May 05, 2017 10:07AM
By Kara Schweiss
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The founder and chief executive officer of StrategicHealthSolutions LLC—Margaret “Peg” Stessman—followed a great role model into the health care field: her mother, who was a nurse at a time when many women never worked outside the home and career options for those who did were limited. Stessman started out as an oncology nurse, but as her career evolved, she observed problems with high costs and low quality of care, spurring her eventual move out of traditional nursing into the administrative side of the industry.
In 2005, she founded Strategic. Today, Strategic employs approximately 300 people, almost all of them with college degrees and with women comprising more than half of the corporate advisory team.
“We have a very educated workforce and I think that tends to define your organization at a level that’s fairly sophisticated in their knowledge,” she says.
As a company, Strategic helps set health care policy, recoup misspent dollars, and develop education and training products for health care providers and beneficiaries.
Strategic’s diverse employees also have a common goal they call the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of redefining health care as a sustainable resource and to protect the future of health care for generations to come. Their talented workforce has created systems and procedures to assure that quality outcomes are well-defined, repeatable, measurable and modifiable for continuous quality improvement, Stessman says.
Government clients may have come to them initially because they were classified as a woman-owned small business, but as Strategic has grown, clients return because of the service.
Stessman says, “Not only does Strategic have excellent quality, we can perform our services at a lower rate because most of our competition is in larger cities with higher costs of living.”
Although Stessman has built her business in an era where opportunities for women have increased, Strategic is still in the minority.
“I was recently reading the 2015 National Women’s Business Conference Annual Report…Of all the woman-owned businesses—which there are significantly fewer than men-owned—only 10 percent of them actually employ people. Although that number is better than it’s been, it is still just a staggering few,” Stessman says. “Women represent 50.8 percent of the population and they have $11.2 trillion in spending power. When are we going to get caught up? When are we going to address the situation? I love that the government gave me a chance by giving me some set-asides for small women-owned businesses, but it’s not enough. Women-owned businesses continue to be underrepresented and continue to have the potential to significantly impact the financial well-being of the country, but only if we are given our fair share.”
Stessman says the time is ripe for women to seek leadership roles in their organizations and become entrepreneurs.
“I can tell you there’s only one sure-fire way you’ll never have a ceiling cap, and that is if you’re in charge,” she says. “We have power, we just have to use it.”
4211 S. 102nd St. Omaha, NE 68127 402.452.3333 strategichs.com