On August 26, we celebrated Women’s Equality Day across the country. The ProviderTrust team is honored to continue that celebration by spotlighting our Chief Compliance Officer, Donna Thiel. Donna is an invaluable teammate and recently celebrated four years as a leader at PT. Before diving into the interview, we wanted to share a few things people had to say about her.
Donna is the epitome of grace and professionalism. She brings her heart to everything she does, and she makes space for anyone who is with her to do the same. When I think of how I’d like to grow as a person, I often think of the ways Donna inspires me.
Donna is truly the most patient, most willing to help any and all team members at any time. She bridges the gap between the clients and client success so perfectly so when their questions go over our heads, she always understands and knows how to help them. We are so grateful for her love of our clients and the business and the brilliance she brings to our company. I can’t imagine a PT without her!
Tell us about yourself and what you do for ProviderTrust.
Where to begin, I guess I would start by saying I am extremely loyal. I have only worked for two companies over the course of my career with ProviderTrust being the second. I spent the first 30+ years of my career with one organization, a large post-acute provider Extendicare. I held many different roles and was lucky enough to grow from a Secretary to a VP – Chief Compliance Officer.
During those 30 years, I worked with so many wonderful people who helped me realize that anything is possible if you work hard, listen and learn, and treat people with respect and kindness. My role at ProviderTrust is significantly different from the day-to-day operations of a Compliance department for a healthcare provider of over 25,000 employees, but yet still has similarities in the variety of people I get to work with and just like in healthcare every day provides new opportunities.
I spent the first two years at ProviderTrust teaching and learning. I had the opportunity to spend time helping the PT Team learn what it feels like to be part of a healthcare team and as a compliance professional while learning from them what it was like to work for a fast-paced healthcare software company. Some might say it was a match made in heaven!
I have the privilege of working with so many of our clients; really getting to know how they operate, the challenges they may be facing, and helping discern how the ProviderTrust team can help reduce organizational risk as well as their workload and perhaps, more importantly, their stress. I think it really helps our clients to know that I have walked in their shoes and can completely relate to the challenges they are facing.
I love getting to know our clients and the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of compliance from all of the providers and health plans we work with. I have said many times; I would be a much better Compliance Officer today than I was four years ago thanks to all of the things I have learned from the Compliance and Human Resource professionals I get to work with!
Another reason I would be a better Compliance Officer today is the fact that I have the opportunity to spend time researching the latest compliance topics for our monthly webinars. Over the last four years, I have had the pleasure of partnering with Mike Rosen, one of our Co-founders on many compliance related webinars. These webinars allow me to spend more time interviewing and researching than I was able to in my previous role. This really allows me to stay current with the latest issues facing healthcare compliance professionals.
In the last year or so I have also taken on the role of Chief Compliance Officer for ProviderTrust in a more traditional compliance role. I oversee our ongoing compliance with things like SOC, NCQA, and security. A role I didn’t realize how much I missed. It’s nice spending time worrying about these things again :).
How long have you worked at ProviderTrust?
It’s hard to believe but I will be celebrating my fourth anniversary at the end of August.
What does Women’s Equality Day mean to you?
Women’s Equality Day is an opportunity for each of us to take a minute and reflect on where we have been, where we are going, and most importantly, how we can help make a difference. I think Women’s Equality Day is a reminder as a professional woman to try to inspire others; to help others grow and succeed in any facet of their life.
Women have to be leaders and teachers. I think we have a unique opportunity to help men “see” equality from a different perspective; a different lens. We also have to take the time and be leaders; be coaches and mentors. Keep knocking on doors so more women have the opportunity to share the same type of successes we have achieved.
Who is a woman that has inspired you professionally or personally?
This is a difficult question; there are so many people who have impacted my life both professionally and personally. In my very first job as a secretary, I worked alongside Barbara. Barbara was a long time Executive Assistant and basically ran the HR department. She knew everyone and everything but was obviously not the head of the department. Barbara was a quiet leader; she took me under her wing and taught me that you can lead without a title. Leadership isn’t about titles; it is about mentoring and supporting the needs of the people around you. Helping others grow and succeed.
Another important woman in my professional growth was Annette. Unlike Barbara, she was anything but quiet. She always got the attention of senior management for her passion to get things done which in many cases meant “changing” the rules. Annette always took the time to sit with me every day to help answer my never-ending clinical questions.
She reminded me no question is stupid and to learn you have to ask questions. Annette always put our patients and residents first and taught me why healthcare is so rewarding. You lead with your heart.
What has changed for women in the workforce since you started your career?
When I was 21 years old and starting my first “real” job as a secretary it never crossed my mind that someday I would be a Vice President. I look back at the make-up of our senior leaders and they were all men. But over the course of my career that changed and more women were holding leadership roles. Our boardroom was never a 50-50 split of men and women but the balance definitely changed over time. As I reflect on my career, I realize I have only reported to one woman over all these years but the men I have worked for and with provided me with an environment that supported my growth and change.
I worked for an organization that opened doors and supported women and their professional growth. Things look a lot different today than they did in the mid-’80s and that’s a great thing!
What advice would you give to young women just starting out their careers?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions; be curious; be adventurous. You can’t learn and grow if you sit back and wait for things to happen. You don’t always have to be perfect or the best. I used to think women were expected to be unemotional to be taken seriously. I don’t think that is the case at all. I think a sign of a good leader is being true to who you are and to the emotions that come with that.