Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
(All rights Reserved)
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10% of the proceeds from the sale of this work benefits Conscious Capitalism
I first meet Heidi Jannenga last summer my first thought was that this woman knows what her purpose is and she has a laser focus to that end. I am always relieved when I meet women like Heidi because they make me hopeful that all women are headed in the right direction.
When we met again for this project on Heidi’s home turf at WebPT, I once again thought – yup, this woman is truly a leader. It is evident within moments of speaking to Heidi that she is intuitively conscious. By that I mean, she is mindful of how she and her business affects the greater whole and she feels exceedingly responsible for this awareness. Heidi is a zealous innovator who has a sense of pride about disrupting her industry for the better. It is evident through her sense of humor and sincere, direct eye contact that she is very cognizant of her own humanness and the humanity in others. As I walked the halls of WebPT toward the main office; I recognized a familiar drive illustrated in the message of the first poster hanging along the stairs. It unapologetically reads, “Fuck Mediocrity.” I laughed out load when I saw it, as I am sure many people do who are amused by vulgarity when used to illustrate fierce determination.
As I sat down with the focus team that Heidi put together for our first conversation about this project, I was struck by the camaraderie amongst these souls coupled with their mutual benevolence. I feel blessed to get the opportunity to work on this project with the WebPT family and I believe there is much that I will learn from them.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HEIDI ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?
1. Be Disruptive
I first heard the word “Disruptor” as at it relates to entrepreneurship when researching Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Companies for another project. Virgin Disruptors highlights and encourages radical innovation and fosters bold entrepreneurism. We are taught as children not to be disruptive. Yet disruption is exactly what is needed for society to progress. This is the paradox of progress. If we all just stand in line calmly and maintain the status quo, nothing changes. Change really is the only thing we can count on; it can either happen to you or you can be a catalyst for the change. Most people run from disorder and turmoil, instead preferring the status quo over breaking something apart to radically transform it for the better. However, Heidi realized that there was a need for something new in her industry that would solve the problems that she faced every day on the physical therapy front line. She knew there was no alternative but to find a solution and, in turn, she created a new market to serve an industry that was grossly under served. Heidi respectfully acknowledges that not many of us actually get to positively disrupt our chosen industry.
2. Profits for Good
I have been listening to Conscious Capitalism, by Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey and Raj Sisodia, while I paint. The idea that companies can use profit for good has always been compelling to me and something that I have built into all my business plans from the very start even before I was able to make a profit. The first chapter in the book describes a phenomenon that John Mackey, Heidi and I experienced when learning what a conscious capitalist actually is. We all realized that we are intuitively conscious. We did not choose this consciousness; it is just naturally how we approach life and business. We, like so many others, cannot help but respond to this reality. The Art of Fearlessly Giving Back is essentially an example of a fully conscious capitalist endeavor.
Zig Ziglar said that, “Money is not the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.” The charitable organizations that WebPT supports not only need funds but also energy and exposure about their burning desires, which is very important. All of them have a laudable mission and keeping that mission alive and successful requires hands-on support through volunteerism and mentorship as well as funding. Funds come directly and indirectly from the meaningful labor of successful companies. We cannot advance the world on good intentions alone.
3. Fail F-ing Fast
There is no way to change the world without making mistakes; failing and screwing up is inevitable. It goes back to the idea of status quo. We can choose to stand in line doing all the right things and never fail, which is definitely easier and less emotionally taxing. However, if we are built to be disruptors then we have to be willing to fall on our faces and learn from those tumbles. Learning to walk is a messy business. Heidi encourages failure and accountability as part of the WebPT culture. There is no hiding under a rock at WebPT! Everyone is empowered to grow through taking responsibility for their own actions knowing that they will be awarded for their bravery instead of being shamed or punished. This kind of transparency fosters a productive culture that is based upon passion, honesty, and integrity.
4. Embrace We Not Me
One of the four pillars of Conscious Capitalism is stakeholder integration. Heidi also encourages her employees to see that they are part of the entire rehab therapy community, an integral member of the startup community, as well as the community at large. WebPT grew from two individuals to three hundred employees and ten thousand customers quickly. As they continue to grow, that sense of family and team has remained refreshingly intact.
5. Actually Stand for Something
Heidi is certain that WebPT is more than just an Electronic Record Management (EMR) system or a cold software startup company. WebPT is part of something much larger because they recognize that what they do and don’t do affects others on an authentic and meaningful level. Think about what WebPT’s function really is. The ultimate recipient of the WebPT experience is someone who is physically hurt and in need of relief, defining WebPT’s ultimate purpose to be about patient care, which culminates with the love of humankind. The reality is, if rehab therapists are not able to record care to the insurance companies in the most productive way possible, they cannot get paid for the essential work they do to elevate the pain and suffering of their patients. If they do not get paid, they cannot keep their doors open. It is as simple and as complicated as that. WebPT is very wise to keep their employees aware of their place in this chain of care by keeping them in contact with organizations like Conscious Capitalism; a relationship that exemplifies how we all are part of a larger and very relevant global community.
6. Blend In
Heidi has transformed her role when necessary to best leverage her skill set and the needs of the company that she co-founded. A true leader knows when it is time to replace themselves as the master of the universe with new leaders that can help bring a company to the next level for the good of all parties. Evolution is required. I love that Heidi knows what her sprit animal is: a chameleon changes with its environment.
Thank you so much Heidi for being the woman that you are and for creating a company that truly practices what it preaches!
VALUE 1: Accountability: F Up; Own Up
Give your Mistakes Wings then Make them Fly in Formation
VALUE 2: Community Outreach: Giving Back
When the Tide Rises – All Boats Rise >> Click Here to see Image on Part II of this Story
Heidi told me that she believes in the “rising tide effect” of using profits for good. This saying intrigued me so I researched it.
This phrase is widely attributed to JFK after he used it in a speech while campaigning in Canton, Ohio in 1960. JFK mentioned that McDowell County in West Virginia was the highest producer of coal due to automation. As a result, there were more people getting surplus food packages in McDowell County than any other county in the United States. He boldly stated, “The problem of automation is to make sure that machines make our lives easier, not harder, for those who are thrown out of work.” He then drew attention to the importance of developing our natural resources by mentioning the impact the St. Lawrence Seaway had on Ohio’s economy. The future President then said, “I was proud, though I came from Massachusetts, to vote for it, because it is a national asset and a rising tide lifts all boats. If Ohio moves ahead, so will Massachusetts.“
(Read the entire speech at the American Presidency Project website.)
The irony here is that Heidi has actually created 300 WebPT jobs and 10,000 WebPT members who have in turn created jobs by automating the business functions of rehabilitation therapists.
I am ashamed to admit that I did not know a lot about the St. Lawrence Gateway, which inspired me to research further.
The St. Lawrence Seaway opened to navigation in 1959. Construction of the 189-mile (306-kilometer) stretch of the seaway between Montreal and Lake Ontario is recognized as one of the most challenging engineering feats in history. Seven locks were built in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the seaway, five Canadian and two U.S., in order to lift vessels to 246 feet (75 meters) above sea level.
(Learn more at: The Great Lakes St Lawrence Sea System Website)
What a HUGE undertaking that is an exemplary example of how great people and countries can work together for the good of all.
Based on this information, I knew that this image would have something to do with how locks operated. As I dug deeper to understand how locks functioned, I learned that the miter lock was invented by none other than the great artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. This made me laugh.
The Duke of Milan, invited Leonardo da Vinci to be the State’s war, arms, and engineering consultant from 1479 to 1508. Milan’s economy, very much like Ohio’s economy, depended upon a complex canal system. Da Vinci improved the locks of the time and his improvements are what are used in modern locks to this day.
Study the Art of Science, study the Science of Art. Develop your senses, especially learn how to see,
realize that everything connects to everything else.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci
The miter lock is another great example of how art (and science) is business and business is art (and science). An artist and inventor created something that directly relates to big business and the in turn the success of the community as a whole.
The irony is not lost on me that what Da Vinci so wisely describes is exactly how I work. I look for synergy in everything and connect the dots.
All of this solidified how I would present this next image, which would have to include a Da Vinci symbol. One of the most recognizable Da Vinci works is his The Vitruvian Man. I am sure most people do not know the name of or the story behind this widely recognized piece. Da Vinci believed as Vitruvius did, that architecture and the human form were directly related to the universe.
“The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the classical orders of architecture. Vitruvius determined that the ideal body should be eight heads high. Leonardo’s drawing is traditionally named in honor of the architect.”
I have seen the drawing many times during my time on this planet and did not know the words were basically the same words my instructors taught me during my life drawing classes in art school.
So these words that Heidi used to describe how she feels about giving back are deeply rooted in the art of leadership, science, business and humanity.
This painting is a study of the miter lock and a “Vitruvian Woman” drawing attention to Heidi’s commitment to lifting her fellow women upward. I have been drawing and painting the female figure in this loosely stylized way since I was a young girl as some of you may know if you have been following me. The combination of these ideas and my own history as an artist celebrates the fact that water seeks its own level. When we create successful conscious businesses that use their profits for good, the tides rise and when they do, in turn we all rise
“Your Life is An Occasion. Rise to it!”
~ Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are Fearlessly Deliver’s muse and focus. As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The Fearless Art Projects are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.
The ART OF FEARLESSLY GIVING BACK (AoFGB) is a community awareness series that focuses on the mission of select charitable organizations and the social responsible companies and philanthropic individuals that support them.