Always look inside and outside of the box…be introspective and determine what you and your product can be doing better at all times.
Jillian is the CEO & Co-Founder of Virtual Health Partners, Inc. (VHP), a results-based virtual wellness platform that provides live one-on-one nutrition appointments, fitness classes, and lifestyle modification by a team of wellness specialists.
In May 2016, Jillian launched VHP with the goal of creating an ecosphere of wellness support, available anywhere and anytime. She continues to develop both the brand and her team, working closely with partners and their clients to provide a VIP experience. With over 15 years of experience in the medical industry, Jillian was responsible for the multi-million-dollar growth of three start-up companies, with a strong focus in the non-invasive weight loss space.
Starting her career at Johnson & Johnson, then moving to Novare Surgical, ElectroCore and Apollo, Jillian specialized in development, implementation, growth, and marketing for new medical procedures.
Jillian received her Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University Business School and believes the key to success is having a great team.
Where did the idea for Virtual Health Partners come from?
I am the only non-medical person (doctor) in my family and growing up I was more interested in how business worked; the lifecycle of products fascinated me more than physics and chemistry. After college I went to work in finance in a financial leadership program for a fortune 500 company. I was used to my dad going into the Emergency Department for patients at all hours of the night to help them. While working long hours on a merger and acquisition deal, I found myself realizing I was not helping people with all of my hard work, like my dad did all of those long nights in the hospital. After a bit of self-reflection, I realized it was not the long hours that were causing my brain to wander, but the fact that I wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives and become completely financially self-sufficient at the same time, which drove me to explore other opportunities.
When looking at the market for medical devices and all of the revisions, and how the Lap-Band procedure required a lot of follow-up, which is difficult for a busy person to sustain, I saw a tremendous void. It dawned on me that you could give patients a tool, like a surgical procedure or a “tightening,” but they need a full toolbox to succeed. This toolbox needed to offer live wellness care at your fingertips. It needed a combination of nutrition, lifestyle modification and fitness all in one place, accessible on-the-go, during lunch or in the evening without having to go anywhere to speak with an expert in-person. I shared my idea with the co-founder of Virtual Health Partners (VHP), Dr. Shawn Garber, a very successful bariatric surgeon. He saw the need too, and VHP was born. Over the past few years, we kept receiving requests to support different areas outside of weight loss. We are now in eight different verticals including fitness, oncology, fertility, and weight loss, and in nine languages, all with a focus on wellness or weight loss.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is different. No matter what I think is on tap, something always changes or unexpectedly gets thrown into the mix. Every day involves a lot of multi-tasking, whether it be taking calls on my way to the office, in between meetings or on the ride to the airport. When I do have some downtime, I like to rally everyone in the office to do a quick 10- or 20-minute VHPGO workout during lunch, it’s a great way to bond with the team and re-charge ourselves for the latter part of the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
To quote VHP’s VP of Sales and Business Development Shelly Russell, “there is nothing like a great white board.” I think it is imperative to work with all team members at different levels to solicit their ideas as well as the voice of the customer, combine them together into a large brainstorming session that leads to a solution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Consumers wanting an “UBER-esque” like solution for each key aspect of their lives.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The ability to do 10 things at once and listen when no one thinks I am listening.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I learned earlier in life the importance of taking more time away from work and focusing on family. Having lost my dad in September, I am constantly reflecting on how I was always running out of his office, when I would stop by for a quick hello to get to a work meeting. Or I was too busy flying out for work on a Sunday night to make it to his house to watch the Giants game. Time is precious, having fun and working hard are important, but you only get one dad – make time for EVERYTHING! Balance is key.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am not klutzy… I just multi-task a lot and happen to trip or drop things while multi-tasking.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Always look inside and outside of the box. By this I mean be introspective and determine what you and your product can be doing better at all times.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Being agile and ensuring VHP is treatment agnostic has been a key factor in allowing VHP to continue to win business. By treatment agnostic, we are able to customize all aspect of our platform and the content to meet the needs of our partners and their clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It is a quite an unusual failure, however it pains me every day that I was not able to clearly articulate my business idea and plan to my dad before his vascular dementia onset. I think he would be proud of my accomplishments, yet I wish I was able to have more clearly communicated the idea which is now brought to life while he could still understand it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think the concept of virtual reality is incredible, the idea of a hologram fitness trainer being able to come into my apartment and work out with me excites me. In my mind it takes “Beam me up, Scotty” to a whole new level.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on an at-home sports massage with the most amazing masseuse, Rich. My lower back was out from travel, work and running. I could barely walk. Not only did he help me physically, but he also helped relax my mind.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Internet on a plane. I am not sure what I ever did without it and when I do not have it I go bonkers! Six hours on a plane to California from NYC, without any phone calls is a truly brilliant time to be productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Fish!: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results” or “Go Fish” as I refer to it – the business principles and the way to make a strong fun work environment live with me daily.
What is your favorite quote?
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra
• Having to think through answers about leadership is always insightful and an activity I should probably put into place for myself quarterly, without being prompted. It is critical to constantly think about how you can develop new ideas and what you can be doing better.
• Sharing an idea that has been on my mind for a while with a talented audience excites me, as I hope someone out there is already working on it or has the means to develop it. I truly believe holograms are the future for teaching various things such as surgery, fitness, and robotics.
• Differentiation: we are always asked when pitching companies or investors what differentiates VHP. Being able to articulate our key differentiators in a high-level means on this forum was very helpful.
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.