Jennifer Schneider, M.D., president of Livongo Health
Education: Jennifer Schneider holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross, a doctor of medicine from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a master’s degree in health services research from Stanford University.
About her: As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated, the country quickly realized the importance of keeping people healthy at home — particularly as it became evident that people with chronic conditions are more likely to experience complications and poor outcomes from the novel coronavirus. And Livongo, as digital chronic care management company, was in a unique position to respond.
With leadership by Schneider, who oversees Livongo’s product, data science, engineering, marketing, and clinical operations teams, the company outlined a strategy to expand on its ability to address multiple conditions through its core diabetes solution. They combined their diabetes prevention offerings with tools to help patients with hypertension and weight management on an integrated Applied Health Signals platform. In March, Livongo rapidly launched COVID-19-specific behavioral health modules to help patients manage their heightened stress levels.
For Schneider, who has Type 1 diabetes, the mission of the company to empower patients with the tools and insights they need to manage their conditions on their own terms is central to its success.
The market responded. Livongo's platform experienced an average 10% increase in utilization and accelerated demand from employers and health plans. In Q2 Livongo signed contracts with four companies in the Fortune 100 for new or expanded programs. The Livongo stock price rose more than 450% to a high of nearly $150.
In August, this massive growth resulted in an $18.5 billion merger with Teladoc Health, the largest initial public offering for a digital health company in history, as well as a secondary offering, a convertible debt offering that raised over $550 million.
First job: “My first job was at Lakeview Drive Inn, a drive-in root beer stand down the street from my house in Winona, Minnesota. The restaurant was owned by our neighbors and I started working there when I was 14 years old. Thankfully, as a car hop, we did not have to wear roller skates. It was a fun first job that taught me the value of service and community.”
Proudest accomplishment: “I am extremely proud of two women in leadership initiatives at Livongo. As we know, in the healthcare industry, women make up 80% of the workforce but only 28% of board seats and 35% of C-suite positions. Coupling that with the fact that women make a large majority of healthcare decisions within their households shows how there is a clear disconnect. As part of this thinking, Livongo launched the She Powers Health awards in 2019 and we are hosting the second annual awards ceremony in 2020. We also launched an internal initiative where we recognize our strong group of women at Livongo and provide tools and resources for them to continue growing as leaders and mentors to others. As part of the initiative, we regularly bring this group together to advance the positive dialogue and promote actions that encourage equality within our company and our communities.”
Problem she’s most passionate about trying to solve: “I am most passionate about using technology in a way that creates a better experience for health consumers by making it easier for them to stay healthy. We have effectively done that at Livongo, and I look forward to the progress ahead.”
Book she recommends to other healthcare leaders: “I regularly recommend the book Rules of the Red Rubber Ball: Find and Sustain Your Life's Work. I love the idea of emphasizing passion and creativity to achieve your goals. In the book, the author outlines seven rules for successful leaders. It is a great book for business leaders, and something that I have used to bring productivity and joy into my professional and personal life.”
Advice she would give to her younger self: “Don’t take no for an answer. In fact, I apply this notion every day as a parent. From the beginning, I have never told my children that they couldn’t do something (not to be confused with not being allowed to do something). Instead of limiting their imagination, or possibilities, we actively find ways to achieve their dreams. Of course, there are moments when I steer them away from poor decisions, but instead of just saying ‘no,’ we discuss alternatives. This is an approach I have used throughout my life and a mentality that has served me well.”
What she’d do with her career if it wasn’t this: “I would be a teacher (and that was my first job out of college). Education is something I have always been passionate about and beyond that, I love to support others in their growth and learning. Also, I was a college track and field athlete and remain a runner to this day. I would love the opportunity to coach and instill the same passion in others.”
Advice she would offer to healthcare leaders seeking to make a real impact on systemic problems caused by racism: “The recent tragedies, coupled with the fact that racial and ethnic minority groups have disproportionately been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, have opened our eyes to systemic changes we still need to make as a country. At Livongo, our whole person approach goes deeper than simply combining advanced technology, data science, and coaching to offer personalized experiences for people with chronic and behavioral health conditions. While we use this approach in the context of health and care, when thought of in the context of humanity, I believe this approach can lead us toward justice and equality for all.
“As we move forward together, it’s imperative that leaders demonstrate personal accountability to be informed, listen and engage in difficult conversations, and commit to actions, not just words that prioritize equality, inclusion, diversity and openness. We must work to make sure all people have equal access to the resources and information they need to maintain and manage their physical and mental health, now and beyond 2020. All of us, together, united under humanity, need to make a pledge that we will not remain silent on these issues and stay consistent in our actions to fight for systemic change. We must ensure everyone feels safe to voice their opinions and perspectives, and show genuine respect for all backgrounds, faiths, heritage, and orientation.”