George Sloan, VP Global Sales, Cornell Communications

CAST | August 15, 2018

LeadingAge CAST had an opportunity to interview George Sloan, VP of global sales at Cornell Communication. George is a senior marketing/sales/business development executive with a history of elevating the performance of domestic and global organizations. Repeatedly recruited into leadership roles, he has guided early-stage and mature companies to top positions in new and existing markets; mature and new product categories; customer acquisition: retention and more.

George, thanks for taking time to talk to us today. How about we start by you sharing with us a little bit of about yourself, your career so far, all the way to being the VP of global sales?

George Sloan: My journey, my life, my career, has been actually fairly simple. I spent the first 5 years or so working in newspapers; I was a reporter and then I got more into sales and marketing. Now, I’m 61 now, so pretty much my career after I left newspapers has been pretty much all spent in different types of sales and marketing, big companies, small companies, public companies, international companies helped me develop what I’d like to call being a change agent. Working with companies to drive growth pretty much through innovation and change. And that’s what’s helped me get, you know, to get to where I’m at today.

Tell us a little bit about Cornell Communication. What do you do?

George Sloan: Cornell Communications is a company that was founded in 1968, so next year will be our 50th anniversary. 50 years of focusing solely on the senior care industry, and providing alarm systems, nurse call systems, that actually help improve the safety and security of residents. Now I joined the company just about 5 years ago, and I joined because I was persuaded by the company’s owner Jerry Johnson, many people in the industry know “JJ” he’s on the company since 1993.

When I came on board, we had a mission in mind; we wanted to transform the company, we wanted it to grow, but we wanted it to grow with the industry. And as the technology was becoming more and more present in the industry, we knew we had to take and develop a call system that did more than work or function similar to a doorbell, you push a button okay, triggers an alert and someone responds.

We begin to work with different companies, you know, trial and error. One thing led to the next, and we developed a call system that was software-based. What it did, is, we believe is that it’s really starting to change the way the industry takes a look at how it handles a nurse call and the response to nurse call.

Jerry brought in a new president who had a very strong software development background, primarily with IBM. And the three of us together have been developing a new system, and it will be a managed open platform, open architecture that has API’s and a different APIs that we’ve worked with customers to develop. Plus, it’ll also have the hooks in it, so it’ll be able to integrate with health records, with pharmacy systems, but also with HR systems, administrative systems, fire panels, vendor management system, smoke alarms, anything that has output, we should be able to interface with it.

Then what you’ve got at the core of this platform is the nurse call system, okay we call ours inform. We’ve had this app on the market for 3-4 years, now, we have roughly 100 installs. That app allows you to track each step of the nurse call, and it puts a time stamp on it. So, what it does is this data, this information that we’re gathering, can now be used to better train your staff; it can be used to provide far greater security for your residents.

We’ve been able to sit down with many of our customers and do case studies and document improvements in satisfaction levels, retention levels. Occupancy is a big issue, to reduce turnover staff, all sorts of things; so we’re actually now creating a platform where we’re giving them data and business knowledge as opposed to just responding to a call system.

You’ve been working with LeadingAge CAST for a long time now. What kind of impact has Cast being on Cornell Communications?

George Sloan: It’s actually very huge. What CAST is doing is bringing technology to the industry. Every industry has an adoption rate, an adoption curve, CAST has opened so many doors with the different technologies, and the things that they are bringing to the market and engaging the market, and engaging in a way that a company can’t really do, okay, because it’s the trade association, because it’s a group, and the impact has really been significant.

You have obviously been very successful in your career, you have head global sales, you’ve done a lot of interesting things. There is a lot of young people in the healthcare industry that are wanting to be as successful as you are. So, what is your advice to them?

George Sloan: The advice I would give is the same advice that my dad gave me when I was growing up. It’s also the same advice a few years back I was president of our local school board, so I got to give up, you know, graduation speeches, and you want to keep those at about 2 – 3 minutes right.

But the advice was, always, number one, do your diligence, ok. You’re going to make a lot of decisions in life, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities, get as much information as you can, so when you make a decision you’re making it from a position of strength for you, and you have the knowledge to make the decision.

The second thing he would always say is, embrace life; if you don’t embrace life, you can’t live life. Do what you love to do, do what you’re driven to do, okay.

And then the third one, which defines this industry, and the third one is, be the miracle. In somebody’s life on any given day, nobody’s asking you to walk on water, or turn water into wine, just be there for someone; be the miracle for that person that day, help them out, extend them a helping hand.

Do your diligence, embrace life, and be the miracle.

That’s great advice, well George, thank you so much for taking time to share your wonderful insights with us. Really appreciate it, have a wonderful rest of the day.