Fearless Leader

Health care consultant seizes potential

Profile Michealle Main

When friends describe MICHEALLE GADY, they say she is fearless. In truth, Gady does experience fear. But she doesn’t let it stop her from accepting leadership opportunities that enable her to make a significant difference in the world. 

It’s that type of fearlessness that led Gady to found Atrómitos, a Wilmington-based consulting company that helps community health care organizations improve their operations and services. 

“I don’t see fear as a reason not to do something,” Gady says. “I focus on what I would miss by not doing it, what impact I could have had but didn’t because I didn’t try. That scares me more.” 

Gady has always been interested in health care, but it took a bit of exploration before she found her true calling. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services from Springfield College, Gady worked in genetics. She soon realized she preferred health care policy to the research world and earned a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law. 

Gady has taken on multiple high-level positions in her career, working to shape health care policy in the halls of Congress as well as in national health care and advocacy organizations. She played a role in the discussion around health care legislation such as the Affordable Care Act and assisted organizations such as Families USA and the Medicare Rights Center to develop strategic initiatives and direction. 

In 2016, Gady moved to Wilmington and decided to open her own company, one that would advance community health care. As such, Atrómitos helps independent providers, nonprofits, and other small- and mid-sized organizations overcome the challenges involved in providing community health care. 

“We are a one-stop-shop for health care in social services organizations,” Gady says. “We understand how all the different components, such as operations, policy and regulations, strategic direction, and technology, fit together and are interconnected.” 

Atrómitos has a reputation that attracts clients from around the globe. But when Gady started the company, she had nothing but the desire to build something of her own. She knew little about running a business, and she knew no one in the state. Undeterred, Gady sought advice from anyone who could help, and she asked acquaintances as well as friends for referrals. 

“I took a deep breath and dove in,” she says. Gady also put together a team of professionals and created a supportive work environment. She gives her staff the freedom to do their jobs; welcomes their opinions, even when they disagree with her; and helps them find solutions when they run into problems. 

Under Gady’s guidance, Atrómitos has experienced slow, intentional growth. As its clients’ needs have changed, the company, while remaining true to its mission, has evolved. For example, when technology became an integral part of health care, Gady added a technology component to the services Atrómitos offers. 

Also, to ensure the company can provide outstanding service and maintain its positive culture, Gady carefully chooses the clients Atrómitos works with. 

“Being selective and intentional about the work we do ensures we have the capacity and commitment to do a really good job,” she says. “It’s difficult to say no to a project that is not in a direction that we want to go in strategically. But it goes back to your mission and objective and long-term strategy.” 

Gady is currently planning to take advantage of a new opportunity for the company, which will necessitate her moving to Washington state. Not only is Washington Atrómitos’s second-largest market, but it is also one of the most innovative areas for health care, she says. Gady hopes the move will enable her to bring lessons she learns there to her North Carolina clients and partners. 

“North Carolina providers, payers, and networks can learn a lot from our West Coast counterparts and vice versa,” she adds. 

As Gady’s team is, and always has been, virtual, Gady doesn’t anticipate any disruption of services to her national and international clientele. 

For women who hope to become leaders in their fields, Gady offers the following advice. First, lead with integrity. If you do so, people will want to follow you, she says. Gady also says you need to remember that you don’t have to do it all. 

Of course, Gady stresses that you should never let fear be an obstacle. To keep fear from derailing your dreams, Gady recommends you identify what is stopping you and determine how you can solve the problem. 

“There is no failure unless you don’t try,” she says. “What you can learn from trying is far more valuable than any avoidance of potential.”

To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.

Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.

Categories: Features, Women to Watch