Work-Life Balance: Making Space for the Personal and Professional

#WomanCrushEntrepreneur

Matti Perilstein

Matti Perilstein

CEO & Co-Founder

Eternally

March 2021

Background

Director, Vynamic

Management Consultant, Accenture

BS, Penn State university

Matti Perilstein is a businesswoman, financier, technology entrepreneur, runner and proud Philadelphian. Currently, she is the CEO & Co-Founder of Eternally – a health tech startup on a mission to revolutionize end-of-life care in America. Most recently, she was a management consultant where she had a front row seat to the issues within the healthcare industry and became passionate about end-of-life care because of how it was mishandled by systems that were outdated and under innovated. Eternally is using a unique blend of education, technology and compassionate clinicians to ease this burden for families. Specifically, for women who make 80% of the health care decisions in the United States and 80% of the healthcare workforce in the US but only 3%-9% of leadership positions within healthcare delivery systems. Matti shares with Program Manager, Sharon Mwale, how she’s leveraging her experience to improve healthcare and lead intentionally.

Looking back at your early career choices and academic pursuits – was becoming an entrepreneur part of your plan?

I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. It took some time of exploring on my own and convincing, from my Co-Founder, Patrick FitzGerald, to become confident in my vision and take the plunge into entrepreneurship. In college, I chose to study finance because I knew those students got job offers quickly. Not being a particularly risky person, I needed and wanted job security. So, immediately after graduating I accepted a position with Accenture. It was the perfect place for me to start my career and be trained and gain valuable skills for the long-term. During my tenure at the firm, I had incredible opportunities and was able to learn directly from C-suite executives about the most pressing healthcare issues their organizations faced. I would describe my job as being a doctor for sick companies. I loved my time with the firm because of the dynamic nature of my role, the pace of work and flexibility of assignments. For the most part, I was satisfied. At some point, I found the “How I Built This,” podcast hosted by Guy Raz and each story left me in awe of the founders’ tenacity, bravery, and perseverance. I didn’t think that I would start to write my own founder story, but I am glad I made the leap because I am truly passionate about positively disrupting end-of-life care in the US.

Matti Perilstein

Talk about a challenging time through which you had to lead – was there a defining moment? Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

Let me start with words from Atul Gawande. In his book, Being Mortal, he defines culture within healthcare settings as “the sum total of shared habits and expectations.” Teams can achieve great things when we are all working towards a common goal and have a clear understanding of what is expected of one another. I think one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a manager is the importance of creating a professional connection and extending the opportunity to connect on a personal level with my team. Investing time upfront to build that kind of relationship allows individuals to bring their whole selves to work and gives me the opportunity to empathize with their situation. Then we can work together to make the appropriate accommodations, if necessary.

Past experience has taught me that we can’t compartmentalize our lives into work and home life. In both spaces, we have a responsibility and are expected to meet needs of both our families and our managers. As a leader, I have been intentional with my team to be open to building a personal connection so that I can understand how to better support their professional goals. At Eternally, I’ve focused on ensuring the environment makes team members feel comfortable (if they so choose) to be open about all of their responsibilities, asking for help and to not feel constrained to a “9-to-5” schedule if it is not ideal.

Matti Perilstein

What are the traits that have served you well during crises? (patience, grift, willpower, etc.)

Prioritizing. Good Judgement. Focus. Eternally is challenging the current standard of end-of-life care. We are focused on moving the needle forward and making a difference for millions of people around the country who would otherwise not have access to end-of-life resources or advanced care planning. As a leader, I have to continuously absorb new information, evaluate previous decisions and determine what our next steps are going to be, either continue or shift. As such, these three traits really allow me to understand if we’re meeting out goals, how we can potentially improve our approach and avoid distractions. Managing on a macro and micro level, these traits have helped me spend our resources wisely and be more intentional during a crisis. On a daily basis, these traits allow me to set realizable goals and keep the workflow manageable and value-additive.

Matti Perilstein
Matti Perilstein

Lecky’s Comments:

Fear can create so many non-options.  Our featured #WCE makes it clear that overcoming fear leads to greatness.  We all should take a page from this book and realize our true potential.

If you would like to recommend a female entrepreneur in healthcare technology to be featured, we encourage you to contact us.

Contact information:

Sharon Mwale       Program Manager        [email protected]

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