With a masters degree in relational communication and psychology, Kendall Martin never imagined she would be in sales.
But, the newly promoted Enterprise Account Executive discovered that helping WELL clients solve business challenges and improve the patient experience is a perfect fit.
Find out how the Santa Barbara transplant is adjusting to life on the coast, her work on diversity and inclusion at WELL, and the 10-mile charity race she’s running in October.
What did you study in school and what were your career ambitions?
I went to grad school in Chicago at DePaul and got a masters in relational communication and psychology. I focused on interpersonal relationships and attachment theory because I wanted to be a therapist.
Once I started diving into what that meant, I realized that I wanted to get out into the workforce for awhile and get some life experience. You can learn things in academia all day long, but if you want to relate to people and help them with challenges or struggles in life, it helps to go through them yourself.
What attracted you to WELL?
I come from a long line of people who have spent a lot of time being sick whether in hospitals or with chronic conditions. Everyone in my family has some form of autoimmune disorder, myself included. So for me, it was really important to do something that was making a difference in people’s lives.
When I researched companies in the area, I discovered WELL and instantly fell in love with its mission. It’s really innovative and I loved the startup culture. WELL offers a unique way to make a difference and do something meaningful, where I could have an impact immediately.
How did you end up in sales?
I never thought I would be in sales. I really wanted to use my degree in some way and thought that sales wasn’t the way to do it. But what I came to find is that once you get someone to answer the phone — that’s the first challenge — you can actually have conversations in a genuine way and understand how a practice is structured, what their challenges are, and what they need.
I’ve always approached my job really trying to understand what a client needs and considering ways WELL can help. Sometimes I discover that they really should start with another approach before implementing a new technology — so I’ll tell them that, too. Ultimately, I really do care about my potential clients succeeding.
How does your own health experience influence your work?
I have Celiac disease, so obviously I’m gluten free, but the disorder comes with a lot of other dietary restrictions and challenges. I always put myself in patients’ shoes when I’m talking to potential customers. I’ll visit their websites as if I were new to the area and wanted to find a new provider or to schedule an appointment. I’m thinking, how easy would that be? I’ll call and just see how long I have to wait on hold. If I were a new patient and I had to wait on hold for 15 minutes, which is pretty common, I would hang up.
Tell me about the new position? What are you most excited about?
I’m excited to have ownership over my opportunities and my processes. My success or my failure is directly related to the effort that I put in.
I took a huge chance in applying because I’ve only been in sales at WELL for a year and a half. It is going to be challenging, but in a good way. I’ve spent my entire time at WELL learning. I sit in on implementation calls, work closely with others to build my product knowledge, and invite the CEO and SVP of Sales to sit in on my calls and offer feedback.
I always asked for feedback. I ask, “What should I improve on?” That’s how you get better at anything. In tennis, for example, playing against someone who’s better than you elevates your game. I know I’m not going to improve unless I have people who are more experienced sit in and tell me what I should be doing differently. Jamey, Alex, and Andrew have been instrumental in that process.
What do you like about Santa Barbara?
I love it! I’m never leaving. I lived in Chicago for eight years, and one winter I went on vacation to Hawaii. When I touched back down at O’Hare, I walked outside, and it was just freezing. Immediately I burst into tears and said, “I just can’t be cold anymore!”
I finished grad school in June, and my boyfriend, Matt, found a job in Santa Barbara. We drove out here and said, “We’re never leaving!”
It’s everything we hoped it would be. It lives up to its reputation and fits with the lifestyle we are trying to lead — you can be outdoors, you can go hiking, you can go to the beach, and you can drive a couple of hours to go skiing. I have found that the people here are really friendly, too.
After about six months of living here, we bought a house, so we’re planted.
What do you do for fun?
I always hate this question because you realize how boring you are. We do a lot of outdoor stuff, play tennis, and go to the beach on the weekends. I’m a big wine lover, so I like to try new wine tasting rooms. There’s a great music scene in Santa Barbara, too, and we have a lot of friends who are in bands, so we go see them on the weekends. We also go to the beach with our dog, Layla.
Tell me about the race you’re running in October
My brother-in-law was in the 82nd Airborne Infantry and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2007. My sister and I and a few of his really good friends run the Army 10 Miler every other year to raise money in his name for the Fisher House Foundation. Over the last 13 years, our group has raised over $26,000 for them. A Fisher House is like Ronald McDonald House for military families. It’s all free and military families can stay in Fisher Houses while their family members are recovering from injuries in war. They’re a fantastic organization!
Anything else you want people to know about you?
I lead the Diversity and Inclusion Team at WELL. We really try to focus not only on highlighting issues but also talking about how we can improve. For example, we are working to diversify our applicant pool. We’re also asking, “Where in the process are we either hiring or losing diverse applicants?”
This is the perfect time in our growth to be addressing diversity and inclusion. Once you grow to a certain size, it’s difficult to backpedal and start to be intentional and thoughtful. Every month we have more women and people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds applying and actually getting hired. That’s a win!
We’re also working to be intentional about being involved in the community, such as volunteering together with United Way and the Boys & Girls Club. ♥
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Pamela Ellgen is WELL’s Health Editor. She began her career in community journalism at The Asian Reporter and later covered business at The Portland Tribune. She is the author of more than a dozen published books and a graduate of Washington State University.