Talking Small Biz: A healthy approach to consulting

Dan Calista, CEO of the health-care-consulting firm Vynamic, walks the walk - with a treadmill at a desk. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)
Dan Calista, CEO of the health-care-consulting firm Vynamic, walks the walk - with a treadmill at a desk. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 13, 2012

D an Calista, 38, of Society Hill, is founder and CEO of Vynamic, a health-care-consulting firm in Center City that celebrated its 10th anniversary Monday. Calista founded the company in 2002, after working at the management-consulting firm Accenture. Vynamic has 65 employees and more than $16 million in annual revenues.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Vynamic?

A: I wanted to create an environment where I wanted to work. I had a laptop and a studio apartment, and I started to make phone calls. We never took on any debt and I never had to get an investor.

Q: What does Vynamic do?

A: We're wired to run projects and we work solely in the healthcare industry.

Q: Who are your clients?

A: The major health plans, major [pharma] companies, software companies in the health-care space and public health.

Q: Describe one of the projects.

A: There is a pharma company with a patient-assistance program [to provide free or discounted meds]. They had multiple brands, service was inconsistent and call-hold times were long. We selected one vendor to process all claims and requests. It reduced program costs and enabled patients to get their medicines faster.

Q: Was Vynamic ever in dire straits?

A: We had a large project in early 2009, had a lot of people on it and it stopped on short notice. What I learned was talent wins. The team rallied and in 2009, which we call our "Rocky" year, we added the most new clients.

Q: Your company has gotten props as a great place to work.

A: Our people are literally our product and we invest in them. We layer that in with healthy snacks and lunches and a flexible work environment. I don't have a permanent desk here.

Q: When you ask employees why they like working here, what do they tell you?

A: They respect their peers and they love working with our clients. We need to manage stress better. We started something we call Z-mail, which means unless it's critical, we ask for no emails to be sent between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during the week, or on weekends.

Q: Tell me about your "Opportunity To Thrive" program.

A: We created this so employees could participate in unique experiences that don't have a direct business outcome but we believe will be beneficial. We've taken small groups on trips to Vanguard to hear [founder] Jack Bogle and to Wyebrook Farm to see sustainable agriculture.

Q: So what's the theory here?

A: We connect dots across Vynamic and build relationships. We're growing for our people, not at the expense of our people.


Email: hinkelm@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-2656

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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