John S. Sargent III
John Sargent, co-founder of the health care consulting, implementation and program management company BroadReach Healthcare, loves to philosophize. In fact, that’s how the organization got started.
Sargent knew he wanted to work on global health issues, but not necessarily as a doctor. So he combined previous medical studies with a master’s degree in anthropology focused on refugees in the Middle East. While conducting fieldwork, he discovered that sharing deep thoughts with a new buddy, Ernest Darkoh, could do a world of good.
“We constantly discussed how we could make a difference in public health and constantly pushed each other forward,” he told Devex. “That friendship has carried on into the founding of BroadReach and our current careers.”
Sargent has helped to turn BroadReach into a successful team of medical professionals. It liaises with pharmaceutical companies to get essential medicines and vaccines into emerging markets. He also teamed up with all sorts of people to learn how to make these public-private partnerships grow.
“I believe people are the number one reason an organization succeeds or fails,” he said. “As such, I spend a lot of time on recruitment, getting the right types of people into the company and working on training initiatives.”
That currently takes place through BroadReach’s Executive Coaching Program. Through this initiative, 15 international leaders prepare to train their staff by consulting with some of the best corporate coaches in the United States. Now, they are using that knowledge to develop BroadReach University, an internal staff development program that uses didactic courses and e-based learning.
“I think some of the largest challenges we have had as an organization has been dealing with staff that may not act or live according to the values and conduct that we expect of BroadReach employees,” he said.
The programs Sargent helped create make it easier for BroadReach to identify those with the right technical capabilities and moral foundation and to instill in them a desire to be consistent in their mission.
“Passion will give you the energy to sustain difficult and enduring times as well as give you the inspiration to do things you never thought were possible,” he argued.
In fact, Sargent’s own passion for global health helped him to get funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development for private doctors working with public health patients on long waiting lists in South Africa. Entities such as Harvard Medical School and the University of Cape Town have profiled the five-year-old program as a “best class model.”
Sargent has learned to take a philosophical approach to the corporate world. Coca-Cola, cell phones and other consumer goods can teach the health care industry a lot about sustainability, he noted.
“In the next 10 years, we need to be more open-minded and learn from other sectors and disciplines and combine that with the things we do really well in global health to truly make a sustainable change,” Sargent said.
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