It’s not hard to find Grant Lilya at WELL. He’s the one with the Hawaiian shirt and checkered Vans.
The festive attire matches his personality. “I’m always extremely upbeat,” he says. “I’m never really bogged down — if there are issues, there’s always going to be a solution.”
That’s a good quality for someone in Client Success.
Learn how Grant came to WELL, why he loves his job, and life lessons he’s learned from rowing and teaching kids with special needs to surf.
What attracted you to WELL?
I was a bio major in college and had always wanted to go to medical school. I actually took the MCAT the summer of 2017. In 2018, I was at the career fair at UCSB, and ran into Sam Jo, WELL’s CISO, there. WELL was the only booth I went to that day. Soon after, I joined the company and started in operations, primarily in finance and recruiting.
But my passion was really to be engaging with our clients, so I knew that I wanted to be on our client success team. I wanted to connect with WELL’s mission-driven value.
Now as Client Success Advocate, I’m managing relationships with many of our clients, and helping implement the WELL platform to our new clients. I’m taking the handoff from sales, getting clients live, and watching them start to actually use the product.
What turned your head from medical school to the business side of medicine?
Working at WELL right out of college exposed me to the fast-growing industry of clinical communications and got me excited about a different side of healthcare. While my initial goal was to work in clinical medicine, in my current position I feel I have an immediate impact on many patient lives. That is rewarding.
I’m excited to come to work every day because our team strives to make going to the doctor as easy as meeting up with a friend.
What else did you pursue while in college?
I was a varsity athlete on the UCSB rowing team all though college. I had played water polo for six years prior to going to UCSB and thought I would continue to play through college. However I was recruited onto the rowing team and did that for four years. We won the ACRA National Championship Regatta in Gainesville, Georgia in 2017. It was the climax of my rowing career. Jake Halsey, the recruiter here at WELL, was in my boat also. We beat over 50 other crews from around the nation.
Through rowing, I learned about commitment, responsibility, teamwork, and collaboration. I have been able to implement that here at WELL with what I’m doing with my clients and my internal team..
Where did your passion for helping others come from?
I grew up in San Diego in Pacific Beach and worked for five years at Mission Bay Aquatic Center teaching kids to sail, surf, and wakeboard. Specifically I worked one-on-one with kids with special needs. The program was called Kids Included Together, so I was a KIT counselor.
I worked with kids who had cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and severe autism. It’s a rare program to find a summer camp that includes kids with special needs in the same groups as other kids. Anyone with special needs goes through the exact same activities, plays with all the other campers, and is never excluded. I got to give my full attention and energy to one camper every week. That was really rewarding!
I got to see kids develop and grow from being scared, timid, and having difficulty interacting with other kids, to a couple years later, they’re really comfortable playing with other kids, and they’re not afraid to jump into the ocean, let alone go stand-up paddleboarding on their own!
So I got to give them that bond with the ocean. With some kids, it would take years to get them to want to go into the water. I knew I was making an impact when my campers would start to push me into the water and ask me to stay in the water longer with them. That was really fun. I’m super passionate about this, if you can’t tell.
I still get text messages from parents asking if I’ll be there to be with their child.
Do you remember any particularly meaningful moments? Any particular kids that stand out to you?
A super rewarding time was I was with a camper who didn’t like going in the ocean and didn’t ever want to surf. He really only wanted to play inside. Over the course of many weeks, I was able to get him to stand up on a surfboard for the first time, which was just fantastic. His parents were there to see that. That moment was unforgettable. There was a smile on his face that was cheek to cheek. It was the highlight of his summer.
Just to see him overcome that barrier, to just be open to being vulnerable, was a huge step in his development.
How does this experience translate to your work?
I’m a pretty positive and very warm and welcoming person. I’m always extremely upbeat. I’m never really bogged down. I don’t get worried over things here. If there are issues, there’s always going to be a solution. It’s made me very solution driven and solution oriented. What I’ve done in the past has allowed me to enjoy my time. I’m really lucky to be doing what I’m doing and working with an amazing team.
What else should others know about you?
I hate talking about myself because I’d rather learn about others. I will say I have an amazing family, and we all love the band KISS.
Well, you wear Hawaiian shirts often, right?
I’ve been doing “Aloha Fridays” since my freshman year of high school. So every Friday I’ll bust out a Hawaiian shirt. I think I’ve gotten a lot people at the company on board.
I’m a huge fan of the checkered Vans. Been rocking them for a long time. You can find me in the office any day wearing them.
What do you do for fun now?
I love working out. I’m still rowing. I got to row with NY Athletic Club last year at the Head of the Charles Regatta, which is one of the largest international regattas in the world. They’re a really high-end club program. I also volunteer as a coach with UCSB rowing team.
What do you love about working at WELL?
All of my coworkers. I love what we’re doing, the impact I’m having on millions of patients. I love how if you have an idea, it can be implemented here at WELL. There is freedom of thought. Everyone has an open-door policy. If you need to talk to someone on the WELL team, you’ll get that time with them. Whether they’re the CEO or an intern, everyone is always open to a conversation.
And, you can’t beat the product — it’s amazing. It’s nice working for a team where the product backs up the mission statement.
I also don’t mind having a bar in the basement.
Where do you see yourself going with your team and with your career?
I’m in it for the long haul. The Client Success team has tripled in size in a quarter, and it will be really interesting to see what happens in the next year. In an ideal world, I’d love to see us continue to grow as a company. It’s fun being part of this roller coaster.♥
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Pamela Ellgen is WELL’s Health Editor. She began her career in community journalism and is the author of more than a dozen published books. She is a graduate of Washington State University.