Employee Spotlight Series: Gauri Thaker, Professional Services Lead

Welcome back to the PatientPing Employee Spotlight Series! We talked with Gauri Thaker, Professional Services Lead, who has been with PatientPing for 1 year, and having joined as our first fully remote employee – she’s never been to the office. Gauri helps our customers get up and running with our products. She shares a little bit about her journey to PatientPing and her experience so far.

What was your journey to PatientPing like?
My journey to PatientPing was a little bit of a winding path. I did both my undergrad and grad school in public health, specifically around health management and health policy, and more specifically around tech policy. So I was really interested in components of some of the high tech act and Obamacare and the requirements there around ensuring that interoperability was working as expected, so that patients could really have that care coordination and interaction across the board that they weren’t getting with how the structure had been set up. 

Once I graduated grad school, and was kind of figuring out my career path, I ended up being not on that side of things specifically around care coordination, I was more on the revenue cycle side, and, thinking more on the payer front what the requirements were, and I realized this isn’t the part of healthcare that I wanted to help fix. And it wasn’t what I was passionate about. I knew that PatientPing was really, really focused in its mission and vision for how to improve care coordination and care collaboration, and was really thinking about that space between a patient being seen by a healthcare provider, what is happening there, and the additional factors that play into their health and wellness. And I knew we were trying to do something to achieve that in some way, shape, or form. I had PatientPing on my radar for a while, I had always been, looking up unique opportunities that were being surfaced my way. I had been chatting with Lindsay for a couple of years about different roles, and then when the role specifically for the hospital and health system solutions team came about, I jumped on that chance and interviewed and luckily, I’m here. 

How would you describe your role as a Professional Services Lead?
I would describe it as you are a very specialized project manager, where you’re kind of taking all of these different components that might be required for a customer to be successfully onboarded onto PatientPing, and using our products effectively, both from an operational standpoint – i.e. What are these organization’s needs and how can we figure out the best way to set up our functionality to make it meaningful for the organization and the end user? And also from a technical standpoint – i.e. What are some of the additional steps that may be needed from an integration standpoint, from them submitting all of the additional technical things they need to be live and up and running? I take all of that and help them develop a timeline so that they can be onboarded onto PatientPing meaningfully, and be live with our product and make sure that all of my customers are being onboarded on time and on budget and on quality. There are a lot of other pieces that kind of fall into that. Because of the different types of products that I work with and the different customer segments, especially on the hospitals and health systems side, we are focused on our compliance solution with Route, we’re focused on spotlights, dashboards, our pings product, so not just our core functionality, but some additional needs that might exist, and then figuring out how we can customize those to make sure we are the right fit for that customer as they continue to move along with their PatientPing lifetime. It’s like, you’re an onboarding SME project manager. But also I’m a little bit of a product manager, I’m a little bit of an integration specialist. I’m a little bit of a roster coordinator, a jack of all trades.

What do you like most about your role?
I really like the cross functional aspect of what I get to do. And like I mentioned, you’re a little bit of a jack of all trades, where you, depending on where your interests lie, can get really heavily involved on the technical side and also master the operational pieces. Being able to kind of tie all of that together is really interesting. From a PatientPing standpoint, I also get to work so cross functionally with other teams. So I get to work closely with product and engineering on some pieces, with our integrations team, with our growth teams to make sure that they are armed and are selling our product correctly to customers. I’m working with our user success and customer success teams to make sure that they know how to support the customer after they’re live. I love that everything that I do kind of touches every other team as well, because a) you get to know more folks, especially being remote and having started remote and b) you develop an appreciation for everybody’s role and what it is that it takes to keep us up and running.

As a member of the Racial Equity ERG Steering Committee, can you talk to me about what inspired you to join and what kinds of things you and the ERG are working on?
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, PatientPing, like a lot of other companies wanted to take a stance, but didn’t want it to just be performative around, we stand by x and kind of leave it at that. We realized that we didn’t have an ERG specifically designed not just for DEI efforts, but actually taking them a step further and figuring out how we can create a safe space to discuss these really sensitive topics around racial equity. So back at that time, Tiffany (former Chief People Officer) had asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to join and I volunteered. I was also feeling frustrated with the performative response I was seeing, whether it be on social media, from other companies, or just larger companies, the government, everything – it didn’t feel like it was enough. I also frankly, didn’t feel like I was doing enough. I really jumped at the opportunity to be able to frame how thoughtful we can be as an ERG. We don’t want to just be another check on the box for PatientPing saying, “look, we also support DEI efforts” and then that’s it. 

And so I was really interested in learning what it meant to build something like that from scratch and being a part of it. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences and also the most learning that I’ve done being a steering committee member. Being involved with taking other people’s perspectives, how we can have those meaningful conversations, making sure we’re not solely focused on the “white gaze and white guilt” that might be associated with all of this because frankly, our company is still predominantly white and we have a lot more work to do on that front, in terms of hiring, and what our involvement looks like from a hiring perspective. How can we better partner with the People Team, to share what our employees are feeling and how to help arm them and our hiring managers. We had a lot of learnings and we’re still learning a lot about and figuring out where we fit into the kind of the grand scheme of things. So whether that be making sure that we have buy-in from leadership, or making sure that our ERG members who regularly attend our meetings feel like it is a safe space where they can share stories or anything that they want to share based on whatever we talk about. And then making sure we have regularly scheduled time both as a steering committee and then also as an ERG. We meet monthly, as a larger ERG, we make sure we share some topics beforehand, whether it be around a specific topic for that month, for a TED talk, or podcast, have some time to discuss and also have time to discuss some current events. We meet as a steering committee bi-weekly to think through how we want to frame the coming months or the coming meeting.

One thing I’m really interested and excited to see going forward, what is the ERG gonna look like for our joint entity, and making sure that, we have buy in from leadership to continue our efforts, making sure we’re providing a safe space for current members, and also for folks who might be interested in joining. I’m doing additional collaboration with the Women’s ERG, to see if there’s any way that we can co-sponsor some events in the coming months. One thing that frankly keeps me up at night is we’ve been operating under this framework of education, discussion and action. We’ve gotten really good at the education and discussion piece, but how can we actually tie action into it? And so now that we are doing a little bit of a reset just as a larger organization, it will be interesting to see how we can carry that framework forward and actually bring more action into it as well. 

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve been a dancer for a really long time and I’ve done all types of dance, whether it be ballet and jazz when I was in kindergarten or classical Indian. I’ve been on multiple dance teams in undergrad, and love to choreograph. I was even on my college collegiate step team competitively for a couple of years. I’ve kind of done everything in that world, and I miss it quite a bit; I’m excited for things to open up so that there’s more opportunity to dance. Another fun fact is I visited almost every single National Park in the US.