Volunteer Story: Dr. Brian Thomas
“There’s enough bad in the world, and I just want new and different ways to put some good in it. All I can do is advise and inform and give people knowledge that they may not have, and hope that will lead them to do the same thing for other people.”
Dr. Brian Thomas is the Executive Director of Information Strategy and Care Transformation at Kaiser Permanente. With over 25 years of deep data and analytics experience in the healthcare field, Brian lends results-oriented guidance for two small business owners through Pacific Community Ventures.
Brian began his career supporting the tech resources of the Health Department of Monterey County. Sensing a systemic disparity in healthcare between what he described as “getting people care vs. getting people well,” Brian wanted to help others — and people of color in particular — stay healthy. He brings the same concern about extended support to the forefront of his business advising partnerships.
In September 2020, we introduced Brian to Brandy Dunn, the owner of Silverlake Psychology, Inc: a woman-owned mental health practice based in Los Angeles. Brandy started her business in 2016 and enrolled in PCV’s Business Advising program seeking guidance from a healthcare professional to grow her business properly. It was immediately evident that Brian could be a great fit.
By the second meeting, Brian was able to help Brandy begin identifying key operating measures for her business to focus on. The two worked together on exploring and optimizing Silverlake Psychology’s patient lead conversion time, as well as translating the importance of this process into her staff training. With Brian’s help, Brandy developed a conversation tree for encounters with prospective clients, and training methodology from her practitioners. Meeting each week for the last seven months, Brian has helped to usher in a rapid expansion of Brandy’s business. Today, Silverlake Psychology has doubled the size of its staff and grown the practice’s footprint in geographic areas that represent the practice’s key demographics.
Brian has also employed his skills in organizational development, strategic planning, and finance in his most recent partnership with Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz. The sole founder, owner, and attorney of peer-recognized Diaz Law Firm, Cherly’s practice has handled family law, immigration, and bankruptcy since 2008. Cheryl came to Pacific Community Ventures in January 2021 looking to grow the practice from a community-based environment to a more corporate-facing one, and was cautious about losing the mission-driven elements of her business. We paired her with Brian in order to discuss general strategy, employee development, growth, and marketing guidance through this transition. Though the partnership is still fresh, Brian’s encouragement has already helped Cheryl blossom as an entrepreneur, and balancing social responsibility with business growth.
On why Brian does what he does, he says: “There’s enough bad in the world, and I just want new and different ways to put some good in it. All I can do is advise and inform and give people knowledge that they may not have, and hope that will lead them to do the same thing for other people.”
If you have expertise in finance, HR, marketing, and other areas that are specifically helpful to serve as a thought partner with small business owners facing a challenging economic environment, your skills are needed now. As advisor Akiva Lewis of Work Day pointed out, “don’t hold back because you’re not sure if you’re an “expert” in something – the skills you use in your everyday jobs are more needed and useful than you might think!”
- How can you help woman-owned and minority-owned small businesses Build Forward Better? Join us today as a volunteer advisor.
- If your company has a volunteer program, or wants to start one, contact us today.
- And if you can post volunteer opportunities internally at your company and need some help getting started, we have some sample internal email, intranet, and Slack posts here.