Ria Pattison is a true health advocate. In February 2021 she launched her company CT HealthAdvocate with a mission to provide patient-centered care and help caregivers and senior living communities minimize difficulties for elderly patients. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Ria to learn more about her entrepreneurial experience.
NAN PRICE: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit or known you wanted to start your own business?
RIA PATTISON: I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit; I just didn’t know how to characterize it until I listened to Simeon Sinek’s interview “How to Make a Successful life.” In it, he profoundly says, “An entrepreneur is someone that is always looking for a better way to do something.”
When I heard that, it was like a lightbulb went off. I realized this was why I didn’t fit into the corporate world. I’m a mad scientist of healthcare, so to speak, on a quest to find a better way to support patients and their families.
NAN: How and why did you make the transition to entrepreneurship?
RIA: I made the transition to entrepreneurship last year when I realized that my time and my emotional and mental boundaries had been crossed as a nurse, mother, and professional caregiver. Ultimately, I made the transition because I chose to place a bet on myself. How? I gave my 30-day notice and reflected on what I was passionate about and where I found joy. The answer was seniors, advocating, and holding providers accountable. So, I decided to start my own business.
NAN: When you decided to start, how did you go about it? Did you write a business plan? Did you connect with any local resources?
RIA: Looking back, I don’t know how I went about it. It was all so new to me. I am a planner but stepping outside of my comfort zone and not having a plan was—and still is—a little scary. But it’s also so rewarding.
I was able to write a business plan with the help of an individual from the U.S. Small Business Association. I also connected with E-Women a success system for women entrepreneurs. Through this networking group, I grew a relationship with Gina Johnson, who’s a fabulous business coach. She helped me shape and form my vision.
NAN: Tell us a little bit about the business concept. What makes it unique or innovative?
RIA: The business concept is to be community centered and to improve outcomes for providers, patients, and their families. As a geriatric care manager, I provide patients and their families with resources, and I empower them to make decisions for themselves. I also take stress off of the providers, which takes it from a transactional to a relational engagement.
CT Health Advocate is unique in the sense that we bring passion, empathy, and expertise to all of our relationships. Our clients become our brothers and sisters—there’s beauty in others realizing their powers and we help provide the clarity needed so they can do so.
NAN: How are you marketing yourself and building clientele?
RIA: I’m marketing myself exclusively to community partners who share the same vision of community-centered care by building trusting relationships and connecting with the community on a deeper level. I’m also building clientele through my social media platforms and referrals from past clients.
NAN: Is your focus business-to-business, business-to-client, or both?
RIA: Both. It’s best to describe the business as a middle point for senior living communities and the community of patients, families, and employees. For businesses, CT HealthAdvocate takes a look at their admissions and discharge processes to help increase revenue, improve customer satisfaction, and enhance employee engagement. From a business-to-client perspective, we provide expertise, education, and empowerment to seniors and their families.
NAN: What have been the biggest challenges for you transitioning to being on your own?
RIA: The biggest challenge was overcoming my fear of failure and taking a step back to realize success doesn’t happen overnight.
NAN: Where do you go for help with that?
RIA: I started with working on myself with support and guidance from my personal and professional community.
NAN: Tell us more about your long-term vision.
RIA: My long-term vision is to provide the community with a team of empathetic healthcare professionals who help bridge the communication and care gap that seems to exist in the current healthcare world.
My long-term vision includes patients and families receiving good care and having positive experiences, which is why I created a Connected Care Concierge program. The goal of this program is to bridge the communication gap between providers and the community.