Meet the Team: Christine Raby, VP of Client Success

 

Part-time dog trainer, business philosophy buff, and…circus aerialist?

Yes, you read that right. When she’s not creating an amazing customer experience or curled up with a business guru’s manifesto, you can find Christine high above the ground, performing for one of a number of troupes in New York City, her adopted home.

WELL sat down with Christine to find out more about her background, her success strategy, and her essential reading list.

What’s your job description?

I’ll be leading the client success vertical, which includes our project management office, client support, and executive account management.

How did you get here?

I got my start working in healthcare: one of my first positions was at the Mayo Clinic’s emergency department, and I’ve worked at hospitals across the United States and around the world.

I did apply to medical school, but at the time, I was consulting for a small tech company. I was an expert on the National Diabetes Prevention Program, and I translated it into a community-based model. And I realized that, even though it was a powerful program, I wanted a way to deliver it using a mobile app—what’s now called a digital therapeutic.

Working with the company Noom, I created and deployed the very first product that the CDC recognized as preventing type 2 diabetes.

After consulting for awhile, I started working for MDLIVE—that’s really what prepared me for WELL. I spent about two and a half years building out post-sales processes, understanding the customer life cycle, being exposed to the C-suite at the biggest hospitals, and helping them understand how to use tech to introduce a new modality of care.

Why WELL?

The thing I kept hearing throughout my career was “patient engagement.” That meant good communication was at the heart of healthcare’s biggest challenge.

And WELL was tackling the most critical challenge in the healthcare space; they really understood how this was going to improve patients’ lives. It was also the most comprehensive communication suite and the most seamlessly integrated into a variety of tools.

Then, for me, making a career choice is always about a combination of market opportunity and quality of the team, and I was very impressed by WELL’s team.

Where do you live?

In Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I’d been living in New York City for seven years, and wanted to shift gears out of intense city life into something a little more relaxed. So I said to my partner, OK, I’ll recommit to New York on three conditions: I want a backyard, a dog, and a car.

Within 30 days, we took over the bottom floor of a brownstone in Brooklyn, I got a 100-pound Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, and we bought a car.

What’s a typical day in the life?

I get up at 7:00 in the morning to exercise. Then I wrap up my workout and make coffee. I always do some professional development that involves reading something about the industry—like the Harvard Business Review—and I’ll do a 15-minute meditation.

Then I dive straight into work. The first thing I look at is my priority list for the next 90 days: what’s important, what’s urgent, what’s not important and not urgent. I’ll set my priorities for the day—if I have 3 goals, I’ll usually actually get 2 done. And I carve out some time for deep-thinking work. Carving out that time is vital to my success.

I break for dinner. Sometimes, there’s enough time for activities or hanging out with friends, and then I’ll log back in.

I accepted an executive role at a fast-growing company, so I’ve accepted that work is my primary focus. I made an intentional commitment to prioritize work.

First job?

Mucking out horse stalls. I was five years old, and from a young age, I had a really strong passion for horses. There was one barn in the city, so I rode my bicycle to the barn, and I told the owner that I wanted to muck out her stalls every day in exchange for one lesson per week. So I’d ride my bike there before the sun came up, and I’d muck out 30 horse stalls.

Worst job?

Data entry. It was completely mindless, meaningless work. It didn’t feel satisfying because there was no output.

Where can we find you when you’re not at WELL? 

I’m a semi-professional circus performer—an aerialist. Then I spend time with my dog in Prospect Park, and I test ketogenic-friendly recipes. I love to find ways of making low-carb food tasty and delicious.

Favorite book(s)?

Mandatory reading for my teams: Purple Cow, High Output Management, and Extreme Ownership. I also constantly consume Seth Godin’s, Tim Ferriss’s, and Derek Sivers’s blogs.

Do you have a motto or mantra that defines you?

“Order from chaos.” A lot of what I do is take a broad swathe of information overload and translate it into clear and consistent directives.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the field?

First, find a specific area or industry you’re passionate about—something you could do naturally. For me, that’s healthcare. Second, find a functional area within that industry. I chose technology. Third, think about what you do easily and freely that’s hard for anyone else to do. What’s your superpower? Personally, I love interacting with people.

If you’re, say, a skier, it’s really unlikely that you’re ever going to be one of the best skiers in the world. But if you start to layer together that you’re, say, the best “healthcare technology people person,” the likelihood of getting to the top 5 percent of the market is much higher.

Make goals and voraciously attack them. Reach out to the people you admire in your field—be very proactive about making network connections. And read as much as you can.

Finally, when you’re first starting out, your level of enthusiasm is the only thing you have to contribute. If you can trade enthusiasm for knowledge and opportunities, that’s incredibly valuable. Instead of saying “I’m not qualified,” think about “How can I apply my energy, enthusiasm, and excitement to this?” ♥

If you’re not living (and working) in Santa Barbara, you should be

 

Santa Barbara is famous as a vacation destination.

Here’s what people don’t know: it’s also a place where entrepreneurial spirits launch amazing companies and stellar careers. We just do it in wonderful weather.

One-on-one meetings often mean a walk to the beach, not a sit-down in the office. Team activities may just take place on the lawn of Santa Barbara’s gorgeous historic courthouse. We spend weekends biking and camping in the mountains that frame the city, and we may just opt for a staycation instead of heading somewhere new and exciting.

But WELL didn’t begin life on the South Coast.

We opened our first office in Redwood City, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Which, I quickly realized, wasn’t the right thing for the company—or for our team.

Put simply, the Bay Area was overcrowded with way too many people willing to make crazy commutes. Even though our office was right on the train route, some of our team still had to travel more than an hour and a half just to get to work. And the cost of living was out of control.

In addition, turnover is a way of life in Silicon Valley. But it wasn’t what I wanted for WELL. I wanted to build a community of people who were happy to be there and excited to spend their careers at the company. And since I’d put my life savings into this new endeavor, it didn’t seem fiscally responsible to be pouring money into one of the priciest zip codes in the country.

Why Santa Barbara?

It’s not exactly known for its low cost of living, but it was definitely more reasonable than Silicon Valley. And, as I quickly found out, it offered many of the same things—culture, talent, a tech-friendly community where that talent is valued and cultivated—along with its own (significant) charms.

I know why I moved the company here. But I was curious why so many of my employees had jumped at the chance to put down roots in this city—so I asked them. Here’s the final rundown: seven reasons why you should stop what you’re doing and move to Santa Barbara. Immediately.

  • A mini-Bay Area

Santa Barbara may be more famous for beaches than breweries, but things have changed in the last few years. Expats from San Francisco and Los Angeles have remade Santa Barbara to suit their needs, so you’ll have your pick of award-winning restaurants, artisan watering holes, and incredible performers.

“It has the intrigue of a bigger city in terms of culture and restaurants,” said Kellie Lincoln, a WELL account executive. “But the nature, lifestyle, and overall feel of this town forces you to be more relaxed.”

Tom McIntyre, WELL’s chief of staff, agreed: “My fiancée and I like the feel of a city: being able to walk to coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. But we love not being so trapped in one place that it takes us two hours to get to the beach or a hiking spot.”And if you find yourself missing smog and overcrowding, Los Angeles is just a day trip away.

  • Tech heaven

There’s a reason CNBC dubbed the South Coast “Techtopia.” The city is home to a thriving industry that includes major players like Amazon, Inogen, AppFolio, Sonos, and Procore, along with a range of smaller startups.

“There are so many smart people here, and there’s a flourishing entrepreneurial community,” said Rob Curtis, our group product manager. That means you’ll be part of a large, high-energy group of startup employees—and have plenty of company at happy hour.

And Santa Barbara’s smaller talent pool means you’ll have a competitive advantage. We know amazing people when we find them, and we’re smart enough to hang on tight.

  • A warm community

“The people are amazing,” Rob said. “It reminds me of a midwest town, transported to paradise.” That competitive, tense atmosphere I associate with big cities is nowhere to be found in Santa Barbara. Locals are laid-back and outgoing, and there’s plenty of everything—beaches, parks, outdoor tables—to go around.

“In LA, you fight at every intersection and play defense; you’re always on guard and in fight-or-flight mode,” said Tom Christensen (known as TC), WELL’s head of marketing. He’s currently in the process of moving his family up to Santa Barbara. “Here, people wait patiently, they say ‘hi’ to me. It has a positive impact on my standard of living.”

  • Return on investment

OK, so life in Santa Barbara isn’t exactly inexpensive. But it is cheaper than San Francisco—or the nicer areas of LA—and you get a lot more in return: Gorgeous weather. Stunning landscape. Spacious housing. A walkable downtown. The envy of pretty much everyone you’ve ever met.

“This was a place that I vacationed in with my fiancée; we spent an anniversary here,” Tom said. “We never imagined that we could live in a vacation destination full-time.”

  • Family-friendly

“The schools are far better than in LA,” said TC, whose son is about to enter kindergarten. “They’re managed in a way that is higher quality and more communal.”

Kid-targeted activities abound. Santa Barbara has a large network of playgrounds, along with a natural history museum, exploration museum, large botanic garden, and zoo. Local restaurants seem to love kids, who will frequently find gourmet menus intended just for them. Add welcoming beaches with gentle waves, and you’ll never run out of fun things to do.

And if your family includes a fur baby? They’re welcome too. “We bring our dog Casper everywhere, even Bed Bath & Beyond,” said Ali French, WELL’s senior sales operations and events manager. Santa Barbara has a dedicated dog beach and several dog parks. Many restaurants have patios intended for dog owners, and some will even put out a water bowl just for you. Don’t forget: Dogs are family at the WELL office, and we love having them around.

  • Great scene. Minimal hype

Those fantastic restaurants we talked about? There’s no two-week wait, no endless line, no snobby waitstaff. “The food scene here is more food and less scene,” said TC. “You can actually go back and become a regular at great restaurants.”

The same goes for the city’s cultural offerings. UCSB’s Arts & Lectures series brings in world-class performers, and the Santa Barbara Bowl hosts the biggest names in music. The city has its own (respected!) symphony, dance company, and historic theaters. There’s a great indie music scene and some fantastic stand-up comedians (including WELL engineer Nate Diamond!).

But the hype just isn’t there—which means the competition isn’t, either. You’ll get tickets to your show, a table at your restaurant, and a spot at your bar. For a Bay Area expat, that’s pretty opulent. And speaking of opulence…

  • A luxury lifestyle…for everyone

There’s a lot of wealth in Santa Barbara, no question about it. The area is home to six different five-star hotels, some wildly expensive designer boutiques, and homes that range into the tens of millions (I’m looking at you, Montecito).

That’s a small minority, and most of Santa Barbara is approachable and down-to-earth. But we all benefit from the things that make Santa Barbara a luxury community: Pristine beaches. Safe neighborhoods. Carefully-preserved nature. Stunning architecture. They’re open to everyone—and we’re better off for it.

Ultimately, it’s Kellie who said it best. “There’s a beautiful simplicity to living in Santa Barbara that is unmatched anywhere else in the world,” she told me. “If you find a good job here, you’ll have the rest of the world beat.” ♥

Get Started

Find out how WELL’s enterprise communication hub can make it easy to engage patients for world-class clinical and administrative experience.