Phil Hertik, Retired Chairman and CEO, Windsor Health Group; Former Chairman and CEO, Coventry Health Care; Venture Partner, Caduceus Capital Partners
You have had a robust career as a leader in managed care and healthcare innovation. Now as an investor and board member, what kind of companies do you seek to work with?
If you look at the roster of companies that I have been involved with as an investor and board member, the theme of innovation runs through all of them. Some have been painfully early in terms of market acceptance and almost all have had to make sizable adjustments in strategy or tactics. Helping young companies navigate those challenges is what I enjoy.
What made you want to get involved with Caduceus Capital Partners in particular?
Both the type and stage of development of the companies that Caduceus seeks to invest in fit with where I want to spend my time. Also, I like to work with smart people!
You have a long history as a leader in Nashville’s health care community. What makes this ecosystem special? How do you see it changing in the future?
I think the healthcare community in Nashville is special on a number of levels that have been well documented – the large number of companies started and/or headquartered here, the size and diversity of the talent pool and the quality of the professional service firms that support the industry. But for me, what is truly unique about this community is the degree to which members of the community will go out their way to help each other be successful.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I have been fortunate to have been given so much good advice over the years, but two bits have always stuck with me. The first is to be very wary of the danger zone where you don’t know what you don’t know. The second is, when you are building a team, surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and then listen carefully to them.
You are on several boards, most recently named to Caduceus Capital Partners portfolio company Reperio Health’s board. How can young companies best leverage their board members to lead to success?
Aside from helping management teams make connections to resources and opportunities, board members can and should be sounding boards. But in order for this to be successful, management needs to systematically communicate honestly and transparently about the challenges the business is facing.
For those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, what are the three most important things they should consider before launching a company?
First, are you passionate about the mission of the company you plan to launch? Second, are you the kind of person who can bounce back from the inevitable failures that will occur along the way? And third, don’t forget that you can’t do this alone.
When you are not working, what are your favorite things to do in Nashville?
I love going to Titans and Predators games and listening to live music, especially Bluebird on the Mountain.
What is your favorite cause or nonprofit to support and how do you get involved?
I am in my third term serving on the board of the Joe C. Davis Outdoor Center and Camp Widjiwagan. I currently co-chair the mission committee where we raise funds to scholarship hundreds of kids to camp every year.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Nashville?
Hands down, Rolf and Daughters.
What books made a difference in your business thinking?
“Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” is one of my favorites. Shortly after reading the book I was seated next to the author, Harvey MacKay, on a cross country flight. By the time we landed I felt like I had been through a crash course in management.