1What’s the biggest challenge in managing a large team across three practices?
The biggest challenge is employee engagement. I wish I had more time to spend one-on-one with each of them. Tri-City does so well and they’re independent but sometimes I feel like I need more of a presence there. I used to go there once a week. I tell them they’re like the neglected step-children [laughs]. But they’re doing wonderful. I try to give them as much praise as I can.
Staffing can also be a challenge, but even when I recently lost one of my providers, my attitude was like ‘Okay, we’re going to find somebody and we’re going to make this work until we do. I’m not giving up. I’m not going to fail. I’m going to make it work.’
2Tell us more about your current team?
I have a great team right now. I’ve never heard anyone complain about having to get on a call or going to a training. They all want to grow; They all want to work together to make our mission come true.
They don’t just come to work just to fill time and get a paycheck—they make a difference. Everybody in the practice makes a difference, not just the provider that’s fitting someone with hearing aids.
3You do a lot of community outreach events. Why is it important to you to be so involved in your community?
Community engagement gives me a platform to educate people on hearing loss and get to know one another on a personal level. As a Cortland native, I feel like I give back to the community in which I grew up.
4Having worked with our marketing team for many years now, what would you say are the biggest benefits of Consult YHN’s marketing services?
I’ll tell you, that’s the service I utilized most in the beginning and it was shocking to me how many practices don’t.
With our marketing plan, we know exactly what we’re doing every single month. When I have a direct mail piece coming up, there’s a reminder from [Marketing Account Executive] Julia [Shreckengast] that goes out to the company.
Second would probably be the communication between Julia and me. I feel like she’s on my payroll. I email her at least once a week about different events that we have coming up. She helps me with my budget every year and we look at my marketing ROI data quarterly.
5What advice do you have for a practice that feels totally lost when it comes to their own marketing?
I would tell them to get a marketing plan in place. Having a plan, as well as the support to follow it, manage it, and review it, really is priceless. It’s a service that other practices pay a lot of money for and we have that at our fingertips.
6Because your practices had different logos, you recently rebranded to give them all a unified look. Can you tell us about what went into that decision?
I’ll be honest with you, when I bought the Elmira office [Southern Tier Audiology], I was hesitant to let my patients know. I didn’t want the Cortland community to think that I was leaving them. But since then, a lot has changed. Most people know by now that I have several offices.
I ran it by Julia, and she thought it was a great idea, especially when we’re out at community events to let people know that we have more than one office.
I didn’t want to change Southern Tier’s logo since the practice has been around 20-plus years. We placed the names a little bit differently, but the logos all have the same look to them now.
7You never imagined running multiple practices when you first opened Cortland. What changed?
Other Consult YHN Associates that were successfully operating several practices motivated me to want to do the same. When the opportunity was presented to me, I felt that with the support of Consult YHN and my peers, I had the tools and resources to do so.
8How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
[Laughs] Oh gosh. How many do I need or how many do I get? [Laughs] About six. That’s not bad, right?