Q&A with Natalie Schneider, MBA ’06 of Anthem, Inc.

Natalie Schneider HSM alum AnthemNatalie Schneider, MBA ‘06
HSM ‘15
Vice President Consumer Experience
Anthem, Inc.

Describe an experience from your time with Fuqua or HSM that stands out to you as unique or helpful.

On our very first day, the professor addressed the class with the statement “This will be a challenging journey and if you are still the same person 17 months from now, you have just wasted 17 months of your life.”

What advice would you give a young business person going into health care today?

If you are looking for a wicked problem, with purpose, you’ve found it in health care. Nothing is more personal or more meaningful, and it’s a target rich environment for improvement.

What is the biggest challenge in the health sector today, from your perspective?

This remains a third party-payment system which is fraught with issues related to “other people’s money” meaning that the impact of things like transparency tools and higher deductibles will always be muted.

Individuals are becoming more involved consumers of health and wellness. What opportunities do you see in response to the growing attention to consumerism in health care?

The industry is ripe for disruption, what we see now are a number of point solutions emerging — such as physician appointment scheduling and remote monitoring, innovations like Scanadu that are helping reimagine the future of health care. While many of these solutions are still kluge, they will converge into much more streamlined and affordable solutions that will be as pervasive as OpenTable and Uber are today.

What is the most exciting initiative at Anthem today, and why?

Anthem has pivoted and become much more consumer centric, directing a significant amount of investment and management attention towards consumer experience. Consequently, their Net Promoter Score (NPS) — which is a measure of how likely you are to recommend the company to your family and friends, has seen double digit improvements. Additionally, the company has established an innovation lab which is incubating several consumer innovations.

About Ms. Schneider:

Natalie Schneider is passionate about the power of empathy and design to connect with consumers authentically – which she attributes to her early years enrolled in an arts and design academy in South Africa. Her expertise is integrating creativity and business strategy to lead stakeholders through the design and delivery of distinctive consumer experiences whilst quietly influencing the culture towards one that is customer obsessed. She’s a nationally-recognized health care leader, consumer strategist and speaker. Her business sensibilities are based on over 20 years of experience working for companies like McKinsey and Company, Ford, Sallie Mae and GMAC.

Ms. Schneider is most proud of her role in driving Anthem’s consumer transformation, which resulted in a stunning double-digit increase in their NPS score over the past twelve months. She is Anthem’s Vice President of Consumer Experience and leads the company’s consumer strategy; design; innovation and culture efforts – directing consumer priorities across the organizational silos of the 50,000-person company. Her dream: “To revolutionize how people experience health insurance through elegant and simple design.”

She is a highly sought after and accomplished speaker, and her talks at high profile conferences and corporate events have been well received. She combines the art of story-telling, thought provoking insights and humor to engage and energize audiences. In the past five years she has spoken to crowds as large as 6,000 people and to small, private groups such as corporate boards. She has addressed audiences at Merck, Google/MedTech, Samsung, Duke, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and various other health plans, physician groups and government councils. She has also appeared in media outlets such as CSPAN and been quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal.

Ms. Schneider believes that focusing deeply on customer experience is our greatest economic multiplier: “There’s nothing as motivating as thinking bigger and pushing limits on the customer experience, coupled with people who have the courage and talent to design it into reality.” She is skilled in consumer experience strategy; design; culture; research; ROI and innovation. She also passionately advocates for the practical application of behavioral economics in these areas.

Ms. Schneider earned her MBA and certificate in Health Sector Management from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and furthered her design and innovation education through the Disney Institute, Darden Graduate School of Business, and IDEO. She also completed a master’s degree in Information Systems and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Rhodes University (South Africa). Ms. Schneider has also enjoyed serving on the Forrester Leadership Council and on the Board of both the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the American Lung Association.