2017 SEP Competition Profile - Second Place
Alex Coren grew up spending a significant amount time in hospitals due to her parent’s chronic illness. When she was 21-years-old, she became the Director of Patient Experience in an in-patient setting, where she started to notice the large disconnect between patients and providers.
"When I was working there, I realized that the patients and families felt like they lacked a voice in their care,” says Coren, a senior studying psychology and healthcare management at the University of Miami. “The second facet was that the providers were feeling unrecognized and unappreciated in their work, which was leading to a high turnover and ultimately a huge cost to the organization.”
Coren started looking for a solution to bridge the divide between patient and provider. When she couldn’t find a system suitable for the healthcare industry, she created Wambi.
“At Wambi, our mission is to bring compassion to the forefront of healthcare,” says Coren. “We’ve developed a care provider recognition system that’s entirely driven by real time patient satisfaction.”
Wambi is a digital platform where patients can be heard through leaving anonymous reviews of their providers and providers can receive recognition. Providers accumulate “pecks” for good reviews and can use for rewards such as a gift card or an additional PTO day. Hospitals are drawn to the system to cut down on turnover and empower patients to have a greater say in their care.
Although Wambi has already experienced success nationwide, Coren turned to the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program (SEP) to develop her own leadership skills.
“I was selected as the top female student entrepreneur in the country by the Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards of Entrepreneur’s Organization,” says Coren. “As a result of that, one of the people who worked in that organization recommended that I look into SEP. When I learned what WBENC was about, I was so completely enamored. It was the perfect opportunity. I’ve been to many different conferences, summits, and events over the past few years and this was by far my favorite experience.”
Coren’s SEP experience was unforgettable because of the relationships she was able to build throughout the program with the other students, NCBF attendees, and her mentors.
“It left a very special place in my heart,” says Coren. “The types of people I met were all inspiring and willing to learn more about what we do and tried to help us in any way they could. They were just so intelligent in so many different spaces.”
Her mentors, Rondu Vincent and Tarrance Frierson of Bristol Myers Squibb, and Sholeh Ehdaivand of LMK Clinical Research Consulting, all contributed something unique to Coren’s experience as she prepared for pitch day.
“Tarrance really resonated deeply with my mission and helped me focus on how to tell our company story in a way that hits home with many people and still gets to the point of why we do what we do and how important it is,” says Coren. “Rondu was helpful in introducing me to his network and thinking of people in advance that he felt would be beneficial for me to connect with and making sure I was able to develop those relationships. Sholeh was wonderfully supportive and encouraging with every opportunity that arose.”
Despite the challenge of condensing Wambi’s business into a single 90-second pitch, Coren thoroughly enjoyed the business exercise and the chance to watch her fellow participants on pitch day.
“Just having to organize the content in a way that relates to everyone and not just people in the healthcare industry and being able to simplify the message was a really great exercise,” says Coren. “It was just an honor to be able to stand there and speak in front of so many incredible people.”
Coren plans on using her second prize price money to expand on the user experience of the platform to increase user engagement and excitement. As Wambi continues to grow, Coren won’t forget the amazing connections she made through WBENC.
“I made friendships and mentors that will last forever from just this one experience that lasted five days,” says Coren.