Anne Wilkins, MBA
In her consulting experience, it didn’t take Anne Wilkins long to realize that her favorite projects involved the healthcare industry.
“I enjoy healthcare because it offers the largest strategic puzzles, the biggest challenges and the greatest opportunity to make an impact.”
Her love of a good challenge was probably passed down from her great-aunt Mary Fleming … better known as Mame, who immigrated to the United States from Ireland as a young woman in the early 1900s.
“She came with a little and accomplished a lot. She was tough and determined,” Wilkins noted of her role model. “There’s this family heirloom that always inspires me. It’s a photo of my Aunt Mame at an awards event at her company … and she is the lone woman in a sea of dark-suited men.” She added, “Although she has passed away, she continues to inspire me as a woman in business.”
Growing up in Connecticut, Wilkins received her undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the famed Wharton School, where she concentrated in strategic management and marketing. Much of her career was spent as a partner at The Boston Consulting Group where Healthways was a client. When the opportunity was presented to make the transition to Healthways’ executive leadership team last year, Wilkins and her family headed south.
The strategist who loves a good puzzle is quick to note that there are no easy answers when it comes to fixing the healthcare system. But that doesn’t mean she and her colleagues won’t keep trying.
“The industry attracts people who are truly passionate and dedicated. Being on a team working with hundreds of people who care about what they’re doing is an excellent reason to go to work. When you work in an environment of talented, committed people, you are inspired to do your best every day,” she said.
She wants to be part of a new conversation that broadens the focus from healthcare to health, which requires a new measurement capability. “I believe in the value of measurement,” Wilkins said. “If something isn’t measured, people won’t act upon it.”
Among her responsibilities, Wilkins oversees the strategic relationship with the Gallup organization to produce the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being IndexTM. “Designed to provide a pulse of the country’s well-being, the Well-Being Index creates new insights into the critical components of well-being such as physical, emotional and social health, as well as information pertaining to basic access, work environment and life evaluation,” she explained. “Tracking these drivers is an important step in changing the dialogue and improving health in this country.”
Her own sense of well-being is enhanced by her husband, Tony Sledesky, and their four children. “We also have a great extended family and try to spend as much time together as we can.”
For the sake of her children, and everyone else’s, Wilkins hopes to see a shift in perspective when it comes to health. “I’d like to see real change in healthcare, where the focus is on preventing people from having illness rather than today’s model where we focus on treating people once they are sick.”
She added that a favorite quote is one attributed to Ghandi. “He says, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ As far as advice goes, it seems simple. It’s not. It means practicing what you believe. It means thinking outside the box if the system is broken. It means working toward what is truly most important –– the change you want to see.”