First published in PharmaVOICE
Within the first nine months of Nate Wible joining Ethos Health Communications, which would later become PRECISIONscientia, the agency’s largest and main client had to pull the plug on its product, leaving the company with virtually no revenue, and his boss David Sadock, one of the co-founders of the company and his day-to-day mentor, was diagnosed with leukemia and had to leave the business for about a year.
Fast forward 15 years, and the agency has flourished under Nate’s leadership, which has been marked with team building, revenue growth, and a high rate of employee and client retention, which colleagues attribute to his inspirational direction. The agency has grown from 15 people in 2007 to 200 people at the beginning of 2021. In addition, the agency has averaged close to 20% year-over-year growth since 2010.
The figures Nate is most proud of, however, are the high employee and client retention rates. The average tenure of PRECISIONscientia employees is four years; the retention rate in 2019 and 2020 was 86%. Many clients have been with PRECISIONscientia an average of five or more years, and several clients for more than 10 years — well beyond the industry standard of three years.
It was teamwork that created a positive outcome from the not-so-auspicious beginning of Nate’s career, and his leadership that drove that success. “We were able to work as a team after the product was pulled from the market to reach out to contacts and former clients to identify new business opportunities, but it took four to six months before we fully landed something and got up to speed,” he says of the major client loss in his early years. “Working with my teammates and staying motivated, positive, and safely in a job was a challenge, but we all recognized the situation we were in and worked through it together. Fortunately, the new opportunities we won turned into long-term client relationships that formed the foundation of our growth today.”
A career highlight has been the opportunity to take over the reins when his boss and co-founder, Anita O’Connor, retired.
His first years at the agency required a lot of travel in the car with Sadock, which provided him an opportunity to learn from his mentor’s invaluable knowledge and experience. Nate jokes that he earned his healthcare MBA in that car. “I was very fortunate to have learned the business from the ground up and to have worked closely with the owners, and my boss David Sadock, as I learned and grew, and their recognition of my knowledge and ability to lead the business was very rewarding,” he says.
As a leader, he now tries to impart his own earned wisdom to others, and enjoys mentoring new team members and watching them grow, develop, and surpass all expectations. “I can provide the most value when coaching people in the moment and helping them through challenging or new situations, then letting them take off on their own from there,” he says. “It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when smart, curious, self-motivat
ed people come together with a shared commitment to excellence.”
No stranger to threats to the business, in 2020 Nate prepared his team to meet the challenges of the pandemic head-on. The agency was able to quickly pivot to totally digital offerings in just two weeks. A COVID-19 task force created a strategy and pressure-tested it with the entire agency. In short order, PRECISIONscientia became an expert on virtual meetings that allowed clients to feel confident that they could offer value and solutions quickly and even proactively. “The goal was to provide value quickly, so our clients felt that their programs remained viable,” Nate says. “I credit the success of the pivot to fast, seamless, and strong teamwork. We did not wait for clients to tell us what do to. We told them what they ought to do.”
It has worked. PRECISIONscientia exceeded its financial targets in 2020 and is set up for a strong year in 2021.
Nate has a strong philosophy around creating a safe environment where staff can challenge the status quo. In the dynamic industry, an authoritative structure will fail, so he welcomes new voices to share new ways of thinking. Every voice needs to be heard and have a seat at the table.
Colleagues say Nate creates a calm and safe environment where people are allowed to take risks because that is how best to learn, discover, and succeed. “Healthcare is complex, so when it comes to problem-solving, I learned there are many benefits of being open and honest and working with many people to solve challenges,” he says. “This is a core belief that I help embody and infuse into our culture.”