This week’s spotlight is on Yera Patel, a PT who is now Senior Performance Manager for EXOS@Google!
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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Yera Patel, Senior Performance Manager for EXOS@Google.
Where are you located?
New York City.
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
New York University, Class of 2017.
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I worked in outpatient orthopedics at Kessler Rehabilitation Center in East Brunswick, NJ for two years. After that, I moved to New York City and started a job at NYU Langone Health’s Orthopedic Center.
In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
I’ve only worked in outpatient orthopedics since graduating.
At Kessler, I began treating concussion and vestibular pathologies. At NYU Langone Health, I had the pleasure of working with a diverse population treating various orthopedic, sports, and post-op pathologies. I also was involved in the Sports Performance Center where I worked in the Running Lab and Concussion Center.
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
As a physical therapist, I really enjoyed connecting with people of various backgrounds and experiences, while motivating them to achieve their wellness goals. We have a unique position in healthcare where we get to see patients twice a week, often for very long periods of time.
I never took that for granted, and I really enjoyed building deep connections with my patients. In fact, I’ve learned loads from the patients I’ve met over the years, whether it be legitimate life skills like investing, or the fun, trivial things like which NYC restaurant has the best brick oven pizza!
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
I visited my sister and brother-in-law out in California a couple of years ago.
I watched her work one day, and I was impressed by how well she had adopted a new set of skills beyond clinical care. Seeing that firsthand—while also feeling somewhat listless at work—was the perfect impetus for me to begin my journey into pursuing a non-traditional route.
What are you doing these days?
I am working as a Senior Performance Manager at Exos on their Google account. I manage the fitness and wellness services at the NYC Google campus across 11 venues serving ~16,000 users. It’s an exciting job where I’ve had to learn new skills and tackle diverse challenges on a daily basis – I’m loving it!
I also treat patients on a concierge basis in-home or virtually through Kins 2-3x/week.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
My full-time job at Exos is solely non-clinical.
How long have you been in your current role?
I’ve been in my role for little over a year now.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
I took a 6-month Project Management Certification through Villanova (this helped me learn verbiage surrounding project and stakeholder management). I was always reading up on interviewing and networking strategies to improve upon my job search. I also took a few UX research courses and frequently read up on health tech and wellness news, as I have a strong interest in those fields.
Need some help getting your non-clinical career started? We’ve got you!
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
I found my job through LinkedIn. I saw the posting and searched the job position on LinkedIn and came across an employee working in the counterpart role in Boulder.
I directly emailed him with my resume and a short blurb as to why I thought I’d be a good fit. He graciously ended up forwarding it over to my current supervisor who offered me an interview!
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
Most people I meet in healthcare are really curious and intrigued by my career shift. I’ve been asked a lot of exciting questions and been asked for advice on how to navigate landing a non-clinical job!
Unfortunately, I’ve also been asked if I feel I’ve wasted years behind my physical therapy degree being that I’ve since transitioned out of clinical care.
I strongly disagree with that narrative.
I love physical therapy, and I love how we transform lives on a daily basis. It remains a very strong part of my identity. However, I also think it’s important for our community to expand the potential of our degree and welcome new, non-traditional opportunities.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?
Honestly, there isn’t a “typical day” in my role! When I started this position, my supervisor told me that my greatest challenge in the role would be navigating change and balancing diverse tasks in a very dynamic campus. He was not wrong. It has been a challenging aspect of the position, but also one I truly enjoy.
Some staples of every week include:
- People management (1:1 meetings with my team, leading weekly team syncs)
- Stakeholder management (liaising with Google re: health and wellness endeavors and support)
- Facility operations (managing capacity planning, facility maintenance, handling client concerns and customer satisfaction)
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
The greatest reward of my role is the team. I had the pleasure of inheriting an incredibly diverse, talented, and passionate team that takes ownership daily of our facilities and roles within Google.
I am grateful for that, as well as the insightful leadership I am provided by my supervisor. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew!
My biggest challenge has been navigating the ambiguity of my position. There isn’t often a structured, clear answer to the daily challenges I encounter. I’m learning to trust my gut and to make decisions thoughtfully, and with speed.
How did your clinical background prepare you for this role? Which skills transferred?
As physical therapists, we learn how to communicate with patients of various backgrounds and ways of life. This has suited me well in my new position. It has given me the ability to readily connect with my team, clients, and stakeholders to intuitively understand their needs.
I also feel I learned how to manage my time very well in clinical care. When you’re moving quickly and treating many patients a day, you learn to make good use of the short breaks to be able to finish the many other tasks we juggle.
Documentation, insurance forms, updating HEPs, and all the other daily tasks of clinical life required solid time management skills. These skills have transferred well to my new job.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
My role relies heavily on people management. Someone who can lead a team and truly inspire them would do well.
The demands of the role also fluctuate a lot, from week to week. To succeed in this role, you need to be organized and context-driven, so you can efficiently tackle the tasks at hand.
Do you work remotely or onsite?
Both! My position is hybrid. I aim to be on-site four days a week out of personal preference. I don’t do well working from home, and I enjoy a routine!
What is a typical career path for someone in your role?
It varies a lot! I’ve heard of coworkers being promoted into director-level positions within the company, or even moving into a realm outside of service delivery. I think you can take this position in many different directions.
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
I’m still learning within my new role, and I am excited for the journey that awaits at Exos.
I really enjoy operations and people management. I’d love to continue to grow in those realms and to one day explore mission-driven health tech and wellness orgs that I align with.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Challenge yourself. If you get those nervous backflips before you’re about to do something, do it anyway!
Imposter syndrome is being nervous about a challenge and feeling like you will fail. Having a growth mindset is being nervous about a challenge, but accepting that you will learn and conquer your fear with time.
All things can be learned, but you must be willing to feel uncomfortable!