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Intro to AI Webinar


0:00 Interview With Inteleos CEO and CIO 
9:19 C-Suite Learning and Collaboration 
15:00 Navigating IT Growth and Evolution 
25:45 Strategic Priorities in Tech Debt Reduction 
32:44 Future of AI in Healthcare Professions 
38:59 Expanding AI in Healthcare Profession 
44:08  Investing in Future AI Strategies 
48:00 Organizational Culture and AI Education 



In this episode of Sidecar Sync, Mallory and Amith sit down with Dale Cyr, CEO, and Juan Sanchez, CIO of Inteleos, a leading nonprofit in the healthcare certification space. They delve into the transformative role of AI in healthcare and how Inteleos is leveraging technology to drive organizational growth and efficiency. Discover how Inteleos has navigated challenges, embraced a culture of continuous learning, and strategically reduced technical debt to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving landscape. Tune in for insights on balancing innovation with operational stability and the importance of being futurist thinkers in today’s dynamic environment.




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This episode is brought to you by Sidecar's AI Learning Hub. The AI Learning Hub blends self-paced learning with live expert interaction. It's designed for the busy association or nonprofit professional.

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More about Your Host:

Mallory Mejias is the Manager at Sidecar, and she's passionate about creating opportunities for association professionals to learn, grow, and better serve their members using artificial intelligence. She enjoys blending creativity and innovation to produce fresh, meaningful content for the association space. Follow Mallory on Linkedin.

Read the Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript was generated by artificial intelligence using Descript. It may contain errors or inaccuracies.

Mallory Mejias: [00:00:00] Dale and Juan, thank you both so much for joining us today. We have never interviewed two people before on the Sidecar Sync podcast, and thus we've never interviewed a CEO and CIO pair. We're really excited to dive into how you work together, how you collaborate on strategy, the things that work for your relationship and maybe the things that don't work or haven't worked in the past.

So first and foremost, can you both share a little bit about you and your background and your role? Dale, we'll start with you.

Dale Cyr: Oh, well, great. Thank you, Mallory. And Amith, uh, thanks for having, uh, having us, uh, on this podcast. Um, well, my career started, uh, way back. I've had a couple of careers. One, I actually was in clinical medicine and I was a sonographer practicing at the university of Washington.

Um, and after a bit of that, I decided to go to a business school and, uh, uh, went and got my MBA at the Albert school of business and economics in Seattle. And that was a [00:01:00] great time of. tech of the tech boom and entrepreneurship, which, uh, that, uh, business school embraced. And so it got me very comfortable with tech and tech business models and, uh, and, you know, at that time, the future, uh, from there, I went into a boutique, a private equity firm and dealt with tech and read thousands of business plans.

And, uh, most of them, not very good, but they still got funded. Um, and then the, uh, tech. Uh, uh, implosion occurred and, uh, uh, fortunately, uh, IntelliOS or what used to be known as the RDMS at that time contacted me and one thing led to another. And I've been, I've been fortunate enough to lead the organization for about 25 years.

And, uh, and so here I am and, uh, still having, still having a lot of fun.

Mallory Mejias: Thank you for that. And Juan.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah. Hey guys, thank you, uh, as well for having us on here. Um, so my background a little bit, uh, I started building computers when I was 12. [00:02:00] I ran bulletin board systems when I was probably around that same age using phone lines and got really mad when my parents would pick up the line and disconnect me.

Um, so I've loved computers for basically most of my life. Um, and although I didn't study any of that in college because, uh, when I, when I got to college, the internet wasn't quite a thing yet. Um, but while I was in college. Uh, my brother said, Hey, do you want to learn how to make web pages? And I said, sure, what's that?

And he said, well, read a couple of books. And I said, great, I'll read some books. And then I learned how to make web pages. Well, by the time I graduated, which I got my degree in business and logistics, nothing to do with computers, um, I went to work, uh, at a big global company, uh, as a logistics person. And the first thing that I realized when I got there was.

Logistics doesn't work really well unless you also have computer systems backing it. Because some of the processes that I saw were people walking, uh, order cards by hand in cursive writing between each other. I said, that's adorable, but we're going to need a [00:03:00] system for this. And so my, my love for systems thinking sort of started evolving even then.

And, uh, I lasted in that job a year and a half and I said, you know what, I need to make my career in tech. So I quit much to the chagrin of my dad. Uh, because they totally boomerang back to their house for a year and, uh, and then I started looking for work and I got, I actually got two job offers from two different associations in D.

Those of you that are in the D. C. Area. No, we are chock full of these nonprofits here. Uh, I had no clue what an association was. Um, but I have actually now made my career and I've been, yeah, I've been in this world of nonprofits for all of my career, essentially. Um, and five years ago I joined the Intellio's team.

It was my first shot at like, at the quote unquote, at the table kind of executive role in technology, which we'll talk about that, which I think was really innovative and very cool that, uh, that this company has that, that seat. And, uh, it's been, It's actually really, it's been an amazing time for five years at this company.

So, [00:04:00] um, looking forward to talking about that.

Mallory Mejias: Awesome. Thank you. Can one of you share a little bit more about what Intellios does with our listeners?

Dale Cyr: Well, Intellios, uh, we are a nonprofit and particularly a 5. 1c6 and, uh, At the core, we're a certification organization. We certify healthcare professionals, mainly in medical imaging and about 80 percent of our business is in the field of ultrasound.

Um, and so we do primary certifications, uh, across three councils that deal with both physician, non physician, nursing, uh, all types of healthcare professionals across all clinical specialties. We have just over 140, 000 active certificates with us and we are in about 100 countries. Now granted, many of those countries have very small numbers at this point, but we're rapidly expanding and scaling globally.

Um, and our whole purpose is to make sure that people know what they're doing, uh, within patient care, and [00:05:00] we want to improve global health, and we feel one of the best pathways to get there is through appropriate, uh, areas of, uh, certification.

Mallory Mejias: Can you talk a little bit about your working relationship, that dynamic, and how do you both balance the responsibilities between being a CEO and then being a CIO?

Juan Sanchez: You want to go first, Dale?

Dale Cyr: Um, no, you can go first on this one.

Juan Sanchez: All right. Um, So, I mean, look, it's been five years, right? So, like any good relationship, it takes a little time to kind of develop and figure itself out. Um, I can tell you that, for me, you know, Dale and I talked about, you know, this podcast earlier, right, because we wanted to, like, sync up on what we believed about this story.

And, you know, one of the things that we kind of landed on was this idea of, like, Um, intellectual honesty and intellectual curiosity. And I've told the story a few times before, but when I, [00:06:00] before the pandemic, we still had an office. We have been remote since the pandemic. So, um, in that context, when I first walked into my, my office, Dale had left me three books on my desk and a handwritten note, which, uh, pro tip handwritten notes are a thing.

I still have it. We actually talked about this the other day. Um, and in those, in that set of books, there were great books and then we can talk about those later, but it was the fundamentals of like, You're going to learn. And that, I think for me personally set off a path that was very different than sort of where I had been before, which, you know, you kind of learn on your own, but it never been in this.

Very curated, uh, approach of like, we're going to learn this and this connects to this and this, and this connects to that. And that's been true across our entire executive team for the last five years. There's always the bulk of the year or, or versions of that. So that for me has kind of set the stage for how we relate to each other.

Amith Nagarajan: [00:07:00] Dale, you and I have known each other, we were saying, before we started recording, for, you know, most of the time you've been at InteliOS, previously ARDMS, and we crossed paths at first, I think early OOs, and the question I have for you related to what Juan just shared is, Has that always been the culture at Intellus?

Have you always had that kind of a learning organization where you provide books as part of onboarding? Tell us a little bit about that.

Dale Cyr: Yeah. Um, my, my general philosophy is that a successful organization has to be a learning organization. And, uh, the learn, the type of learning and the content of learning certainly has evolved and the math you've been in tech for all these years, and we all completely understand how much it has changed.

And the recent accelerations of this. So moving from a basic learning organization, and this is not from my perspective, it's not only for staff, but it's also for my board. And so I have to bring both groups along, uh, to kind of meet, uh, on, on the strategic levels of these areas. And really the [00:08:00] only way to do that is through learning.

And people learn differently. Some read some video, some experiential only, but you have to encompass that. And the only way you can keep up with the time, so to speak, and especially in an exponential area that we're in, is to really kind of stay ahead of the curve and embrace and, uh, and cajole and, uh, have people learning.

And that type of DNA of that type of personality, that's essential, especially in the C suite. And so when we interview for C suite, that's where we had it with Juan, that is almost number one, uh, for me is that, are they a learner? Are they willing to learn and embrace new concepts and things of that area?

And, uh, if that occurs, that's, that's a good start.

Amith Nagarajan: Yeah, it's one of my favorite interview questions with any, any person would be like, what's the favorite recent book that you've read, whether it's fiction or fiction, just to kind of share a little bit about the person's learning journey. That's awesome.

Uh, and my former company, we used to send out, uh, for every [00:09:00] new hire, there was a set of, I don't remember how many books, it was three or four books, very similar approach. Did a lot of handwritten notes of recognition. Um, tell us a little bit about the relationship specifically in terms of the reporting relationship and the CIO role.

I believe Dale, Juan reports directly to you in the structure that you guys have.

Dale Cyr: Uh, not quite. Uh, the structure we have is that Juan reports directly to the chief operating officer. Got it. But it's such a team environment within the C suite that, uh, having direct access to me and me to Juan and all the other, uh, chiefs is, I mean, essentially they do the, the, the, you know, the real issue is that who, who actually performs the performance reviews that that's what direct reports mean, right?

Right. Around that. Yeah, I mean, it's, it's all, it's all an open team. And, uh,

Amith Nagarajan: Yeah, a lot of people might say there's a dotted line relationship between you guys because you're very closely interwoven in terms of how you think about strategy and how you work together. I think that's a [00:10:00] significant departure from the historical, you know, location, if you will, of I.

  1. within associations, whereas. First of all, not typically a C level position, but also it was often tucked away kind of under finance and administration most commonly. Tell us about kind of the evolution of the role within your organization, um, leading up to Ironclon.

Dale Cyr: Yeah. Well, as a real small organization, when we first started out, IT and finance were kind of rolled into one, but it did not take long to separate that out.

Um, and if you're going to be a head of a division, you are at the table. Right. Uh, that's just the way it has to be, whether it be I. T. or H. R. or whatever. So this is the C suite teamwork and the executive leadership teamwork that we all inspired to do. As you just said, though, the C. I. O. role has changed dramatically over the last decade.

And, uh, by definition, knowing that technology is the infrastructure. Of the organization and our growth as well as many other [00:11:00] organizations. How could the CIO not be at the table, uh, to help, uh, me and the other chiefs, uh, with, with strategy, uh, for those who don't do it, it's more a question to me than normal.

Amith Nagarajan: That's a really helpful observation. One quick question for you, Dale, and I want to ask Juana a related question on that trajectory, but I know when we first crossed past you guys, we're relatively small in terms of staff, revenue, et cetera. It sounds grown. It's time. Can you give us some quick high level stats on where you were and where you are now in terms of employees or annual budget or anything like that?


Dale Cyr: I was number I was employee number 12. And at the time we had about 22, 000, uh, certificates. So projecting to today in our growth, uh, uh, our revenues just under 25 million, uh, when I started, it was about three or four, uh, we have about between all, all human resources. We have about 120 staff [00:12:00] and, um, Uh, and as I said, we have about 140, 000 and much more global than

Amith Nagarajan: the reason I wanted to ask you that is for our listeners to understand.

You guys have gone through some remarkable growth and success. It's not common for associations to experience that kind of growth, particularly, uh, and honestly, a very short period of time in our lifetimes. Obviously, it's a half a career or two thirds of a career for a lot of people, but, uh, it's also pretty quick relative to the space.

Uh, and I think that from my point of view, just looking at you guys, relative to a lot of other peer organizations that started off in that kind of low to mid single digit millions, at that time period, um, that learning mentality and that cultural mentality you described, I have to think, is a big part of that success story, being able to think differently.

You know, take advantage of opportunities that have arisen as a result of that

Dale Cyr: 100 percent and the key is, is to kind of stay ahead of the game and see what's coming down the road, especially as technology plays such an important role in our culture and our strategy [00:13:00] and, uh, and kind of trying to keep up with the times and, and to adopt, uh, the technologies to enhance our, our business and our mission, um, is, is key and the evolutions of it.

the psychology of the organization, both at the board and at the staff levels, uh, with the CIO being a direct partner on this is, has been largely the success of where we are today.

Amith Nagarajan: Well, that leads me to the question I have for Juan, and it's regarding offense versus defense. Uh, when you think about your role and how much time you spend kind of on each side of the ball, if you will, Uh, I think that's one of the big shifts that's happened in the last couple decades, broadly, in the non profit sector is that people historically thought of IT as the people who kept the blinking lights blinking in the server room back when such things existed.

Um, and it was cyber security, which of course remains ultra important, but it was all about like not breaking things. So it was kind of a mindset and posture as opposed to the forward deployed, you know, You know, folks who are doing special forces things. Right. So it's like, how do you think about offense versus defense in your [00:14:00] role?

And how does that align with Dale or not align with Dale in terms of his desire for, you know, percentage of time, let's say, percentage of resources on offense versus defense.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah. Um, so I think you're obviously totally on the money with how IT's role has evolved, because, uh, it's funny. One of the things that I told the team when, when I first sort of arrived, Was that if we do nothing else, we're going to stop being a black box to this business, right?

Um, classical stuff, which was people thinking that, uh, a list of things to do to get done would be put into this I T group and something would come out the other end. And that was the end of the interaction. It was very transactional. So that was sort of breaking that down in terms of office and offense and defense.

I've heard this sort of metaphor before, and I, I mean, I understand where it comes from, so fair enough, I kind of look at it a little bit differently. I kind of look at it more, um, kind of like a, a, a mix [00:15:00] between a layer cake and a, and a blueprint kind of thing. Whereas where, where are the room I'll use the, the, the blueprint metaphor.

Like when you're designing a house, right? There are spaces that have purpose. And so we kind of think, I think about that, that way, which is here is a room in which we're going to, we're going to design, uh, intent, intentfully, but intentionally so that it handles this part of the business. There's another part of the, of the house.

That's got a different kind of room. That is for a different purpose. Right? So we kind of look at it that way. And I've tried to, you know. Work on evolving, even the structure of this division so that it kind of speaks a little bit to that knowing. Oh, well, that 1 of the things we talk about is, uh, if it's not all of us, it's none of us.

Right? So that also kind of getting rid of the, uh, I'm in this department or I'm in that department and this is my function and this is the other function. It's, it's an entirely integrated system going back to the sort of systems thinking thing I mentioned before, I think, based on the kind of stuff that [00:16:00] we get to learn together as an exec team, uh, and, you know, to Dale's point, our, our reporting structure.

So to those that know me know that I don't care for titles and I don't care for hierarchies and I don't care for organizational charts, but there are these artifacts that we still have to live with. Right. I call them the cave paintings. Um, so yeah, all right. Fine. The lines say that this person gives us this performance review, which, you know, another sort of Kate painting thing.

Uh, but really honestly, as a group, we, we work together. So with all that stuff in mind, the offense and let's, let's call offense, the new stuff, right. The interesting stuff, quote unquote. Um, I think over the last five years that has shifted from. A 30, 30 to 40 percent amount of the thinking we do to the inversion.

Um, where now we, we are thinking about product. We're thinking about how do we, how can we deliver not only product within the [00:17:00] organization, but product to our customers directly there to any, and then to customers that we haven't even identified as a core customer. Um, because. Of the innovation, sort of the incubation that we've been able to do internally is like new things emerge.

And then we're like, well, we can take opportunity. We think that opportunity and scale it to doing something else. So it's, it has flipped around. Yeah. But you're right. I mean, like the, the defense part of it. Absolutely. Cyber security. Uh, we've we've worked a lot in that space. Um, keeping systems together.

I talk a lot about technical debt, uh, in org debt as well. So to me, that's defense, right? Because you're sort of tending to the to the landscaping around our metaphorical house. So, yeah, I think that's kind of been the evolution for five years.

Amith Nagarajan: Well, that's super helpful. And the inversion described, I think, is where organizations need to be going.

Certainly, you know, what I call defense and more of the maintenance side of the house is not something you should abandon. It's critically important. Otherwise, you're going to have a giant fire in that house. Um, and at the same time, everybody needs to be thinking, especially in the world we live in today, in mid 24, [00:18:00] You gotta look at, you gotta look broadly at what's happening at the macro level, what's happening to your profession, what's happening to your association, both because of that and what you should be doing to move the profession forward.

There's so many things you have to focus on, more so than ever before. You know, people who are talking about AI specifically often say to me, well, this is kind of like when the Internet first came upon us. And I said, yeah, in a way, it's a radically disruptive, transformative technology. But it's way bigger than the internet, because it builds on the internet, it uses the internet as input.

Um, so, you know, where you guys are at, I think, is an enviable position for most association folks. Listen to this, because I would guess that most people, if they were intellectually honest with themselves, are probably still on the other side of that inversion, where they're spending most of their time on The, like, maintenance and, uh, technical debt kind of stuff, I don't know, would you agree, would you guys agree with that, or do you think that people are further along with that?

Juan Sanchez: Yeah, I, you know, I think, I think in general, I, unfortunately, you're probably right, I don't, I would say, I tend to be, uh, uh, on this side of the world, I tend to be an [00:19:00] optimist in the point of view that it's not because people are actively trying to sabotage the evolution. Right. But, but to the point is, uh, the ability to get to that is the willingness of the company to listen.

So I guess two things really is one that me as a technology person have a voice that people will listen to. And that's built over years of trust and working together. And so once that sort of takes hold, then people like the organization will start realizing, like, boy, we can't really keep doing the same thing.

I, Dale can't be the guy or, or, or gal that's in this, in the seat like this, that says, uh, it's job is to replace my keyboard and make sure that I've got a computer every, you know, every six months. Like, so that mindset has to happen. Great. So that you unlock that. Now you're able to do other things. And I, I mean, I double click on so hard, the idea of technical debt.

And then, like I said, it related that the organizational debt component of this, because that's the kind of stuff that keeps you in defense, right? It's, it's [00:20:00] literally, if I cannot pay down, I use the credit card metaphor. There's a bunch of reasons you can, or ways you can explain this, but. If I only pay my minimum debt on my credit card, I'm going to get buried with interest, right?

I will never pay down what I actually own that card. It's the same thing in this world, right? And so until you can start being honest about that and attack that aggressively and the executive team is behind you and the board is behind you doing that as well. You're not going to get to that inversion

Amith Nagarajan: So on that note and using the personal finance metaphor as a way to continue the conversation and switch back to dale So clearly you have to make some tough choices So if you're going to pay down your credit card debt You have to lower your spend you have to make choices in your life that allow you to put away bigger chunks of dollars Towards paying down the principle of the credit card, right?

So in a sense that you throw that comparison back to association land You have to stop doing certain things. There's a, there's a limited amount of resources all of us have in terms of dollars and time. And there's always so many things you can do. Yet associations tend to [00:21:00] be really good at perpetuating, you know, pretty much everything.

You know, it's kind of a basket of projects by committee, and it's very hard to kill things off once they start. Uh, and the board oftentimes is part of that, right? There's a lot of, uh, churn on boards that's partly by design and partly just based on the politics of it. But, um, what I'm curious about is you guys clearly have created room in your budget, both financially and, you know, in terms of energy.

To stop doing things, I'm anticipating you'll say that there have been things you've made difficult choices to say no to. Talk to us about that, particularly in the governance side, how you can maybe push back in certain areas where you say, No, we have to stop doing this and think ahead two years or whatever the case may be.

Are there some examples? First of all, does that align with what's happened with you guys? Secondly, maybe there's some examples you could share.

Dale Cyr: Yeah, that's exactly what occurs. And, uh, and again, I'll go back to, you know, knowing what we need to do. And I couldn't agree more with Juan. Uh, tech debt is probably the biggest [00:22:00] barrier to strategic growth for organizations.

And once you recognize that, that has to be the priority and it's really up to the CEO and the C3 team to educate the board on priorities is that we have to prioritize investment. To, to move away from tech debt. And it's really about opportunity costs. You know, what, what opportunity costs will occur will not occur if we don't fix this.

Otherwise we're going to continue to have, um, your head of IT, whatever, whatever title they have, continue to be a server jockey and what, what role does that, that does not allow the organization to expand and grow into amazing new technologies that can help the organization's efficiency, effectiveness, mission growth.

And profitability that drives the mission growth in nonprofits. So, uh, that has to be articulated, and that can only occur through careful planning and meetings and [00:23:00] having a CIO that can speak. Lay terms to this and then having, you know, the CFO, the CIO, the CEO, the COO, uh, being able to articulate the same messaging to the board and to the rest of the organization where each of those specialties contribute to demonstrating the opportunity costs of this, uh, strategic priority of reducing And actually, once you start that, the tangible results of that are quite quick.

It doesn't take years. It takes a couple quarters once something is implemented and you can have tangible demonstrations to the organization board and staff, this is working. And Oh, by the way, look for some people. Wow. You have some more time. Uh, so those, those are key strategic, uh, what I consider action plans to, to move along to decrease tech debt and to strategically prioritize investment.

Amith Nagarajan: That's super helpful. To drill into that a little bit, maybe each of you can give us a quick rapid fire on your favorite thing you've killed over the last [00:24:00] five years in terms of tech debt reduction. Oh my gosh.

Dale Cyr: Uh, for me, internal servers. Internal service got us

Amith Nagarajan: moving to

Dale Cyr: the cloud. My migration strategic plan to the cloud.

And at the time Juan came on, people were still nervous about the cloud for security

Amith Nagarajan: and

Dale Cyr: it took time to make people understand that it's actually more secure. And, uh, and so as we've reduced, uh, Uh, all the internal servers and oh, wow, we don't have to pay for air conditioning anymore and we don't have to pay for whatever and and three staff that only was tweaking servers all day long.

And those type of things are tangible. And to me, that was probably the most effective opportunity cost plan that we did. Well,

Juan Sanchez: I got all right, I'll give you I give you four really funny and quick ones. The first one was, I remember getting here, and look, what I'm about to tell you has nothing to do with the people that were here at the time.

It's just what it was. So, let it be that. I got here, uh, one of our [00:25:00] main database servers kept crashing and I was like, wow, what's going on? And so I just asked, I came from a database background. I said, let's, let me just take a quick peek. All right. It was kind of weird for the CIO to do that. Okay. Well, we were running a production server with 16 gigs of RAM.

And I told the team, I said, so guys, we're running a real company. Let's go ahead and put some real RAM into this box. Right. And it was all virtual at that time. It was still, yeah, but we did it. So we fixed that. There's tech debt one, right? Uh, second version of tech debt was I got here and we were still having a conversation because of what Dale mentioned.

This, this organization used to be called the ARDMS and then they've added other governance layers to it. And through that time, this is a little bit of tech and org debt, all these different, everybody wanted a new brand to go with an email address. So we were in the it group, we had inherited. The need to manage at least three different email domains for every single employee here And we were like, yep, we're gonna stop doing that too So we said everybody just gets an intellious address and we did [00:26:00] that.

So that was tech that to tech that three Uh simple but very effective one and I would have never predicted this unless The pandemic sort of really made this happen We said from day one, we're going to make everything single sign on across all our SAS platforms, right? So we're just going to invest in that.

We go and pay for SAS platforms that offer single sign on. We, we always try to pay for that, uh, or negotiate it in suddenly the pandemic showed up, everybody's remote at the house, the whole thing. And guess what? We don't have to be chasing around 15 different passwords for every customer or every, every employee.

Sorry. Um, to figure out how to log into a platform, they use one account. It makes onboarding much easier. It makes offboarding much easier. And then finally one, which isn't like a traditional tech debt, but I still sort of included in this kind of idea, how the team works, um, because when I got here, the team was, uh, telling me that they were using scrum to do their work.

And they had 144 tickets in a backlog. And I said, that's not any of that. None of that is working. [00:27:00] Right. So let's work on that. And so we, we, we did a lot of effort on re engineering essentially, and then learning how to trust each other again on how to work, and that's, to me, that's tech debt as well.

Amith Nagarajan: Well, I appreciate that.

Between the two of you guys, that's five really concrete examples for our listeners. And those are things anyone can do. There's a lot of associations that still have physical infrastructure, either on their own premises, or they use like an old school, like, you know, cloud provider, which is not really cloud.

It's more like infrastructure managed by a small team. They're not using Azure, AWS or Google. And really, there's no reason to that. You don't run your own power plant behind your building, and you shouldn't run your IT stuff, your fundamental infrastructure that way anymore, but people are still doing it.

And the other examples you provided are also excellent. You know, a lot of the people I talk to say, Hey, Amith, I'm really interested in taking advantage of AI. I want to really go after these opportunities, but we're so busy. We just can't possibly take on, quote unquote, another thing. And so, of course, AI is not another thing.

It's probably the thing for a lot of people anyway. It will be in the coming [00:28:00] years. Um, what you guys are describing clears the way for being able to spend more time on offense or on new initiatives. I think it's a really important point for folks to really underscore. And, um, shifting gears a little bit, one question I wanted to ask you guys is, do you see it as part of your role internal to Inteleos to be part of the Futurists thinking Of where your profession is going with artificial intelligence, specifically with technology more broadly.

I think a lot about, you know, medical imaging and the impact AI has already had and assisting people in the space professionally. I know there's been a lot of studies about radiographers with and without AI. Is it a replacement for people in the profession? Is it an augmentation or copilot strategy? I have to imagine that's affecting your space significantly and will be in the coming.

Uh, is that part of what you guys work on internal to the association or maybe that's different for each of your roles? I'd love to hear a little bit about that.

Dale Cyr: Yeah, so, uh, entire this is in [00:29:00] a somewhat unique situation because we have two communities that we that we deal with. One is actually the health care and health care professional that was certified.

And the other is the testing community which actually are this, which is where our business is based on of the actual models and methodologies of ensuring that people are proficient in what they do two separate buckets and AI is addressing both of those differently but to some degree, the same. We don't directly impact, uh, have an impact, uh, right now on the day to day of our healthcare professionals, but, um, but we know what's coming down the road.

And we prefer to look at people and talk about AI as, especially internally with staff and our healthcare professionals, not to be scared of it, but just look at it as a cognitive partner. And, you know, uh, I was talking to a radiologist not too long ago, and basically I said, how many normal chest x rays do you want to read?

You know, versus can AI kind of take that and you can [00:30:00] move on to a much more complex situations. And for the foreseeable future, I see that as far as our business goes, uh, within Intelios, the ability in the short and midterm to dramatically improve efficiencies and effectiveness across all systems within the organization is real.

And, uh, that doesn't mean we're necessarily eliminating jobs, but we can probably grow. Without a one to one ratio of growth to a, an individual. And so the cognitive partner seems to be a good psychological, uh, area. Internally, culturally, uh, we have programs going on as we speak to train up, skill up and upskill people on AI and the use of AI.

Um, there's a full spectrum. People are embracing it. There's people who are freaked out by it. But we have to we have to deal first. I'm an AI first believer wholeheartedly, but I'm also a human first believer as well. And so we we [00:31:00] need to move the people in the human areas into this to capture the full potential of our AI first initiatives throughout the organization.

Amith Nagarajan: On what are your thoughts?

Juan Sanchez: Yeah. It's funny that you even use the word futurist. Cause when Dale and I spoke earlier, uh, in the week, uh, I asked him the question, I said, you know, what would you, what would you leave a people with after we were done recording this, right. A piece of advice. And he says, you have to be a futurist.

Um, and so to the point, right? Like, that's what we, I think all of us collectively in our team try to think that way. I personally, for me, I try to look at, uh, technology convergence. Right. So sure AI is here, but AI isn't on its own, right? Like where else is AI going to play a factor here? Um, to Dale's point of like trying to upskill, uh, people try to, um, diminish internal fear about a tool within a day of both either open AI, or we're also a really big fan of another [00:32:00] platform called perplexity AI within a day of both of those platforms, essentially announcing they were offering teams or enterprise style accounts.

We opened accounts, right? Uh, we already had a couple of individual people, uh, with accounts there, but, um, I'll go back to paying down the tech debt, single sign on. They both have it, right? They, they offer it. So we were able to implement that immediately and start onboarding people onto these platforms so that they can get comfortable.

Uh, as a community, we also have, you know, internal chat channels and all sorts of things about AI. Uh, as a community get comfortable with using these tools and sharing wins and tips and et cetera. And now I think, uh, in this last quarter that we're in, that we're just wrapping up now, a new group has formed that are AI coaches.

So it's a, it's a group of people inside of the business that are out there working together with other people in the organization to try to get them up to speed on what this is all about. Um, so yeah, so, uh, I mean, the futurism thing is real. Okay. And, you know, not to, not to like overemphasize on it or [00:33:00] over index on it.

But the reason that personally, I get a chance to think about stuff like that is because I'm not tied up with trying to figure out why our servers are going down or, you know, whatever, or why people can't log into something like that's the stuff that led lets you actually then take advantage of in your brain and the cycles during the day.

Amith Nagarajan: Yeah, those are both super helpful and interesting viewpoints. You know, one thing I would I would look at is, you know, What's what's the arc of the profession or the industry? Where is it going? Whether it's law or accounting or architecture or a particular discipline within healthcare What's going to happen to that field in the coming 5, 7, 10 years?

Obviously, very difficult to project that, but we have certain trend lines that we can look at. There is convergence amongst multiple exponential curves, obviously AI being one of them. What's happening in material science is another interesting one, probably in your field, when you think about what's happening in the, you know, in the clinical environment.

Uh, and you think about that and say, well, what's going to happen to your clinical professionals if handheld, uh, you know, [00:34:00] diagnostic, uh, caliber tools are available in the field that can do what might have been only available at the highest end, you know, fixed equipment, uh, a few years ago, right? You know, since you have that, it opens up, uh, an incredible opportunity for greater equity and healthcare globally and all these wonderful things.

What does it mean for professionals if, let's just say hypothetically, an iPhone could do a sonogram at some point, right? You know, we're probably only years away from glucometers being built into every wrist wearable type thing, which is an incredible thing, but what about imaging, right? So how does that affect your field?

You guys think about that kind of, uh, you know, change and how do you prepare your profession for those kinds of changes? Yeah,

Juan Sanchez: let me take the 1 on the on the 1st side. I want you to talk about the professional part of it because you're near and dear to that. Obviously, look, so me, spoiler alert. What you just described basically exists already.

Right? So point of care ultrasound is a real thing. 3000 device USB. into your phone, you've got an imaging device. [00:35:00] So, like, I'll take it from the tech side. Go back to the convergence theme, right? Great. You're going to put a very powerful diagnostic piece of equipment in the hands of anybody, essentially, eventually.

Two opportunities show up one risk, one opportunity, opportunity one, which is everywhere in the world. Now this could be a reality for diagnostics. So that gives us a global play, right? The second part of this is. Anybody could pick up this device and do something, which is, goes straight against our mission of not hurting people, right?

Like that. We want public safety to be a thing with, with patients. And so we think about what other technologies and what partnerships can we, uh, strive for. So that that device is safer to use both from the point of view of the person handling the device, being well educated and competent, et cetera. But also what technology tools can we use on device?

To make it, for example, uh, harder for just anybody to fire it up by launching an app and instead maybe what if they had a digital credential that paired with the app so that you couldn't open it [00:36:00] until you were actually validated that you actually knew what you were doing. Right. So that's on the tech side.

And, you know, Dale, you can talk about the, the, the people's side really more.

Dale Cyr: Yeah. Well, uh, as Juan said, the technology outline to me is already, is really already here. And, uh, from an ultrasound perspective, uh, the small devices are here, uh, the cost barriers are lower. So low to middle income countries around the world now have access.

We largely believe that. Uh, small ultrasound devices will replace the stethoscope over the next decade, which means millions of people will have access to this. And from our perspective, that's the good news. The bad news is that millions of people are going to have access to a diagnostic tool. It's about a hundred times more powerful than a stethoscope.

So we feel the obligation that we need to be able to meet these people at the practice, at the local practice level, make sure that they, they know what they're doing. That level of scalability can only occur through Technology and A. I. Is going to play a very large role in that at the basic level at the existing [00:37:00] advance.

economy level, uh, with the existing professionals. Um, yeah, AI, AI will supplement their work. There's no, there's no doubt about that, but that will allow these professionals to do away with their clinical debt. If you want to use that term, they can perform higher cognitive skills and levels of care. The bottom line is that there's not enough healthcare professionals around the world.

No one has there and that's not going to get any better. And so, but yet the demand for health care as economies become more advanced and things of that nature, that demand is increasing. So how are you going to fill that gap? And so, uh, I look at AI is playing a large role of filling the gap versus replacing.

And, uh, and that, and that's where we're at now on the tech side on our, on our business side, uh, the ability to change the models of testing, which clearly are not sustainable. The existing models of testing just really don't work well. And so our evolution of our business [00:38:00] and our modeling with an AI infrastructure to, to move into, you know, adaptive learning and testing at the same time and things of that nature, that that can only occur through, through basic technologies, such as, such as AI.

Amith Nagarajan: Well, I think you guys are so well positioned to benefit from that as an organization and deliver value to a much broader community over time. It's the classical expansion of those concentric circles as to what may be like. A full time dedicated, like, center of the orbit type professional who is a sonographer, but then people who are further and further from that core, but will be dealing with sonography through the lowering of cost that you described, physicians of all stripes, uh, nurses, medical assistants, physician's assistants, uh, Personal physical therapist, all these people would use this tool in a way that you're describing to dramatically improve outcomes, which is super exciting.

And it also creates a need for both training in various forms of whether it's true certification or even some kind of micro credentialing that you guys could operate. I'm sure you guys are thinking about all that stuff. And that's the kind of [00:39:00] expansion of the pie that I'd like all association leaders to be thinking about.

When you think about, for example, legal services, association leaders who are, say, running a state or local bar association might say, Well, the problem is, is that lawyers are being displaced by AI assistants that can write contracts or even, you know, do litigation. And that's kind of a fixed pie mindset, but there's, there's lots of people out there who don't have access to legal services, small companies, individuals who can now gain access to legal services to improve their quality of life or whatever the case may be in a very similar vein to what you described.

So I think the mindset has to be around the overall high expanding, and that's where I think both so much promise, along with other exponential tech, like, you know, when you're dealing with the world of atoms, rather than bits, as you guys are in the clinical environment, there's a lot of interesting exponentials happen in there, too.

Um, I wanted to ask you one more question. I know Mallory has a couple that she wants to throw at you, but the question I have is, I know you guys recently invested both dollars, and more importantly, time to travel together, I think it was to [00:40:00] Harvard. Um, where you guys took a course, was it a, maybe a week long course on AI?

Um, and tell us about that experience in terms of like really why you did it, um, and what you learned and, you know, what you'd suggest other people consider as like a CEO, CIO pair, like thinking about something like that.

Dale Cyr: Yeah, I can start with this one. Actually, uh, we took that last fall was competing in the age of AI out of Harvard Business School, but it was actually a virtual thing.

So it was, I don't know, six or seven weeks. And there were about 200 people around the world attending this, which was great from a network perspective. And we still have great friends that we built from that. Uh, I wanted to take it simply because of the business modeling. I wanted to learn more of the cutting edge of the business modeling around AI.

Um, and I didn't want to get into a deep coding and things of that nature. That that's irrelevant. So it was around the business modeling and I said, well, uh, I need, I need Juan there with me. Juan needs to take this with [00:41:00] me, uh, because he, he has to understand the business modeling from a strategic perspective so we can move the organization forward into these areas.

And so from my perspective, it was an excellent course. Um, I know Juan got a lot out of it. I got a lot out of it. And, uh, consequently it AI strategy moving forward from a, from a business operations and strategic perspective.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah,

Amith Nagarajan: what you said there from my point of view is as the ceo of a substantial organization you personally took the time over a series of six seven weeks To get your own education on this.

So maybe you weren't going down to the raw metal and the bits and bytes, but you were really deeply understanding AI so that you could inform your thinking on the future of the business. Uh, and that's an investment you had to make both dollars and a lot of your time. It's an opportunity cost.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah, it was so as an example, right?

Of the topic of the podcast in general. Um, so that's evidence, right? Of how Dale and I kind of sync up, right? We were and we're actually even [00:42:00] still to this day, looking at coursework online, uh, for opportunities of stuff that might come up. That's interesting. Right? And so, and then also kind of game. Uh, plan on if something shows up that maybe doesn't fit exactly either one of our camps, like who on our team could fit there, right?

So that we sort of make, make a whole picture out of that. The other part was sort of something simple and maybe dumb in a way, but Dale and I set up like, I think it was like an hour on Friday. Uh, almost like a study group after the main day, because this Harvard course, even though it was virtual, there was a full, there was a day where you had to show up and you had to show up.

They took attendance and the whole thing, right? It was, it was real. We actually had, I actually, I actually took a class while I was taking off in an airplane on my, on my phone on zoom. Like, that's how, that was, that's how hardcore it was. And, uh, but anyway, so we would set up this Friday afternoon or Friday morning session where we would just talk about like the case study.

Cause you know, those of you that know about Harvard, they do a lot of case study stuff. So what did we, [00:43:00] what did we get out of the case study together? Right. And so we would talk about that every single week on a cadence, um, which personally, you know, I thought was super valuable because to his point, it helps us kind of see the picture together.

Um, and, and then subsequently I remember, uh, even though that was like, like you said, late, late last fall, but. Um, in board meetings subsequently, like this has come up, like we've been able to apply some of the, some of the learnings that we had from that course in conversations at the board.

Amith Nagarajan: That's super helpful.

You know, it's, uh, one of the key points that I really wanna drive home for our listeners is that you guys personally, Doug Deep, you're not just telling your teams to go learn ai. Both of you are particularly Dale, like it's outside of the scope of what most CEOs think about because they think of it as, oh, it's a tech thing.

I'm gonna get my CIO to go explore it. And they'll give me a report. And, you know, I think that's probably a mistake with most technologies that are major arc changes, but certainly this one, because it changes everything in your, in your strategic thinking. Um, so I applaud that for one. And, you know, I have this group of, of, uh, a lot of CEOs, a lot of [00:44:00] CXOs and a mastermind we meet every month.

And, uh, we talk about a lot of this stuff and the reason for really aggressively pulling CEOs that I know into this thing is to say, listen, you can't just let this go past you. And I really think what you're doing there is exciting. I mean, on my end, I think the main message I would want to share with our listeners is coming back to the earlier part of the story.

You guys have been at this deal for 25 years, one for the last five years of it, you've grown the organization by nearly 10 X. It sounds you have done that not by sitting still, but by continually not just with AI, but with all these advancements, finding a way to learn it and then be creative deploying it.

Filling off legacy thinking, legacy debt of various kinds, uh, and then exploring the futures. I mean, is that a reasonable characterization of what you've been up to for the last couple decades?

Dale Cyr: Uh, yeah, I think that's fair. Uh, I'm, I'm, yes, I, sitting still is, is, is certainly in the association world, sitting still is, [00:45:00] is death.

To, to, to an organization. And so that's not my personality and fortunately the, my boards over the years and the culture of the organization has allowed that type of, uh, personality to, uh, flourish.

Mallory Mejias: Well, I will say it sounds like Intelios is doing some incredible work and that you both have been incredibly thoughtful about how AI will impact not only your business, but the communities that you serve.

It seems like your organization is nimble and quick to pivot. I'm wondering, can you share a little bit? I want to spend some time around organizational culture. Juan, I know I pulled out a line from your bio that I thought was really interesting, and it was, OKRs, Agile Systems Thinking, and Adaptive Organizational Designs are not just methodologies to Juan, they're the foundation of his leadership philosophy.

I want to spend a little bit of time there, and can you explain how those systems play a role at Inteleos?

Juan Sanchez: Yeah, this is a topic I could talk for hours on because I love it. Uh, look, and, and, uh, the [00:46:00] love fest continues when I, one of the books that was on my desk when I started at Intellios was measure what matters, which is a famous book by John Doerr about OKRs, I, to this day, I'm still a little angry at the fact that I had spent 20 years in nonprofit technology in DC and had never heard about OKRs, right.

And so, um, that became a passion for me. And like, uh, you know, Dale had kind of seen the writing on the wall that we needed something. To drive outcome thinking, which is literally what OKRs are about. And so great. I, I embraced it. I absolutely love it. Um, so that was the, like a little seed, right? But from that seed, right?

The whole thing grew, which is okay. So OKRs is changing how you think about the work you do. So going from outputs, which is unfortunately, I think how a lot of companies sort of still think, which is how many widgets can you build in a day and how many hours does it take you? Um, which is great if you're running a factory, but we're not running factories, right?

We're running knowledge, thinking organizations that have to, that have to be a kind of different kind of [00:47:00] nature of work. So that goes to that. Then that goes into the next part of it, which is how do we relate to each other? Right. I touched a little bit on that, about the philosophies of how do we see each other as a tech team, how do we see each other, uh, as counterparts to the, to the business and not even, uh, not even apart from the business, but in it, we're literally in it all the time, right.

As from tech to business. So. Yeah, we, we've done things like scrum. We've done things like Kanban. We've done all the things that, you know, came out of the West Coast and the Agile Manifesto. But that's, and we, look, we took missteps because early on in my journey here, we tried to do scrum across the entire organization, massive failure.

And why? Because it was one framework trying to address a bunch of different kinds of work, right? So we retrenched back from that and said, okay, now currently in the organization, only one team uses Scrum. Other teams use different things, right? Different approaches. Um, so that's on how we work. And then the systems thinking thing is exactly that, which is, How, how is the organization a system?

How are our customers [00:48:00] components of that system? And I know it sounds a little cold to think of things that way, but like, I, not to get too hippy dippy, I'm big into seeing fractal patterns and nature. And I try to look at nature and kind of adapt that to how we work because, Hey, guess what? We're part of nature.

Um, so, so I think about it in that way. And I think that's infused, uh, in our team. And I think it's infused. I mean, I know it has in terms of what we've brought to the table about product thinking. Other things have evolved from that moment of okay. Ours, right? Like two months ago, I was in New York attending a transformation workshop held by an amazing product leader, Marty Kagan, who I love.

And like that, and we're bringing that into the business. Right. So we've got now product managers and we think about product and we don't, we don't think about projects. We have eliminated the word projects from our company, which is to me, everything. Right. It's like, what is the problem to solve? What's the product we need to build to solve it.

That's how we start to think.

Mallory Mejias: I like that eliminated the word projects. I think that would probably be hard [00:49:00] for me to do at this point. Um, Dale, you mentioned the idea of upscaling your staff and always being on the lookout to hire people that are curious to learn that have this growth mindset. This is something we spend a ton of time talking about on this podcast.

If you haven't seen it, And it's sidecar because it's core to what we do in terms of educating the people who work at associations in AI particularly. Have you all found success with mandating AI education? Do you highly encourage it? What does that process look like in terms of upskilling your staff?

Dale Cyr: Yeah, we're not mandating it, uh, but it's highly encouraged and, uh, we believe success begets success. Right? So, uh, and, uh, follow follow your peers. And so, um, once there's enough engagement, everyone kind of follows. And then that also helps in eliminating those who are slow to upskill with AI. They're generally the ones that are scared of it.

Or scared it's going to replace them. But once they, once they [00:50:00] see that that's not happening, and that actually, if you use AI as a cognitive partner, no matter what part of the organization you're in and what skill sets you are employing, um, that's, that's where the uptick happens. And it builds a positive culture, mandating it.

Uh, I don't think it's, it's the right way to go with this. It doesn't take a little bit more time. Sure. But you'll have a much better success at the end of the day than you would if you mandated and you had 30 percent of people disgruntled about it, you know, that type of thing.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah. Mallory, if I, if I might, a quick add on to what he, what Dale just said was One of the things that I, that I worked on, um, relatively early from what I can tell by asking peers, uh, is, so AI, great, mandating learning, you could do that, we don't, as he said.

But what, what did we do? We wrote, uh, a guideline document first, and then we wrote a policy document, right? And it was really, the policy document was an add on to what we already had, which was acceptable use. Right. Every company has an acceptable use policy, hopefully. [00:51:00] Um, so we just made an addendum that spoke to AI specific acceptable use, um, practices.

Right. So from that point of view, yeah, you're mandating people to be, to lean in a little bit and say, read the policy, accept it, understand a little bit of it. And the guideline piece and what worries me, um, I don't, you know, I try, I try not to be too fervent of like, AI, all the things, right? It's like AI, like everything else is going to come with some, with some ancillary, uh, drag on it and, and probably some evil too, right?

Like all things. So being, having people aware of that is huge. And when I've asked people around, Hey, what's your policy look like? Or, Hey, what's your guideline document or package look like? It's just silence, right? And just deer in the headlights on a lot of cases. I had a funny interaction at one of our, uh, Uh, group meetings.

We have an annual leadership meeting where we bring together a hundred, 200 doctors into a room and we do a teaching a [00:52:00] couple of teaching days together and, uh, we were doing an AI panel and I just happened to ask the question, it's like, I'm curious in the audience, how many of you out there have received guidance and, or actual policies from your businesses on how to use AI and the intelligence team all raised their hands and I said, no, you guys don't count legit.

I think maybe one, maybe two or none raised their hands. Right. And these are people in the medical space in, in the developed countries, right? Like it's not, and I was like shocked, honestly, I was amazed by it. But, um, so I think that part is important too. Um, I'll add one last thing on that topic for anybody that listens to this and is like, I don't know where to start.

Find me on LinkedIn. I have these documents and I've shared them publicly with people for the good of the community just to get you started because it's, I think it's that important.

Amith Nagarajan: That's awesome. Well, the blocking and tackling stuff, the basics, the fundamentals, however you want to call it, um, are so important for people to get started with.

And that's a lot of what we spend our time on this podcast and other things we [00:53:00] do with, uh, Stackbar Resources. It's just, we think this is such an important thing, just even more so than AI, just the idea. Uh, learning and experimentation, learning and experimentation, you know, small things and keep doing it over time and it builds a lot of momentum and you know what you guys have done is a great example of that, um, on my end, I think, you know, you guys have shared so much great insight with our listener community and we really appreciate it deeply.

It's great to reconnect with you guys. Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Juan Sanchez: Yeah. Thanks, Aneeth.

Mallory Mejias: Thank you both so much for joining us, Juan. You mentioned your LinkedIn and Dale, I'm not sure if you, if you want people to keep up with you there as well, but is there any place that people can reach you and, and follow what you all are working on?

Dale Cyr: Yeah, they certainly can follow me on LinkedIn and, uh, and then through there, you know, reaching out for specific questions and things of that nature, happy to share, share what I know and what I don't.

Mallory Mejias: Awesome. Yeah. We'll drop both [00:54:00] of those links in the show notes. Thank you both again and listeners, we will see you all next week.


Mallory Mejias
Post by Mallory Mejias
June 27, 2024
Mallory Mejias is the Manager at Sidecar, and she's passionate about creating opportunities for association professionals to learn, grow, and better serve their members using artificial intelligence. She enjoys blending creativity and innovation to produce fresh, meaningful content for the association space. Mallory co-hosts and produces the Sidecar Sync podcast, where she delves into the latest trends in AI and technology, translating them into actionable insights.