David Hamilton, Chief Growth Artist at Oppilo (oppilomarketing.com), a digital marketing agency working with local healthcare, dentistry, and wellness providers and Finance Director in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Can you tell us a story about what’s brought you to your specific career right now?
I was a first-generation college student, and I had no idea what I want to do or study. It was my parents dream for me to go to college, and I had always expected I would. So, while in college, it seemed like business people were making pretty big decisions in the world, and there were a lot more business people creating new paths. You have thousands of meaningful businesses in the country, all of which are making some impact. So it seemed like the career for me, and I went to business school.
I navigated towards finance given my affinity towards numbers, quantitative analysis, math, and science. Coming out of business school, I wanted to feel like I was in an industry that really mattered to people’s lives. So that’s how I ended up in healthcare finance.
Thank you! What are the three things that you wish someone told you before you started, and why?
1. Four Quarters. Think of your career management in quarters. You want to make decisions and choices for the long term. It is the decision between the opportunity to do something that is hugely impactful in the short term but will be irrelevant in the future, or to do something that will have a smaller short term impact but will create skills and experiences to serve you throughout your career. Often, most people gravitate toward the sexy short term project. But I think what ends up paying off in the long term is building a set of skills and experiences that are relevant throughout your career path.
I manage my career based on a list of things I think I will need to learn or understand 20 years from now. For example, I believe I will need mergers and acquisitions experience, and business development experience. Then I try to get these roles and worry less about how exciting these roles are perceived today
2. Maximize energy, not time. Energy can be optimized and maximized, while time can only be optimized. Focus on the things that give you energy, and by focusing on these things, you can actually maximize your energy throughout your day, your career and your life.
What skills or experiences do you think will be relevant in 20 years?
The first is pretty obvious. Every organization always needs leaders. If you see yourself as an executive at a company, having the ability to lead and to influence is key. My personal philosophy around leadership is the servant leadership model. I believe leaders need to dig in and get their hands dirty. Leaders need to empower people, work alongside their people. Servant leaders tend to have a multiplying impact where people will run through walls for them and help highlight blindspots.
The second is essential if you work in a large company. It is helpful to learn how to grow your organization both organically and inorganically. I hear leaders with this sort of bias towards one or the other. On the one hand, you have leaders who bring in external resources into their company and think it’s the only way. On the other hand, you have entrepreneurs with the bootstrap stories, and they believe they can do anything inside the walls of their own organizations. I think that you will need both, both the skills to grow with external resources and grow with internal strengths.
However, I don’t think we live in a world where you can tick off a box and be successful for the next 50 years. I think we used to live in that world say 40 or 50 years ago, but it’s no longer in our lifetime. The only thing you can do is learn how to learn.
What are some future trends in healthcare that you are keeping an eye on?
One trend over the past 10 years is the multiple stakeholder models. We tend to think about healthcare stakeholders as customers and shareholders. But more and more, governments, NGO’s and other organizations who are not acting as your customer are becoming more and more critical.
Another trend is moving away from a cost-based model towards a value-based model. This is where you find ways to create value for patients and payers, and you are charged for the value created, not necessarily for what your costs are.
In my particular sector of healthcare, we’ve been on that journey for decades. But in other parts of healthcare such as hospitals and primary care facilities, they are still in the early phases of that journey.
This trend will have a massive impact on healthcare. It will help drive down healthcare costs. It will also switch our focus form how much can I do and how much can I charge to what value can I create for my patient. I think that it will inevitably improve outcomes for patients.