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Meet the Collective: Chris Newman, Chief Financial Officer

We sat down with Chris Newman, Collective Health's Chief Financial Officer, to learn more about him and his role.

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Meet the Collective is our series highlighting the great people who make up Collective Health. Today, we’re sitting down with Chris Newman, Chief Financial Officer.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Minnesota and lived there through high school. 

What happened in your career that led you to Collective Health?

I’ve been a Chief Financial Officer for fifteen years, most of which was spent in retail-related businesses. As I’ve evolved in my career,  I’ve wanted to learn something new. Healthcare is an enormous category; about 20% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). I was drawn to Collective Health’s mission and the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and empower them to act on their health. I’m enjoying learning about a new business and sector that’s dynamic and continuously evolving. 

What will you be doing in your role?

The role of a Chief Financial Officer is to make sure the company has the resources it needs to execute plans, protect the assets of the company, and to facilitate initiative funding decisions the company makes. The role also helps to ensure ‌decisions are made with the right information at the right time. 

What excites you most about where Collective Health is going?

I’m excited to join at an important time when we must be mindful of our prioritization. You can’t be all things to all people. And you can’t scale across an infinite number of vectors. You can scale on a core vector, and for me, it’s about helping make sure we make those key choices and build for the future. Not narrow our purpose, but narrow down how we execute. 

What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career?

You can move mountains. You might believe you can’t get something done, but the first step is the most important. And you can’t make progress until you get going. I’ve seen that at different businesses. For example, I worked at a business in 2008, during the Great Recession. The business had to be reinvented, which was a lot of hard work and many hard choices. But we were able to reposition the business. 

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?

On the weekends, I love to take a nap! I love being outdoors, hiking, cooking, reading, traveling, and giving my dog quality time. 

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How does that inform what you do today? 

My father was a naval aviator and airline pilot. In that role, you work for 3-4 days and then don’t work, and I thought that would be the greatest job ever. I went to college thinking I wanted to be a lot of things – a doctor or maybe an engineer. I took chemistry freshman year, which told me I didn’t want to be a doctor. Then, when I started taking graduate-level computer science courses, I realized I didn’t want to be a coder. But something analytically based has underpinned all of it. 

How would you say technology can work better in healthcare?

Technology needs to make healthcare simpler. There’s so much technology for technology’s sake, but that doesn’t get us anywhere. Technology needs to make healthcare easier for consumers. 

How do you think greater transparency will improve healthcare or the benefits space?

We aim to help consumers make better choices, which means transparency matters. If people have the proper knowledge, they will make the right decisions. Our purpose is to make sure consumers have the correct information when they need it to improve healthcare, and technology can do that very effectively. 

What’s your favorite quote?

Yes we can! 

Hidden talents or lack of talents?

In my family, I am famously without any musical aptitude whatsoever! My wife sings, my son went to UCLA for musical theater, my youngest does digital music creation, and my other son plays guitar.

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