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When It's Time To Make A Change

Drew Widner

Age: 26

Job: Strategy & Analytics, DaVita

Location: Denver, Colorado

Drew and I were connected through Chrissy, a YoPro we interviewed earlier this year, and the two met out in Colorado. Although he and his wife both loved their jobs and were surrounded by family in Charlotte, they followed an urge they had to move out to Denver in 2019 without having everything completely figured out. In his interview, we cover everything from leaving your job and all that entails, to knowing when a move is the right one.

Give us some background.

I'm from Atlanta, Georgia and I am 26 years old. I went to the University of Virginia and worked in Charlotte, North Carolina for four years at one of the big banks headquartered there. Recently, my wife and I relocated from Charlotte to Denver, Colorado. I actually still worked with the bank when I first moved out here, but I found a job at a company based in Denver which is in the healthcare industry. My background is in finance, accounting, and analytics, so I have oriented that skillset more towards healthcare and the company I'm working at now.

What inspired you and your wife to move out to Denver?

My wife and I are both from the southeast and we got married in Charlotte. We lived in Charlotte postgrad before meeting each other, so the south is home for us. Moving out here was a big jump for us personally and was what we felt was best for our marriage and personal growth. This move was a chance to get a glimpse of a new culture and a new way of life. We decided to take the risk and make the jump to come out here, so we did as much as we could on the front end. We moved out here without everything figured out completely, which was scary for us, but it has worked out so far.

What prompted you to get into healthcare?

I’ll admit that moving to Denver was a more personal-driven choice than a career-driven one. Ultimately, what got me into healthcare, though, was the culture. In the banking world, you’re looking at ways to improve others’ financial lives. Pivoting towards an actual person's physical well-being, and being a part of something that's in the lens of a patient and their physical care, was an interesting change for me. With the current healthcare landscape, there are many complexities that I have to understand and navigate, so I think all of those elements made me think healthcare was attractive. I really did not know that much about it, other than my own personal health and insurance coverage and I also knew that I did not want to work remotely. My last company was based in Charlotte and it was important to me to feel like I was part of something in the city where I moved to as well. That was the driving factor, so the company that I'm at now is headquartered here in Denver. It has given me more of an opportunity to build relationships across the company.

What does your company do?

It is a big company with a footprint all over the country, but the business offices are headquartered here in Denver. Our team is made up of analysts that take a look at the relationships and the contracts that we have with insurance companies. We call them payers, or the insurance companies that pay for our services. We look at the rates that they're paying us, and we try to do our best to bring certain dialysis facilities in-network and try to help manage the portfolio of our business in that way. We are looking at medical claims data on a dialysis clinic basis. We do this analysis for each payer and determine how each payor relationship financially impacts the company.

What has been the biggest challenge for you and how have you grown from it?

Starting a new job and the transition itself was difficult for me. Knowing we were going to move to Denver and having that plan in mind, but also being based in Charlotte and trying to invest time in our community there, was tough. The decision to move felt right, but we didn't have many connections in Denver, so in that initial phase, it kind of felt as though I was throwing my name in as many online applications as I could and trying to get my name out there and make connections. It almost felt as if I was working two jobs at that point, working on my demanding day job, but also balancing my search and what was best for our next step. We knew we wanted to do this, but it's hard to make the leap and move somewhere where you don't know many people without having something nailed down and secured.

How did you handle leaving your old company?

I think one of the hardest parts was just feeling so uncomfortable about leaving my Charlotte job. I don't think I should have felt that way, particularly because when it came time for me to share what our vision was for our life moving forward, people were surprisingly more receptive than I thought. I think we were genuine and honest about our intentions and our vision and what we were trying to do, and I know people respected and appreciated that, especially since we were making a joint-life-career decision. Once we brought more people into the fold and we were upfront and intentional about it, that helped take the stress off a little bit.

What career switch did your wife Blair make?

She works in the interior design industry and was doing so in Charlotte where she helped her boss run her business and client relationships. Her ultimate goal is to become a designer herself. She has since found a design-oriented position out here in Denver. I think what was tough about that is she wanted to see where my feet would land first before figuring out her next step.

What is your new life out in Denver like?

It has been really good. I think Denver is generally a younger city with a lot of people who we've realized share our same story. They have lived all over and for whatever reason, wanted some change and wanted to come to Denver too. People that have been here for a long time may be kind of set in their way of life, but a lot of transplants are pretty open-minded and willing to welcome you into the fold. I feel that generally, but also at work. The people here at DaVita are really great and it's a pretty cohesive and collaborative environment. It has a strong emphasis on team and belonging. I think that it was not only DaVita being headquartered in Denver, but the company really stresses its culture and core values when I was interviewing, which resonated with me a lot. I feel as though it tries to live those values out every day from the top down and I think that is why they try to hire like-minded people.

I’ve really appreciated the emphasis on core values here. That's been really nice to transition into, and people have been extremely welcoming to both me and my wife. I feel like I've already begun to hopefully form some deep relationships going forward, too.

What motivates you?

I'm passionate about the work that I do. I'm a 1 on the Enneagram test which is the "Perfectionist" and "Idealist". I'm the type of guy who just wants things to be right; that’s kind of how I'm wired. I think I challenge myself to that standard just by my nature, but having a strong team around me really betters me. Being a part of a team and being able to fulfill my role and do my job as part of a larger scope drives me. It's also connecting back with the decision-makers and the managers to be a part of something bigger and to help form decisions and strategies on certain issues. I love individual work, but I also appreciate the relational aspect of it and coming together as a team and seeing how that affects the company and our strategy going forward.

Are you a book or a podcast guy?

I tend to be more of a podcast guy recently. I listen to a lot of sports podcasts, and one of my favorites is "The Ringer." It's a media network, so it’s not just sports. They have really witty, original content and kind of connect sports to pop culture. I think it’s a little more well-rounded and informed than just your kind of run of the mill generalist sports podcast. To be honest with you, I’m more of the type that listens to podcasts for entertainment after a long day.

Do you have any last-minute advice?

I think it's important to know what your heart is telling you. Particularly for our story, my wife and I both had good jobs and a great community in Charlotte, we were home, and family was closer to us, but something inside us just felt like we needed to do something different. Some people did not understand our desire to move, but at the end of the day, it's important to listen to yourself and listen to what your heart is telling you. You might even get some pushback, or people may doubt it, but I was surprised by the people who were supportive and who had similar experiences or who had someone they could point me to. I think I realized the value of relationships and people. Also, I realized early on that you're going to probably get a lot further putting other people in the loop of your life than trying to just figure it out on your own.

The YoPro Know's Takeaways:

– Sometimes you just have to jump and not have everything figured out

– You're going to get a lot more out of life if you loop other people into it

– Tips on how to leave your job

– Listen to that "urge" if it tells you to make a change

Check it out: DaVita, Enneagram test, The Ringer.

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