Our Experience as Interns of Project Healthcare

By Sarah Collier and Alex Casey

If you happen to be a Project Healthcare alumni, a part of the present or future cohort, or a Friend of Project Healthcare, you have probably frequently seen the names Sarah Collier and/or Alex Casey in your inbox. 

As Program Interns for this summer, expanding on community engagement is a vital aspect of our roles at the EC! We’ve assisted with all necessary tasks from facilitating outreach efforts to ensuring the overall productivity of the program. 

We have conducted extensive research on similar accelerator programs across the U.S., and those findings are currently being used to improve Project Healthcare as a whole. Research like this is essential to progress and support the ecosystem for the benefit of both startup founders and established healthcare executives. 

While working together, we have witnessed the transformative power of collaboration within the healthcare ecosystem and entrepreneurial community. Our outstanding cohort companies with Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Healthcare has enabled us to learn more about the vibrant and exciting startup ecosystem in Nashville. 

By working in conjunction with business owners, our experience thus far has served as a great resource for becoming more knowledgeable about the healthcare system’s inner workings and the work and commitment required to create a startup.

Wisdom Amplified: Unforgettable Key Takeaways  

One of the most valuable aspects of our internship experience is the vast networking opportunities that we have experienced with not only our Project Healthcare cohort but also with investors and other successful members of the healthcare community in Nashville. 

We have had the privilege of attending events, workshops, and conferences that give great insights into how companies partner to turn ideas into reality. 

Witnessing entrepreneurial success stories is another perk of the many tasks and projects we have been a part of. Seeing startups that we have supported and assisted in take-off is incredibly rewarding. 

Their success stories become a source of encouragement and motivation, reinforcing our own post-grad goals and fueling our passion for healthcare and entrepreneurship. 

Engaging with the Community: Project Healthcare Panel Events

On June 22 and 23, Project Healthcare hosted two sets of panel events – an opportunity for our cohort to pitch their companies to supportive experts throughout the healthcare industry. 

On the 22nd, the two of us, along with the cohort, took a field trip to meet with three notable representatives from the following companies: NTTData, Healthstream, and the Nashville Healthcare Council. 

NTTData’s Lisa Esch spoke with us about knowing your brand’s value and touched on how to take advantage of significant opportunities in other fields. Lisa began her career as a dietician, and several jobs later, as the Senior Vice President of NTTData. She taught us that career paths may take unexpected turns, but knowing what you’re capable of, holding strong in your self-value, and having the strength to take risks will always lead you in the right direction.

We also were lucky enough to hear from Bobby Frist of Healthstream. Frist’s career journey began alongside one other peer, working from his parent’s house. He shared his story with us and the cohort, explaining how it is vital to pivot when necessary and to adapt business needs to the consumer’s needs constantly. A prominent skill he deems pertinent to his success is knowing when it is time to change, and giving your company the freedom to discover its strengths and build on those. 

Lastly, we spoke with Apryl Childs-Potter of the Nashville Health Care Council. She talked to us mostly about the inner workings of Nashville as a hub for the rapid, ever-growing healthcare industry. Additionally, she spoke about the way the city has transformed into the mecca for anything and everything healthcare, and how crucial it is for healthcare startups to establish themselves and their companies within that network. Proving oneself as a leader and proving their company’s value is most purposeful in surging in the field. 

As we prepared for these Project Healthcare events, we discovered how critical it is to collaborate on all of the behind-the-scenes details that are frequently overlooked. The emails we sent out, the name tags we made and cut out, and the slides we compiled were all worthwhile because we saw the fruits of our labor pay off. 

Meeting with senior executives and conspiring with our wonderful cohort companies helped us understand that everyone starts somewhere and requires assistance along the way. There is nothing wrong with asking for help! Not one person knows everything, and that is okay. 

We all help each other and find a way to become more knowledgeable through collaboration and dialogue – something the Project Healthcare Program has embedded into its accelerator. Almost anyone in the Nashville Healthcare community – and entrepreneurial community at scale – is willing to extend a helping hand, their time, or resources to ensure the success of these founders. 

Bringing it All Together

Project Healthcare is easily one of the best internships in healthcare to develop a strong network and learn more about the extensive healthcare industry as a whole. As we prepare for our upcoming events, we will continue to work hard and become more well-versed, better preparing us for our future careers in this field. 

For those interested in healthcare, entrepreneurship, and startups, interning at Nashville Entrepreneur Center is a fulfilling and illuminating experience that not only expands your knowledge of business but can also begin to shape the trajectory of your career!

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