We’re thrilled to be welcoming Sarahjane Sacchetti as the new CEO of Cleo as we embark on our next phase of growth. We sat down with Sarahjane on her first day to learn more about her personal story: what motivates her, what inspires her, and why she joined Cleo. Read on to find out all this and more.
What motivated you to get into healthcare?
I jumped into the tech industry 16 years ago. My initial intent when getting into tech was to “try it out” following a career in politics, but my mindset shifted rather quickly. I ended up fascinated and deeply committed to helping both new entrants and large-cap companies across a diverse set of industries like semiconductors, enterprise software, green tech and early consumer apps define their missions, build their brands and navigate everything from policy to partnerships.
As much as I loved my work and clients, I found myself missing my mission-driven political campaign days where I worked to pass finance measures supporting California schools and healthcare districts.
The early growth of healthtech struck me as a natural bridge between my experience in technology startups and the mission-driven ethos I wanted to be part of. Enter Collective Health. I met the founding team when they were just getting started, and my thesis was proven to be correct–I could play a part in building a great technology company and help make an impact on everyday people. Building a good business that does good is possible and I am so excited to dig in to do the same as we build the next chapter for Cleo.
What has your experience been like being a parent while also being a startup leader?
The short answer is it’s equal parts (nearly) impossible and remarkably rewarding.
The long answer? I’ve had two very different experiences as I had my children. With my first child, I had my own consulting business launching and helping early stage startups with their early positioning and acquisition strategies, and unfortunately, didn’t have any maternity leave at the time. I was back with my clients when Odie was just five weeks old. The experience of pumping in parking lots and on highways (which is much more common than it ever should be), desperately patching childcare coverage for my little one, and feeling completely overwhelmed and guilty about what I wasn’t doing for my family or my clients nearly every second of every day, left a lot to be desired.
The second time around, I had parental leave, a great team of supportive colleagues and as result, a lot more sanity and confidence navigating being a mom of two little ones and growing my career. The difference between my two experiences illustrates how a little support can go such a long way to not just improve a new parent’s experience, but the experiences of her family and her colleagues as well. I am thrilled to make this a reality for more new parents as we scale Cleo.
What inspired you to join Cleo?
Cleo’s mission to make it possible for everyday working parents to thrive at work and at home is deeply personal to me, as I mention above. I’m thrilled to be joining Cleo not only because I care so deeply about our mission, but also because I know the market is ready and willing to adopt new solutions that improve lives within our increasingly diverse and demanding workforces. We’ve already seen early signals of this, and I believe we’re still at the early innings of a new era where employers are going to play a critical role in providing support for the families that are helping them build successful companies.
What are the top priorities for you as you get started at Cleo?
My biggest priority is to listen and learn. I’ll be listening to our current and former team to understand how we can be a clear reflection of our mission as we continue to build a successful company. I’ll also be listening to our customers and members on what’s working with the Cleo product today and what they’d like to see from us as we continue to evolve. And lastly, I’m going to listen to the broader community of partners, caregivers and enterprise HR leaders on where the demands for employers are going, and how we can help them stay ahead of what their working families need.
How do your kids Odie and Leo, think about your job?
My older child Odie thinks I’m the “new principal” of Cleo and my younger child Leo thinks my job is to give candy out to people at work. I prefer Leo’s take. I tell them, “Mama works to help make people like us have better lives and be happier” and I also tell them I love what I do. I want them to know that when I’m not with them, my time has a purpose, because they always want me home more — at least for now!