If I could do anything in the world, it would be to have the financial ability to support single, working mothers. Especially women who have left non-ideal personal situations to provide a better life for them and their families. I would provide them with 100% confidential support — legal counsel, emotional and mental wellbeing counsel, living and education expense. And, it’s important to note, that this would be accessible to all women. Women who are at the executive assistant level to the executives that they support. I have found that society often looks at educated, happy, smiling women and they think that they are doing just fine. But, sometimes those women wear a mask at work and are really dealing with some not-so-nice-stuff at home. I would have a fund for women who need to leave their current situation and provide them with access to the support — financial, emotional or physical — they may need for themselves and their families. All confidential. All free. For all women. This is a movement centered around building a community of those who care — because, truly, it takes a village.
I had the pleasure to interview Joy Altimare, the Chief Engagement and Brand Officer at EHE . Prior to joining the healthcare space, Joy Altimare worked with leading agencies such as Ogilvy+Mather, GREY, and Publicis on preeminent brands like L’Oreal, Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive. She then shifted into a role at publishing giant Condé Nast, transferring her skills to the media world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I started my career on the advertising agency side — working with the strategic planner, account management and creative teams. I’ve always been intrigued by the correlation between influence and behavior and worked really hard to translate that interest into expertise.
Throughout my career, I have been an expert advisor and resource for organizations tackling growth, innovation, technology challenges, and positioning themselves as positive disruptors within their category.
Prior to joining the health care space, I worked with leading agencies such as Ogilvy+Mather, GREY, and Publicis on preeminent brands like L’Oreal, Verizon, and Colgate-Palmolive.
I then shifted into a role at publishing giant Conde Nast, transferring my skills to the media world. I helped the company bridge the divide between its traditional roots and digital future, providing strategic insight as the industry’s terrain changed.
Now, I direct EHE’s — the 105 -year old company that strives to be the transformative agent in employees lives — innovative engagement strategy. In the role, I am the consumer engagement architect, leading the alignment of EHE’s unique preventive care product with a frictionless, patient-centered process designed to drive results and satisfaction. My team discovers key motivators of behavioral change, utilizes them to expand EHE’s reach and maximize its value to drive patient utilization.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Well, as a 105-year old company, we have a blended employee workforce. We have members of our team that have been with us for 35 years and “newbies” who joined us 2 weeks ago.
The most interesting thing happens when you’re trying to create productive cross-discipline, multi-generational, varied-tenured teams. You cannot hire and fire your way into success, so you have to create an environment centered around values of mutual respect, transparency, collaboration and security. It is difficult to do, but when you succeed — it becomes the most interesting exercise of human behavior — which all marketers geek out on.
It has been very interesting to observe this complex matric of employees co-exist and, often times, thrive as we transition the company completely — from our working environment, our product — the service and the delivery of that service — to the shifting from an analog to a digital world. It has all been an interesting learning experience.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
It begins with leadership. First, we have to set the example of what we desire. So, you’ll see most of the Executive team — led by our CEO — walking around the office, talking to employees and trying to understand what their experience is and what improvements they’d like to see.
Second, I believe in the concept of servant leadership — which is the philosophy of balancing emotion with intellect as a leader. It’s a concept that suggests that true leaders understand the importance of the following characteristics as it relates to building and managing a loyal, high-performing team: listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community.
Lastly, we have adopted a concept around building cross-discipline squads. It’s similar to how start-ups operate, and since we consider ourselves a 105-year old start up, it works well for us. Squads are multi-disciplinary teams that foster agility, collaboration, and expert delivery. They leverage the business, as technology and product subject matter experts, and the process helps drive towards resolution.
What is the top challenge when managing global teams in different geographical locations?
Technology can be the savior or the Achilles heel of an organization’s ability to thrive in this multi-geographical professional environment. For us, it has been mission-critical that we figure out the correct collaboration tools that will allow us the flexibility needed for us to perform within our squads. We are headquartered in NYC, and over 160 clinical locations, plus a technology team located in Pleasanton, CA — so, dependable, broad-reaching technology is essential.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Listen to your employees. People typically resign from jobs when they feel as though there are no other options. Most people give the organization many opportunities to help them “change their minds and stay”. However, when you do not listen nor have a consistent feedback loop — it becomes hard to address the changes before they come too large to overcome.
Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on retaining talent today?
In addition to what I’ve said above, I would say hire for culture-fit as much as you hire for talent. I would even suggest that you hire for culture-fit, dedication and passion — as the talent can be managed, coached to exist within the right person.
Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”.
Listen and ask questions.
If someone doesn’t agree with your management style or doesn’t like the direction of the company, don’t silence that person. Listen. And ask questions of your entire team: What do you think of this? How do you feel about that? This open dialogue makes it easier to proactively identify problems and work together to create a mutually beneficial environment. It will also make your employees feel appreciated and acknowledged.
Recently, we implemented a feedback loop through Butterfly. It’s amazing as it allows for the leadership team to get consistent feedback from our teams. While sometimes painful to read — we are going through tremendous transition, which can be difficult across the board — it serves as a useful guide to help us navigate and drive towards success.
Set the goal of working as a team. Encourage a squad-mentality.
If you want your team members to work together, have them work for something together. Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds a limited mentality and forces team members to remain isolated. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.
This is an important rule because it lays the ground-work for a trusting and thriving team. Before a management approach can be effective, it must be consistent. You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.
I think this is similar to parenting — as a mother, I want my daughter to be healthy, positive and productive. And, I want the same thing for my team — so, I have found that consistency in behavior, organization and process provides a level of comfort for the team to thrive.
Publicly reward and recognize hard work.
When a member of your team does something exceptional, reward him/her — with a bonus, a small trophy or even just a vocal recognition. Do this in front of the group; it will make the intended recipient feel good and show the rest of the team that hard work is rewarded. The only caveat goes back to the rule above: Be consistent in your rewards so you won’t be seen as playing favorites.
I have had good and bad managers, and what I learned from the good managers is that it’s imperative to provide consistent, real-time feedback to the team. Publicly praise good behavior, and privately provide constructive feedback. The annual review should not be full of surprises, it should not be a time for an ambush. I have found that recognizing behavior in real-time allows for immediate improvement and leads to greater employee satisfaction.
Never go with ‘one-size-fits-all.’
Most teams are comprised of individuals with unique preferences, strengths, weaknesses and ideas. Never use the exact same approach to motivate, encourage or mold all of them. Focus on individuals and customize your approach to fit each one.
As I mentioned, we have a unique culture full of people who have worked for the organization from 3 weeks to 35 years. The most interesting thing happens when you’re trying to create productive cross-discipline, multi-generational, varied-tenured teams. It has been essential for us, as leaders, to get to know people as individuals, which requires time and investment.
I, personally, meet with my direct reports weekly during my 1:1 and I encourage them to do the same with their teams. But, I also have quarterly 1:1’s with my entire organization and encourage an open-door policy for EVERYONE in the organization. Being respectful of my colleagues, I encourage our cross-disciplined squads to pop-in my office if they have any questions, concerns or praises for their colleagues.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could do anything in the world, it would be to have the financial ability to support single, working mothers. Especially women who have left non-ideal personal situations to provide a better life for them and their families. I would provide them with 100% confidential support — legal counsel, emotional and mental wellbeing counsel, living and education expense. And, it’s important to note, that this would be accessible to all women. Women who are at the executive assistant level to the executives that they support.
I have found that society often looks at educated, happy, smiling women and they think that they are doing just fine. But, sometimes those women wear a mask at work and are really dealing with some not-so-nice-stuff at home. I would have a fund for women who need to leave their current situation and provide them with access to the support — financial, emotional or physical — they may need for themselves and their families. All confidential. All free. For all women.
This is a movement centered around building a community of those who care — because, truly, it takes a village.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t’ be afraid to be ‘too’. Too emotional, too childish, too straight-forward, too whatever. There always will be someone who will love [or like] you for who you are, who’ll find special enchantment in all your ‘toos’”
My name is Joy. I am 5’10” and I typically wear 3”-4” heels. I am vocal, smiley and usually wear colors that represent my mood — white, pink, blues, etc. I was, surprisingly (not!) was voted most vivacious in high school. I have been told, most of my life, that I was “too much”. And, I used to try to hide it — try to underplay my excitement, my passion, actually, try to hide my voice. That all changes when I turned 36 years-old. I became pregnant with my first child and I realized that I wanted my daughter to be strong, compassionate and happy. But, I also wanted her to have the ability to find, use and celebrate her voice.
So, I had to be an example of the behavior I wanted her to possess. So, I made my personal mantra.
No longer will I be a silent player.
No longer will I be ashamed of my opinions or how I talk.
No longer will I hide my smile with my hands.
No longer will I think that strength means the absence of compassion.
No longer will I live the way I think others expect me to.
No longer will I apologize for being myself.
Originally published at medium.com