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Our Story


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Our Story


Our mission is to reduce the prevalence of avoidable chronic disease and make healthcare simple, personal, and affordable.

Founder and CEO Kristen Valdes has spent her entire career focused on providing quality healthcare to underserved populations in our country.  When Kristen experienced the healthcare system as a consumer, she quickly realized that she hadn’t accomplished nearly enough.

Her middle child Bailey suffers from a significant autoimmune disorder.  Even as a healthcare “expert,” it took Kristen seven years to advocate for her daughter to get an appropriate diagnosis. Together, they experienced countless misdiagnoses, costly repeat procedures, and diagnoses based on limited and siloed health data.  

 

By day, Kristen was a health plan executive.  by night, she was an Excel lab-plotting mom.

 

In fact, Kristen was the only person able to successfully pinpoint her daughter’s medical issue by aggregating, analyzing, and considering all pieces of her daughter’s health data.  Specialists continuously brushed off Kristen’s suggested diagnosis until one day, her daughter was hospitalized with a life-threatening complication from a medication contraindicated to that specific disease.

After countless conversations with other individuals and caregivers, Kristen understood her case was not an outlier, but in fact, the norm.  People need navigation and personalization through the overly complex and fragmented healthcare system to become successful advocates for themselves and their loved ones.

Kristen launched b.well, named after her daughter Bailey or “B,” to empower consumers to become advocates through access and understanding of their holistic health data. b.well is transforming healthcare into a simple, on-demand experience by putting consumers in the center of the healthcare equation.

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Our Team


Our Team


  Kristen Valdes   Founder and CEO   Kristen is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and an accomplished executive in the health insurance industry. She is intent on transforming the way healthcare is delivered and accessed through b.well.  Throughout her career, Kristen has worked on all aspects of the insurance system, including a three year tenure as VP of Federal Claims and XLHealth at United Healthcare. She previously led the management team at XL Health and oversaw its integration to UHC.

Kristen Valdes
Founder and CEO

Kristen is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and an accomplished executive in the health insurance industry. She is intent on transforming the way healthcare is delivered and accessed through b.well.

Throughout her career, Kristen has worked on all aspects of the insurance system, including a three year tenure as VP of Federal Claims and XLHealth at United Healthcare. She previously led the management team at XL Health and oversaw its integration to UHC.

  Philips Johnson   CTO   Philips has over 8 years experience as an early stage technology executive that delivers winning product outcomes through superior product strategy and execution by leveraging a technical background with real-world experience.  He has built over 35 products from ideation to launch. He was also Thinktiv’s 2013 Innovation Star award winner.  Philips holds his BBA and MIS degrees from the University of Texas, Austin.

Philips Johnson
CTO

Philips has over 8 years experience as an early stage technology executive that delivers winning product outcomes through superior product strategy and execution by leveraging a technical background with real-world experience.

He has built over 35 products from ideation to launch. He was also Thinktiv’s 2013 Innovation Star award winner.

Philips holds his BBA and MIS degrees from the University of Texas, Austin.

  Leslie Strassberg   CFO and Actuary   Leslie has 35 years of experience in health insurance actuarial and finance, 20 of which as Chief Actuary at multi-billion dollar companies, focusing on bottom line growth through pricing and cost control while achieving top line growth.  He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He also served as adjunct professor of healthcare finance at New York University.

Leslie Strassberg
CFO and Actuary

Leslie has 35 years of experience in health insurance actuarial and finance, 20 of which as Chief Actuary at multi-billion dollar companies, focusing on bottom line growth through pricing and cost control while achieving top line growth.

He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He also served as adjunct professor of healthcare finance at New York University.

 
  Yelena Balin   Vice President, Operations & Technology   Yelena has 15 years of experience as a claims operations and technology leader, driving sustainable results through applied analytics, process improvements, and quality controls.  She was responsible for multi-million dollar program implementations and cost containment at XLHealth. She is also Facets certified, and a Medicare claims and data expert.  Yelena was the recipient of the Thomson Reuters Healthcare Innovation Award. She holds her BS in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Yelena Balin
Vice President, Operations & Technology

Yelena has 15 years of experience as a claims operations and technology leader, driving sustainable results through applied analytics, process improvements, and quality controls.

She was responsible for multi-million dollar program implementations and cost containment at XLHealth. She is also Facets certified, and a Medicare claims and data expert.

Yelena was the recipient of the Thomson Reuters Healthcare Innovation Award. She holds her BS in Information Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

  Sheri Kitchin   Vice President, Business Development   Sheri has 12 years of experience as a healthcare leader focused on collaboration and building strategic partnerships between payers, providers, and technology companies.  She helped design and deploy various programs to target quality improvement and grow revenue for small and large payers, including XLHealth. She has expertise in developing software products to solve for healthcare needs.  Her extensive background includes operations management, business development, corporate communications, policy and research, and constituency relationship management.

Sheri Kitchin
Vice President, Business Development

Sheri has 12 years of experience as a healthcare leader focused on collaboration and building strategic partnerships between payers, providers, and technology companies.

She helped design and deploy various programs to target quality improvement and grow revenue for small and large payers, including XLHealth. She has expertise in developing software products to solve for healthcare needs.

Her extensive background includes operations management, business development, corporate communications, policy and research, and constituency relationship management.

  Dominic Devita   Director of Data Engineering     Dominic has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry working with data for consulting firms and payers of different scale and scope. He previously served as Associate Director of Data Services at United Healthcare, as well as manager of all data warehouse and data management activities for XL Health’s Medicare Advantage health plan. Dominic is currently responsible for all data management activities at b.well.

Dominic Devita
Director of Data Engineering

Dominic has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry working with data for consulting firms and payers of different scale and scope. He previously served as Associate Director of Data Services at United Healthcare, as well as manager of all data warehouse and data management activities for XL Health’s Medicare Advantage health plan. Dominic is currently responsible for all data management activities at b.well.

 
  Brian Simpson   Brand & Experience Director   Brian has been building brands through quality user experience and design for over 20 years. He has designed and built over 25 native mobile apps and web platforms from the ground up for brands such as Starbucks, Best Buy, News Corporation, Discovery Channel, Microsoft, and Pizza Hut. He is also the founder of the experiential marketing firm Design & Manufacturing (DSNMFG) in Austin Texas, which he sold in 2017. You’d never know it by his career path but Brian holds a BS degree in Computer Animation.

Brian Simpson
Brand & Experience Director

Brian has been building brands through quality user experience and design for over 20 years. He has designed and built over 25 native mobile apps and web platforms from the ground up for brands such as Starbucks, Best Buy, News Corporation, Discovery Channel, Microsoft, and Pizza Hut. He is also the founder of the experiential marketing firm Design & Manufacturing (DSNMFG) in Austin Texas, which he sold in 2017. You’d never know it by his career path but Brian holds a BS degree in Computer Animation.

 
  Heather Crosby   Clinical Program Manager   Heather has spent over 18 years in various nursing leadership positions in acute care and most recently focused on population health and disease management. Prior to joining b.well, she worked as a Care Coordinator for CareFirst PCMH Program. She concentrated on building physician relationships to increase quality of care and decrease health care cost for targeted CareFirst populations resulting in significant cost savings. Heather excels in practice transformation and disease management pathways. Shehas a passion for educating consumers on disease prevention and management for better health outcomes.  She holds a BSN from University of Maryland.

Heather Crosby
Clinical Program Manager

Heather has spent over 18 years in various nursing leadership positions in acute care and most recently focused on population health and disease management. Prior to joining b.well, she worked as a Care Coordinator for CareFirst PCMH Program. She concentrated on building physician relationships to increase quality of care and decrease health care cost for targeted CareFirst populations resulting in significant cost savings. Heather excels in practice transformation and disease management pathways. Shehas a passion for educating consumers on disease prevention and management for better health outcomes.

She holds a BSN from University of Maryland.

 
  James Bowman   Software Developer   James is a motivated computer scientist and developer and focuses his energy on developing products that exceed customer requirements and function well. His philosophy is to always learn and grow while innovating capabilities that don't just address the problems of today, but also prepare to answer the questions of tomorrow.  Previously, James spent nearly a decade in the US Air Force working in security and threat intelligence in support of national defense, and later served as a credentialed cyber security expert in the private sector developing code to address modern network threats. James is excited to be bringing these analytic approaches and methodologies to the healthcare risk management sector.  James holds a MS in Computer Science degree from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and is continuing his education online by pursuing a second BS in Mathematics.

James Bowman
Software Developer

James is a motivated computer scientist and developer and focuses his energy on developing products that exceed customer requirements and function well. His philosophy is to always learn and grow while innovating capabilities that don't just address the problems of today, but also prepare to answer the questions of tomorrow.

Previously, James spent nearly a decade in the US Air Force working in security and threat intelligence in support of national defense, and later served as a credentialed cyber security expert in the private sector developing code to address modern network threats. James is excited to be bringing these analytic approaches and methodologies to the healthcare risk management sector.

James holds a MS in Computer Science degree from the University of Texas, San Antonio, and is continuing his education online by pursuing a second BS in Mathematics.

  Greg Sczudlo   Consumer Experience Manager   Greg has an extensive Business Management background, primarily in hospitality environments. He most recently spent 8 years at the helm of multiple restaurants for a boutique group in the Washington, D.C. area. Here he developed robust training and accountability programs, specialized in customer engagement and satisfaction, and built groups of leadership teams.  A true “people-person” and a fitness fanatic, Greg has found a home in b.well that combines his passions for first-rate customer service and healthy living.

Greg Sczudlo
Consumer Experience Manager

Greg has an extensive Business Management background, primarily in hospitality environments. He most recently spent 8 years at the helm of multiple restaurants for a boutique group in the Washington, D.C. area. Here he developed robust training and accountability programs, specialized in customer engagement and satisfaction, and built groups of leadership teams.

A true “people-person” and a fitness fanatic, Greg has found a home in b.well that combines his passions for first-rate customer service and healthy living.

 
  Exia Burns   Marketing & Operations Associate   Exia is a Venture for America Fellow and a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) and Health & Societies (HSOC).  She has experience working in the pharmaceutical industry and engaging in health policy work in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining b.well, Exia worked at a leading national health outcomes research center where she became passionate about consumer-centered healthcare.

Exia Burns
Marketing & Operations Associate

Exia is a Venture for America Fellow and a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE) and Health & Societies (HSOC).

She has experience working in the pharmaceutical industry and engaging in health policy work in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining b.well, Exia worked at a leading national health outcomes research center where she became passionate about consumer-centered healthcare.

 
  Ashley Sczudlo   Senior Account Manager   Ashley has over 7 years experience in outside sales, marketing, and promotional management. Through her deep understanding of customer relations and business to business sales, she has effectively driven revenues and served several clients including the largest privately held, family owned spirits company in the world. Her passion for health has brought her to the wellness industry and to b.well in a role in account management.  She holds a BS of Business, with a concentration in Marketing.

Ashley Sczudlo
Senior Account Manager

Ashley has over 7 years experience in outside sales, marketing, and promotional management. Through her deep understanding of customer relations and business to business sales, she has effectively driven revenues and served several clients including the largest privately held, family owned spirits company in the world. Her passion for health has brought her to the wellness industry and to b.well in a role in account management.

She holds a BS of Business, with a concentration in Marketing.

 
  Ali McShane   Creative Strategist   Ali is a Venture for America Fellow and recent graduate of New York University, where she received a BS in Media, Culture, and Communication.  She has experience in education, the arts, and sustainable energy - all of which have culminated into passion for innovation, community, and accessibility.

Ali McShane
Creative Strategist

Ali is a Venture for America Fellow and recent graduate of New York University, where she received a BS in Media, Culture, and Communication.

She has experience in education, the arts, and sustainable energy - all of which have culminated into passion for innovation, community, and accessibility.