Our bi-weekly employee spotlights have quickly become an audience favorite on our blog, giving you a way to “get to know” some of our all-star colleagues better. While we typically spotlight outstanding individual contributors below the VP level, we’ve also heard your interest in learning more about members of our leadership team. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding these features to profile a different senior executive each quarter. We’re excited that our inaugural Executive Spotlight features Colin Daniel, Sharecare’s chief administrative officer, who has been with our company since day one.
Based out of Sharecare’s headquarters in Atlanta, Colin is the proud father of three children and an alumnus of the University of Georgia (UGA), where he met his wife of 26 years while attending college to study public accounting. A fun fact about Colin: for nearly 25 years, he’s worked alongside some of Sharecare’s other chief executives, including Jeff Arnold, our founder, chairman, and chief executive officer; Dawn Whaley, president and chief marketing officer; and Justin Ferrero, president and chief financial officer – ever since the group banded together at HowStuffWorks, which was sold to Discovery communications in 2007.
In addition to recounting a little bit of company history from his unique perspective as one of Sharecare’s first employees and executive leaders, Colin also shared insight into how we’re creating a culture of care – not only for our own employees, but also for the employers, payors, health systems, and government organizations who use our flagship comprehensive care platform to empower their members in their personal health journeys. He explains that, by piloting new digital health and well-being solutions across our own workforce, we’re able to innovate rapidly and, in many ways, transform benefits design, advancing our mission to help people everywhere live their happiest, healthiest, lives.
* * *
Can you tell us a little about your role and the work you do, Colin?
I’m the chief administrative officer, which can mean a lot of different things depending on the company where you work. At Sharecare, both the accounting and HR teams report directly to me, and I oversee other areas like facilities, benefits, and insurance. Given that my role is operational and falls more broadly under accounting and human resources, I also weigh in on how we‘re delivering our well-being solutions to our own employees and how it could benefit leaders outside of our organization. Since a core focus for Sharecare is helping our customers manage their employees’ health and well-being, we often innovate with HR leaders and teams in mind when augmenting and updating the resources, content, and capabilities of our platform.
When it comes to Sharecare’s comprehensive care solutions and platform-driven ecosystem, our workforce often serves as the testing ground before we introduce new products to our enterprise customers, which gives us a unique early perspective on how a product will perform, best practices for rollout, and many other learnings that can help improve our customers’ experiences. After a successful internal pilot, our teams work together to refine our programs and capabilities into an offering that can be tailored to meet the needs of our existing or prospective enterprise clients to help people live their happiest, healthiest, lives.
Can you share a little about the culture at Sharecare?
We’ve worked to foster a team environment, where people want to come work. I don’t know if you want to quote me on this, but the reality is we’ve always had a strict “no a**holes” rule. In the early days, there were only a handful of us working at Sharecare, which meant we all spent a ton of time together. Often, we spend more time with our colleagues at work than we do with our family at home – so you want to be side by side with people you know that you enjoy working with, who are nice, good people.
You’ve been here since day one. What has Sharecare’s transformation been like?
When Sharecare was founded 13 years ago, the company existed as a PowerPoint deck with only five, maybe six people. To witness the company grow from an idea on a piece of paper, to where we are today has been a really rewarding process. As Sharecare continued to expand over the years, we always knew that we were ultimately building something bigger. Probably circa 2018-19, we started to consider how to strategically build ourselves to be ready and capable to go public if that’s a path that we were to choose. Once we knew it was a possibility, we had to hire the right people to prepare ourselves with the right support from employees who could help us transition into a public company. Things continue to evolve as we grow – after going public in 2021, we gained new reporting and regulatory requirements that impact both our finance and human resources processes and operations.
Can you tell us about your journey to Sharecare?
Well, the punchline is probably that Jeff Arnold, Dawn Whaley, Justin Ferrero, and I have all been working together for a quarter of a century. We all go way back – previous to Sharecare, we were leading another company called HowStuffWorks, which was sold to Discovery Communications.
I met Justin in the 9th grade through his older sister, so I’ve known him the longest. I met Jeff shortly before college, and he and I were fraternity brothers at UGA, where I studied public accounting. Dawn also went to UGA, but I didn’t know her until we all started working together.
Do you have a favorite highlight during your time at Sharecare?
There are two moments that stand out. The first was acquiring Healthways in 2016, which was a pivotal milestone. A lot of work and preparation was necessary to place us in a position to complete the Healthways acquisition, which brought us into the enterprise space and accelerated our push into the well-being space. Going public was also an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience.
Beyond those moments, there are always highlights in our day-to-day work that I feel privileged to experience because of the visibility my position offers me. I was recently on a call with the team that oversees clinical strategy for our advocacy offering to talk through some ideas and challenges. Observing our employee population engage with advocacy and benefits navigation features that haven’t yet been rolled out externally, we were able to identify additional opportunities that would not only improve our processes and operational efficiency but also, truly, save lives. Our discussion impressed upon me how our work can truly move the needle for the digital health industry and have a lasting impact on people’s lives as well. It was one of those “a-ha” epiphany moments.
Can you expand a little about Sharecare’s advocacy offering?
I believe it’s one of the most impactful things that we’ve created, and it highlights where we’re headed with the evolution of our platform and its functionality. I was having some problems with my back, and I reached out to Jasmine, my dedicated advocate through the Sharecare app. I just remember communicating with her, asking her questions, and thinking, “Wow, this is the coolest resource to have right at my fingertips.” I could ask her for help, resources, or answers; anything from where I should go for an MRI – to more specific questions like where I currently sit with my deductible.
It’s amazing to me that after the Herculean effort we invested in building our capabilities, one day, our product team was able to just flip a switch and suddenly, the little blue button appeared for us to reach our advocates, placing concierge care right in the palm of your hand.
Can you share a little bit about your life outside of work?
I grew up in Atlanta and have been here my whole life. I met my wife at the University of Georgia, we’ve been married 26 years and we have three children together: one out of college, one in college, and one in high school.
I’m a big UGA football fan, and I enjoy golf – although I’m not that good. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family, and since I’m fortunate enough to have local family nearby, we spend a lot of time together.
Is there anything you do to decompress?
Probably 4 nights a week or so, I listen to the relaxing sleep audio recordings that can be found under the “Inspirations” subpage of the Sharecare app. I specifically listen to “8 Hours of Soothing Surf at Carmel Beach for Sleep,” and the other recordings of Del Norte, Coronado Beach, and the Pacific Ocean Waves. It’s a great resource and I’m not sure if everybody knows where to navigate to find it in the app, but you’ll go to Discover ––> Inspirations ––> Sleep. There’s many different options to listen to on the page.
My secret? I always fast forward to the last hour of the audio to save my phone battery, since I usually fall asleep quickly.