We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Rachel Puri a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Rachel, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. If you had a defining moment that you feel really changed the trajectory of your career, we’d love to hear the story and details.
Happy to share my story with you, thank you for this opportunity.
I vividly recall the “aha” moment that happened early on when Lina was just launched. As many startups do, we had a small team; all of us focusing on so many aspects of the business all at once. Team building, system building, operations, sales, client relationships and so much more. It was during this time that I realized something that stuck with me and what I continue to work on and think about regularly until this day.
When you have a big idea or about to take on a risk or make an important decision in your life, the common advice you hear and even something you prepare yourself for is the worst case scenario. “Have a plan B, what if this doesn’t work out”. “Be prepared that your idea may fail” and so on. Of course, being ready for any situation is important. But what about being prepared for successes? Not once have I heard anyone say to me, make sure you are ready for your idea to actually work and succeed. The more I think about this the more I realize that the success of your idea and your business depends on your own readiness for the success you are striving to achieve. You must be ready for and prepared to fill your own shoes and step up to give it your all in order to embody the role you have set for yourself, whatever that role may be.
As a founder, if someone were to ask me for advice about starting their own company, I would say certainly be ready for things to not go as planned, however most importantly be prepared to succeed and for the responsibilities that come with that success. What does it mean to be ready for success? Well these would be some of the questions I would ask myself. Do you have what it takes to be a great leader to a team of people who may actually be smarter or more skilled than you? Do you know how to communicate with your prospective customers? Are you a good problem solver? Are you a good listener? What about learning the new skills that are essential for your success? Are you prepared to navigate your own feelings of uncertainty and manage your emotions? The list goes on and on.
Realizing early that seeing your idea come to life is just the beginning of the journey, helped shape my understanding of the need and importance of being prepared and that is what helped change the trajectory of my career and our company.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I come from a family of medical professionals and my love for healthcare was sparked early on in childhood. I vividly recall visits to the clinics and hospitals where my grandmother and mother worked at that time. To keep me occupied during those visits they would often allow me to play with some of the medical supplies like little glass tubes and thermometers (yes, glass – those were the pre-plastic days) , their stethoscopes, and all sorts of other things (kids likely should not be playing with). I remember being fascinated with it all and those early experiences informed much of my career choices and decisions and have led me to where I am today in life.
With 20 years experience in healthcare, my journey began working in mental health providing support and counseling to individuals with developmental disabilities. After completing a master’s degree in International Affairs with a focus in public health, I decided I still needed and wanted to do more hands-on clinical work with patients and this led me to go back to school and earn a degree in nursing. Working as an RN on busy hospital units and providing critical care to patients was one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have ever had and has taught me invaluable lessons that I carry with me to this day.
The trajectory of my career changed in 2017 when my partner and I got an idea and decided to take a risk to bring that idea to life. This is how Lina was born.
The vision of Lina came from the understanding that independent healthcare practitioners like doctors, therapists, and other health and wellness professionals in private practice are overburdened and are struggling with unnecessary operational headaches that often get in their way of focusing on what’s most important – patient care. Lina is the first company of its kind to adopt a flexible office space model, focused exclusively on supporting the needs of healthcare providers in private practice. We remain one of the few companies to offer a more affordable, sustainable and common-sense way for practitioners to care for their patients and retain their autonomy.
Since its inception, Lina has helped alleviate burdens associated with launching, growing and operating a private practice. Our innovative model eliminates steep overhead costs and minimizes time and energy spent managing an office and headaches unrelated to patient care. We pride ourselves in having created a space that offers freedom for practitioners to practice on their terms.. Through the community that we have built at Lina, practitioners are not only able to grow their practices but also create meaningful friendships and connections with one another that enrich both their professional and personal lives.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – A famous quote by Warren Buffett. I would say we live by this wisdom.
We have a good reputation not only because of the hard work and effort we put in to maintain it but because of the fundamental values and culture we have built that inform our policies, decisions and our actions.
For a doctor or any other healthcare professional to launch or decide to move and operate their practice at Lina it takes a lot of trust in our team and our abilities to support them. They don’t make this decision lightly. We gain their trust by simple principles of honesty, transparency and basic human connection and our work speaks for itself. Once we have gained their trust our team works hard to maintain it. We accomplish this by doing everything we can to provide them the support that they need to focus on their practice and patient care. Sometimes this means adjusting our protocols and operations, other times by making exceptions. We demonstrate our commitment through our actions, through empathy and compassion. We have learned that those basic fundamental human values and principles are essential for building and maintaining a reputation and when they are practiced consistently, our customers notice.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
One of the ways our team maintains a high morale is simply through the day-to-day work of supporting the needs of our healthcare practitioners and their patients. The team believes in the importance of our mission at Lina and their commitment is regularly recognized by the many doctors, therapists and other healthcare professionals who operate their practices at Lina. It is extremely rewarding when your customers express gratitude for your work and this is something we hear on a regular basis.
I think another important way to manage a team and maintain a high morale is through learning how to manage yourself as a leader first. This requires a level of self-reflection, a personal decision and a commitment. Developing the qualities required to be an effective leader is not a task you can just check off your to do list and move on.
I think it begins with an awareness of your own values and then a commitment to the work you must do to embody the qualities of the leadership style that aligns with those values. .
What I aspire to as a leader is having the ability to support, uplift and inspire my team. Giving constructive feedback is necessary but being open to and receptive to feedback about yourself I believe is even more important. I make every effort to let my team know that I want to hear what they have to say – not just when things are going well – but also during challenging times when they may disagree with our decisions or process. I try to build a relationship of openness and trust that will allow the team to come to me for support when that support is needed the most.
I believe there are many important elements of team building but in my opinion none as important as trust, which may be a key component of the makings of high morale within a team.
- Website: www.lina.co
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- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/rachelpuri
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/join_lina