Media Coverage

May 20, 2019

2019 Women in Business profile: Eileen Cianciolo, NovuHealth

By Carrigan Miller – Staff writer, Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Eileen Cianciolo has had a long, varied career that’s seen her work for health companies across the United States, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. However, until she moved to the Twin Cities last year, she’d never actually relocated for a role.

“I’ve worked really remotely for most of my career,” she said. She preferred an independent life with her family in rural Michigan and Wyoming, and ran her own consulting firm for a time. But Cianciolo craved a collaborative environment.

In her role as chief product officer at NovuHealth, a company that creates health care loyalty programs, Ciancolo describes herself as something of a GPS for the firm: She’s creating a roadmap for the company and making sure employees are along for the ride.

“I love getting people excited about where we’re going,” she said.

She does that in traditional ways, like providing mentorship and guidance, but also in more innovative ways, like in emphasizing mindfulness and guiding colleagues through meditation.

Mindfulness is nothing new to Cianciolo. Years ago, she and her daughter wrote a children’s book called “I Am,” geared toward helping people realize the power they have within. She donates the book to organizations across the country that help at-risk youth and brings it to work to help women feel empowered.

More from Cianciolo…

What was your first management position, and what surprised you about that leadership role?
My first management position was at a company called Franklin Health as senior director of operations. I had been an individual contributor until that point in my career, and success in those roles depended upon my ability to collaborate across the organization. As a direct manager, I realized the skills of collaboration extended just as importantly within a team. That trust, collaboration, being yourself and giving others permission to be themselves as well is critical whether you are a leader or an individual contributor.

What are you working on that you are most excited about?
As chief product officer of NovuHealth I am really excited about expanding the impact that we have on helping engage individuals in their health in a personalized, prioritized and clear way. Health care can be very confusing. We are helping individuals navigate through their specific health care journey by focusing and providing clarity on what is the most important next step for them on the journey, whether that is an annual checkup, managing a new diagnosis, determining the best place to get an MRI done, and understanding the importance and best cost options for your medications.

What’s the most common mistake you see young, ambitious professionals make?
Always wanting it to be tomorrow instead of enjoying and being 100 percent present today! It is important to plan and take steps toward tomorrow, but everything is created, invented and accomplished in the present. Don’t take things too seriously or personally. Also, don’t limit yourself. Anything is possible.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
You are amazing just the way you are! Don’t compare yourself to others or spend so much time worrying about what others think of you. Take time to be mindful. Don’t get so caught up in your thoughts. Spend more time in nature and with the ones you love. No one knows everything, and everyone has something to add. Collectively, we make so much more of a difference than any one individual can. Your actions speak way louder than words. Also, really connect with others, take an interest in those around you, and listen way more than you speak. Don’t worry — most of the time you spend worrying is wasting the only time you have! Everything really does work out one way or another. Take a deep breath and count to 10 before reacting. Laugh more and love deeply!

Where would you like to see the conversation around gender equity go in the next five years?
I would like to see the conversation be put to bed once and for all and not need to talk about it anymore. Isn’t it time that it ends, and women and all individuals are treated and valued the same? Seriously, anything else is intolerable at this point in our evolution.

Where can people find you on the weekends?
With my family and dogs, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking — really anything enjoying the miracles of nature with the ones I love!

Read the article on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s website.