Patricia Pichardo on what brought her to HealthSherpa, her passion for activism and social impact, and what her typical day looks like
Here at HealthSherpa, we strongly believe in creating inclusive and equitable spaces, which build trust, respect and a sense of belonging that are critical to our culture and work. We are committed to building a team that represents the people who use our products, as we know that this will advance our mission of making healthcare affordable to those who need it.
We are excited to feature our colleagues and hear more about their experiences at HealthSherpa, from their first touchpoints all the way up to their tenure and growth on the team. For this next post, we spoke with Patricia Pichardo, Vice President of Product Management, who opens up about why she said yes to HealthSherpa, her personal journey to mission-driven work, and what her day-to-day looks like.
Please share some background on how long you’ve been at HealthSherpa, and what brought you here in the first place.
I’ve been at HealthSherpa for almost 2 months now. There was an acquisition at my last company, and it led to a lot of change; it opened my eyes to external opportunities. I started getting pinged a lot by recruiters and there were interesting jobs opening up. I’d worked in liquor directly before HealthSherpa; but before that, I’d worked in a mission-driven environment, and I really missed that mission connectivity.
So when I started exploring new opportunities, what really made HealthSherpa stand out was the mission, and the opportunity to do what I do professionally to usher some good into the world.
What personal passions bring you to HealthSherpa?
Personally, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, I found myself advocating for Puerto Ricans in the diaspora – it really woke up something inside of me. With friends and other volunteers, we were able to do so much – we helped people get out of the Island, helped feed children who were going without food, helped people get access to basic needs.
After this experience, I started thinking about other issues that weren’t necessarily directly impacting something that I was close to. So when Sarah (Ahn, Senior Recruiter) reached out to me about this role at HealthSherpa, it felt like a total fit for me. How would I get better if I got sick, and I didn’t have adequate insurance? That is a real issue, a real problem. And HealthSherpa is solving it – and it’s a profitable company, with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It was a total no-brainer to say yes to talk about this role.
What stands out to you about the hiring process at HealthSherpa?
There were a few things that stood out to me:
- The human touch. I’d worked with good recruiters before, but at HealthSherpa, it wasn’t just the recruiter. Sarah introduced me to the next person, who brought the same great touch and humanity to the process. It was clear that the recruiter and the hiring manager shared the same values, and that there was clear intention informing the process.
- The candor. Sarah and all of the people on the interview team were very candid with me about what the real problems were, the real needs were, and what the actual reality at HealthSherpa looked like.
- The trust. The team trusted each other in a very implicit way. Later in the process, I got to meet some of my teammates, peers and direct reports. The conversations felt organic and genuine with the team as well. It didn’t feel like the team was being kept away from the process; they asked questions (and vice versa), and it showed me that the recruiter and hiring manager placed a lot of trust in the team, too – and from the conversations, it felt clear that the trust existed in both directions.
So, not only are they human, and candid, but they trust each other. They feel really comfortable about each other’s positions. When I spoke to George (Chief Executive Officer), he said that he didn’t need to assess whether I’d be a good product leader – that was Cat’s (Chief Product Officer) job. He just wanted to figure out whether I’d be a good fit for the company in general, and to offer the opportunity to ask questions of another co-founder who wasn’t managing this role.
What does your daily routine look like?
I wake up in the morning and work out at least 3x/week before starting the day. After this, I sit down and have some quiet time. I spend time planning my day, setting up my meetings, and ensuring that I’m set up for success for the rest of the day. I usually have meetings after that – roughly 2-4hrs of meetings per day, and 2-4 hrs of quiet time, whether pre-planned or ad-hoc.
It’s a great mixture of collaboration, listening in, and asking the right questions and making sure that we’re prepared to make the right decisions. Usually my day ends with a meeting – a 1:1 with my manager or a direct report, or a company-wide meeting. I’d thought that this would feel odd because I used to spend time at the end of the day on my own, but I’ve found this really energizing. There’s also so much to learn – I leave the day almost every day feeling energized and like I’m learning. I leave the days very satisfied.
What have you learned at HS?
I’ve learned that there are things that we take for granted, that are not as straightforward as they seem. Everyone knows about healthcare; nobody goes through life without needing it, without participating in this system in some way. There is so much to learn as a consumer – and it’s strange to think about this, because it’s something basic, normal, needed, and essential. You will get sick at some point, and you will inevitably need healthcare.
So, learning the complexities of the space is really important. There are things that you might think are simple and you find out that they’re actually very complicated. I’ve been approaching a lot of this with humility, and relying on the people that I’ve been working with to help me get on board. I 100% have to rely on my teammates to prepare me and hold me up when I make mistakes.
Any final thoughts?
I would say two things:
- If you’re thinking about working here, don’t think twice. You should definitely explore opportunities with us, and apply when you see something that could be a good fit for you.
- For someone who isn’t so sure about HealthSherpa, for whatever reason – consider where you are and the impact you are making where you are, and then consider the potential impact you could make working on something that will help solve such a huge problem. There’s nothing that feels better than doing a job you enjoy, and knowing how it will benefit people in a huge way.
Want to work with Patricia and the rest of our phenomenal team? Click here to explore current openings and hear from more teammates at HealthSherpa!