Instructor Series: Vanessa Best
Vanessa Best instructs the Emerging Leaders program in New York City. Her commitment and passion to advocating for underserved communities deserves recognition. We feature her in this blog as she shares her journey with Interise and the work she’s doing with Precisionhealth to champion healthcare.Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My first job as a teenager was with the NYC Summer Youth Program, where I worked at a NYC Hospital. That experience helped me to decide that I wanted a career in healthcare administration. I later joined the union, worked at the hospital and received scholarships to sponsor my education through the City University of New York. Eventually, I accepted a teaching position for Adult Education with three colleges.
How did you first get involved in entrepreneurship/small business?
After working in Administration for several top hospitals in NYC for over 10 years, I was having my first child and wanted the flexibility of working from home, controlling my time and still furthering my career. There was a gentleman in my Department that was providing medical billing services for Doctors after-hours and I said to myself “He doesn’t know more than me. I can do that!” So I approached the MD Head of Occupational Health, who was also leaving to start a private practice and I negotiated my first contract. Yahoo! My first client! My clientele grew quickly from the one doctor in NY to other independent doctors and clinics nationwide; New York State Hospitals and The US Department of Defense Military Treatment Centers, Womack Army Medical Hospital.
How has being an Interise Instructor impacted your own business?
I am continuously inspired by each session along with every text message, every email and every phone call I receive from the program participants. As we review each iteration of a business owner’s Strategic Growth Plan I am learning from them. I’m often told how much they learn from my experience, but it's actually my experience coupled with their journey that makes this program fabulous for the participants and I.
What are you doing personally and or professionally that you want people to know about?
There are many underserved areas in my region where children do not have STEM incorporated in their curriculum. I am very excited to be working with a startup nonprofit bringing innovative afterschool programs using STEM and Robotics to several communities. We are also working with the teachers providing professional development using the same tools. It is fascinating to see children as young as preschoolers use coding to build a robot, and then the look on the parents’ faces when the children control the robot through their remote devices! Simply priceless!
Why do you teach with Interise?
When I was in the 3rd grade and was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer was “I want to be a teacher.” I love helping people. My late Mom instilled in me an important principle as a youth: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” Teaching with Interise gives me an opportunity to give back and help business owners discover their strengths and learn from each other. When I started my business back in 1995, Interise’s amazing StreetWise ‘MBA’ curriculum didn’t exist. I struggled to figure it out. Having the privilege of being a part of an initiative that provides entrepreneurs with the support and resources to grow and scale is extremely fulfilling to me.
What do you think makes an independent business successful?
Two things, 1) A CEO that gives him/herself the time to work on the business and not in the business. That is the huge takeaway from the program. It gives the business owner an opportunity to get outside of the everyday operations and craft a strategic growth plan from a different lens. 2) Create a Network of trusted advisors and Subject Matter Experts. No successful man/woman is an island. Surround yourself with “Your Advisory Board” or “CEO group” that will help your trajectory.
Who is one person from history you’d like to counsel or have in one of your classes?
I would love to have Madam CJ Walker in my class. Born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867 near Delta Louisiana, she was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire! Over 100 years ago, she suffered a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss and she invented a line of African-American hair care products in 1905. Madam CJ Walker and her husband traveled the South and Southeast promoting her products and giving lecture demonstrations using her products and heated combs. She opened her own factory, a beauty school, and also felt it was important to be active in philanthropic and educational efforts for African-Americans. Her entrepreneurship concept of creating the hot comb was the foundation for blow dryers, curling irons, and flat combs in the beauty care industry today. She died at the age of 51, at the estate home she built for herself in Irvington-on-Hudson, NY which was designated a National Historic Landmark. I am in awe that CJ Walker went from making $1.50 per day working as a washwoman to becoming one of the first women self-made millionaires. It would be amazing to have her in my class. Her stories, passion and lessons learned would inspire all.
Vanessa Best is a medical coding & billing leader and an expert in ICD 10, Auditing, CDI, EMR implementation, A/R management, and leadership. She and her world-class billing/coding team have been partnering with medical professionals and practices since 1995 to ensure they are reimbursed quickly and accurately, while complying with constantly changing healthcare regulations.