Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

This Nurse Needed Work-Life Balance. Thanks to a New Career in Sales, She Found It.

Alycia Sepe, the VP of Business Development for Payer and State Government at Bamboo Health.
Alycia Sepe, the VP of Business Development for Payer and State Government at Bamboo Health.
| Courtesy of Alycia Sepe

Alycia Sepe knew her life’s calling was in healthcare, and she began her career as a nurse before becoming a case manager for heart and lung transplants. She never imagined she’d walk away from working with patients in a hospital, but life had other plans.

“I may still be there today if we hadn’t moved to Richmond, VA, for my husband’s career,” she says.

Determined not to leave healthcare behind completely, Sepe began exploring opportunities in other parts of the industry. She took a role as a clinical nurse consultant, which led her to discover the next phase of her career: working in business development.

“I was included in sales presentations as a subject-matter expert, and that’s when I developed a passion for getting products and solutions into the hands of many people instead of caring for one patient at a time,” she says.

Since then, Sepe has found a lot of success in her new field—most recently as the VP of Business Development for Payer and State Government at the healthtech company Bamboo Health.

Here, Sepe talks about how Bamboo Health’s CEO inspired her to join the company, the positive impact remote work has had on her life, and her advice to other healthcare professionals who are considering a career change.

What was it about Bamboo Health that made you want to work there, and how did you know the company would be a good fit?

Since working in business development, I have always sought roles that were in line with my passion for improving care for people, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations. This is what made Bamboo Health a very exciting move for me. The company is driving whole-person care coordination and integrating data and actions between health plans and providers. This has been a challenge in the healthcare industry for many years. I joined Bamboo Health to help bring our advanced solutions to the market. Our future is so exciting on a national scale.

Bamboo Health was a good fit for me because of their direction as a company and continued advancements in the market. But most of all, it was the many conversations I had with Rob Cohen, our CEO, before I joined. His passion for the company and commitment to our team and culture was a major factor in my decision to join Bamboo.

What are you responsible for as VP of Business Development, Payer and State Government?

I am responsible for selling our solutions to the national health plan market, which includes commercial and government lines of business. We have many health plan clients today and my role also includes growing our partnerships with those clients. This responsibility isn’t done in a silo. I have so many good team members I work with behind the scenes, from marketing and customer success to product, strategy, and legal. I rely on those internal relationships to be successful in my role and drive our health plan growth.

How has your clinical background helped you thrive in the corporate world?

There are three skills that are key when caring for patients—assessment, workflow, and solutioning—that I continue to apply to business development. I assess client’s business needs and use cases, and seek to understand how they are addressing it today, if at all. From there, I determine the best solution for them within their current workflow, or make recommendations to improve their workflow and get the best outcomes. Another important skill is listening. It is critical to listen to both patients and clients.

Over the last two years, medical professionals have experienced extreme burnout. What advice do you have for those in the field who are thinking about changing careers the way you did?

Just do it, and explore your options. There are so many avenues a clinician can take these days, which is the beauty of having a clinical license. I know that patient care is hard with long hours. On my last day of floor nursing, I left in tears. I had so many patients because we were short staffed that day, and I was unable to care for them the way I’m supposed to—with passion and commitment. Unfortunately, COVID only made it worse for bedside clinicians. So if you are ready for a change, there are many opportunities out there to still make a difference in people’s lives.

What’s one positive change you’ve made to your workday routine since COVID?

Before COVID, I was traveling at least three days a week or working 12-hour days and I let my health slip. Now that I’m working from home with a reasonable travel schedule and good work-life balance, I have been able to keep to my new workout routine. No one is responsible for my health except me. As a nurse, of course I know this, but knowing and doing are two very different things. Now, I actually look forward to my morning workouts or long afternoon walks. And the best part is I get to walk with my husband on a beautiful trail near our home.

How do you maintain work-life balance as a parent?

This one isn’t always an easy thing to do, and for me, it is also about caring for aging parents and grandparents. I take a deliberate approach to organizing my schedule and not over-committing my time. This was a hard lesson earlier in my career, when I was trying to do everything for everyone. As a nurse, you have a natural desire to care for people and occasionally that impacts the balance needed to keep yourself healthy physically and mentally. I am much better at it now. I have learned to say “no” when needed.

What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?

Our two youngest daughters attend SEC schools—Ole Miss and the University of South Carolina—so traveling hours to attend the college football games or watching them on television is an every weekend event. I just love it. When football season is over (sigh), I’ll go back to watching Netflix series like Call the Midwife and Marco Polo and reading Washington, The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner.

Updated 11/15/2022