There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.
Today, we bring you the journey of Nick Sherrell, a Senior Project Manager who works with the Project Management Office for one of KAI Partners’ public sector health care clients.
KAI Partners, Inc.: How did you get into your line of work?
Nick: Oddly enough, it all started with me wanting to become a Physician Assistant! Part of getting into a PA program requires shadowing an acting PA and gaining hands-on experience into the nature of the work. While shadowing a PA at the Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC), I ended up being offered an opportunity to work for the clinic as a Patient Care Coordinator. My experience in this role opened my eyes to the number of challenges people faced in interacting with the health care system as a whole. Many people struggle to gain access to affordable, quality health care. This role changed my career trajectory from clinical care to wanting to help be a part of impacting the system to ensure more people are able to access quality care and live healthier lives. From then on, I have worked in roles gaining more and more experience and responsibility doing work within health care systems. This ultimately led to roles in Quality, Performance Improvement, Tech Implementation, Clinical Variation Reduction, and Project Management.
KAI: Are there any certifications or trainings you’ve gone through that have helped in your career?
Nick: Absolutely! The first thing I realized when I made my decision to move from clinical care to administration was that I needed to gain more knowledge of business. My college career to that point focused heavily on the Sciences (Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.). I decided to go back to school to obtain an MBA at UC Davis. This experience helped my career TREMENDOUSLY!
KAI: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?
Nick: I love seeing hard work translate into better process and more efficient systems and seeing that work reverberate throughout the community.
KAI: What is one of the most common questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?
Nick: A question I often get is “how can we get better at what we are doing?” My counsel or advice is usually based in first knowing where you are, embracing the imperfection, and building a measurable path to improvement through multiple small steps. Too often I encounter organizations that have a fear-based culture when it comes to metrics. It usually starts with a manager or executive who reviews metrics and lashes out at any report that spits out anything in red ink. Staff become afraid of being the messenger of sharing the red ink information, and then ultimately (and sometimes subconsciously) start to do things to prevent the red.
My advice, EMBRACE THE RED! Red doesn’t necessarily mean poor performance, it means an opportunity to work together to improve something. For me, it’s more of a Eureka moment!
Now that we’ve learned more about Nick’s background and project management work, here’s a little more about him!
Quick Q&A with Nick:
Daily, must-visit website: MLB At-Bat App. ALL the highlights!
Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Usually of the Rock / Blues / Acoustic variety. Podcasts, anything funny! Right now, I’m listening to ‘Conan Needs A Friend.’ Good stuff!
Best professional advice received: Measure it, but make it worth measuring!
Book you can read over and over again: Dragons Love Tacos (guess who has a two-year-old?!)
Most-recent binge-watched show: Game of Thrones.
About Nick: Nick Sherrell is a Project Manager with over 10 years of healthcare experience ranging from Quality, Performance Improvement, Technology Implementation, Data Analysis, and Consulting. Nick has worked with organizations ranging from the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Blue Shield of California, and The Advisory Board Company. He currently works for KAI Partners, Inc as a Project Manager Consultant on a Public contract with the State of California. He received his MBA from UC Davis in 2015 with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Innovation. He became a Certified ScrumMaster in 2018 through Scrum Alliance training offered at KAIP Academy. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, two children, and Golden Retriever Emma. Find Nick on LinkedIn here.