Meet the Collective: Hi, Ana.
Meet the Collective is our series highlighting the great people who make up Collective Health. Today, we’re sitting down with Ana Schrank, Chief Financial Officer.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Albany, New York but I moved to San Francisco in 1996 and stayed here until 2012 when I had a career opportunity that took me to Atlanta for a few years. After 2015, I returned to San Francisco.
What happened in your career that led you to Collective Health?
I spent the last 23 years working at McKesson, which is a large diversified healthcare company that is heavily involved in the logistics of distributing pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. But the company is mission driven and focused on improving care in every setting. The philosophy was “It’s a patient, not a package.” In part, that’s what drew me to Collective Health — the member-centered approach and focus on a delightful experience. It’s truly a differentiating factor in the healthcare space.
Tell us a little bit more about your background.
One thing that I will say is my career path in finance is quite varied. I’ve been fortunate enough to serve in a variety of roles such as Head of Investor Relations, Chief Audit Executive, and I’ve also been a CFO. I think this experience has helped me understand the whole of the function rather than having narrow expertise.
What excites you most about where Collective Health is going?
I genuinely believe Collective Health is serving a true need in healthcare. It’s just something that touches so many Americans — their employer sponsored healthcare — and it doesn’t work as well as it should. Everyone has had a less than satisfactory healthcare experience, so from that perspective the mission is very relatable. What excites me about the direction of the company is just how much better the healthcare experience can be — not just from the member/user perspective but also how much better the industry could function on the backend.
What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career?
Sometimes you need to take a side step to move forward. Today we have such a progress and achievement focused culture that I think it often hinders our ability to round out our skill sets. There have been several times where I have taken lateral moves that wouldn’t have been the obvious career decision for others but have positioned me well and helped expand my knowledge and skills. I think being multifaceted and understanding your role, or your company from multiple vantage points, ultimately makes you a stronger employee and candidate for future roles. It also puts you in a better position to grow.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I love to be with my family. When I’m not working I love to watch my kids play sports. My kids are lacrosse players and my oldest just started at Tufts. Hopefully, he will get to play this year. It’s rewarding to see them explore their passions and find enjoyment in their hobbies as they’ve grown up.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How does that inform what you do today?
Funny enough I actually wanted to be a banker. And, my first job out of college was, in fact, working at a bank. I was an English major and History minor in college but did an MBA in Finance, which turned into a finance career. I was raised in a family that felt as though undergrad was a time to keep your options open, pursue the liberal arts, and then go to graduate school when you knew what you really wanted to make a career out of. My family was pretty adamant about this philosophy actually. I am the oldest of 18 cousins and I think we were probably all English majors or something closely related.
How would you say technology can work better in healthcare?
There’s a tremendous amount of inefficiency, and technology is the only way to improve that. At every point where redundancy, bureaucracy and inefficiency exist, there’s money to be made by someone. That doesn’t properly incentivize anyone to change and align their efforts with health outcomes rather than the bottom line.
That’s part of what I found so compelling about Collective Health — the commitment to transparency in a way that helps employees and employers navigate the benefits space so they are able to make decisions that support their health and not just generate revenue. I think people won’t give up the status quo easily, but our best shot at improving the current state of things is to use technology to streamline as much as possible. Where we can reduce redundancies, we can reduce waste.
How do you think greater transparency will improve healthcare or the benefits space?
Greater transparency will help individuals and employers make better decisions around their benefits. The service and tools Collective Health provides allows for informed transitions and elections by arming benefits leaders with the right data sets. I also believe most people would choose to save money if they knew how to do it or if it were an option. At present, our healthcare system is not easy to navigate when it comes to finding quality care in the most cost effective way.
What’s your favorite quote?
Two things I say a lot are “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” and “don’t get ahead of yourself.” They sound pretty elementary but I say them to my kids often. It’s easy to get stressed or lose sight of what needs to get done today by obsessing over the future. Goals and keeping your eyes on the horizon are certainly important but keeping your head down and focusing on putting one foot in front of the other is what will help you get there.
Hidden talents or lack of talents?
I can’t cook, and it’s actually a lot of pressure for me when I try. But in terms of actual talents, I’d say I give good advice. I think this comes from the fact that I am an objective listener. Most of the time people know what they want or need, but it’s helpful to have someone who will really listen when you say it out loud. It’s more rare than you’d think. It’s not enough just to parrot back to people what they’ve told you; really consider what their motives, needs and desires are before providing your advice.