Building Wellness Solutions with Lessons from Ranching

April 19, 2018

Standing over my campfire on a cold spring night on the North Dakota prairie, I warm my hands near the open flame and share a pot of hot coffee with my ranch partners. They’re also my neighbors and closest friends who help each other out every year.

Under this endless canopy of stars sparkling over the vast American West, I’m reminded of how simple cowboy values inform my life as both the CEO of a Wellness-centered software company and as a cattle rancher in a small town.

Over the past 30 years, I’ve spent the bulk of autumn and winter seasons in Pennsylvania where I work and live with my wife and family. But, come calving season in March, I am back at the ranch to work with my partners and assist scores of cows birth their calves.

Daily, we share the burden and joy of cattle ranching. It is hard, physical toil, and it takes patience, strength and team work to endure the long days spent outdoors in the harsh elements. Often we have to head out into a white out snowstorm to search for and retrieve newborn calves. The fear of losing our herd and the fruit of our labor is draining and motivating all at the same time.

When the weather breaks, we’ll spend the days on our horses herding calves to brand them, inoculate them against disease and bring them back to their mothers where they belong.

We’ll make camp in the evenings and enjoy a hearty meal and sometimes a few good laughs, but more often we just sit together with our thoughts long into the night. We simply enjoy one another’s company and we value each and every individual.

It strikes me that in many ways we epitomize the small business owners of America: we’re business partners who run cattle ranches, but are more like friends and family. We are committed to our community and enjoy doing the hard work of keeping each other healthy, happy and financially secure.

I’ve carried the values I learn on my cattle ranch in North Dakota to lead and motivate my colleagues at New Ocean, in both our corporate headquarters in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and our contact center in South Carolina.

It is those values that motivated me and my colleagues to provide a best-in-class health and well-being platform with not only has the most comprehensive content available but also support managing a long list of chronic conditions. The holistic coverage allows us to carry forth our mission of improving health outcomes for a greater, happier life for all.

So when my colleagues and I decided to make available the same health and well-being tools that our giant clients use to keep their members and employees healthy, and to offer it at a fraction of the cost, I knew we were doing the right thing and applying cowboy values to small business right in our own company.

At the ranch, the size of our herd doesn’t alter the level of care we provide to our cattle, our most precious assets. Likewise, at New Ocean we recognize that small and mid-size businesses are a vital part of their communities and we’re proud to offer a health and well-being platform that fits any size, culture and budget.

Whether our software is deployed for employees in large businesses or workers in small companies, the result is the same. New Ocean is creating a better, healthier environment everywhere. And that is something that my Cowboy colleagues in North Dakota will approve of because it is, as they would say, “the right thing to do”.