28 Sep Exploring New Sectors through New Friendships
Every time Rebecca Munn found herself in a new job it was unlike any of her previous positions.
Yet along the way she noticed the similarities: It’s either a new position or the reinvention of an existing position for leaders who were open to taking a risk.
In her newest spot, after being on a sabbatical, she’s leading an innovative medical practice called TeamMD, serving patients in their home with a goal of increasing time in the community and quality of life. TeamMD is partnered with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee in serving the high-risk dual eligible members with medical and behavioral health services.
It’s an area of health care in which she’s never worked — but that’s the theme of her career.
Experiencing a parent’s terminal illness “really opened my heart to this space,” Munn said. She wrote a memoir, “The Gift of Goodbye: A Story of Agape Love” based on her reflections.
She didn’t know at the time that the experience combined with the connections she made in the 2017 Nashville Health Care Council Fellows program would set her on a course to help people during what’s often one of the most heart-wrenching times in their lives.
She reached out to Ute Strand, the COO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee (2017 Fellows classmate), to say she was applying for a position at UnitedHealth Group. Strand, who was on vacation when she got the text, followed up with the hiring manager when she was back in the office the next week.
There were hundreds of applicants and when Strand got the text she wasn’t sure she’d be able to help, noting that her encouragement “might mean nothing in the sea of (UnitedHealth Group).”
Strand said she definitely helped Munn secure the first interview, but that Munn sold the leadership on her background and skills for the position.
Munn and Strand each found themselves accepted into the Fellows program because of encouragement from a boss.
Neither knew quite what to expect beyond it being an opportunity to delve into parts of health care that they hadn’t previously encountered.
Strand said she can talk about the ins-and-outs of group insurance and Medicaid but “that’s one perspective — there’s so much more.”
She and Munn got to know each other, and their peers, in the classroom setting as well as through fun activities like the Escape Game. They had the chance to record in the storied Studio A, and that’s where the two really cemented a bond. (Munn said her singing voice won’t ever launch a new chapter of her career.)
The diversity of the Fellows’ backgrounds, age, gender and race enlivens the texture of the conversation, said Strand.
“You work day-to-day in your purview, and most people have more on their plate than they can handle (so) that was probably the best part of the experience — the different perspectives they brought,” said Strand. “It took my eyes off my plate and helped me look more globally.”
Munn had been in consulting for seven years and anticipated the start of the Fellows program, but “didn’t fully process the positive impact it would have on me.”
There was a natural exit from building the health care business at InfoWorks and she wound up making connections that put her on a new path following her sabbatical.
Munn’s always worked with leaders willing to take a risk, and she’d like to see more of that in health care.
It’s hard, she said, to get people on to something new. Perhaps there aren’t enough success stories for CEOs to be willing to take the risk.
It became clear from her own experience and from the perspectives of the Fellows that it was time to tackle making the system better.
“We’re not really treating the whole patient,” said Munn.
Fellows Class of 2017
Executive Director, TeamMD
“I was excited about the Fellows program although had no idea the positive impact it would have on me. The collaboration with my classmates, learning about new innovations, and the ongoing relationships exceeded my expectations. Ute’s recommendation is why I got this job. I tie that to the Fellows.”
Fellows Class of 2017
COO of UnitedHealthCare Community Plan of Tennessee
“I thought it would be great because it would give me a whole new, great purview of health care, especially of the health care services hub that is Nashville. It turned out to be so much more than that. It really broadened my horizon and my thinking about how health care intersects in so many different ways.”