Naji Gehchan: Hello, leaders of the world. Welcome to “Spread Love in Organizations”, a 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.
I am Naji, your host, joined today by Shawn Nason, CEO of OFFOR Health, a company that reimagines outdated healthcare models to accelerate access to care for those who are under-served and under-resourced. With over 15 years of experience in creating and transforming experience ecosystems, Shawn is passionate about reimagining how people interact with health and wellness services and products. As a former Disney Imagineer, Chief Innovation Officer, and founder of the Disruptor League, Shawn has a proven track record of leading and executing innovative projects that generate significant revenue, customer loyalty, and social impact. Shawn is also an author, speaker, podcast host, and neurodiversity advocate.
Shawn, It is such a pleasure to have you with me today!
Shawn Nason: It’s great to be here and thank you for having me Naji. Um, it’s an honor to be on your podcast. Thank you.
Naji Gehchan: Can you first share with us your personal story? From Disney to healthcare, what’s in between the lines of your inspiring journey of social impact?
Shawn Nason: It even starts before Disney, Nadja. I, um, I was a professional musician who, um, was a pastor. And in 2005, after leaving pastoring full time, my wife and I, um, lived in Orlando, Florida. My wife worked for one of the big hospital systems there.
And I didn’t know what I was going to do. And so, all of a sudden, We had this moment of what’s next. And my wife looked at me and said, Hey, why don’t you go to work for Disney? And I said, great. And we’ve always been a Disney family. I said, great, let me go apply. I said, there’s only one condition. I don’t want to do entertainment.
Like I was done doing entertainment stuff. And so I went and applied and got hired. Long story short, stayed at the company almost seven years, had many different roles, um, but my last role, um, and my longest role there was with Walt Disney Imagineering, um, and that’s where I really, um, Learned and probably changed my life forever around what experience could be like for guests, for customers, for cast members, or associates, employees.
Um, and, and that, when that journey was time to end, came to, time to end, uh, I was recruited into healthcare. I had been exposed to a book of If Disney Ran Your Hospital, and some of that program, and helped bring that to life, and so I was recruited into healthcare by Humana, and that started my journey into healthcare, so three years at Humana.
Then I went to be a chief innovation officer at a university to stand up a health care consulting group at Xavier University, um, and then I started my own company called Mofi, M O F I dot C O, and it’s an experienced design group, and uh, Mofi still exists today. Um, we do ton in the experiential space, we do ton in strategy and innovation, um, for organizations.
We’re a boutique consulting firm. Um, and then earlier this year I had the opportunity to step in and be interim CEO for Offer Health. Um, I was there for eight months and left there, um, here in the middle of September. Um, and now looking for what’s next for me and what the universe has for me. Well, thanks for sharing,
Naji Gehchan: Sean, your, your journey.
I’m intrigued about how you’ve been using your learning, as you said, which was a transformational experience in Disney, Imagineer, to now solving such a crucial issue in healthcare, access to care. Can you share with us a little bit your learnings and how you’re applying them into
Shawn Nason: the healthcare world?
Yeah, I will tell you, um, it’s, uh, it’s so simple, but yet so bizarre for people and, and I will, I’ll wrap it up in this saying, and the saying is, if you get the human experience right, you will get the numbers you need, and so what that means, and, and how even that translates into bringing access to care and rule, um, Areas, um, or just in general, um, because we know it’s not just about rural areas.
It’s about access to care in general, across our, our country is treat people humane and they will do what you need them to do. And so my experience as a leader has been build amazing teams, treat them as humans, and then you can go conquer the big problems. And so. Even at All4Health, that’s what we were doing there when it came to providing access to care for pediatric children on Medicaid.
My journey at Humana was around bringing access to care to to those in the state of Mississippi, as well as in the state or in the city of San Antonio. So I have a passion for that. I have a passion for the underserved under resourced communities. And the way you’re successful in that is just start treating people humane.
Um, it’s not an easy answer anymore. And I think we’ve tried to boil the ocean in healthcare. Let’s just take it one bit at a time.
John, I love this. And
Naji Gehchan: we always hear how much healthcare is broken as a system in the U. S. We can also talk about healthcare inequities here in the U. S., but also globally. And I love that you’re making good. really focused on treating patients or even people, right? In a humane way. Can you give us concrete examples?
Because I know you impacted local communities and you gave two of those communities in the past work. How specifically would you do this? Is it through the patient plans? How do you do it with health care providers with systems? I’m intrigued if you have a couple of stories you can share with us on specific impacts we can do
Shawn Nason: as leaders in health care.
Yeah, I’ll share. Um, the most common one and, um, the, the most recent one for me because I think it really is an impact, um, uh, we at Mophie have the honor of partnering with the former CEO and president of Walmart Health and Wellness, Sean Slavinski is his name. And. We were brought in to help design the experience and launch what today is known as Walmart Health.
And that’s their clinics that are attached to many of their stores in particularly, um, in Georgia and Florida. I think this year alone, they’re, they’re opening their 23rd in Florida. And we were, we were honored. to be able to be there for the first opening and be a part of what that journey looked like for the organization.
So that was a disruptive model when it was brought to market because we did it on a cash base only. So we didn’t look to the payers We didn’t look to the big insurers to come in and partner with us when we were there. And it actually kind of freaked people out at first because they’re like, there’s no way that, that people are going to pay this type of money.
Well, the thing of it is, is we actually made the access to care affordable, um, so people could, could get it. And so prime example, when we launched, you could get a behavioral health, um, session. A counselor for a dollar a minute. So you could have an hour session for $60 or you could go see your dentist ’cause there were dental in those clinics and you could get an X-ray and a cleaning for $25 a visit.
And surprisingly enough, I remember the first time a mother came with her four children to get this done and had a little bit more work done. But for the five of them in the dental clinic spent 200, which if she had to pay through insurance and co pays, it would probably even been more than 200. Um, and so that’s a prime example of find a niche, find an area, again, don’t try to boil the ocean.
I’ll go back to the story at, you know, Offer Health and what they were accomplishing there. They found a niche in pediatric dentistry for Medicaid and went after that and are making an impact there. There are many organizations Doing that today. I’ve become familiar very recently with an organization here in Ohio who does nothing but serve the LGBTQI plus community.
Um, and they’ve made an impact with 21 or 22, um, particular clinics here in the state. They’re providing access to underserved, under resourced communities. Um, in a very impactful way, and that’s going to ultimately change the landscape of health care. Those are
Naji Gehchan: great examples, and I love it because several times we talk a lot about doing big things, but actually, as we said, if we take a small piece of the problem and really act and work on it and solve it.
Well, the impact is going to be broader at some point. Can you, when I’m hearing you, I’m hearing this passion towards underserved other resource communities really focus on access. And with access, you talked about price and the cost of access. When you think of it from a broader lens, right? We can talk about preventive medicine.
We can talk about educational, um, medicine. What are the key challenges? Because I know you’re passionate about this experience. We live as humans throughout our health and wellness. Are there other verticals, if I want to call them, or other parts of a patient journey that you think is really disrupted and you want to
Shawn Nason: it?
Well, um, I, I had the honor on the podcast that I host, the Combustion Chronicles, I had Dr. Adrienne Boise, former Chief Experience Officer from Cleveland Clinic, and now the Chief Medical Officer at Qualtrics, and I remember doing the episode, having a conversation just like you and I are, and she started talking about, let’s not talk about the human experience anymore, but let’s talk about the humane experience, and for Oh, Several days I thought on that, and I thought, well, really, what’s the difference?
And then it kind of hit me. You can have a human experience that’s not humane. Um, listen, I went through April 15th, 2022, I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. I went through some experiences over that whole year, 12 rounds of chemo, that I would not necessarily call humane experiences. Because… My insurance company tried to drop me.
Um, you know, bedside manners by all were not the best. And sometimes I felt like a number during my journey. So where I think things need to be disrupted in healthcare today is two things. We need to get out of a system that is built for paying claims. Um, and that’s what our system is today. How do we get claims paid?
How do we get the insurance through that? The second one is. Let’s be humane again. Let’s make people feel, not just human, but respected, no matter their race, their gender, their sexual preference, whatever disease they’re going through. I mean, a prominent thing that bugs the shit out of me, I’m just gonna say it, is we still use the terminology chronic conditions.
You know, that’s not humane, in my opinion. People that, you know, you know, people and patients that are identified with being told, Oh, you have multiple chronic conditions. That doesn’t always feel good, you know? Um, one of the things that kind of bugged me on my cancer journey that I, uh, I’m having to, is they use this terminology called NED.
And I heard someone say to me once, Oh, I’m NED. And I’m like. Who’s Ned? And it’s the terminology, no evidence of disease. So they don’t tell you you’re in remission anymore because they don’t tell you you’re in remission for five years. And I know you know some of this where you work and what you do, but I I’m Ned.
So I have no evidence of disease that doesn’t always feel humane, but it’s a human experience. That’s where I want to get disruptive.
Naji Gehchan: Thanks. Thank you so much, Sean, for sharing this. This is really profound what you’re saying. And definitely on several pieces of those journeys we live as humans, we’re unfortunately, we lose humanity and being humane and thinking of it more holistically than just what we’re treating. Um, so I want to go into your leadership beliefs and I think you’re touching some of them where since the beginning, like how you build, uh, teams within the companies you work for to help others build this humane experience in healthcare and medicine.
Um, your heart centered. As I’ve seen executive, this is how you, uh, you identify, um, and really into this mission to human, uh, humanize the word. Can you share more about your personal vision and how you apply it daily and how you apply that daily with your teams and your organizations?
Shawn Nason: Yeah, so, um, this is real easy for me.
Um, I told you I used to be a pastor and so I tell people I have my basic three point sermon when it comes to leadership. Um, and it’s all based, let me preface it, it’s all based in four core principles or values that are what I would consider my heart sets. Um, and we wrote a book about this called Kiss Your Dragons in 2020.
Um, and mine are Honesty, Integrity, Transparency, and Loyalty. So knowing that, that that’s the core of who I am as a leader, I tell leaders, there’s three things you need to do to be amazing leaders. One is be transparent. Don’t hide stuff from your teams, from your organizations or anything. Be transparent, let them know and let them see the human side of you, right?
The second one is This concept of build radical relationships. So build relationships with your organization, your teams, that are diversified, have different thoughts, have healthy tension and healthy conversations in them. Because it’s going to make everyone better at the end. And the third one, Which is so simple, but blows me away is I don’t see how you cannot be a leader and not love people, but yet we continually promote people into roles that don’t want to deal with people.
And so how can you be a leader?
Pretty simple to me.
Naji Gehchan: Simple, but yet extremely complex, it seems. And as you said, we promote and it’s, it’s interesting. I would not going to go into like naming some of those that are considered or like that have a lot of airtime on media who are considered successful leaders these days, and actually really modeling quite the opposite of, of love to, to humanity, even.
Yeah. So it’s certainly. Unfortunate when I, when I see these pieces, um, when you shared your 4 values, the 4th one was loyalty. I’m intrigued by this one, you know, especially. In business life, there’s a lot of discussion, like, are we loyal as a company? Loyal? Are we loyal as people to who should we be loyal?
Can you be loyal to a big corporation? Like there’s a lot about loyalty. So I was very intrigued when you said loyal as a value. And how do you deal with this? You know, joining a company, leaving a company with colleagues.
Shawn Nason: What is your thinking process around this? Yeah, so it’s one. It’s one that Many people that are very close to me, um, and in my very close circle would say it’s to a fault for me.
Um, many times, companies are not loyal to you. Um, that, it’s not going to happen in a company. Now, I hope for those that have worked for me and worked for me at Mophie, know that I’m very loyal to them and have done everything I could, um, to provide the best for them. When I think of loyalty, I think of relationships and it goes back to that building radical relationships.
Um, just recently with my experience, um, I have a team of executives that are very loyal to me that have said, Sean, wherever you go next, we want to go with you because I respected them. I treated them like human people. Humane, not looking down on them, giving them the space, and listen, I’m going to say this, and I probably should have said this earlier with the loyalty piece, and with my three point sermon as well, your job as leaders is not to be in the day to day, your job as leaders is to remove barriers and obstacles so your team and your organization can do what they need to do.
So when I sit in the CEO role, my job is to remove barriers and obstacles for the people that are closest to our customers, to our patients, to whoever it might be. Because the reality of this is C suites and executive leaders are nothing but overhead costs. And so get out of your ego, get out of your own way, and be there for the people that are serving your customers, your patients, whoever it might be.
Naji Gehchan: want now to move to another section where I will give you a word. And I want your reaction to it. So the first word is leadership.
Shawn Nason: You have to live it.
Health equity. I’m boggled that we don’t have it right now in our country. Kiss your dragons. Chase your fears and hit them, um, straight on.
Naji Gehchan: I want a little bit more about this. You have a book named like this, so I want my, you know, my audience to know more
Shawn Nason: about it too. Yeah, so. The whole concept of Kiss Your Dragons, if you’ve ever seen, if you have kids, or if you don’t, because some of us watched cartoons before we had children, there’s a movie series out there called How to Train Your Dragons.
Um, and the concept of the, the, the young boy and the dragon who he was taught, um, to fear dragons from the very beginning and the dragons were bad. So a fear of them. But when he got to know Toothless, he, he changed his whole society and that’s what was hard. Hiccup. Which is the young boy’s name. He faced his fear head on.
So much so that he almost lost his relationship with his father. But through that, something they feared, dragons, ended up changing their society. Let’s talk about it happening today. People are fearing AI, right? But it’s ultimately going to change. I tell people in healthcare, don’t fear it. Let’s figure out how to use this concept of high tech and high touch.
How do we use that technology to take the administrative burdens, the BS off people’s plates so people can go back to care for people. Don’t fear it. So, that’s leaning in and kissing your dragon.
Naji Gehchan: I love it and it resonates so much with me. The last one is spread love and
Shawn Nason: organizations. Yeah. Um, again, I don’t understand how you can be a leader and not love people. I love to be around my teams. I love a CEO. I love to walk the floors or be on the calls or be in the field with the teams. Um, so, so I can just love on them. So that’s what, it’s very hard for me. Um, it’s just very hard for me to understand how you can’t spread love in an organization.
Naji Gehchan: Any final word of wisdom, Shawn, for healthcare leaders around the world.
Shawn Nason: Don’t be scared to help change the system. So lean in and kiss your dragons.
Naji Gehchan: Well, thank you so much again for being with me today!
Shawn Nason: Awesome. Thanks. It’s great to be here.
Naji Gehchan: Thank you all for listening to SpreadLove in Organizations podcast. Drop us a review on your preferred podcast platform
Follow us on LinkedIn and connect with us on spreadloveio.com. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Most importantly, spread love in your organizations and spread the word around you to inspire others and amplify this movement, our world so desperately needs