CEO on the Go: Heather Staples Lavoie, President, Geneia

CEO on the Go:
Heather Staples Lavoie, President, Geneia Innovations, and COO of Geneia
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of interviews Associate Editor Erika Cohen will conduct with CEOs and executives in the state who
are running enthusiasts. This is a chance to hear what executives have to say when they take off the suit and put on running shoes. Want to go for
a run with Erika? Contact her at [email protected]
Erika Cohen
When Heather Lavoie has a
hard day, her four kids will tell
her, “You would probably feel a
lot better if you went for a run.”
That’s an understatement. Lavoie
is a triathlete who barely missed
the qualification time for the
world half ironman championships having completed The Timberman 70.3 (a 1.2-mile swim,
56-mile bike and 13.1 mile run)
in just under 5 hours and 40 minutes. That’s one hour faster than
I very proudly finished that same
race last summer. Lavoie is also
running the Boston Marathon for
the first time this month and is
headed to Leadville, Colo. later
this year for a 100-mile mountain
bike race.
This is a woman who can go
the distance and her professional
track record is as impressive
as her athletic one. Lavoie cofounded Choicelinx Corporation,
a CIGNA Health Care subsidiary
that provides health care benefit management solutions. She
is now COO of Geneia, a health
care tech company in Concord,
and president of Geneia Innovations. While the company’s headquarters, and most of its 200-plus
staff, are located in Harrisburg,
Pa., a smaller team of product
development and marketing employees work in NH.
While on a run through the
streets of Concord, Lavoie talks
about the tech Geneia has deployed in the last year, including population health software to
assess patients at risk of disease
or readmission and those due
for certain preventative tests. In
January, the company launched
remote monitoring technology, or
wearables, to monitor patient vital signs from home. “When it comes
to work, I do love to build things. I did a brief stint outside of health
care but it was very tough because just selling more things wasn’t motivating to me. I really wanted to change lives,” she says. Geneia also
helps businesses develop wellness programs; offers care management
8 A P R I L 2 0 1 5
programs to health plans and
provides consulting services to
Health care, she says, is
very personal, and that is not
taken into account enough,
particularly in discussions
about how to effect change in
health care costs and engaging patients. “We often shy
away from talking about what
it really takes, and it takes one
person at a time,” says Lavoie,
who speaks nationally about
health care topics. She says it
is critical to know what motivates people, and effective
wellness programs involve social workers who help people
to define their intrinsic motivation, whether it is playing easily with a grandchild or going
for walks around the block.
The company practices
what it preaches, randomly
selecting two non-runners
from its staff to receive training and nutritional counseling to run a half marathon in
Boston. (Geneia also covered
travel and race entry fees.)
Both women finished the race,
which was sponsored by Geneia and Runner’s World magazine. “Their story is incredibly motivating for the rest of
the team,” she says.
So what motivates Lavoie?
Meeting up with her girlfriends most mornings at 5:30
to run, catch up on each other’s
lives and talk through problems. She is also passionate
about being a role model for
her daughter and other girls on
how they can succeed. “There
are some people who just give
it all to their career. But for most of us, we can’t, and if we thought that’s
what it takes, we’d never get into it in the first place. Making girls know
it’s always messy, no matter what job you have, and that there is no such
thing as balance across everything every day, but that you can do it, is
important to me.”
© Business NH Magazine, April 2015. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.