Interview with Sudha Srikantaswamy, BEYA STEM Modern-Day Technology Leader

Sudha Srikantaswamy

Health Catalyst Senior Analytics Director Sudha Srikantaswamy has been awarded the 2023 Modern-Day Technology Leader Award, a part of the BEYA STEM Outstanding Achievement Awards. Srikantaswamy will be recognized for her achievement at the 2023 BEYA STEM Conference at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.

As part of the 2023 BEYA STEM Conference, more than 50 training sessions are available to students and professionals that offer insights on leadership, career development, and technical advancements in the digital economy. These sessions are led by experts from top organizations and facilitate interaction in knowledge environments that promote networking, training, and mentoring.

To celebrate her award, we sat down with Srikantaswamy to learn more about her role, accomplishments, career goals, and passions outside of work.

Would you tell us about your role at Health Catalyst?

As a Senior Analytics Director, I currently enable and support two of Health Catalyst’s partner health organizations – ChristianaCare in Delaware and Unity Point Health in Iowa. I work with key stakeholders, including executives and physicians from these organizations, and with a team of developers on implementing various financial, clinical, operational, and patient outcomes improvement projects.

In this client-facing role, I am responsible for the timely delivery and maintenance of our entire suite of solutions and for sustaining and strengthening our client relationships and successes.

What about this position are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about collaborating and devising strategies and innovative solutions to support and drive sustained clinical, financial, and operational excellence in healthcare systems.

I really enjoy bringing people together and finding ways to apply our collective creative and analytical thinking skills combined with evidence-based, data-driven, technology-enabled best practices toward solutions.

In my role, I feel empowered to influence decisions and meaningfully advance Health Catalyst’s mission of enabling massive data-driven outcomes improvements.

Would you share a role model or quote you find inspiring? What about this person or quote inspires you?

My role model is Indra Nooyi, the former Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of PepsiCo. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2014, she was ranked number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was ranked the second most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015 and 2017. I often see myself as a reflection of her. Indira Nooyi represents me. She, too, was born and raised in India. She came to this country on the strength of her education and aspirations. As did I. As an immigrant and a woman of color with nothing but her skills, grit, hard work, and determination, she rose to the position of CEO of a multi-billion multi-national company. I am sure our compared notes will show similar experiences in overcoming adversities with very limited social capital in the country of our dreams.

I heard her speak (YouTube) at some event where she outlined her three guiding principles:

  1. Always be curious. Be a continuous learner. – This is so me and one of Health Catalyst’s operating principles! I am so grateful and fortunate to work for a company whose mission resonates with my values.
  2. Be passionate about whatever work you do; give it your all.
  3. And when you are in a position of authority, which you will be at some point, lift others up. It is our responsibility and an obligation!

I feel that now, by god’s grace, I am able to lift others up. You know how they say – Put your mask on first before you help others with their masks – I have my mask on.

What are some of your passions outside of work? What do you like to do on your time off?

I love to run. I always have a race – a full or half marathon – on my calendar. Having a goal race helps me stay disciplined and consistent with my healthy eating and exercise choices. I have also started swimming regularly in the last couple of years.

I love to read – books that have paper pages. I am old-fashioned like that. On the weekends, my husband and I go hiking. We live in North Carolina, and maybe I am biased, but North Carolina has the most heavenly state parks.

What is one accomplishment you have achieved (at or outside of work) this past year that you are most proud of?

I am really very proud of the two sons my husband and I have raised. By god’s grace, they are both decent humans, ethically and morally principled, graduated from college, employed, living well, socially thriving, and professionally growing.

Professionally, about a year ago, I had the opportunity to lead a team of 7 field reports. My responsibilities included supporting the mental and professional well-being of my team as they created value for the client and helping them grow and navigate client team dynamics. It was a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, and I am proud of the positive and enduring relationships I have built over the months. One piece of feedback that inspires me and that I will always treasure:

“My weekly 1:1s with Sudha are so valuable to me. She has given me honest feedback on what she has seen me do and has discussed areas of improvement and how I can use that to get to the next step of my career. She is very personable and motivating, particularly as she draws experiences/challenges from her life and career and relates it to mine. Through my conversations with Sudha, she believes in Health Catalyst’s mission and values and really enjoys being a part of this company which makes her a great advocate for the company and also an excellent candidate to foster the career development of future AEs within Health Catalyst.”

What inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare technology?

I have always sought to work at the forefront of science, technology, and innovation. I believe that the work I do should be meaningful and have a positive impact on the world. I began my career as a software developer in the satellite telecommunications field and was convinced that I was shaping the future. LOL. In 2008, I started as a senior software analyst in healthcare informatics at Duke Health. The web application I helped develop was all about patient engagement, empowerment, and education, and enabling patients to improve their outcomes. I saw firsthand how technology could make a real difference in the lives of patients.

And here I am, 15 years later, even more, passionate about using technology-enabled and data-driven solutions to improve healthcare outcomes and even help save patient lives.

How does the mission of Health Catalyst (or Health Catalyst values) resonate with you and inspire your work?

“To be the catalyst for massive measurable healthcare improvement” is my mantra as well.

I’m enthusiastic about sitting at my desk every morning because I get to do something new or different but always meaningful. The people I work with are kind, smart, and super helpful. The work culture at Health Catalyst strives to be world-class and is simply the best.  Every day the mission of Health Catalyst inspires and validates my work. I feel like the work I do is valuable and matters and that I make a positive difference in the lives of patients. 

What advice do you have for other women pursuing a career in STEM? 

Firstly, do not let social or peer pressure diminish or undermine your goals. Do not be intimidated by the coursework. STEM is a difficult subject. It takes grit. Cultivate perseverance, and I assure you, it will serve you well. Enjoy the learning process and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Be proud of your achievements. You have worked hard and put in the time. Be proud of your achievements.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Accept your uniqueness. Don’t try to fit in at the expense of who you are. Don’t dim your inner light. 

What are you most excited for about the BEYA STEM Conference? 

This is my first time attending this conference, and I am excited about the keynote addresses. I am so looking forward to being in the same room with admirable and influential people of color, especially women. I am in awe of the women of color in STEM. I have a fair bit of experience in understanding the sheer will and courage it takes to overcome adversity and biases and rise above. I believe BEYA attendees will be the most deserving. I expect it will be a very humbling experience for me to see so many people with resilience and resolve who are now at the top of their chosen professions. It’s crucial to cultivate a network that values diversity, inclusiveness, and the advancement of collective talent.

Will you share with us some of your career goals or personal goals?

Personally, I am no natural athlete, and the running races test my physical and mental endurance to the limit and beyond. My stretch goal is to complete a half Ironman in this lifetime.  I also hope to travel more with my family. 

Professionally, my goal is to positively influence and advocate for as many people as I can.  I hope to continue to grow as a servant leader. I hope the legacy I leave behind will be that of being a good role model and mother.

Health Catalyst CMO Recognized by Silicon Slopes as CMO of the Year

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