An Interview with Matt McGinty, CEO of CareConnect

Author :
Carlee Horgan

In March 2024, Senior Associate, Carlee Horgan, sat down with Matt McGinty, CEO of CareConnect to talk about his journey in entrepreneurship and philosophy on creating a cohesive culture. CareConnect is an AI-powered caregiver workflow optimization platform that delivers a fresh, connected, experience, so agencies can onboard, train, retain, and grow, all while delivering a superior patient experience.

Carlee: I wanted to start off with talking about the entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurship is so personal - what drew you to high growth companies to begin with?

Matt: I ask one question of everybody I hire and if anybody was seeing this they would all roll their eyes because they already know what the question is: “Do you like to win or do you hate to lose?” And there is no wrong answer to this – it’s really how you answer it because it tells you a lot about the person on the other side.

I think people who are in high-growth companies hate to lose. I’ve universally found that those people who answer “I hate to lose” are most successful in entrepreneurial/high growth settings because they do all the hard work necessary to win, so winning becomes an outcome. 

The best entrepreneurs that I’ve ever met have all failed a lot. Bezos, Dell – they failed a lot, right? At every stage - they failed just because they hate to lose. And people tend to be drawn to those people usually because you have this team that really wants to figure it out together. The win is an outcome of the work. You know a lot of people give him a hard time, and rightfully so, but Lance Armstrong. You talk about a guy who’s had to deal with a lot: almost died from cancer, certainly made some questionable choices that everybody in that era was making. And if you look at how he’s recovered again and again in his life, this is a reflection of that concept. He likes the process of training. If you listen to Michael Jordan talk, he will tell you it was the training and the team. Tom Brady will tell you it’s about the next win, the next ring. It’s not about the ring he just won. 

Everybody likes to win, very few people hate to lose. And I do think that defines me: hating to lose. If you remember the loss, then you’re a constant student of getting better. There’s a saying in life “if you’re not growing, you’re dying”. I think entrepreneurs ultimately seek growth. I think entrepreneurs in general can fail a lot because they’re not afraid to take risks, because they know if they fail, they’ll figure it out. Because they’re constantly growing. A tree may lose its leaves but come back the next year stronger. That type of concept is what they’re motivated by. 

Carlee: That’s an interesting choice of words, particularly with what happened to you last year. 

[In 2023, Matt was vacationing and was bitten by a needlefish. The bite was so severe that the wound had gone septic and Matt spent several weeks in the hospital.]

Matt: I don’t think I’m any better – far from perfect – than anybody else, but I think that is the common thread. And that goes to the needlefish story: getting bit by a fish and almost dying – either losing my arm or dying – an hour away from both, you come back to the other side. 

And some people, that would freeze them. Instead I thought “ok I just learned something from that.” First of all, I’m not going in the ocean ever again. Second of all, you appreciate your family more and you appreciate those interactions with the customer more when you’re interacting with a person rather than just trying to sell them something. Or you interact with your kids more – like you’ll do that extra thing where you’re throwing the ball with them or whatever. An employee needs help and you’ll sit down and you’ll spend an extra couple of minutes because you realize they’re hungry for your feedback. For me it was like “Holy moly! This taught me a lot about how to be a better person.”

Carlee: Events like that really put things into perspective and how we need to grow. Is that what drew you to becoming a CEO?

Matt: I wrote that down as a goal seventeen years ago that by 2025 I would be in the CEO seat. So we’re in 2024 today and I got here [CareConnect] in 2023. I ran my own business at one point where I had to do marketing and sales and pay for my mortgage…where I had a new baby at home… but by the time I started talking to you [Aequitas], I was thinking “do I stay at Intelycare and try to become the President and wait it out, or do I take the leap after one of these other roles?”

When you’re in revenue roles a lot, like I was, you get pigeonholed into being “the growth person,” so people sometimes don’t want to give you those opportunities to move up because they really like where you are because you’re a machine. The downside of those roles is that you are like a machine, so you have this intensity and everything behind you. 

I’ve had several successful – not like I’m special – had some good runs, had some good outcomes, made a lot more mistakes than I did anything right. But I think that was the most important thing: recognizing that I made a lot more mistakes than I did everything right. When you finally figure that out, I think that’s when you’re ready for the CEO seat. When you realize that you don’t have all the answers and you’re never going to have all the answers. And that’s not what the role is about. 

Being a CEO is about hiring a great team – and I’m a team guy – and finding the people who can fill those roles really well. Whether it’s lacrosse, or basketball, or football or whatever – how do you fill those roles and then knowing what your weaknesses are and compensating for those through the team. I’ve known that all along, but when you’re younger, you want to charge the hill and then sometimes you’re like “should I just go around that particular hill, so I can go up a bigger hill?” So being much more strategic and thinking about the people. And when you almost die [like I did last year from the needlefish bite], you stop and realize you spend more time at work with your work people than you do with your family. It can, at times, feel like work interactions are transactional, like they have a means to their end. I try and I’ve failed to treat people that way, but it’s natural. Your family is your family, your work is your work, your spiritual life is your spiritual life and sometimes somehow they connect.

I think I’ve still got a ton to learn. And knowing that I’ve got a ton to learn, I surround myself with people who are going to help me learn; knowing that my job is to facilitate really smart people coming up with solutions that better the world for homecare and making my employees’ lives better and then making the customers’ lives better and the caregivers’ lives better – that is what this job is about. And taking that leap was the right choice and I’m pretty excited about it, too. 

Carlee: You mention teams a lot and culture is so important. Aside from people who hate to lose, what other traits, characteristics, and mindsets do you look for?

Matt: One of the first things I did was meet with every employee [of CareConnect]. And then I started meeting with every client. I listened to everything they said. And the good news is you guys [Aequitas] and the BEB folks [Care Connect’s Board Directors] were great with me spending that time. And the co-founders, Kenny and Justin, they were great in opening up the world and the history and why they did what they did so I knew what the numbers said, knew what the employees said, and then I knew what the customers were saying and I don’t want to say it made it easy, but I could definitely say “ok, now I know the culture we have to have here.” 

So we focused first on our internal culture. I say no matter what culture you’re in, the most important thing is having an outward mindset. There’s a book called Leadership and Self Deception and another called The Outward Mindset. Both of these books are written by a company called the Arbinger Institute and it’s a very simple concept: see other people as other people. You never know what they’re going through. And if you take care of your people, they’ll take care of your customers, your caregivers, etc. That doesn’t mean my philosophy is right. It just means that this is a philosophy that I found works. 

When I got here [to CareConnect], we figured out pretty quickly what we did and did not want to be. And then we got the profile of the people we wanted to bring into the company and then the people who meet that profile are going to have to make their own decisions. Maybe that sounds a little crude, it’s not meant to, but it should really be “figure out your culture and then be disciplined about that.” There’s another book called Extreme Ownership which says that discipline is freedom. If you are disciplined about those core values then it makes it easy to do other things.

For us, it was people first: the employees, the customers, and the caregivers. I’ll just read from our book, which says “If we care for our employees, their personal growth and their professional growth, they will take care of our caregivers, our customers and each other.” And then the customers and caregivers fall under that. So “People First” is probably true for any culture. And at the end of the day, I know AI is taking over the world, but humans wrote AI, so at the end of day it is about people. 

The next one is “Integrity.” We focus on doing the right thing: the right thing for each other, the right thing for our caregivers, the right thing for our customers. If you do the right thing, everybody wins. No BS, no politics, no hiding behind excuses, but embracing results. If you can find a company that has integrity and everybody operates that way, you’ll get a ton of stuff done. 

“Change.” I talked about a culture that embraces change. We [CareConnect] are literally in a market that is thirty years old and thirty years behind the rest of everything in tech. We are change agents and if we don’t have people that are change agents, but also understand how hard it is to implement change. It’s going to be hard to pull a market across that. If you can’t embrace change, it’s going to be really hard for you to work in a high growth environment – very hard because change happens all the time. 

And then the last one, which goes into integrity, is being able to “Measure Value.” If you can’t communicate to your client you’re going to get this ROI or this value, what are you in business for? Those are the companies that grow really fast. The ones that are able to say “if you do this, you’ll get this or this out of it.” The tough part about that is, in order to do it, you have to put it out there. And when you put it out there, you can’t be afraid of failing. 

Carlee: Maybe we can talk a little more about CareConnect specifically. Home Health is an industry that has a lot of challenges, yet has been resistant to change. Can you share how CareConnect is impacting the ecosystem and what drew you to the organization?

Matt: I’ll answer the last one first if that’s okay. What drew me to CareConnect was my dad had dementia and passed away in 2015 in a nursing home. The staffing challenge is what drew me to Intellicare [prior to CareConnect], and then what drew me to CareConnect was that my mother was his caregiver for years before that. So she was providing home care. She was a family caregiver to him and that’s the hard part about dementia, or Alzheimer’s, especially for my dad who was a school teacher and ran a bank and worked two jobs his whole life… you know, I come from an immigrant background – grandparents and great grandparents – and I don’t come from money or any of that stuff. It’s all self made. 

So I’ll start with why I got into it and that goes back to the culture piece. You have to have people that believe in “the why.” They have to have a why themselves and it has to be tied to your why. So I think the “why” for me about this business was that this is a massive problem in this country. There is a huge labor shortage. There is a huge family caregiver labor shortage. There is a huge Medicare/Medicaid, which is where we operate today, labor shortage. And how do you mobilize that shortage? That’s what we did at Intellicare, but we did it by also having to employ the people. And that was very expensive and time consuming.

So what drew me to CareConnect was a) the “why”, b) was that we’re solving the problem for agencies without having to directly employ the people. We give them the software tools. If we add more caregivers through our services and through our platform we’ll do better and the agencies do better. And we’re both doing well at the same time. 

We are literally making peoples’ lives better, so they can age in their home. These agencies are maybe ten to twenty years in the stone ages with tech. But if you find people that embrace change with integrity and like to have things measured, then we’ll constantly be moving the ball forward. 

So that’s how CareConnect delivers AI solutions to homecare agencies that help largely unskilled caregivers, so not nurses and people like that, but mostly unskilled caregivers, get connected with more work through their agency. And not just be sitting there wondering when they’re going to get work and how they’re going to get work. So they’re worried about providing for their family and a lot of these folks are living below the poverty line. 

So then the long term vision is “how do we get them access to banking services to help them build credit and do those things? How do we connect them with other opportunities to work that maybe are outside of working in the home, but keep them working in the home?” If they move from place to place they call us for help to go somewhere else. We want to be attached to helping them make a living and stay in healthcare. Not just try and leave because it’s hard. 

Carlee: Yeah that industry specifically has a lot of turnover. 

Matt: Yes, huge! It can be 70-80% in some places. It’s ridiculous. 50% is like a good turnover. Think about if half of your doctors left every year. That’s crazy.  You’d be like “oh, I got a new doctor this year, or a new dentist.” You know, think about if half of everybody you interacted with in services left every year. Now make it 80%. That’s healthcare.

Carlee: What are you looking forward to most in 2024 with CareConnect? 

Matt: It’s pretty straightforward. I’m looking forward to seeing this team see the impact that they have on agencies’ lives, caregivers’ lives, and patient lives. I want everybody to see what it’s like to operate as one unit, go through tough things together, go through great wins together, and come back together at the end of the year and see what the culmination of the care that we provided was. Forget business outcomes. If we work together, the business outcomes will come with it. Seeing this team see that, and then seeing our customers see the value from it, and have the caregivers see the value from that – good stuff will happen if we do that. Business outcomes come from good human outcomes. 

I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most is seeing this whole team tug on one rope together and at the same time. Eventually you forget that you stepped in a puddle and you fell. All you have is “Oh my god, look at how far we pulled the rope!” You forget the pain and the suffering and the hard work and the long days. All you remember is the work we did together. It’s about how you keep getting people to tug on the rope together and doing it for each other, not because I told them to.

Carlee: Well that’s really great. And it is great to see how much you guys have grown in the past 8 months. 

Matt: Yeah, we finished at 80% growth last year. Looking forward to hopefully 100% this year and the teams are tugging on that rope, so looking forward to it. 

Carlee: I’m excited to see you guys grow and continue to make an impact. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you again. 

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