Canada: The CoreHealth Technologies Revolution

Last Updated: March 3 2016
Article by Nick Moffatt

Health Revolutionary. This was Anne Marie Kirby's job title before becoming CEO of Kelowna-based CoreHealth Technologies Inc. It's fitting, considering her new role is to revolutionize health and performance in the workplace using software technology.

CoreHealth has developed a platform that simplifies the delivery of employee health and wellness programs. The platform facilitates the delivery of health assessments, coaching programs, workplace challenges, incentives and rewards, and reporting all associated initiatives for thousands of activities and millions of employees. It is an all-in-one corporate wellness platform trusted by more than 1000 organizations, ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises and has served over three million employees worldwide in multiple languages.

The market is starting to take notice of CoreHealth. Recent accolades include being named as a Top 5 finalist at the 2015 Small Business BC Awards in the categories of Best Company and Best Workplace (the only company to be in the Top 5 in both categories). Kirby attributes this success to focusing on the company's core strength of corporate wellness technology and listening to their customers' needs, who are the subject matter experts, and then programming solutions to help solve their problems.

"We have remained true to our core strength by staying a tech company rather than trying to become a wellness company too."

Kirby also believes it helps when a tech company is run by people with a solid understanding of how to build technology, along with a talented team of committed individuals with complementary skills and backgrounds. "I have seen a lot of tech companies fail when the senior leadership does not understand programming and technology. They have no reference to be able to do reality checks on time, cost, and effort for current and future projects, which is very dangerous."

As is usually the case, recent success has not come without some challenges and valuable lessons along the way. Kirby notes the most valuable of these lessons has been to not only adapt to change, but to seek it out.

"There is never a point of 100 percent clarity in building a business because there is so much change. For us, change can be driven by the tech industry, the wellness industry, our customers, or the competitive landscape."

"In order to stay on top, I still have to ask myself every morning: 'What is the most important thing for CoreHealth today?' and almost every day it is something different. Someone recently asked me, 'As a CEO, what is your biggest 9-1-1 problem?' My answer was, 'Hold on, let me check my Inbox!' But in all seriousness, it's true and just reinforces my earlier point that the landscape is always changing. We can and do work towards a plan; however, we need to be flexible and adaptable and willing to respond to constant change."

The company's biggest challenge to date was also its foundation for growth. Kirby reflected "one of our first customers was the British Columbia Ministry of ActNow who contracted us to supply a province-wide activity challenge leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. This was a huge opportunity but also presented challenges for our small organization. This contract allowed us to bring on our first couple of staff and start to grow the company, which was fantastic. However, the contract terminated just as the impact from the 2008 financial crisis was being felt and it was a huge challenge to replace that revenue at that time."

The challenge had a silver lining and the result was an organization with flexibility and adaptability firmly engrained in their DNA. "We learned how to watch for economic indicators that would affect our primary customers and how to shift to other types of customers as demand shifts. We constantly look for the 'new thing' that our ideal customers are interested in and try to stay ahead of the curve technology-wise."

When asked if she had any advice for technology start-ups, Kirby did not hesitate. "Guy Kowasaki wrote a book called Art of the Start. One of the reviewers stated 'if you are starting a tech company and can only read one book, read this one. If you are able to read 20 books, read this one 20 times.' I cannot emphasize that enough."

Continued growth is one of the company's top priorities, and Crowe MacKay was recently retained to assist with this continued development.

"We hired Crowe MacKay to provide audited financial statements in order to prepare CoreHealth for the next stage of growth. We chose Crowe MacKay because of its philanthropist reputation within our community. We look forward to continuing this partnership for years to come."

Despite this growth, revolutionizing health and performance in the workplace will continue to be the company's purpose.

"Now that the CoreHealth corporate wellness platform has evolved into a mature state, we are able to focus on innovating within the wellness space. Watch for us to collaborate with the best in the industry, create new types of engines, and then deliver a unified view of aggregated health and wellness data.

"We are in the midst of a brand elevation that will be timed with some unique offerings in the world of corporate wellness."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Nick Moffatt
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