Steering the Ship: Matt Pierce, CEO

Sep 3, 2018
Charis Anderson, RN

Matt Pierce, CEO of Trusted Health

Matt is also the dad to our favorite pup, Norman, and brings his creativity, devotion, and strong desire to influence positive change in the lives and careers of nurses to his role here at Trusted. His humility and passion make him a strong and fearless leader, and we’re sharing with you the deets on the how, why, where, and when.

And to answer your question right off the bat, nope, Matt isn’t a nurse, and you’ll find out why he couldn’t ever be!

matt pierce trusted health
Matt and Norman

How would you describe your role and day-to-day at Trusted?

Trusted Health is working to help people everywhere get the care that they deserve. I’m lucky to show up everyday with the Trusted Health fam and work on such an awesome mission.

Day-to-day, my role changes as the company goes through its different stages of growth. Some days I need to roll up my sleeves and get into the weeds, and sometimes unload the dishwasher. Others, I need to dress-to-impress the CNO at a hospital or a potential investor.

Lennie Sliwinski (Trusted Health co-founder) and I often prioritize, divide, and conquer based on who’s best for the job. We’re lucky to have complementary skillsets that allow us to work effectively as a team.

At the highest high level, my job is to help communicate the vision and strategy of Trusted Health to its stakeholders; drive toward cultivating, recruiting, and hiring the best team on the planet; and, make sure we’ve got enough money in the bank to continue making it all happen, and ultimately do whatever is needed to keep providing support for nurses.

matt pierce trusted health

What’s it like being a CEO of a startup?

I feel extremely lucky that this is my “job.” The title of CEO is not what excites me, and if it did, I don’t think I’d be right for the job.  

The title of CEO is not what excites me, and if it did, I don’t think I’d be right for the job.  

Since the beginning, we’ve been really excited to have the opportunity to tackle a meaningful and interesting problem everyday, unencumbered. From day one, Lennie has been the engine behind Trusted Health, and I think one of my critical roles as CEO is to keep him freed up to operate and keep his foot on the gas.

Rule number one: surround yourself with people who are better than you…. and Lennie is one of a kind.

Since I met Lennie, I think we’ve connected on the basis that we want to have a vehicle to think freely, make decisions, move fast, and control our own destiny. Trusted Health is that vehicle. One of my favorite quotes is, “The only thing standing between you and your goal, is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

“The only thing standing between you and your goal, is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” – Jordan Belfort

When you’re a co-founder of a company, that becomes more true than ever. There are no internal processes, bureaucracy, or blockers (“excuses”), unless you’ve created them yourself. When push comes to shove, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and either get stuff done or not.  

What are your favorite parts of your job?

The team. It’s so, so awesome to get to work with the team everyday. We’ve got the best in the business at every position; it blows my mind how lucky I am to work with them. We’re all putting everything we have into this thing. It often comes with sacrifices, but none of us are working on this because we thought it was going to be easy.

We’re doing it because we know it’ll be worth it.  

The problem. We’re at the intersection of healthcare and the future of work. I wake up giddy every morning to chip away at the crazy challenges in these two categories.  

trusted health team

What about the hardest parts?

Sometimes my job requires me to work on an island…. not an actual island (I wish) but, rather, in isolation. I’m not at my best when working as such. I find myself losing some excitement, starting to question if I could be doing things better, and if I’m carrying my weight for the company and the team. This is one of the things I didn’t realize about the job that has been unexpectedly tough for me.

Fundraising is one example of this. As mentioned above, one of my jobs is making sure we have enough money in the bank, and it’s also the #1 reason why startups fail, so, it goes without saying that it’s important. But it is best for the company if it is done in a fairly isolated fashion because it doesn’t push the day to day business forward.  

In every field, there are advancements and changes in research and technology that keep us on our toes. What do you do to grow and develop your skills?

  1. Surround myself with amazing people who are way smarter than me, have expertise in areas that I don’t, and challenge me in the areas that I consider myself strong.
  2. Ask questions, challenge assumptions, and try to listen more than I talk….none of which are easy or come natural for me.
  3. Always be learning!
  4. Books: I’m generally a slow reader, so I tend to listen to them at 1.5x speed. I just finished up The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle and am moving on to re-reading Bold by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kolter (one of my favorites).  
  5. Podcasts: Masters Of Scale by Reid Hoffman, Digital Health Today, This Week in Startups, and several others that strike me as both applicable and interesting.

What experiences or people have influenced you along your journey?

Wow, this is an impossible question. I feel like I could write a novel about the countless amazing people who’ve influenced my journey and made me who I am today.

Family: Growing up, I was blessed with incredible parents, siblings, friends and family that have appreciated, loved, and supported me regardless of what’s going on in life. I was also very lucky to be in a socioeconomic environment that gave me the resources I needed but at the same time made me appreciate things, understand the value of a dollar, and earn what I got with hard work.

My dad is former military and a business owner (National Tree Care). He instilled grit, discipline, and a risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit. My mom had me when she was 20 and is simply the best person on the planet. She taught me empathy, integrity, diligence, and selflessness. And my two older brothers who made me tough, resilient, and observant. My little sister has had such a big impact on my life. I was 16 when she was born.

I was always the little brother, but her birth created an unexpected burning drive to become a role model for her. No one in my family had graduated from college, and I wanted to show her what an education could do for her, and how she could create her own path to accomplish whatever she wants if she puts her mind to it. She’s a freshman in high school now and is such an amazing person (and is officially not allowed to talk to boys).

Sports: I grew up playing everything. Sports have been incredible for the important life lessons of leadership, teamwork, competitiveness, and communication.

Work: I’ve worked non-stop since high school, whether it was waiting tables, the UPS hot belt, or a minor league baseball mascot. I also sold cars, sold real-estate, started and failed businesses, etc. All of this was during the 9 years it took me to get through both high school and college.

Since then I have been lucky to have incredible bosses, mentors, employees, and advisors who have dramatically impacted every step of my professional journey. One person in particular that will always stick out to me is Matt Hulsebus. Matt was my boss at my first job after college, and he oozes authenticity, high character, and strong work ethic.

Major themes and lessons learned?

  • Work hard.
  • Treat people right.
  • Take risks... understand the upside and the downside. If you can live with the downside, then do it.

You’ve got an extensive background in staffing. Can you tell us a little more about it? What are common misconceptions about the industry?

Staffing is the ultimate people business (which is my calling). It’s exciting to be in the midst of a major digital transformation for the entire industry, and I’m excited about Trusted Health’s role in this transformation from the old offline world to the future of work.

One of the common misconceptions is that staffing agencies make a ton of money off of their placed workers.

The thinking is understandable on the surface – subtract what the staffing agency charges the client from what they pay the worker, right? Wrong. The expenses incurred to employ that worker are often not taken into consideration: insurance, medicare, social security, state/federal employment taxes, benefits, etc. And that’s just the first layer.

If you look a bit further down the balance sheet, you’ll see the inefficiency of the old school ‘offline’ (or brick-and-mortar) staffing business rear its head. Traditionally, a great deal of both people and real estate have been requirements for a successful staffing agency. Feet on the street, local sales teams, recruiters, admins, brick and mortar office locations, etc. – it all costs a lot of money.

This is one of the reasons that Trusted has such a huge opportunity. By leveraging our technology we are creating a much more efficient way to connect nurses with jobs. Because of that, we can pay our workers more, charge our clients less, and still create a really successful business. Win, win, win.

Did you ever think you’d be in the business of staffing? What do you enjoy about it?

No. I was going to be a professional athlete, duh…. but then I realized I was not only slow but also 5’11”…so…

I’d say most people would agree that your health and your career would be 2 of the 3 most important things to get right in life. We get to help with both.

norman trusted health

What was the extent of your experience with nurses before Trusted? Why nursing?

Friends and family that are nurses, being a patient taken care of by nurses, and witnessing friends and family as patients of nurses.

Our mission is to help everyone get the care that they deserve, which all starts with the nurse. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. After all, there are 5 million nurses in the U.S. and 20 million globally (but we need more)!

Do you have a different perspective of nurses/nursing since the conception of Trusted?

Yes, I’ve always known that they are great but now I’m in awe on a daily basis. Collectively, they are the most altruistic, hard-working, fun, and intelligent group of people I’ve ever worked with. Our Trusted team is so fortunate to get to work with them everyday!

trusted health dog
Wherever you are, Norm is close by. As nurses, we know about the benefits of animals and therapy dogs.

What differences does Norm make in your daily life?

No matter how stressful the day/time is... Norm is a big fluff ball full of love, excitement, and happiness. It’s awesome to have him in the mix, and he has an affinity for our Trusted Nurses.

What gives you energy and gets you out of bed in the morning?

Trusted Health. Family. Friends. Norm (literally).

Think you could be a nurse?

Not a chance. I don’t do poop. BUT, if I was a nurse, I’d be a school nurse.  

What are 5 words that describe the nurses that you know best?

Heroic. Empathetic. Strong. Driven. Level-headed.

matt pierce and norm trusted health

Lastly, a couple short questions for you:

  • My given name is: Matthew David Pierce
  • But I go by: Most people who know me well call me Pierce.
  • Hometown: Springfield, IL is where I became a real human, and I consider it my hometown. I was born in Orange County and lived there until I was 10.
  • Favorite Food: Mexican. Specifically my aunt’s carne asada tacos.
  • Favorite Destination: Gili Islands
  • Dream Destination: New Zealand
  • Secretly really good at: Guess Who
  • Prior to Trusted I was… Thinking about Trusted…
  • I couldn’t be a nurse because: I don’t do poop.
  • If I could be an animal I’d be: Norman.
  • Celeb crush: Rachel McAdams. or Will Ferrell.
  • Favorite condiment: Fancy sauce
  • 3 Fun Facts: (1) I’ve been peed on by a lion, (2) I’ve crashed a hot air balloon, and (3) I hate scary movies... they’re just bad movies.