Today we’re super excited to have Sentari Minor – Head of Strategy for evolvedMD joining the AZ Brandcast

Sentari is passionate about bringing the best out of individuals and entities. His love languages are strategy, storytelling, and social impact. As Head of Strategy for evolvedMD, Mr. Minor is at the forefront of healthcare innovation with a scope of work that includes strategy, growth, branding, culture, and coaching. Prior to evolvedMD, he was Regional Director of Alder (formerly Gen Next) and Director at Social Venture Partners. When he’s not busy changing the world, Sentari enjoys working out, stirring the pot on social media, being an amateur author, and spending time with the people who make him smile. (And is a fellow Arizona native and alumni of North High School – Go Mustangs!)

Learn more about evolvedMD over on their website: https://www.evolvedmd.com/
Connect with Sentari at: https://www.sentariminor.com

 

Contact: Mike Jones mike@resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.facebook.com/azbrandcast/

The show is recorded at the Resound offices in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th – and best state of them all).

Show Transcript

Mike Jones:
This is the AZ Brandcast where we explore Arizona’s brand and the brands that make Arizona. I’m Mike Jones. All right everybody, thanks for joining us on another episode of AZ Brandcast, I’m super excited about this episode as we have Sentari Minor, who is head of strategy for evolvedMD on the show today. Sentari, thanks for being here.

Sentari Minor:
Thanks for having me. This is going to be a fun time. I’m excited.

Mike Jones:
Why don’t you share with everybody a little bit of your background and how you got to evolvedMD.

Sentari Minor:
Oh man. Where should I start?

Mike Jones:
Where do you start?

Sentari Minor:
Where do I start?

Mike Jones:
Well, here, I’ll give you something to start with, you’re an Arizona native.

Sentari Minor:
There we go. Yeah, I was still there. So I’m an Arizona native as Mike just said. So grew up here in Phoenix, went to high school downtown actually with Mike, but we did not know each other which is so weird to me.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. So weird.

Sentari Minor:
It’s so weird. We were about a year apart there. So yeah, I grew up here in Phoenix, decided that I wanted to get away from the Valley of the Sun for college, so I went to the most random place on earth, which was Green Castle, Indiana.

Mike Jones:
DePauw.

Sentari Minor:
DePauw.

Mike Jones:
DePauw.

Sentari Minor:
DePauw. Yes.

Mike Jones:
Thank you for correcting me, because I’m sure I just slaughtered it for all the alumni.

Sentari Minor:
There’s also most people think I’m saying DePaul, which is in Chicago. No, DePauw, small arts school in Indiana where I studied English there, thought I wanted to be a writer or a journalist it turns out that doesn’t pay any money.

Mike Jones:
Not usually.

Sentari Minor:
Not usually. So yeah, after college I came back to Phoenix, worked for of all places, a publishing firm in Central Scottsdale called Citation Publishing. Then from there I realized that I don’t want to just read and edit things all day, that was very soul sucking, and also it just wasn’t contributing to the world, and for me, a big piece of my passion is just giving back and being community engaged. So after Citation, I went over to a private foundation, Rodel Foundation where I ran comms and some program management and then decided that I wanted to get into fundraising of all things. So working at a foundation, they’re like, “Well, we have plenty of money, so there’s no fundraising goals here.”

Mike Jones:
That’s a great foundation to work for.

Sentari Minor:
So they didn’t really need me to do that. So I went over to the Arizona Humane Society.

Mike Jones:
Ooh. Yeah.

Sentari Minor:
I worked at the Arizona Humane Society for two years. So I was their corporate development officer did corporate campaigns, ran a lot of the big campaigns, was on TV quite a bit with dogs and cats, which was always fascinating because I’ll let you guys know this, and it became very clear to my coworkers I’m not an animal person. So I would be on TV, there’s a show called Pets on Parade, and we also had a great partnership with Channel 3, and so I’d be on and I’d get a text after from my mom. It goes like, “You look so uncomfortable.”

Mike Jones:
She’s like the only one in the world that actually knows how uncomfortable you are.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah, I was uncomfortable.

Speaker 3:
Did you did you get that job because you went to DePauw University?

Sentari Minor:
No, that was good. That’s solid. That was pretty good. That’s solid. But yeah, so I did that for two years, loved it, fell in love with understanding like how to really leverage a brand, how to leverage storytelling, because we had to do that a lot with a lot of the animal stories, and it was really cool, it was a really cool proving round and I learned a lot there. Then after that, I joined Social Venture Partners of Arizona and that’s also how Mike and I know each other. So I went on staff there for a number of years there and worked with, I think one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever had is with a company called Gen Next, which has now been rebranded to Alder.
So I worked with purposeful CEOs, owners, and entrepreneurs here in Phoenix, in San Francisco and in Dallas, really engaging them in everything social good, which was super cool. Then one of the CEOs of that group actually poached me, Erik Osland, and he was like, “Hey, we’re growing this company, evolvedMD super fast, I just need someone to help me kind of wriggle in that growth and figure out the strategy behind it.” So we sat down over drinks and the next day I was like, “Are you serious?” And he was like, “Yep. Essentially write a job description and come on over.” So I did, and so I’ve been, head of strategy for evolvedMD since October 2020.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. That’s very cool. I love that kind of thread of like a passion for writing, and now it’s like strategy for a high growth company, and doing some really cool things, I think that’s beyond the growth aspect. It’s like having an actual impact on people’s real lives in a great way. But I love that idea of that writing’s kind of at the heart of everything you do.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. I love it. I was at a wedding, oh gosh, maybe two months ago, and I was sitting with someone who was, oh, I forget what company she works for. But her background is in marketing and writing journalism, I believe and she ran strategy for a company too. It’s like, well, as a marketer and as a writer, you have to take in information from all these different departments. So you’re just naturally a person that can synthesize it, make it easy, and that’s what strategy is. Right?

Mike Jones:
Yep.

Sentari Minor:
It’s like figuring out all these different inputs and putting it out there. So it’s actually, I think it’s a very common thing.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. Yeah. I think the more I’ve kind of been in the marketing and advertising world, the more I realize most strategists I know are actually copywriters at heart, and it’s just kind of like cool to see that. I think it’s funny in our own agency, we always preach like content first, as much as we love the aesthetics and the design elements of building great brands. It’s like, if we don’t start with something really solid, and we start with a good story, there’s nothing else.

Sentari Minor:
You got the best logo in the world, but if there’s no story behind it doesn’t-

Mike Jones:
It doesn’t mean anything.

Sentari Minor:
It doesn’t mean anything.

Mike Jones:
So anyway, that was just cool, a little side tangent there.

Sentari Minor:
Love that.

Mike Jones:
But thanks so much for coming on.

Sentari Minor:
Oh, this is going to be so fun.

Mike Jones:
Just like you, it blows me totally away that we went to the same high school, basically at the same time, and it took like, what? 15 years later for us to be like, “Wait, you exist? You’re a person. I’m a person.” We’re we grew up in the same city at the same high school. That’s just bizarre, blows my mind.

Sentari Minor:
But here we are now, here we are now.

Mike Jones:
But it’s awesome and now we are connected and now you’re on the podcast and we’re doing stuff with Social Venture Partners together and-

Sentari Minor:
It’s been good.

Mike Jones:
It’s been working with Read Better Be Better. So yeah, it’s been really good. Tell me more about evolvedMD. What are you guys doing?

Sentari Minor:
So company started in 2017 and at the heart of what we do is behavior health integration. So what that means is we put a therapist into your primary care physician’s office and something that’s called collaborative care. So think about, if you go to your physician and they say, “Hey, we’re going to screen you, and it seems like you might have some symptoms and signs of depression or anxiety.” We now have a therapist here located in your office that can actually to take care of those symptoms.
So the idea is that you have a continuum of care embedded within a system, and so if you’re a person you get whole body care instead of separating your physical from your mental. So it’s been great. So it’s definitely needed right now. I mean, there’s just so many, I can give you stat after stat, after stat on how harrowing it is for the state of mental health, but what we find is that people are really comfortable with their physicians. So if a physician tells you or recommends behavioral health services, you’re likely to do that, and one of the biggest things that prevents people or are the biggest barriers is just kind of the access to behavioral health and how hard it is to get on someone’s schedule.
So for us, it’s you see your doctor and they’re like, “If Sentari is in the office, you can go see them right now, or we will make sure there’s a warm hound off to that.” So we decrease that barrier. So yeah, it’s great work, we’re seeing a lot of health systems and large medical groups that are seeing the value of it and saying we absolutely need behavioral health services at each one of our sites and each one of our clinics. So we’ve grown quite a bit in Arizona and Salt Lake. So it’s been great. It’s one of those things where you get one customer and then everyone talks, and so everyone’s just kind of clamoring.
So we’re in this really cool stage where we’re growing rapidly, we’re expanding the team. I mean, when I started, I was the first non-clinical employee and there were three of us in a small office in Scottsdale, and now we have to move our offices again, because we’re growing so big.

Mike Jones:
That’s a good problem to have.

Sentari Minor:
It’s a good problem to have. But it’s a good problem to have in a world where we’re tackling something very topical and timely, and so many people need services and it’s just so hard for them to get it, and so we remove that barrier increase access. So that’s something that to be proud of and what attracted me to this work is that I’ve been always been very, very transparent and honest about my mental health journey. So started seeing a therapist when I was like 24 or 25, and I just wish more and more people had access to that and everyone needs it. So the fact that we get to increase that access and the fact that we get to be a solution for a lot of people that wouldn’t otherwise have it, it’s a wonderful thing.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, that’s really cool. Tell me about kind of what’s the Genesis behind the company? How did it that come to be?

Sentari Minor:
So the founder, Erik Osland actually, it came to be because he was having, his dad was end of life and they started kind of a thing to kind of reconcile his meds. So he was on a lot of different medications, and they thought there must be a way to kind of bring this down to just a few. So they run clinicals-

Mike Jones:
More reasonable level.

Sentari Minor:
A reasonable level. So they brought in a clinical pharmacist to kind of bring that in fruition and as a side effect or externality of that, they started screening the patients that were involved in this program for depression. They decided they wanted to add a PHQ9, which is a screening tool to all these folks, and what they found is that so many of them had symptoms of depression, no one had ever even thought about going to see someone for it. So for the founder, his own dad was one of those people and he’s like, “Oh man, he’s depressed and we just didn’t know and there has to be some way to catch this.”
So that’s what started the company and then the managing partner, Erik Osland who founded it with the other co-founder Steve Biljan, who kind of operationalized it, found the program, the model, which is psychiatric collaborative care that comes out of the University of Washington AIMS Center. They came together with the passion and then the commercial excellence pieces and then made evolvedMD in 2017. So we saw our first patients in 2017 and now we’re just kind of, we’re growing a lot throughout the valley and again, in Salt Lake.

Mike Jones:
If you’re okay with me asking, what’s kind of the reasoning for Arizona and Salt Lake? Is there something environmentally in those locations or don’t know, or is that just happenstance?

Sentari Minor:
Eric is Arizona, he grew up in Gilbert, so he was just here. So it started there. I believe that the genesis, one of our clinical employees was just moving to Salt Lake, and so we started looking at things there, and we got one large medical group to say yes, and take a chance on us and then everyone, and kind of that area did too. Also, we look at states where Arizona’s actually very innovative and at the forefront of reimbursing for these services. So states that have high reimbursement rates, states that kind of get integration, Arizona and Utah being two of the big ones, and so it’s been rather fortuitous that, those are the two states that we’ve started in.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. That’s really interesting. It’s so interesting how much like early stage growth is dependent on location.

Sentari Minor:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
You think like, oh, businesses that are more B2B in their kind of sales and marketing strategy, it’s like, “Oh, that shouldn’t really matter” and yet it still really can play a huge part.

Sentari Minor:
Well, for us, and a thing that I’d give Arizona kudos for is that when we were starting, we were so lucky that this happened. So serendipitous, when we were starting, the state actually just started deploying a bunch of dollars into a grant program for behavioral health integration. It just happened to be there. So there was a bunch of seed money available so that clinics could start it, and so you could be, Resound Clinic and it’s like, “Well, how do we actually deploy this? We have the money. What do we do?” It’s like, there’s a company evolvedMD. So that started, we were right time, right place, and to your point, we were in the right location and that’s what started it.

Mike Jones:
Yep. Well, that’s part of strategy too. Just right time, right place, and sometimes those are plan and sometimes they’re just-

Sentari Minor:
Definitely not.

Mike Jones:
They work out. They work out. How would you kind of define the evolvedMD brand, the identity of what you guys are putting out there?

Sentari Minor:
That’s ever evolving.

Mike Jones:
Sure.

Sentari Minor:
Ever evolving. But I think mostly what we think about is putting people first, and a lot of companies say that, but we really do. I think one of the really interesting things that we do, especially, and it’s very rare for, well, any company, but our clinicians really, really dig it is that we incentivize self care. So part of my bonus is dependent on if I go to the gym, if I do meditation, if I’m reading and we make sure that everyone does that and tie a compensation to it. So I would say our brand is really people focused. We like to be as inclusive as possible. So we want to make sure that one of the things that’s kind of in our values is reducing stigma. We know that so many people aren’t getting help because they’re like, well, I don’t want to be seen as crazy or this is weird, and so our brand is very inclusive. We wanted to be from an aesthetic standpoint, we did a kind of a brand refresh when I came on, that was my first-

Mike Jones:
Surprise. Surprise.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Right. The first thing I was supposed to do is, clean, modern, sleek, inviting, warm, very warm, we have to be a warm. So I think those things all encapsulate our brand, but mostly I would say it’s, we’re very culture driven, it’s something that’s like palpable. We feel it. We know when people are and are not living our values, and I think that’s all kind of showcased in how we put ourself to the market.

Mike Jones:
I think that’s really cool that you’re in this field where there’s like a very mission minded purpose behind what you’re doing, and you’re really trying to incentivize everyone in the organization to be like, we want you to live personally too.

Sentari Minor:
Exactly. Yeah.

Mike Jones:
I think that’s really cool. Some people might liken that to like eating your own dog food, but I think that puts it in a poor light. Unless you like eating dog food, in which case, I guess that’s a good metaphor. I mean, you’ve touched on these a little bit, but kind of unpack like the values. How have those driven kind of the brand in terms of like, you said people first, some of this like kind of living out the mission of the brand, but how does that kind of undergird decision making even in your company?

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Decision making, I think a good framework would be around decision making, and so when we think about we want to incentivize, we want people to take care of themselves we’re people focused. We want to reduce stigma. We want to kind of live those values. That means that for some things like for instance, corporate strategy, we can say like, we have a very audacious ambition for this year, but are we going to be able to feasibly do all this if we want to make sure that we have work life balance? If the answer is no, the answer’s no, and so we slow down growth because of that.
I think that’s very unique to any growing company, but I think that’s something that we are really mindful of, and that plays out in our day to day of, we will not do this if this means that people are going to be spread thin, we will not do this if this means that people won’t be able to have self care, we won’t do this with a partner or we won’t choose this customer because they’re not treating their employees correctly. So those things are very important to us, and probably, I wouldn’t say inhibit faster growth, but it definitely makes it so that we’re much more thoughtful and intentional about how it’s going to impact our employees and our patients.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. I think that’s really cool, kind of we talk a lot about how values really should be these edges to your decision making, right?

Sentari Minor:
Guardrails.

Mike Jones:
Guardrails. Things you don’t want to sacrifice.

Sentari Minor:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
I think that’s a great example, a way to give people a picture of what that can look like on a day to day basis of like, “Hey, wow, we really value growth, there’s certain things we value more, and we’re willing to sacrifice some growth or the way in which we’re going to approach that growth in order to really live out these core values.”

Sentari Minor:
So for us right now, it’s going out and finding capital just to deploy for staffing. Kudos to our founders who say like, “If people around this room are stressed out or spread too thin, then we need to get more people. It shouldn’t be that Sentari, you’re working a 12 hour day. It’s like you have your eight hour day, and then you have someone else on your team that can take care of load.” Just having that process of like, we’re going to invest in the company, not just because it’s the right thing to do from a strategy standpoint, but it’s the right thing to do because the people need investment and that’s something that’s definitely true to our values.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. That’s really cool. What would you say is like maybe the most interesting thing you all have done to build the brand or to get it out there?

Sentari Minor:
Interesting thing we’ve done. Wow.

Mike Jones:
I know I threw a curve ball in here.

Sentari Minor:
We’ve focused a lot on thought leadership. So we are rapidly growing up. We just don’t have like the marketing spin that I would love but-

Mike Jones:
You’ll get there. You’ll get there sometime.

Sentari Minor:
But what we’ve done really leverage and lean on the expertise of the folks that are around our leadership team. So we just put out a lot of content to get our brand out there and people are seeing it. So founder, Erik Osland did a piece on good culture drives good business and talks a lot about how we incentivize self-care and how that’s come to really, to really elevate the organization. We’ve done some things on, we just had one of our clinical programs managers write one about how integration really increases access for minoritized communities. So she’s a black woman, PhD on our staff and we leverage that for Black History Month. That’s the kind of stuff that’s getting our brand out there. So I would say the most interesting stuff has been relying on the expertise and the stories of the people that are already in our company and putting that out there and you guys will love this as marketers just hearing from people like, “Oh yeah, I saw that on evolvedMD’s LinkedIn.” Or like, “I go there every week because I know there’s going to be good content.”
Starting to hear that, throughout that or getting on some of these calls with customers, that was such a great thing that you guys posted, it’s like that’s so cool, and there’s such good validation points. So when we’re going out to the market to other customers, I always try to arm ourselves team with a group of links and some collateral that’s like, show them this, and like once you have that out there, then it’s a pretty easy deal.

Mike Jones:
Do you struggle to get people to buy into writing on behalf of the brand or getting that stuff out there?

Sentari Minor:
No, I hired a wonderful content person who sits under me and, Holly does his right. So we do a lot of-

Mike Jones:
That’s the answer right there.

Sentari Minor:
Right there you have dedicated writer on your team. So he does a lot of ghost writing, he does a lot of collaboration with our folks. So some like to pin them themselves, and some are like, let’s just sit down my content writer, his name’s Evan, he’s amazing. Let’s just sit down with Evan, kind of get the points that you want out across, then the process is like, he’ll write it, I’ll do edits and final review, we’ll have them check it and then it goes up. So we’re just kind of a publishing machine right now.

Mike Jones:
I love that you’ve like developed your own publishing team almost.

Sentari Minor:
I never thought about it that way, but yeah, we’re like a publishing house.

Mike Jones:
Which fits with some of your former background.

Sentari Minor:
Exactly. Full circle.

Mike Jones:
Full circle. We talk with a lot of like technical specialists, and they love to talk about what they do, but they’ve struggled to write about it.

Sentari Minor:
Struggled. Yeah.

Mike Jones:
Every time I’m like, “Someone else could write it for you.”

Sentari Minor:
Someone else can do this.

Mike Jones:
They’re like, “Oh really?” So I always have to ask I’m like, “How do you get people?” And the answer usually is, “No, you hire a writer.”

Sentari Minor:
You have someone else do it.

Mike Jones:
They sit down and talk to them. They get all the bullet points out and then actually craft it into something. There was one client one time that I gave them that recommendation and super smart, smart guys leading a really great manufacturing company. They were making, I can’t remember exactly the right term for it, the magnetic resident stuff, and I just remember being like, “You need content, you need like some serious case studies and white papers and you have all these really smart engineers in your company.” He’s like, “I can’t get any of them to write.” I was like, “There are other ways to do this.”

Sentari Minor:
I was on this, this kind of marketing panel for General Assembly and they asked all of us, and it was so funny because it was like marketing in the digital age or something, and they asked all of us on the panel, what’s the number one skill that you would hire for, and it’s like everyone said writing. It wasn’t like any tool or SaaS thing, it was like, if you can write you were going to be successful. Yeah.

Mike Jones:
I know if very few roles I can think of that would not benefit from good writing.

Sentari Minor:
Being a good writer.

Mike Jones:
Even just in roles, I mean maybe like software development, you think like, “Oh, I have to know how to write code, but why would I need to know how to write, anything else?” And you’re like, “Well you do send emails.” You have to communicate with, whether it’s your boss, coworkers, clients, direct reports, if you’re a manager, and then if you think like, I think people kind of forget about the fact that most executives actually their main job is to communicate.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. It’s to communicate out to people around-

Mike Jones:
If you can’t write-

Sentari Minor:
You can’t do it.

Mike Jones:
Man, that’s really hard. Then you start a podcast like me so I can talk. That’s good. I’m catching up here on my notes, because man, we went all over the place there for a couple minutes. This is a little bit of a loaded question because I love to talk about categories. Is there a categories that you would say evolvedMD falls into from a market standpoint or I mean there’s generally healthcare, right?

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Healthcare, behavioral health. Healthcare, behavioral health, these categories.

Mike Jones:
Do you struggle at all getting your clients to kind of understand what it is you do within that category? Is there competitors out there that you’re being kind of positioned against?

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. That question’s twofold. When I first started, I think it was the story of behavioral health integration wasn’t as touted, and so it was kind of a, not a hard sale, but it just, it took a while. The sales process was longer. Now, it’s I think because of what’s going on in the world and that integration is something that the government’s pushing the big think tanks are like the best way to increase access to mental health is to integrate it with primary care. So most health systems they get it now. We do have some competitors that I will not name.

Mike Jones:
No, you don’t need to name them.

Sentari Minor:
But the interesting thing about what we do is that we offer part of our values or part of what we talk about is our unique value proposition is in person on site embedded. So a lot of our competitors are virtual only, and what we do is we take the approach of like with people want to see a therapist in person and our customers are saying the same thing and virtual will always be-

Mike Jones:
It’s an option.

Sentari Minor:
It’s an option, yeah. For rural communities and everything, it totally makes sense. We talk about this all the time, if you’re having a depressive episode or a manic episode over Zoom, as a therapist in a room I can reach over and say like, “Hey, are you okay?” Or I can give you a tissue or I can like physically be with you. If you’re over Zoom, there’s nothing you can do. One of our big customers is Ana Health locally, and I was speaking with our PR team yesterday about just how do we get some of the stories around our collaboration out? We shared a story about our, it was showcased how the model works, it’s supposed to work where a patient went into a clinic, was to go see their doctor, the doctor, since something was off, but was like, okay, went to our therapist that’s located in that location, the therapist was quickly able to assess that person was in crisis, and then our therapist was able to meet with them, get them into a inpatient facility that day.
All that happened within 45 minutes, that is how the model works. That’d be very hard to do virtually. So yeah, for us against our competitors, we say, we know how to do it in person, we can do it virtually too, but we know how to staff this right to make it actually truly collaborative. So the story there is people are picking that up a lot. People like that part of our model and are saying, “Yes, we know that we have to integrate virtual is fine, but man, having someone here would be great.” We also hear that, it kind of brings down the temperature in an office. So I don’t know if you guys know this, but physicians have one of the highest suicide rates among any profession. So just having our therapist there to kind of settle things down for folks it’s also been like a really cool, positive externality that-

Mike Jones:
Yeah. That’s really cool.

Sentari Minor:
Think about.

Mike Jones:
I’m always impressed with doctors, just the amount of like stress load and there’s the quantity issue, but there’s also just the things that they’re dealing with, with individuals.

Sentari Minor:
Oh my goodness. I couldn’t do it.

Mike Jones:
No, it’s crazy. My cousin’s a ER doctor in Tennessee and the stories she has around-

Sentari Minor:
I can only imagine.

Mike Jones:
Situations and long shifts that are made longer because of, who’s coming in and what condition they’re in and just the lives that you see kind of you’re getting the back end of someone’s life once they’re coming into the ER in a lot of ways. So I always feel for them. But that’s really cool, that’s an interesting kind of tangent will benefit to come out of that, that there’s a benefit to the doctors and perhaps even their staff.

Sentari Minor:
Just having someone there.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. It’s 2022, and that means we are still in a pandemic.

Sentari Minor:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
As of today I think we’re still technically. I haven’t seen anyone yet want to use the endemic word?

Sentari Minor:
Not yet. Not yet.

Mike Jones:
I’m just kind of like, that’s one of those like-

Sentari Minor:
Waiting for.

Mike Jones:
Things I’m just like, I want to see who’s going to be first. I’m kind of curious. So I’m just curious that being a history guy, I like to kind of see, when do things like shift.

Sentari Minor:
When is it going to switch over?

Mike Jones:
When do things like kind of take the next step in progression? I know that’s coming eventually, but for now we’re still in a pandemic. But I want to talk about just, how have you guys navigated the pandemic? How has that impacted business? How has it impacted the brand? For a lot of people there’s been challenges, but those have also led to a lot of opportunities.

Sentari Minor:
Yes. I think that’s exactly it for us. So the pandemic, if anything, brought mental health to the forefront. So I think it actually kind of exacerbated or expedited a lot of our sales funnel because health systems in large primary care groups were like, “Our people or our patients are in crisis, we don’t know what to do.” So integrating behavioral health is the best solution. So we were able to capitalize on a lot of different opportunities because of the pandemic. For us, we closed for a little bit, but we were back in office relatively quickly after the first shutdown, and then we’re just kind of doing and things to mitigate everything.
So, we really do believe that not only just our clinicians, but our people should be in person. So it hasn’t happened yet, but I could see, one of the things we talk about at an executive level is like, will that hinder us on a hiring standpoint? We said, no, if we’re going to double down on, we want our people to be here. I want to be able to walk over to my copywriter’s desk and say like, “Hey, what’s going on?” Or like, “Hey, can I grab you for five minutes?” Or just like, people are struggling at home. Having respite at an office is something. So we didn’t realize that would be such a sticking point for us, but it’s definitely been one.
The pandemic also has shown just how fragile our healthcare system is, and I think that is something that we’ve been really thoughtful of how can we best help these people who are frontline workers? We did a webinar with the collaborative family healthcare association where one of our people, our director of clinical program, she’s a PhD. Dr. Ruth Nutting did a thing on frontline worker burnout. So she talked about it from the clinical perspective, my managing partner talked about it from the business perspective. As you asked about how do we position our brand, we’ve done a lot of thought leadership around, how do you help clinicians, physicians, whatever that might be, medic frontline workers mitigate burnout and that’s something that’s been top of mind for us too.
There’s a lot going on and a lot of things that those folks, to your point, those folks have to do a lot that clinical programs director also talked about, people in those positions typically are type A, they put a lot of pressure and stuff, pressure on themselves. So there’s all this perfect storm of them not taking care of themselves and we do a lot of work to help physicians and those folks kind of understand and what they need to do to make themselves be better physicians and providers.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. That’s really cool. It’s kind of almost opened up like this other segment of where you can live out that mission.

Sentari Minor:
Yep. Yep, yep. Yep.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. On the employee side or just the staff side of things as you’ve come back into the office, have you had pushback as you’ve tried to go out and hire and obviously as you’re growing?

Sentari Minor:
No, not yet.

Mike Jones:
That’s sweet.

Sentari Minor:
It’s so funny because when I took this job, I told my hiring managing partner is like, “Hey, I’ve never been a person that like has been in the office. I’ve always been kind of around, worked for coffee shops or home or wherever.” I love being in the office. We have just like such a good atmosphere and they’re such good collaboration, and I think our folks feel that, and they like being there. My team I’m like, “You can work from home if you want,” and they’re like, “No, I like to come in. I like being here, I like seeing folks.” So we haven’t seen it-

Mike Jones:
That’s cool.

Sentari Minor:
But it’s definitely, and we also talk about to the point of competitors. We were going through kind of a go to market strategy session with the sales team, and we were thinking through like, what are some other things that we can say as our unique value proposition and one of them was our leadership team is all in one place. So a lot of our competitors their sea level or their director level is, San Diego, Memphis, here. But we come together in person as an executive team at least once a week for two hours, and I think that’s something to be said about the things that come out of that rather than being on a Zoom call for two hours of those people.

Mike Jones:
No, that’s really cool. I only ask because I see so many conversations right now around remote work and I think there’s a very big push that I’ve seen to kind of note all the benefits, and there are, there’s significant benefits.

Sentari Minor:
There’s benefits to remote work.

Mike Jones:
But I’ve been kind of waiting to see if there’s going to be a little bit of a shift back to say, “Hey, it’s not an either or situation, there’s benefits on both sides and how do we as a company kind of figure out what our culture is and what our preferences is and how we want to do work?” So yeah, that’s why I was-

Sentari Minor:
I mean the hybrid is the way, we don’t require, no one’s required to be in the office every day. So it’s like work however your schedule, however you needed to be. There was a article that I shared with the team yesterday that just talked about this, about Gen Z and those folks that just graduated in like 2020 have actually never been in the office, and that is creating a lot of issues. Not only from the employer side but the employee side on just loneliness, not getting the tangible things. I remember one person that they interviewed in the story was like, typically if I started at Resound, I would be able to walk to you and be like, “How do we save files? Or how do we do these things?” They’re talking about-

Mike Jones:
Just this like natural training that happens.

Sentari Minor:
It’s like, I got to through Slack, and then I feel stupid for asking someone how we save files. So I don’t do it. It’s like those that I didn’t even think of. So they’re not even getting the training that they need just from being in close proximity to someone. So that was fascinating. I do think for us, it’s always going to be hybrid with a strong push for in person, but letting people be flexible because I do think there’s just so much to be said about being with your team and learning that way.

Mike Jones:
I think what I’ve seen too, that’s really interesting is how much that in person matters so much when you’re on the earlier side of your career.

Sentari Minor:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
I had a friend who had just started a job within, I think like two months of the shutdowns and all the pandemic stuff in March 2020. So he went from, in office for about eight weeks to completely remote, and he said that for him, he’s earlier in his career, and so he is like that face time I was getting with my boss and the training that was just naturally happening where like, if I got stalled on something, I could just turn around and say, “Hey, help me get unstuck.” Now he’s like, “I have to schedule that.”

Sentari Minor:
I have to schedule five minutes or see like, are you on.

Mike Jones:
Then he is like, and I feel the pressure of I haven’t gotten things done. So he is like, it slows me down, it slows the organization down. It’s gotten better. I kind of checked in with him. But yeah, that was an eyeopening moment for me because I think being in a different position, I’m like remote is great and in the office is great and like we’re super flexible and our team’s all over the place.

Sentari Minor:
All over the place.

Mike Jones:
But we also don’t have a lot of people earlier in their career.

Sentari Minor:
I do think you makes a good point-

Mike Jones:
That makes a big difference.

Sentari Minor:
About the state of career, because I think what you’re, you know how it all works, you know the questions to ask, but if you’re just out of college and you’re trying to figure it out, it’s like, I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.

Mike Jones:
I can’t imagine.

Sentari Minor:
That would be so hard. That’d be so hard.

Mike Jones:
I think that stat was really interesting of like almost everyone who graduated from college in 2020 has never worked in an office.

Sentari Minor:
They’re not in office.

Mike Jones:
That is crazy.

Sentari Minor:
I’m curious to see how that plays out like 10 years from now, what deficit’s there, or advantage to that they might have to the other folks.

Mike Jones:
No, it’ll be interesting. I think there’ll be a lot of like, for some it’s going to be really good and for others, it would’ve been, man, that was really hard and it kind of set me back, and probably a lot of it comes down to like learning style and maybe some other skills or resources that you might have or not have.

Sentari Minor:
Or not have. Yeah.

Mike Jones:
It’s going to be really interesting to see that play out. What’s coming up for evolvedMD or for you? I mean, what are you excited about next?

Sentari Minor:
So we just finished our kind of annual strategic plan, which was a follow up for what we did in 2021, and I’m actually writing an article about the process of it. So I’m excited about to publish that, but yeah, we’ve onboarded, I saw our executive team, our leadership team is finally built out, and so now we can just get to run, I’m super excited. So I’m excited about that, the growth we’ve publicly talked about our ambition to be an 11 million company this year. So I think we’re on track for that-

Mike Jones:
That’s great.

Sentari Minor:
So that’s super exciting. What else? We’re also just trying to figure out how do we change the conversation on behavioral health, and I think we have a good marketing plan and some thoughts around that. So it’s exciting to be at the helm of that. For me, Mike, you know this I’m very involved in the community, and so always excited about that work. EvolvedMD definitely feeds my passion, but I also get just a lot of love of doing work in the community. So I sit on a number of boards, I’m doing all the programming for Phoenix Startup Week.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, you are.

Sentari Minor:
By the way, if you want to speak at Phoenix Startup Week, please let me know.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, let’s chat.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Let’s chat. So yeah, that’s a lot of what’s happening for me in the-

Mike Jones:
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I don’t want to steal any thunder in terms of this article you’re writing, about your process for strategy, is there anything out of that you’d want to share a little bit? Sorry, that peaked my interest, I was like, oh unlock the behind the scenes.

Sentari Minor:
The big piece was about how you have to get by of the process early on. So like make it very transparent, this is what we’re going to do. This is how long it’s going to take. This is the input that I’ll need from each of you. So when I looked at it or when I came into all evolvedMD, it was like, well, how are we actually going to deliver on this ambition? He was looking at kind of five buckets which we were around increasing the infrastructure. So just like operations, strengthen the strategy, internalize with the people, so how are we going to empower our people? I would just put it into the bucket of like product development and optimization. So the clinical delivery piece, what we’re going to do there, the sales funnel, and then the brand awareness and marketing.
So putting everything that we do in those five buckets and then kind of going from there. So I had each of our executives kind of give us five things in those buckets, and then we came together, iterated, we talked about it. It’s like, what did I miss? What did I not miss? So we came up with this really cool cohesive plan and we have a really cool like infographic out of it. I’ll send it to you. But yeah, I think the big thing was like getting buy-in from folks, and then also I think what the managing partners did that was so smart was like the first non clinical hire, me was strategy. That was the first thing they went for, and so now we have a company where there’s a person that actually hones it and most of my time was galvanizing us around those ideas, figuring out and asking the right questions of each of our executives of like, how do you want to be a part of this big ambition? What are the tactical things that you need there? So was really, really fun, getting their buy-in.
Then also having areas of healthy debate was like, really, really cool for us to say, in a world, we have finite amount of time and resources. Is this actually something that’s of priority and debating and being like, people holding the ground and saying, “Yeah, we need to do this, this year.” Or, “You know what? You’re right, that’s not something that needs to be a 2022 priority.” So that was also fun.

Mike Jones:
That’s really cool. I love kind of unlocking that box and like seeing behind the curtain of how people come to make these decisions, because a lot of strategy is just is decision making.

Sentari Minor:
It’s decision making and creating the guardrails for-

Mike Jones:
Exactly, and framework.

Sentari Minor:
Framework for that, and then also seeing what you will and won’t do I do you think it also helps us be like, this is what we decided on. So if this comes out of left field, like nope, not this.

Mike Jones:
Focus.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Focus. This is what we’re going to focus on. Yep.

Mike Jones:
Even then it doesn’t always work.

Sentari Minor:
It doesn’t always. I mean, we talk about this all the time. It’s like, well, here are the five states we’re targeting, but if like someone in Idaho is a $20 million opportunity, it’s like we’re going Idaho.

Mike Jones:
I know. I think, what was that like four years ago, they sat down with our business partners with Resound and we tried to be like, geographic. That was one of the categories that we had tried to use to formulate our vision and our strategy, and I think within like six months, we were like-

Sentari Minor:
Nah.

Mike Jones:
This is the totally wrong way. This is the wrong grid, we need to be more opportunistic than this. There was other things that really mattered a lot more-

Sentari Minor:
Than geography.

Mike Jones:
Than geography. It was like more about client size and industry, and even just intangibles around their thinking around brand, and is there someone in the company who can really be that champion for the brand? So yeah, it’s been kind of fun to kind of figure out some of those things where you’re like, yeah, in the strategy book, it tells me to use geography as one of my potential qualifiers, and then you’re like-

Sentari Minor:
Nah.

Mike Jones:
Nope.

Sentari Minor:
Nope. Nope. Nope.

Mike Jones:
It would’ve let us down a very different road than where we are now too. There were things where we were, it was almost at odds with some of our other pieces where like we don’t want to be a really large agency. We’re not looking for massive headcount growth. We want to grow in these other ways. But to then see how like, oh, if we really want to attack a certain geographic area, we have to hire staff there. You have to be physically planted there.

Sentari Minor:
Physically there.

Mike Jones:
Realizing like, that’s not really how we want to go about growing and finding more clients.

Sentari Minor:
That’s really interesting.

Mike Jones:
We want to do it more relationally and less geographically. Which was funny, it was at odds with a little bit of an interpretation of one of our core values. We said local culture was one of our core values, and we’re still trying to figure that out is like, as we grow.

Sentari Minor:
What does that mean? Yeah. What does that mean?

Mike Jones:
When we have clients who are not in Arizona, what does that mean? What does that look like? We’ve had to kind of shift some of our thinking around that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are Arizona focused in our sales and marketing, it’s more about wherever we find ourselves and whatever client we work with, we want to instill a value of local culture wherever that is.

Sentari Minor:
Wherever they are.

Mike Jones:
So if our teammate is in Idaho, local culture in Idaho, and if our client’s in Chicago, local culture in Chicago and how do we instill that and inspire that through those relationships. So anyway, it was kind of a random side tangent. All right. So we’re almost done. I got one final fun exercise for you Sentari-

Sentari Minor:
My goodness.

Mike Jones:
Tee you up before the podcast about this. So we’re going to play a little game called name 10 things. I’ll give you a category, name 10 things in that category, the best you can. There’s no wrong answers. We’ll keep track. So you don’t have to count them and we’ll just see what kind of happens. It’s always kind of fun. So name 10 innovations in healthcare that you’re most excited about or business, if you want to broaden it up.

Sentari Minor:
10 innovations. Ooh, man, this is hard.

Speaker 3:
They don’t have to be real and there’s no wrong answers.

Sentari Minor:
They don’t have to be real.

Mike Jones:
That’s true. That’s one of the rules of name 10 things. They don’t have to actually be real, whatever pops in your head first.

Sentari Minor:
So it’s like something that if it could happen, that would be good?

Mike Jones:
Sure. Yeah. Or is happening and you’re excited.

Speaker 3:
Or would never happen

Mike Jones:
Or would never, well, maybe that’s easier. Look at us, we’re improving the question.

Sentari Minor:
I do think, it is kind of an invasion would be getting mental health parity. So right now the there’s a lot of legislation to say that we need to fund mental health the way that we’ve fund physical health, and that insurers and everyone has to fight. So I think that would be like super innovative if the country actually got that done, because there’d be more money behind mental health services. So that’s one.

Speaker 3:
Only nine more.

Mike Jones:
Or broaden it to business.

Sentari Minor:
Business.

Mike Jones:
Just innovations, whatever category you want to pick. I’m sure some way to tie back to healthcare anyway.

Speaker 3:
Like robotic dog socks or something like that, could be anything.

Mike Jones:
No pets though. No we can’t, no pets.

Sentari Minor:
No pets. Gosh. I’m trying to think like what I would love, what innovation I would love to have. Let’s see, something around innovation it would be cool if there’s something around like talent acquisition. So right now everyone, I was having lunch today, there’s such a disconnect, employment rates are low, but no one can find like where is everyone working. If there was an innovation around like, hey, I have these skills, just a better way of matchmaking. It seems like there’s a bunch of technology out there, but it’s still like not quite working. So a better way to match make that would be a cool innovation.

Speaker 3:
But if it like forced you to go work for that company, there was something-

Sentari Minor:
That’s so cool. It’s like, you matched, it’s like, you’re there now. It’s like you’ve worked there now.

Speaker 3:
It’s like a draft, but for business.

Sentari Minor:
That would be awesome. See, we came up. That would be so cool. Oh man, oh I would love that.

Speaker 3:
So that’s two.

Sentari Minor:
That’s two. I’m not going to get to 10 guys.

Mike Jones:
It’s okay. We’ll see how far we get, don’t worry about the 10 thing.

Sentari Minor:
I’ve heard about this, but I don’t know how good it is, it’s like AI copywriting.

Mike Jones:
Yes I have.

Sentari Minor:
I think that’s like interesting to me. I still think it’s going to be so human centric. I don’t know how you would quite ever do that, but it would be interesting to see. So that’s something I’d be excited about just if only to kind of see it.

Mike Jones:
I think it’s coming. I mean, you already see it with headlines. There’s like AI headline writers.

Sentari Minor:
Oh really?

Mike Jones:
Yeah. In the ad agency or I don’t know about agencies, but in the ad world-

Sentari Minor:
Really?

Mike Jones:
There’s algorithms that’ll try to spit out headlines.

Sentari Minor:
Huh? Okay.

Mike Jones:
Or all my favorite, no, none of them are my favorite, but there’s a bunch of YouTube videos now that I’m realizing are all, it’s not necessarily the copywriting side, but it’s the, all the voiceovers are AI generated.

Sentari Minor:
Oh really?

Mike Jones:
So they’re just pulling transcripts and it’s all being voiced. Some of them are just close enough that it’s like that uncanny valley stuff where you’re like [crosstalk 00:45:41].

Sentari Minor:
However COVID becomes an endemic, like that would be an innovation. That would be pretty good, once we can get past this-

Mike Jones:
So innovative to think that it can be-

Sentari Minor:
So one day it’ll get there.

Speaker 3:
That’s four.

Sentari Minor:
That’s four.

Mike Jones:
I’m hoping we’re close. We’ll see.

Sentari Minor:
We will see. I’m trying to think of pain points that we’re having as we grow and scale. Man, I got nothing, I gave you four.

Mike Jones:
No, I love it. I’m going to go with one though, I’m going to go with embedded behavioral health pets.

Sentari Minor:
Ooh.

Mike Jones:
Just embedded because they’re in the practice.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah, we could have, oh my gosh. I mean, there’s a lot of research around like how pets enrich lives, so that’s very true.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, for most people. I’m with you, Sentari, I’m like-

Sentari Minor:
Nah, not a pet.

Speaker 3:
Usually you pair babies with pets, so maybe you could get babies too.

Mike Jones:
So at the hospital, you deliver and you get a pet.

Speaker 3:
Well, and then you reduce like the unemployment rates too because babies are just so lazy. They don’t work.

Mike Jones:
Oh, I see the baby gets embedded.

Speaker 3:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
I see.

Speaker 3:
Because people have babies.

Mike Jones:
I’m just so many ways it’s going to go really wrong. Certain behavioral health issues and babies don’t mix.

Sentari Minor:
Yeah. Not great. Not great.

Speaker 3:
You got a crying baby and it’s like, well, at least, it could be worse, crying baby-

Mike Jones:
It could be worse.

Sentari Minor:
That’s the true.

Mike Jones:
You could be the crying baby’s mom. It could be worse.

Sentari Minor:
Yes.

Mike Jones:
Sentari, thanks so much for coming on. I love how we’re wrapping this up.

Sentari Minor:
This is so fun.

Mike Jones:
If people want to find out more about you or evolvedMD, where can they go?

Sentari Minor:
Evolvedmd.com or Sentariminor.com.

Mike Jones:
Yes. That’s awesome. Thanks so much for coming on.

Sentari Minor:
This is so cool. This is so fun.

Mike Jones:
I appreciate it.

Sentari Minor:
Thanks for having me.

Mike Jones:
For everyone listening, thanks again for listening to another episode of AZ Brandcast, we are super are excited that you checked us out today. If you want to find out more about our podcast, find any of our back episodes, you can go to azbrandcast.com we have tons of interviews with great people, just like Sentari talking about great brands here in Arizona. If you want to reach out to Sam or I or anyone else on our team about our podcast or anything else we’re doing, you can hit at us up there as well, azbrandcast.com and get on our newsletter, and just want to remind everyone, don’t forget, you are remarkable.

Speaker 4:
The AZ Brandcast is a project of Resound and is recorded in Tempe, Arizona with host Mike Jones and Chris Stadler. It’s produced and edited by Sam Peggle. Music is produced and provided by Pabrid, an Arizona based music group. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and at azbrandcast.com. If you’d like more episodes, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you prefer to get your podcast. To contact the show, find out more about AZ Brandcast or to join our newsletter list to make sure you never miss another episode, check out our website at azbrandcast.com. Copyright Resound Creative Media LLC, 2020.