Good business always comes down to the way you treat people, according to Carolina Veira, National Director of Partnerships & Sustainability at CareMax, which delivers primary care services in the United States.
This applies to customers and partners who interact with the organisation, but also employees within the business.
“I’ve seen so many organisations that don’t care about customer service, they pay their employees low wages and it’s coincidentally those people who are serving your customers – they are the people that are going to carry the company,” says Carolina.
“Those team members are so important, so valuable.”
You need to be sure of your mission
But beyond financial compensation, Carolina also believes employers need to provide staff members with purpose in their roles.
“You have to ensure employees are fulfilled, that they feel like they’re part of something bigger and not just producing revenue.”
She believes every business should be thinking of this – not just those working in healthcare.
“If you’re selling shoes, there’s still a mission behind that – someone is going to use those shoes to do an interview, or go to Sunday mass.”
This principle also applies to the elements of her role, where she is responsible for partnerships, corporate social responsibility and diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I connect all of the governments, local chambers, NGOs and NPOs to CareMax and create initiatives that are going to be good for our patients but are also going to impact the bottom line and produce a benefit for the organisation,” she says.
Beyond these higher level partnerships, Carolina also works to ensure the organisation is connected to communities and patients.
“Obviously we sell a service and we want patients to come to our centres and have medical services with us, rather than go to the hospital where you can typically wait a long time or go straight to the emergency room,” she adds.
“It can help patients be healthier if we keep track of their data, their health history and health plans – it’s about preventative care.”
“But, it’s also better for patients to be treated by a primary care provider at our centres than at a hospital because the prices and the type of care are different.”
Improving people’s lives
Beyond medical care, CareMax also looks into socio-economic factors like are patients getting meals, do they need transportation, do they have a phone.
This element is a particular part that Carolina finds rewarding. “I love that we can improve people’s lives,” says Carolina.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m not prescribing, but I am helping patients to have a better understanding of what preventative care is about and what benefits are available to them.”
Prior to working in healthcare, Carolina worked in renewable energy for NAES Corporation, a job she initially took more for the opportunity than an interest in the field itself, after completing a business and accounting degree.
But being in that market opened her eyes to sustainability because she “had to learn it”. While there, she understood the intersectionality between the environment and health equity and the power these have on wider society.
“I’m a firm believer in advancing the agenda for health equity and for access to healthcare for all.”
“If you look at the numbers, your access to healthcare, access to education, the way you live, are all connected,” she says.
“If you improve your health, you have more opportunities to go to school and to get a better job. If you work on the basics then the whole society can grow and advance, so that’s very important to me and why I switched from renewable energy to healthcare.”
She wants her legacy to be more than just the financials for the year or month, and more about improving the community and having an impact. “I want to help elevate people’s lives,” she adds. “So they are healthier and more fulfilled.”
CAROLINA’S POWER PROFILE
Who is your hero in business or life?
“I admire people who work hard and who are true to themselves and good to others. So my mum is my first and biggest hero. But, I also admire people like Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sonia Sotomayor is another hero, and I also admire Hillary Clinton because she went through hell and back her whole life and still stands for what she believes in.”
What music empowers you?
“I listen to Harry Styles a lot – I love him. I also love Lizzo – I listen to her music and I’m like I can’t believe you said that! But all power to you. I feel like I can sing to it, I can dance to it, I can sit back and just drive. I just love it.
“I can also listen to the Beatles and Elton John. I’m Still Standing is one of my favourite anthems when I want to get excited.”
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