belong on an island with my toes in the sand and hanging out on a beach all day, but this is where home is for me right now. I'm a nurse. I think ever since I was a little girl, I always knew that I wanted to go into something that helped people. I just, I had that desire to help people.

And as strange as it may sound, like every time I stepped into a doctor's office or a hospital, I felt like I belonged there, where most people want to run from those places. I was like, oh, this is great. I love this place. I was just really energized by the clinical environment. So, when I was able to graduate high school and go on to college, I pursued my nursing degree.

And so, I'm a nurse and not only am I a nurse, but I'm a mother. I have two sons. My oldest is Ezra, he's 14 years old. And my youngest is Zacchaeus, he's 10 years old. So, very important people in my life. I am passionate about fitness, and I'm passionate about nutrition. So much so that I'm actually working on my certification as a personal trainer, and I have a certification as a health and nutrition coach.

So, at some point, hopefully those will be my side hustle. Just my little mini passion projects that I really enjoy.

Important People

Anderson Williams: Do you remember what it was as a kid that you were observing or that drew you to that clinical space? I think that's a really fascinating thought considering how your career has unfolded.

Courtney Sanchez: I think for me really, it was just anytime I went into a clinical setting, and I saw doctors and nurses in action, I thought they are really important people. Whatever they're doing is like so cool and so important and I want to do that too. And so, I think that just, that always drew me to that profession because I saw them as like really important and valuable people.

Anderson Williams: And as you found yourself in that nursing role, was it what you expected based on that childhood vision or how was it the same or different than what you expected?

Courtney Sanchez: It was rough. I don't know that I expected it to be as stressful as it was. As a new nurse going into nursing, you don't get the pick of the really great shifts.

So, my shift was the night shift. And on the night shift, you don't have access to a lot of resources. So, I had to learn how to be very resourceful as a young new nurse. And that's stressful. It seems like people like to code at night. They don't like to do it for the day shift or the afternoon shift, they just save it for their night nurse.

And so having your first patient code on you and having to really triage that whole situation, I learned that nursing is tough, and you are in charge of something really important and a person's life is what you're in charge of. And they tell you this and they try to teach you this in nursing school, but it is not the same until it's real.

And so, it's a rough profession and anybody who's been doing it for 20 plus years deserves an award.

Anderson Williams: And has all of the meaning and purpose you saw through the kid's eyes. But with a challenge and a stress level and a sort of brutal side that you can't see until you're in it, I imagine.

Courtney Sanchez: Yeah, very much.

So, it definitely is important work though. So, I still see it as these are very important people and I'm proud that I'm one of them.

Anderson Williams: So, tell us about where you are today. Tell us a little bit about Point C and what you do for Point C.

Courtney Sanchez: Point C, the way I like to describe it is we are a TPA aggregator.

We acquire third party administrators who have a longstanding history and great reputation in the market, and we provide them with business process solutions and new products that add value new services, that add value for their clients. I was hired by Point C to come in as their VP of Clinical Operations, so I developed their Care Management Program and, and I lead their care management team.

Care Management

Anderson Williams: And what does that mean? Tell us a little bit about care management in this context.

Courtney Sanchez: So, care management is a service that's offered through insurance companies. It's also offered in healthcare settings where you have either a nurse or a social worker, somebody with a clinical background helping coordinate your healthcare, helping you understand your conditions, your disease processes.

Educating you on your medications, helping you access services and understanding your benefits. And so, we have a team of nurses, and we also have a licensed master social worker who help our members really coordinate their benefits, coordinate their health care and understand their conditions.

Anderson Williams: And you obviously started as a nurse.

You've had a number of operations roles in some bigger companies in your career. What was it about joining Point C that was appealing to you? And maybe how's it been different in a sort of startup stage company, growth stage company compared to those other experiences?

Courtney Sanchez: I think the appealing thing about Point C was that I was able to come in and start something from scratch.

When I interviewed with Mark Larsen, who's our COO, and Ben Frisch, who's our CEO, they were very transparent that there was absolutely nothing. That I was starting from ground zero, that I was going to come in and I was going to have to put all of this together. And by the way, you have a very short timeframe to do so.

I think they wanted to scare me away a little bit, but, you know, funny thing is that actually was enticing. It was like a challenge and I'm like, okay, great. I can do that. No problem.

Anderson Williams: You're like, I've been a nurse. You can't scare me.

Courtney Sanchez: I've faced death in the eyes, so that was really exciting to me.

I have worked at other insurance companies, larger, very corporate insurance companies, and you really don't get to build from scratch. Anything you start, there's always been kind of a foundation laid, and you have to really kind of stay within the lines. And here at Point C, I've been able to kind of just to do what I want, to be very autonomous, to be innovative and create and develop and watch this unfold.

And I think that was a selling feature.

The Startup Phase

Anderson Williams: And you've built that team in a very short period of time. Remind me how long you've been with Point C.

Courtney Sanchez: I started with Point C in March of 2022. I had to launch our program by July of that year. So, I had four months to really just kind of put everything together. I didn't even have a system.

I didn't have FTEs. I had to build my process, my program, so I had four months to do that. And we did that, and we started with just three nurses at the time. And now we're a team of 24 nurses, and we're actually going to be onboarding more nurses to our team.

Anderson Williams: The startup phase is fun, as long as that's something that gets you excited, is probably a nightmare if it's not the right match to the right person.

But I think there's no experience like that autonomy and that creativity of building something from scratch.

Courtney Sanchez: Yeah, absolutely. It's a great experience for me. I like to have my hands on everything and be all in and I love to be able to put my creative stamp on the things that I do. And that's kind of hard to do when you're at larger corporations.

There's a lot of red tape. In my previous roles, they were overseen by government entities. So, I had government programs, and we had a lot of regulation. So, there wasn't a whole lot that I could do that was creative or innovative to drive value.

Anderson Williams: I wanted to ask Mark Larsen, the COO at Point C, about bringing Courtney in to start something from scratch when that hadn't necessarily been part of her previous experience.

And he confirms Courtney's sense that the early conversations were a bit scary. But he also shares that once Courtney made the leap, once she made the commitment, she was off to the races and Point C was right there behind her.

Mark Larsen: When I first interviewed Courtney, I think I scared her to death because we were building something completely from scratch with limited resourcing.

And we were very transparent about that. She was a good sport in the interview, but I don't think she had even made it home before sending an email saying she was no longer interested. It wasn't until a few months later that we got reconnected and she had thought about the opportunity and some of the things that we had discussed.

She had seen what big corporate business looked like and she was feeling the entrepreneurial itch. I love hustle and Courtney was full of it. When I talked with her the second time, she was thinking through all the ways to make what we wanted to build work. And as for resourcing she had already identified two people she wanted to bring with her that could start with her on day one. I knew at the time that she was going to get the job done but what I didn't realize was just how big of a difference she would make to our organization. Her P&L has grown to 10 percent of our company revenue in just 15 months and is on track to be the most profitable part of our business when fully scaled.

All this from someone who had never had P&L ownership before and never worked in a PE backed environment.

Never Stop Learning

Anderson Williams: So, the move to Point C for Courtney wasn't obvious at first, but it sounds like that initial interview planted a seed that kept growing in her mind until she couldn't deny it anymore. But that doesn't mean it was easy.

Courtney was stretching herself in some pretty big ways. She had a lot of experience, but it wasn't this experience.

And I'm curious, with that experience, and now this time with Point C, what have you learned about yourself that there's no way you could have learned in those previous experiences?

Courtney Sanchez: I think I've learned that I am very resilient.

I've learned that I can kind of roll with things and adjust my sales as needed and be successful. I may not know everything going into something, but I'm really good at seeking out my resources and researching and identifying kind of what I need to know to be successful. And I've learned that in this role.

I've kind of grown with this role. Another thing that I didn't have a lot of experience with was kind of the business side of healthcare, I guess. I was more on the clinical operations side. And so, coming here, I've learned a lot about business. I learned a lot about scaling a business and what it takes to succeed and to continue to grow your team.

And so, I feel more confident. Talking about growing a business and developing a program and being an entrepreneur where prior to coming here, I wouldn't have had that competency.

Anderson Williams: Yeah, and talk a little bit more for anybody who's listening, who may be in a rapid growth environment, or be considering coming into something like what you've done, where you have the opportunity to build something from scratch, which is exciting, but it's also scary, right?

And it requires you to be creative, but it also means you need to be supported, right? But it also means that as fast as your team is growing, as fast as the business is growing, you've got to grow faster. So, when you mentioned that idea of growth, how have you grown yourself to keep up with not only the expectations and responsibilities you were hired for, but what that means now with 24 rather than three FTEs?

Courtney Sanchez: I would say probably a bit. The biggest investment I make is the investment to be a continuous learner. I invest a lot in continuing to grow and develop my knowledge and my skills. And for me, that is as little as reading a new book or opening up an article or putting myself out there and saying, hey, I want to join your leadership academy.

That's me. I love to learn, and I never want to stop learning.

Anderson Williams: How do you think about building that team of nurses that also can grow with the change and growth of the business?

Courtney Sanchez: Yeah, I invest in developing the leadership potential within my nurses. So, I provide opportunities for my nurses to continue to grow, to continue to develop, and to have input on our programs, our processes, and the way we operate as a team.

So, there's a lot of communication and there's a lot of opportunity. For instance, we're developing two new programs. One of them is going to be an oncology focused program and the other one is a women's health program. And I've sought out nurses on my team and said, hey, do you want to grow? Do you want to build something great?

Guess what? We don't know what we're going to do here, but we have this great idea. And you have great knowledge and experience and expertise. How do you feel about building this with me? And let's have some work group sessions. Let's think about what we want this program to look like, what we want to offer, how we're going to be different from other, you know, competitors in the market who are doing the same thing.

And so, I'm investing, instilling that kind of ability to create and to develop and to put their stamp on this and to have ownership. And I'm doing that now early on in my team. I have a supervisor. I've asked if we could send her to the Leadership Academy. I think that she's at a stage now, and as our team continues to grow, where she needs to develop as a leader.

And so, just trying to put options and opportunities out there for my team to always be continuously seeking knowledge and growing and developing.

Professional Momentum

Anderson Williams: Courtney's not just developing herself and her team as care management continues to grow. She also is managing up and had a big picture perspective on building Point C from her earliest days in the company.

Here again is Mark Larsen.

Mark Larsen: My favorite story was very early after I'd hired Courtney. We're at a leadership council with some of our other key executives. And I was asking for feedback on me and the business, her hand shot up. She was the first one to share things with me that I could do better as a leader.

And I love that about Courtney. She's real. She's not afraid to call things like they are and share her opinions that subsequently helped me build trust with her because I knew she was going to tell me the truth, not what I wanted to hear. It's one of the early events that helped us develop a great working relationship.

My role is to help her be successful in hers, and knowing I can trust her gives me confidence to invest more aggressively in her growth and in her team.

Anderson Williams: Courtney took a professional leap with her role at Point C. In a very short time, she's built an incredible amount of trust with Mark and the other leaders at the company.

She's building her team. She's building care management. Point C is growing. There's so much professional momentum there. But Courtney has another huge role, as a mom, and specifically, as a single mom, that I wanted to bring back into this story.

What part of this, if I can pull you back to your other hat of being a mom, what's the lesson you share with Ezra and Zacchaeus?

What jumps to mind from the mother perspective?

Courtney Sanchez: God, that's hard. I think from the mother perspective, really, it's just an overall lesson that you can kind of do anything as long as you put your mind to it. And if you really want it, and if that's, and I guess this is kind of just in general, how I explain life to my kids.

But like, if you really want something, then you need to go for it. You need to stick your neck out there. Taking this position at Point C was a risk for me. Number one, I was a single mom, so my income was the only income. And if this didn't work out, I was kind of screwed. So, it was a risk, but I wanted to take the risk because I saw a lot of value in it.

I saw something that I really wanted to do, and I saw opportunity for growth. And so just translating that to my kids that it's okay to take risks. It's okay to stick your neck out there. And if you really want something, then, then you need to work hard for it. And as long as you work hard and believe in yourself, you'll achieve it.

And for me, I think that just comes from my drive and my desire to be excellent and to achieve anything that I set out to do. I don't like being told no. I'm sure that comes from being an only child but I really don't like to be told no. So, if somebody tells me I can't do something you better believe I'm going to do it and I'm going to prove you wrong.

So, I think I just live my life with the idea that it's just a series of challenges and they're all opportunities. And I just enjoy being challenged.

Anderson Williams: Courtney Sanchez is an everyday hero whose superpower is her resilience.

From being born of teenage parents, to growing up in a poor neighborhood, to being told by her school she didn't have what it takes to follow her dreams, Courtney has not only beaten those odds, but changed them for her own children. Her passion for being a mom and for doing meaningful work and continuing to learn have prepared her to face any challenge and seize any opportunity that comes her way.

This podcast was produced by Shore Capital Partners with story and narration by Anderson Williams.

Recording and editing by Andrew Malone. Editing by Reel Audiobooks. Sound design, mixing and mastering by Mark Galup of Reel Audiobooks.

Special thanks to Courtney Sanchez and Mark Larsen.

This podcast is the property of Shore Capital Partners, LLC. None of the content herein is investment advice, an offer of investment advisory services, nor a recommendation or offer relating to any security. See the Terms of Use page on the Shore Capital website for other important information.

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