We’re delighted to introduce Makena Zannini, Head of Business Optimization at Phil. Discover Makena’s fascinating background and her analytical superpowers that help us move mountains.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and ended up making my way to New York City. Now, I live in Portland, Oregon, with my husband and my 2 dogs. I've always been a math person, that kid who was doing dorky analyses and experiments with toys, for example. We went to Disney World when I was a kid, and I did this whole analysis of where we should stay based on what was important to us. I've just been very analytical my whole life and that's kind of how I got into doing what I'm doing.
At Phil, I lead biz ops for our main functional areas. I work closely with Product, Operations, and our client-facing teams. My team’s goal is to help drive better outcomes for our programs. So, that may involve analyzing how our clients or partners can optimize their programs in a way that they hadn't thought about. Or, examining data trends about a new product feature that we released to understand what we can learn and improve on. In a nutshell, it’s leveraging data and analysis to enhance outcomes for our clients, our partners, and our platform.
I’ve been working in Operations for awhile, and I was interested in doing this role at a smaller company. I think it's really exciting to be a part of an organization that’s building something from the ground up, and helping our team make a real impact in the industry. I got connected with Andrew, our Head of Business Operations, and he was a big influence on my decision to join. From our conversations, it was clear that the team had an important role in helping Phil be the best possible partner to our clients, and that goal excited me. Plus, the feeling that I had a strong team that would support me solidified my decision to join.
I love navigating the intersection between the analytical and the subjective. I actually think that’s like my super power. I think it’s one thing to pull data. It’s another to be able to take that data and clearly identify how it interacts with what’s happening in the real world and all the potential implications on the clients, patients, and stakeholders involved. I always like to think about, what does the client care about, and what do patients care about, and how do I take that information and do something valuable with it? I really love storytelling through data, and using that skill to help influence people to take meaningful actions that improve outcomes. I think living in that world where you’re influenced by both the subjective and artistic as well as the analytical makes everything endlessly interesting and fun.
I think the most challenging thing is managing competing priorities at any point in time, especially at a small company. Our field is constantly changing, and we have an opportunity to make a real impact, so it’s important to triage based on a lot of different factors. I find it helpful to be in close communication with my team about our broader goals, to help contextualize what’s important and prioritize accordingly.
Pretty much anything outdoors. We're like the classic Portland people, always backpacking, hiking, or skiing. I just ran a marathon, and I just love being active and outdoors. We also foster dogs, which is a really fun thing that we've been doing for a while. We have 2 dogs of our own and it’s so rewarding and fun. I also have a slight obsession with house plants, which is sort of a problem. I started acquiring plants during Covid, when I had nothing else better to do, and it was great.
One thing I care a lot about is DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion). That’s something I’ve been very involved in at previous companies, and it’s something I’m starting conversations about here at Phil as well - it matters to me that our company and leadership continues to represent different people with different backgrounds and demographics. I think it’s so important that we create a diverse environment for people who are coming into the company, as well as people who currently work here. It’s an area I’m really passionate about, and something that I hope to help lead at Phil in the near future.
Interested in joining the Phil team? Check out our company page to learn more and explore our open job openings.
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