Sg20 Then and Now: How Our Experts Came to Sg2
Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for clarity.
Sg2 was formed in 2001, and, today, our cutting-edge expertise, analytics and tailored consulting offerings help health industry leaders anticipate health care trends and provide them with unparalleled insight into local market dynamics. We are just one of the companies that founder Michael Sachs started—and grew—with his vision, passion and leadership. Michael passed in 2019, and we are committed to honoring his legacy by doing what we were trained and inspired by him to do best—make bold predictions, create industry-leading tools and challenge the status quo in our quest to transform health care.
In honor of Sg2’s 20-year anniversary, we reached out to our experts to learn more about our projections over the years, stemming from a 2008 presentation called Health Care 2020: Tomorrow’s Clinical Enterprise. During those interviews, some of our thought leaders also shared how they found their way to Sg2. Read on below to learn more!
Steve Jenkins, Senior Advisor
I was employee number nine, I think, really early. It was a total crazy start-up, jammed into three little rooms in a building in Evanston, IL. I didn’t have a job title when I came because we all did everything. But I was inspired by the mission of the company; I was completely inspired by Michael Sachs. When I went up to meet with him the first time, I was doing freelance consulting, making a living, not working that hard, and I had no intention of taking a new job at the time—I spent an hour with Michael and was dazzled. And then he said, “Well meet a few of the people around here,” and I met a few of the people, including a couple that are still with us, like Lisa Simovic and Meg Robb, and I was dazzled by them. And I said, okay, I want to join this crazy start-up company and see where it goes.
Jeff Moser, Principal
I started in January of 2006 right after Joan [Moss] started, and Joan was meant to build an operational focus and operational product—it was called innovations and operations, a stand-alone membership, and I managed that for her. Then in 2008, during the economic downturn, Michael Sachs [had] me write three blogs a week [for] clients [on] how to survive it. That activity got me more engaged in strategy and pulled me out of operations and into strategy; then we slowly backed away from the innovations and operations membership program. So then Joan did the same thing, and Mark Larson did the same thing—the three of us were in that same kind of boat. We’ve all had lots of different hats.
Joan Moss, RN, MSN, Managing Principal and CNO
I came in about two-and-a-half, maybe three years after the company had been up and running. As I remember there were 38 people who were in the company at the time. I had known Michael [Sachs] through working at the American Hospital Association (AHA). And then when I left AHA and went to Cardinal Health and ran the consulting practice at Cardinal Health, our paths crossed again because we did operations and quality consulting at Cardinal Health and some supply chain consulting. [Sg2] didn’t do any operations consulting, up to that point it was exclusively strategy, and so he and I spoke initially about maybe cross referrals on potential consulting leads.
Michael and I reconnected [later] and he was interested in getting more people with operations and quality background into Sg2. I came over with Mark Larson and Jeff Moser—they were with me at Cardinal, and 6 of us came over initially into Sg2, and we added to our bench strength there. We had a couple year period where we did focus pretty heavily on ops and quality, but I think a time came when Michael was trying to balance the business, and we kind of dialed back on the ops and quality side.
Bill Woodson, Senior Principal
I worked at Michael’s [Sachs] first company, and I couldn’t afford to join him [at Sg2] because he couldn’t afford to pay me to start with for the first few years. Then as the company gained critical mass, I was always in touch, and then I ran into Alice, Michael’s wife, in the grocery store, and she’s like, are you ready? And I was like, okay, I think I’m ready. I just came in and talked with Michael and Mike Burke and they’re like, okay, see you in January. It was sort of inevitable; it was just a matter of timing.
Like most of us back then, we all did lots of different jobs on any given day—a combination of what [Sg2] call[s] Intelligence today. But, also, if we sold consulting work, you get on a consulting project. If we were working on some aspect of our conferences with analytics, we would do that. So it was a little bit of everything. Michael early on had the idea of hiring people with specialized knowledge in clinical areas, so I was sort of a generalist in a sea of those people. Eric Louie and I started the same day, and it was the most intimidating experience. He is this rock star cardiologist and had been the White House physician for Ronald Reagan—just a superstar. It really was an incredibly strong group early on that Michael, and especially Alice, helped recruit. So that’s what made it really, really fun and really energizing.
Other than our clinician friends, for a lot of us, health care just kind of found us. I mean, it wasn’t a really deliberate choice, but it keeps us busy. And I always said, I don’t know, I’ll do this Sg2 thing for a few years, and then I’ll figure out what I wanna do when I grow up. But I’m still here.
Jayme Zage, PhD, Principal
Nearly 20 years ago, Michael Sachs welcomed me to Sg2. I remember the early days at Sg2 with eight of us crammed into little cubicles, working side-by-side to develop the next “briefing.” From that little office in Evanston, we moved to a bigger floor where we had a chance to grow. And we did. So many amazing people coming together in those early years set the stage for our culture and our growth.
I remember when we reinvented the Impact of Change®—moving from a DRG-based, inpatient-only forecast to the System of CARE–based forecast we have today. I remember when Michael challenged us that inpatient use rates would drop by 8%. We did it, and we steered the direction of the health care forecasting industry in a new direction.
Over these years, I have had the opportunity to work with many more smart and talented people both within the company and among our clients. I have learned the business of health care from the many mentors I have had over the years, and I have been challenged to continue to move into new areas, expanding my knowledge as well as Sg2’s expertise. Notably, I remember sitting at dinner with a client at a conference and being asked why we hadn’t yet tackled behavioral health. This conversation, almost 17 years ago, began my journey building our behavioral health work. I am grateful for that nudge as I know we continue to make an impact through the work we do in this space, as we do in everything we build. Reflecting on the last nearly 20 years reminds me of the culture of learning, growth and always thinking forward that Michael fostered. It’s been and remains an amazing place to work.