Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to spread love in organizations, the podcast for purpose-driven healthcare leaders, striving to make life better around the world by leading their teams with genuine care, servant leadership, and love.
This episode is very special! In partnership with ESCP Business School, I’ll be giving the mic to students, our leaders of tomorrow, to discuss with incredible healthcare executives about their journeys and leadership beliefs.
Hello, I am a specialized master’s student at ESCP Business School in Paris and I am honored to host Dries Hens in collaboration with Spread Love in Organizations, who is in a mission to transform healthcare, continuously improving patient outcomes with previously unavailable insights.
Dries Hens is a medical doctor and a successful entrepreneur. Dries knew he did not want to go toward clinical practice, but still wanted to remain in the field. He wanted to do more in healthcare, by making the most of all the unexploited data. In parallel to his studies, he began to set up his company: LynxCare Clinical informatic. Dries is currently Co-Founder, Chief Business & Medical officer. Actually, Lynxcare transforms medical data into insights for hospitals, physicians and patients.
“Hospital system is on an edge: today we have a lot of relevant data, almost everything is picked up but the next challenge is: what are we going to do with it?”
Dries Hens: Thank you. By the way.
ESCP Student: Thank you. Uh, you have a once month that you wanted to do more and have cared and being an ethical doctor, and you wanted to do something that would have an impact. Can you tell us why you have this vision and how that assimilated to the thing beyond medicine?
I would love to hear about that.
Dries Hens: Yeah. So, uh, it’s uh, of course a long story, but, um, in terms of impact, of course, I have to say that that medical doctors really working in hospitals have the real impact of treating patients, but, um, After med school. So I studied, uh, like energy medicine. I did it in Belgium.
Uh, after seven years of med school, you have two choices or you going to specialize, for example, in orthopedic surgery, or you become a general practitioner, um, But for me at that time, uh, I prefer to dirt option because I was really intrigued by the health care ecosystem as a whole. And that’s why after med school, I started to, um, yeah, doing biopharmaceutical management and yeah, fire this program, I learned really how the whole healthcare ecosystem works from life science companies to hospitals to insure Speyers.
Dries: Uh, and this is where I saw a lot of opportunity really leveraging. Yeah, my education into a more broader, uh, complete story, uh, of really changing healthcare. Um, and at that moment I was still studying in Paris. So my co-founder contacted me and he said, let’s do something in medical data. And yeah, I was directly convinced of the added value that better healthcare means better data.
And there’s still a lot to do, like you said, in need introduction. And that’s why we started the company straight out of philosophy. Which is right now, a scale-up with 35 people. Um, and it’s a really nice, nice potential and they story
ESCP Student: and to do other regrets with.
Uh, yes, she was the path of, uh, non medicine. Uh, uh,
Dries: exactly. So, yeah, it’s a question that I got, uh, yeah, a few times during my, uh, the course of the company. So everyone, the beginning, a family friends of course found it really weird that I was, uh, not specializing or not further advancing really to become a healthcare professional work in hospitals, directly with patients.
But, um, The moment that , and that’s also how I am personally, the moment that I was convinced of the ID and that we had the bigger goal to serve with our company and that I could have maybe an even bigger impact by starting this company and trying to successfully, uh, I’m trying to successfully yeah.
Build up this company, um, that we could really have a, a further division or mission is being that we want to improve health care by making sure that more and relevant data is becoming, uh, actionable, uh, towered healthcare professionals to. The first use case that we did with our company, we directed, demonstrated that our company really can, uh, in case, uh, healthcare outcomes without me being really directly involved in the patient, uh, uh, process.
And that’s why from that moment on, I didn’t look back and I didn’t have any regrets that I’m not active in the hospital.
ESCP Student: That’s nice. And what made you the leader you are today and how are you preparing the floor to the young leaders of tomorrow?
Dries: I think, um, um, of course it’s so still young. I’m now 32 years old, but, um, the big, yeah. Stepdad, you have to learn because we co founded the company with one co-founder. So we were too in the beginning, but our company grew quite exponentially.
Uh, the following years going to five to 10 people then going at 2 35 people. So, uh, your position as well as, uh, an entrepreneur, but also co-found the changes along the way. Um, and I think my. Biggest path of learning, uh, internally as well was, was more self knowledge. So you have to know really, if you want to become a leader or you have to know what you’re good at and how you really want to support the company.
And you have people that are really good in daily management. On a daily basis managing people within the organization. Uh, but this was not really my strong point and by being transparent as well to investors or to my other co-founder of course, um, we were, um, yeah, the heck the, on a path where I could be more motivational and inspirational to young people in the company, uh, by letting them, uh, in, in, in the field of healthcare data and trying really to push.
Uh, to blossom, uh, in our organization, which in my opinion is crucial. If you want to make sure that, um, your company succeed, you have to make sure that your organization and the people really working in your organization, uh, can blossom professionally. Uh, and this is still, I think the biggest impact that you can have as a, as a leader.
ESCP Student: Thank you. Address. And based on what you just said, can you link who you are today with an event that shapes you in the.
Dries: Um, can you, sorry, I didn’t understand the question.
ESCP Student: Um, can you link who you are today with an event that shaped.
Dries: Um, of course with, with, with a single event, that’s of course difficult.
Um, you have to know if you start a company, uh, or, or scale up company to really a coaster. So there were multiple events that, that shaped, uh, what am today and, and how I am, um, pursuing my professional and personal life. Of course. So it’s always a balance, um, thing, the biggest event. That changed me professionally is really something personally being, uh, yeah, the, the birth of my first daughter.
So my first child, uh, which really gives me, or gave me the necessary, uh, how do you say the necessary, uh, Hawk eye view on the cost to a helicopter view on the company. Uh, and which, in my opinion, makes me a better leader professionally, because I could zoom out into problems that are not really relevant.
ESCP Student: That’s amazing trees. Uh, you also mentioned that you started, uh, your, uh, your career from scratch with a few people and you made them. So let’s talk about your first hiring experience. Can you tell us about it and, uh, uh, what was the impact on the evolution of links care?
Dries: Yeah, so, um, the first real hire that we did is still someone that works in our company.
I remember 12, the, uh, because we, we were on a budget, so my co-founder Josh is CEO of the company. So he is the executive leader of the business in all transparency. But, uh, the first guy that we hired T actually did his internship straight during university as well with us, the moment he finished, uh, school.
It was really, um, yeah, we knew that we had to get that guy incentivized. And as of today’s still the lead data engineer in our company, really making sure that the platform is, um, how we are seeing it as a school founders. So that really, of course, was a big impact into a company. And he is still one of the most important people as well in our organization.
ESCP Student: And deal with the true leaders like you, they will, they will always stay. Uh, now, uh, how about the fundraising? How challenging did you find that to, uh, to establish links care?
Dries: Yeah, so, um, we had S and you have to know, uh, five, five years ago when we started the company. Healthcare data was something that people knew of, but a lot of people thought that the importance of what we are doing was not really there.
Um, but, uh, Josh and I, yeah, we kept going and we kept really convinced, uh, for our vision and our mission that healthcare really needs better data. And then of course, uh, COVID 19 QA came, uh, two years ago where. In one moment everyone saw from whether you worked in healthcare or not. Everyone saw the importance of having good data in order to, for example, control a pandemic.
Um, and that moment for us was, uh, was a real game changer. Um, also business-wise because, uh, yeah, our business model for our company, uh, pivoted a little bit, uh, in that case, and that was a accelerator. So to come back to your question, being fundraising, that. The first three years, it’s really difficult for us as a company.
It was not that easy, um, to really find the right investors because, um, the problem or the problem was not that’s. How do you say visible, uh, through the whole industry? Uh, two years ago, when COVID-19 hit, everyone jumped on what we were doing, uh, and we are still doing so fundraising right now for us comparison with Tibet four years ago is a lot easier.
Um, And I have to say. If you, for example, start a company and everybody says you have to start your company with, with family and friends, capital, et cetera. I’m not a big fan of this because I’m not a fan of mixing personal with, with professional life. Um, At first, you really need to have champions in your company being business angels, who already did this before and who can guide you to a first bigger round with, with, uh, venture capital.
Uh, and that’s just crucial, the moment you hit the right metrics, raising funds in the time where there’s a lot of money, a lot of, uh, cash, uh, on the banks to invest that that’s not the most difficult one. It’s the zero to one that is really. The most, uh, the most difficult funding process in my opinion.
ESCP Student: And did that being a true leader, doesn’t also it doesn’t on here. And make people blossom, but really to, to face the challenges and keep going. Uh, now that you have, uh, in non traditional non-corporate path where a medical doctor, you founded and launched your startup right after graduating from the STP, can you give us some tips for that?
For the young graduates on how it should either an entrepreneur has no age limit?
Dries: No, exactly. It doesn’t have fast, no age limit. In terms of being an entrepreneur or being, or starting a company in the dependent on, on whether you just graduated or you’re already spending 10, 15 years in corporate life is, um, by really being convinced of something.
Um, and being convinced of an ID is simple, but you have to have also on a personal level, the drive to really, um, go all in. And this is where for a lot of people, this is a step difficult to make. In my opinion, I see a lot of great people that have great ideas, but will never, um, yeah, never jump out of their golden corporate cage in order to develop that idea.
But, um, but this is yeah. Something where I as well, want to play a part in and try to convince those people, of course, with the, with the right when, when the market and the company and the business model is, is clear, uh, try to push them to, to becoming an entrepreneur because it’s, uh, not the life that everyone thinks of.
So it’s not the most, uh, Easy life, to be honest, because I think a being or having a startup is often, um, romanticized to our, how do you say it in English? Uh, it’s really at all at Cosa, but you, you have to be ready the moment. Of course you can validate your initial ID or you can validate, uh, the mission of why you started this company.
And you could put it on paper that you realized it, uh, this ID, this is I think in my opinion, the most, uh, compelling story to, uh, to start a company. But you have to be sure whether or not it’s not age-related, but you have to be sure that you see opportunities this first, uh, and you see, or describe risks as challenges to overcome.
Another lot of people, uh, do it in that order.
ESCP Student: Thank you. Now, we would like to jump to another section. Uh, we will give you one word and we want to get your reaction. So we will start with purpose.
Dries: For me. Purpose is a yeah, it’s a way of living. Of course, you could see pers purpose as a professionally or personally. For me, it’s, uh, the purposes of course, to become happy, to stay healthy. And in that view, my purpose as well as if I start a company or with links care, what we really are doing is, uh, really try to optimize healthcare, uh, in a way of using better and more data.
So for me, the main purpose being. Healthy being active and being happy for the three points that are crucial in everything I do. So a, there will always be of course, a link, uh, professionally and personally, but this is what I, what comes up to me when I hear purpose. Yeah.
ESCP Student: So it’s probably, uh,
Dries: Leadership for me is, um, the best leaders are invisible at the moment that the company goes well, because if you have a lot of young, talented, or not only young, but talented people in your company, uh, and the company goes well, then they deserve all the credit to, in my opinion, true leader is when some things are not going well in a company that steps up and gives all the tools and support necessary.
Uh, to make sure that the internal issues or problems are being solved and that’s for me, truly leadership.
ESCP Student: What about technology?
Dries: Technology is a mean to, uh, to achieve a certain goal. For example, links care. We are really technology, product driven business. But the real capital or the real value is still in the people working in our organization.
So I think technology is always a mean to go from place a, to B, but it shouldn’t be the end goal.
ESCP Student: How about.
Dries: Yeah, a great, a great project, you know, a great program, you know, that, um, really, uh, yeah, always happy when I land in Paris or London to give the year the courses, I think. Um, yeah, if I speak personally, I think that everyone that studies medicine or studies from these should have during his education, the opportunity to.
To be, uh, included in a certain track. Like we have at the MSM, uh, thirsty bay for me, it was a game changer because yeah, in six months time, you really know. Quite well, how healthcare ecosystem is working, but also by seeing so many professionals talking about what they do at their company, you can really, um, make up for yourself what really interests you as a person and where you think you can blossom.
Because again, I think leadership starts with knowing what you’re good at and pursuing in something that you’re good at, of course, a true leader as well notice weak points. And then it’s. Are you going to solve them yourselves or are you going to be surrounded by team members that can make up for, for your, uh, for your floss?
ESCP Student: I totally agree with you. And now we will end up with the word spread love and organizations.
Dries: Yes. It’s spread love. Um, if I’m looking at a. The trajectory that we did with our company, because that’s the thing that I know best with links scared in the beginning. Yeah. It’s, it’s really chaotic. And especially if you don’t have too many people, uh, in your organization and you have to do a lot of work then, um, yeah, I can, I can look back.
Of course. As well see that we made Atlas, uh, uh, as, as the beginning founders of this company, by maybe pushing sometimes people in the company too much, because we have a lot to do a lot on our plates and we didn’t make enough time maybe to, uh, Yeah, to really support people the right way. And this was really, uh, as well for me, a learning exercise, um, by yeah, creating the time and really creating as well, an environment where people, um, can get to the necessary support and feed.
But, um, in all honesty, this is of course, something that you can do from a certain scale in the company. Don’t I think it’s not that easy to do it directly from the beginning. Um, but if I would start again with my company, um, I think. The much more, um, susceptible as well from a management perspective to how our coworkers or the people in our organization really, uh, feeling.
Um, and by, for example, two years ago, there was an experienced CEO joining our company. And the first thing that. Was he implemented a survey system where each, I think each month or every two months, uh, all the people can, uh, can fill in a survey and we can see how happy they are with the workload, how happy they are in the organization, what they want to do, et cetera, et cetera.
But that gave us so many insights related to. The better as well from a management perspective in the company. Um, and that would be something that I directly as well, which would switch, implement, uh, know,
ESCP Student: I can agree, uh, any words of wisdom, trees for leaders and entrepreneurs and healthcare around the world.
Dries: Um, of course as a true leader, I just want to not only incentivize people, but for me, um, we are taking big steps in healthcare. In general. There are a lot of big companies transforming the way, how they are looking at healthcare.
Uh, I think it’s a positive evidence. We’re really value-based health care comes into play hopefully in the next two to three years. Um, it’s, we’re still not there, but, uh, I’m convinced that everyone that listens to this, as well as, uh, everyone that works in the industry works for insurances, but also works for, um, yeah.
In, in, in hospitals, the real healthcare providers, um, and everyone really, uh, It’s aligned in a value based healthcare model. Um, and that’s for me, something crucial for the coming years.
ESCP Student: Definitely. I can totally agree on a attest to it. Thank you for sharing your experience with us today. It was such an inspiration.
We can really spend hours with you and never get enough. Thank you so much for your time.
Dries Hens: Thank you. It was my pleasure.
Naji Gehchan: Thanks, Dries, thank you all for listening to spread love in organizations podcasts. We have such an important responsibility as leaders of today to plant the seeds for the leaders of tomorrow.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to Spread Love in Organizations podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
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