David Wennberg, MD, MPH
CEO of Quartet
December 16, 2019
Leading a team is the most rewarding work of my life. At Quartet we work every day to make it easier for people to get the mental health care they need — a big vision, but incredibly important for the millions of Americans who need high-quality care, and has the potential to save people’s lives, and while managing change is really hard, I get up every morning so excited to lead such a mission-driven team.
Today, as we celebrate five years at Quartet, we have a lot to celebrate: We’re available to people in seven markets around the country, with more to come, and we’re rapidly growing our ability to get people into care: since 2017, the total number of people we’ve worked with has grown 350%.
These achievements are thanks to everyone at Quartet who works so hard and cares so deeply; and to get more people to care we’ve nearly doubled our workforce in size over the last year. When I first joined the team in 2015, I didn’t even have a title, but like so many others, I believed in the mission so much that I knew I had to be a part of this work. Over the years, I’ve worn many hats and held a number of roles at the company, and today, I’m thrilled to be CEO.
I’ve learned a lot about leadership over decades working in healthcare, over my last year as CEO of Quartet my learnings have accelerated.
Here’s what’s worked for me, and has helped the team at Quartet to be successful:
I also urge leaders to prioritize your mental health and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, which sets an example for your team to do the same. Leading a company that works to make it easier for people to get mental health care means I have to walk the talk. For that reason, at Quartet we offer unlimited vacation and enhanced mental health benefits because mental health is health. When I take a vacation, like going fishing for a few days or biking with my family, I’m offline and unreachable (well, there is one person who knows the secret code to the Bat Channel if I’m really needed). I trust my team to handle the ‘unforeseens’ that come up when I’m out. Trust builds trust and gives people the confidence they need to really drive good outcomes. Having time away also means I come back to work calm, rested, and with fresh eyes. I highly recommend others do the same.
Five years in, I know there’s so much left to do to improve the lives of people with mental health conditions, yet we’ve accomplished so much already. It takes time to lead and build a great company and vibrant culture, and if you keep your values front and center, you and your team will thrive.
At Quartet, we know that mental health care isn’t one size fits all.
COVID-19 added a layer of complexity for mental healthcare workers, who may be experiencing their own stressors and anxieties related to the crisis.
For some, following the stay-at-home orders for one pandemic may render them vulnerable to another: domestic violence.