I’m excited to release this 17th episode of the podcast on the 17th day of the month. I am joined by someone with whom I worked closely with at Microsoft to discuss a topic where disruptive technology is playing a significant role in improving lives. It’s such an important topic that I’ve dedicated this second episode to do a deeper dive. I call this one – “Healthcare technology, the power and promise of digital health”.
My guest Andrea McGonigle, serves as Microsoft’s Managing Director for the Health & Life Sciences. She currently leads a team focused on Business and Partner Development and looks at health holistically across the business. Health is $2B business for Microsoft. Andrea was named by PharmaVoice one of the top 100 influential people in Life Sciences in 2012 and 2013. She was named to the Main Line Times Top 24 Power Women list for 2014. Previous to joining Microsoft, Andrea spent 11 years at Merck & Co., Inc focused enterprise collaboration, FDA compliance and clinical trial management. She is on the advisory board of Drexel University MBA program and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Andrea has a great personal and professional story which she often blogs about at Working Queen Bee Blog. Andrea is passionate about health and life sciences, women in tech, and all things Microsoft.
In this episode we discuss the role of partners and why they are integral to everything she does. Microsoft uses the building blocks of Azure, IoT, Skype, Analytics and Machine Learning in its work with partners to bring forward world class solutions for healthcare. Andrea looks for partners to drive solutions in four key areas:
We peel back on “Personalized Medicine” and Andrea gives a great example on diagnosis and how having all the data from a larger cohort allows doctors to prescribe the best path forward for patients. And we discuss a use case scenario with Genomics and how gene sequencing can predict the best treatment. DNA Nexus was a partner Andrea called out that Microsoft is working with in this area. www.dnanexus.com.
Andrea believes Microsoft is uniquely positioned in the application of Care Coordination – “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants involved in a patient’s care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services.”
Andrea also tells us about “Health Bots” and how Halolens is being deployed to train surgeons.
As I do with each of my episodes, I deconstruct with Andrea “what makes a great partner?” Some of the attributes she looks for in Healthcare:
- Know vertical and customer – technical and business decision makers.
- Be an industry expert and speak their language
- Know your capabilities and capacity limitations – knowing when to say yes and no to engagement. Full transparency in your delivery capabilities.
- Proven success – Be able to tell a story about full implementation and resulting success, it can’t just be a press release.
In my discussion about partners that failed, Andrea points to two areas – “poor expectation setting” and “poor communication” with Microsoft. And in response to my question about “what Microsoft doesn’t teach, but she believes is true for partners in her market?” Andrea says, “Don’t be afraid to say no!” This comes back to the discussion on capacity and expectation setting.
Key takeaway here for partners – know your capabilities and limits, and be transparent in communications with the tech giant.
As with each episode, Andrea and I dive into her personal and professional journey and her story is a rich example of an immigrant families experience with its oldest child being schooled in America and then onto college.
- Most fun aspect of the job – “working with partners” – understanding how they got started and how they have grown their business
- One best piece of advice when she started – “be yourself” – am I strong enough from an industry perspective, am I technical enough?
- Personal journey antidote- she born in Belfast, Northern and her Irish accent was mistaken for an speech impediment when she started school in the US.
- She shares her passions for health, technology and women through her blog “Working Queen Bee Blog”and shares one of her favorite posts “Never be afraid to leave early” – finding ways to address priorities.
- Piece of advice for those starting out in technology – “Build about a board of advisors” – mentors are great but having a board of advisors that you can access to learn about a specific competency you wish to develop. This is a recommendation I’ve seen from other successful individuals.
- Role Models – A manager who pushed Andrea to develop her network by by joining a philanthropic board. If he didn’t push me I would never have learned and grown.
- Quote she lives her life by – “Be in the Moment”.
- Useful advice on social – she only checks her social media at set times. She also uses hashtags to track other “influencers”.
- What she would tell her 25 year old self – “Just be yourself” – she was shy in her youth and wish she had the confidence at that time in her life that she does now.
- Personal Billboard (this is a metaphor) – her Working Queen Bee – and the irony of being a working queen bee.
- Book she recommends – “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. For Andrea, this book really struck a chord.
- How to reach Andrea – Twitter @andreawork or Andrea.Mcgonigle@microsoft.com.
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