• JoAnne M. Ryan

You’re Doing What?

Updated: Sep 15


As I was asked to write this blog article, and upon reflection of my professional journey, it became ironically apparent that several of the best opportunities in my life have resulted from my personal network and a respectful push from a colleague or friend to leave my comfort zone. 


In retrospect, these gifts, for me personally, resulted from an “investor” in my growth which has resulted in a profound and powerful influence in my professional course. The right word at the right time. How many of us have received the gift of a new perspective because of someone else’s investment in our growth? I can honestly say with great gratitude that several of the best decisions I have ever made, both personal and professional, have come at a time when I wasn’t looking, or more importantly, when I wasn’t looking up. And yet, someone, an influencer, an investor, did see an opportunity, and encouraged, cajoled, or even pushed me towards a new consideration. I like to think that my professional journey was fully at my hand, a matter of strategy, discernment and planning, however, the reality is in retrospect, the things I had hoped to control were beyond my actual control and the universe set its own course bringing unforeseen opportunities forward.   


Prior to joining Continual Care Solutions, my background and passion had been focused on healthcare and human services. I am a nurse by training and spent the first part of my career at the bedside starting in a special care nursery for preterm babies, followed by several specialty areas such as the OR, RR, Quality and Risk Management, Corporate Relations Development and concluding with specialty services for the elderly. I was truly fortunate to experience healthcare delivery for the full continuum of care.


Throughout the years, I was very lucky to be part of an excellent healthcare system that recognized hard work and provided the opportunity for additional responsibilities and advancement. I loved being an operational leader in a progressive healthcare system and never imagined leaving the space. That all changed following a well-timed conversation with a colleague who was determined that a new and unforeseen opportunity was waiting for a leader 'just like me’. The opportunity to step away from healthcare was not on my radar, but the right time, the right conversation and the right opportunity changed all that. It was a matter of complete coincidence and exquisite timing, a connection resulted in a new door opening and a recommendation which strongly encouraged my applying on the last day that applications were being accepted.


As my colleague had suggested, my experience and skill set were exactly what they were seeking, and following a national search and 70 applicants, I was selected to lead as a President and CEO of a local nonprofit. This opportunity gave me a chance to fully exercise the full range of my skills and experiences, a decision that further advanced my understanding and passion for serving those most vulnerable and at risk in our community.


The opportunity to join Jan and Mike Kamish at Continual Care Solutions was another matter of complete coincidence and exquisite timing, but this time the universe truly demonstrated a sense of humor. The ability to step into my previous role as President and CEO over an agency that had a 120-year legacy generated less angst for me than joining a tech start-up company.  What could I possible bring to this opportunity? These were truly my thoughts the first time Mike and Jan asked me to consider working with them. 


My husband and I have known the Kamish’s for over 10 years. I knew Mike’s talents and focus would result in another successful company, that was never a question for me, but the world I came from was completely different, not to mention the world of a start-up. Honestly the thought of doing this initially felt like I would be dropped from the air without a parachute into a foreign land. If the fall didn’t kill me the ‘build it as you fly it' culture would. Remember me? I am from the highly regulated, structured, hierarchical, and well-defined, pre-existing process-driven culture. Everything from that world was already in place, my job as a leader was to execute, create to some degree, but not build from the ground up, no experimenting, I operated with well-defined boundaries, and strategically placed guardrails. How could I ever fit into this world tech start-up world? More importantly, as a founder, the weight of my responsibilities over direct customers, their vulnerable clients and the livelihood of every member of our team was daunting to say the very least.

But following a coffee meeting at Starbucks with Jan and listening to her excitement, passion and enthusiasm really got me excited, and after a subsequent meeting with Mike, I began to see myself in this space. My experience as a nurse, a healthcare leader, and as a past President and CEO would bring value to the company. The little voice said, ‘Take the plunge, jump out of the plane, forget the chute.’ 


This product is going to be an amazing ride, a real game-changer for my colleagues in the nonprofit world, those who are still doing amazing work every day. Now, because of Continual Care Solutions, they will have a powerful tool to help them reach further, lift higher and, without question, demonstrate their impact to funders, regulators, and donors. This platform unlocks their strategic strength and operational efficiencies at all levels because actionable data is powerful! The added bonus was I get to be part of making this happen!


I learn new things every day about the enhancements of our product, what a sales cycles is, market segmentation, customer discovery and how exciting it is to be completely unencumbered by rigid guardrails… the best part of the world of start-up (still a little scary). I love bridging the world I know best with the world of technology to make a real difference. This opportunity forces me to do things I would never have considered or had the opportunity to do before, and I love that my husband affectionately refers to me as a ‘Tech Girl’ (such a stretch, such a good man) and that my grown children proudly remind me about how far I have come. The risk has definitely been worth the reward! 


Thank you, Mike and Jan, for taking me on as a partner, encouraging, cajoling and yes, maybe even pushing, because I cannot imagine doing anything else! And I absolutely love answering the question: ‘You’re doing what?’

Continual Care Solutions, Inc.

140 Office Park Way

Pittsford, NY 14534

585-485-0011

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