4 Strivers Share How Strive Health Has Evolved in the Past 4 Years

Author : Strive Health
Pictured clockwise from the top left: Avery West, Director of Marketing; Sean McBee, Associate of People Operations & HR Systems; Tamara Yoas, Nurse Practitioner; and Melissa Hutchison, Kidney Navigator Lead.

When Strive Health was founded in October 2018, there were two employees (aka Strivers): CEO Chris Riopelle and Chief Strategy Officer Will Stokes. Together, the co-founders were on a mission to build a solution and team to transform the way kidney care is delivered in the U.S.

Today, there are more than 450 Strivers working together with payor, health system and provider partners to put kidney disease patients first, improve outcomes and lower the total cost of care for over 56,000 patients in 16 states.

Recently, four Strivers from different parts of the business shared their thoughts on how their roles and Strive has evolved over the years. This is what Avery West, Director of Marketing; Sean McBee, Associate of People Operations & HR Systems; Tamara Yoas, Nurse Practitioner; and Melissa Hutchison, Kidney Navigator Lead, had to say.

How has your role at Strive changed over the years?
Avery: I started at Strive in July 2020, right in the thick of the pandemic. Today, my role at Strive is more specialized than when I started. I was the only marketer at Strive for a long time, so I did it all: digital, PR, demand generation campaigns, internal communications and more. Now, thanks to a larger, amazing team, I can focus mostly on lead generation campaigns and events.
     • Sean: I started in September 2020, during the height of the pandemic. When I started, there were not a lot of HR processes in place. One of my primary goals was to design and streamline new-hire onboarding and orientation. Now, having done that and passing the torch to another talented Striver who has taken it to the next level, I was able to move into people system administration, ops and reporting, where I continue to learn, grow and serve.
     • Tamara: I started in April 2021. I helped open the Oregon market as a Nurse Practitioner and now I have helped open the Michigan market. It is very exciting to open an entire market — adventures, challenges and all. There are lots of moving parts and I like to look at all the things we have learned.
     • Melissa: I joined Strive in March 2020. I was hired as the office manager to open the St. Louis office with Strive’s first partner, SSM Health. We opened two ambulatory offices during the height of the pandemic. Getting medical supplies was complicated, knowing there were healthcare workers on the frontlines needing them. We enrolled the very first Strive patient and then went on to build many more meaningful patient relationships during a very vulnerable time. They would call, and we were there for them. That team was hard to leave, but in January 2022, I moved to a new team to assist in implementing our very first Kidney Navigator program in the St. Louis SSM Health market. I am currently the team lead for four amazing Kidney Navigators who are located within the SSM hospitals. We see patients who are on dialysis, need dialysis education and a dialysis clinic arranged for when they discharge from the hospital. We coordinate post-acute care outpatient dialysis treatment schedules in collaboration with the hospital physicians, case management teams, nephrologists, outpatient dialysis clinics and their admissions teams.

How do you think Strive has evolved over the years?
• Avery:
In addition to impressive growth in employees, partnerships and patient lives under management, I’ve loved seeing coworkers get to dive into work that excites them. We were at about 70 Strivers when I started, so everyone wore a lot of hats. Since then, I’ve watched Strivers grow in their roles, shift teams, get promotions and really do their thing.
     • Sean: Strive remains agile enough to be able to execute changes much more quickly than larger organizations. We have taken feedback from the workforce population and put action behind those words. This has manifested in areas like Striver wellbeing and levels of service from support teams. From IT to Talent, we have grown to better serve our Strivers so they can continue to impact patients and save lives!
     • Tamara: Strive is growing at an incredible rate and we have kept our company goal in sight. And we are constantly looking for new ways to support our staff properly as we grow. I feel like I can be myself at Strive, as annoying as that may be to other sometimes! I love working with my team – the Michigan team rocks. I also like how we continue to find even more ways to serve patients so clinicians can have a true relationships with them and help them improve their health.
     • Melissa: Strive has definitely changed for the better – and we’re changing the lives of patients for the better every day! I came to Strive after 23 years with another kidney care company. Upon my research of Strive before I applied, I firmly believed in what Chris and his team were doing and what they wanted to build. The care that we are providing for chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease patients is something that’s been needed for years. Working in a dialysis clinic for 19 years, you could see the fear and worry in patients’ eyes on their first day and it would just break your heart. I always thought to myself, “Is this how to prepare someone’s loved one for a life-sustaining treatment that they’ll need forever — by letting them crash into it?” The education that we provide at Strive is life-changing for these patients. Giving them the power to have meaningful conversations with their other providers and to have them understand what will happen — and when — is priceless. The way Strive cares for its own people is also great. You feel valuable and needed. Together, Strivers truly are fixing a system that has been broken for forever.

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