HUBweek Change Maker: Ashley Gilmore Reid

Founder and CEO, Wellist

As the Founder and CEO of Wellist, a mobile and online tool that connects patients to holistic support resources, Ashley combines her passion for improving the lives of patients with deep experience in strategic planning and business development. Most days, you can find her ‘nerding out’ with clients, colleagues and friends.

What problem are you trying to solve with Wellist? What inspired you to start it? Patients’ unmet social needs greatly impact hospital economics including patient satisfaction, staff productivity and clinical outcomes. As the daughter of a cancer survivor, I understand how things like transportation, meal delivery and support groups impact a patient and their family. Today, providers don’t have the talent, training or tools to identify and address the full breadth of these social needs.

Wellist empowers our partners to improve their business performance while alleviating this real human suffering.

What impact (personally or collectively) do you hope to have? I believe that Wellist can meaningfully reshape how we define ‘patient experience’ by providing new data and solutions to extend a hospital’s capabilities to address the needs of the whole patient.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career or in building Wellist? It’s incredibly challenging to separate work from life when you’re committed to creating something new. Building a company requires many sacrifices, and some of those sacrifices come at a personal cost. I work hard to find ‘balance’ and maintain personal relationships with close friends and family.

One thing people might find surprising about you or what you do? I have attention deficit disorder which I have self-managed since I was in grade school. Early in my career I struggled at work because my daily tasks were not that engaging and it was hard to stay focused. I was incredibly fortunate to have had some amazing managers who recognized my potential and helped guide me to a career where my non-linear thinking is truly an asset. My journey forced me to become more creative, compassionate and resilient — all of which are now invaluable skills that help me excel in my role as CEO at Wellist.

3 things you wish you knew when you first launched Wellist? When starting out, share your idea with EVERYONE.

  • Interview 30 people in your first 30 days. Focus on learning vs. pitching
  • Get out of your home and find a desk. Anywhere.
  • Find your people. Even if it seems uncomfortable at first, you will make great friends at hackathons and networking events

Why did you decide to start Wellist here in Boston? How has being here shaped the organization? Boston is home to the best hospitals and healthcare innovators in the world. We also have a robust digital health startup community with programs like PULSE, Hacking Medicine and the iHub and that truly empower entrepreneurs.

Wellist signed Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center as our first client. Finding early success with such a prestigious partner helped our young company build credibility and momentum. In turn, this helped Wellist secure early funding and attract other leading hospital systems.

Best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice:

“Do what you have energy for.”

The worst piece of advice:

“You need to get out your little black dress and go raise money.”

What’s next? I believe that hospitals are “Ground Zero” for not only healthcare policy, but also social and economic policy. Wellist will need to scale quickly to equip providers to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

The HUBweek Change Maker series showcases the most innovative minds in art, science, and technology making an impact in Boston and around the world.

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