This CEO Decided to Make a Difference After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hit: With Peter Smith

“As CEO, it is my job to use my success — and the firm’s success — for the greater good. I take that very seriously.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Smith, CEO of Impact Advisors, a nationally-ranked Healthcare IT Consulting firm, recently named #1 on Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory? 

In 2007, my brother Andy and I had our head in the clouds—quite literally. We were aboard a Southwest Airlines flight, and found ourselves in the middle of what would end up being a life-changing vision session.

Both passionate about healthcare, my brother and I had long recognized a vacuum in the industry—a need for superior healthcare IT consulting services, that could truly impact the quality of care that health systems provide for their patients. We knew we had the passion and the skills to make
our vision a reality and, while we may not agree on everything, Andy and I knew without a doubt, that to successfully recruit and retain the nation’s top healthcare leaders, we had to get the culture right first.

We sketched our core beliefs on the back of a Southwest Airlines beverage napkin, and the rest is history. Ten years later, Impact Advisors is a leading nationally-ranked healthcare IT consulting firm. I’m very proud of that. I am even more proud to be CEO of a firm with award-winning culture, inspired by collaboration, growth, and transparency. Impact Advisors is a place where people who truly love healthcare want to work and want to stay.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Most of us love our siblings, but working with them every day is another story. Today, ten years after founding Impact Advisors, my brother and I still work together on a daily basis—and really, really enjoy it. As Smith Brothers, we’re very different people. We have different personalities and different viewpoints on various minor tactics. However, we share the same foundation of ethics, the passion for improving quality healthcare, and an unwavering dedication to building and maintaining relationships. It’s our differences that keep our partnership interesting, and make it particularly entertaining when our clients find out we’re brothers.

So what exactly does your company do?

The quick answer is that Impact Advisors is a group of IT consultants dedicated to improving the outcomes of healthcare throughout our country. We strive to create a positive impact on clients, patients, and their families and communities, through technology. We are people helping people. That’s our “why”.

Our “how”, is through technology and process improvement. Impact Advisors works with the nation’s leading health systems and hospitals, offering advisory, implementation and optimization services and solutions that are designed to span the life-cycle of their needs and the breadth of established and emerging healthcare technologies.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our culture and our quality. Impact Advisors boasts a culture that supports both its business objectives and employee objectives. As a result, we can provide clients with the highest quality consulting services in the industry. We’re passionate about our people, and our people are passionate about healthcare. It is a winning combination, and that’s what makes Impact Advisors stand out.

It’s incredible, more than half of our firm’s associates have clinical backgrounds. They are physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who chose this path because they care about helping people and bringing goodness to the world.

In 2011, we took the somewhat unprecedented move of hiring a full-time, dedicated “Happyologist,” to continue to develop and drive our culture — it is one of the best decisions we ever made. The job of Michael Nutter, Vice President of Firm Culture and Associate Satisfaction, is to ensure employees are happy and feeling like part of a community. With 98% of the team working remotely, this is a critical but challenging task.

This commitment to quality and culture have earned the firm a number of prestigious industry awards. Most recently, Impact Advisors was named #1 on Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare list and ranked number four on Consulting Magazine’s Best Small Firms to Work For list.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Yes, her name is Sue Smith, and I am lucky enough to call her my wife.
Eleven years ago I approached my wife with this crazy idea of taking a huge financial risk and starting a business. We’d probably have to go a year two without an income and we’d certainly have to rethink our lifestyle — and with a young family, this wouldn’t be easy. Without even blinking, she told me she was all in. Her faith in me and in the mission of Impact Advisors gave me the strength and motivation to pursue this larger-than- life dream.

I’d be remiss if I did not mention by brother, Andy Smith, President of Impact Advisors, and good friend Todd Hollowell, COO (and their wives, too). This has been the adventure of a lifetime, and I feel incredibly lucky having this crew along for the ride.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Every day I remind myself that we are working for patients and families. Though we may not interact with these people directly, the work we do impacts their quality of life. I love that the solutions we provide reach healthcare across many different sectors and populations. As CEO, it is my job to use my success—and the firm’s success—for the greater good. I take that very seriously. As a company, we weave charity into the fabric of everything we do.

Because Impact Advisors’ team members are located throughout the United States, we encourage them to volunteer their time with the community organizations for which they are most passionate, and we support them in that effort.

At two recent associate gatherings, our team joined forces to pack and deliver nearly 300 care packages to young patients at the Orlando Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We even invited Miss Florida and an Orlando Magic player to help us deliver the packages to patients. When Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit, we provided support and financial aid to those affected by the natural disaster, and many of our team members and clients were involved. These are small examples of the large impact our associates are making every day.

What are some points you wish someone had told you before you became CEO, and why?

  1. Setting up a new company is not easy. When it comes to payroll, HR, etc. no one person or entity has all the answers. In fact, there is no right or wrong answer. The best solution is to ask questions, accept advice, and make decisions that are in the best interest of your people and your business goals.
  2. Make quick decisions. It’s better to react to a bad decision than to make a delayed decision and potentially miss a worthwhile opportunity.
  3. Be creative to achieve a great work/life balance.
    Yes, I am co-founder and CEO of Impact Advisors, but I’m also a husband, father and friend. I’m continuously reminding myself to pay close attention to time management — it takes creative approaches to achieve a great work / life balance.

Some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports, and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Elon Musk. He is CEO of multiple innovative and successful companies — this guy is a serial entrepreneur who is revolutionizing transportation on both earth and space. I’d love to pick his brain and find out how he does it.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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