Just over a month ago Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI) brought Danilo Coité, MD, onboard as the company’s new CEO to help drive success and growth while continuing the mission and passion for providing complex patient care in the home. Dr. Coité brings a unique blend of medical and business expertise and looks forward to embarking on projects aimed at developing IPI’s brand and helping to establish new and innovative ideas to embrace opportunities that lie ahead. Earlier this week we asked him a few questions to allow all of us to get to know him better.
Q: Why did you come to Independence Plus, Inc.?
A: I did my due diligence and was impressed with what Tami Müller (IPI’s Founder) has accomplished over the past 30 years, building a healthcare company that provides high acuity services to the most medically vulnerable people so they can live with their families. I was confident that I could scale the solutions needed for the future to make IPI more effective. Also, I am truly honored to be named the second CEO in the entire 30-year history of this company.
Q: Where have you lived and where did you go to school?
A: I was born and raised in Salvador, Brazil. I’ve moved around but for the last 16 years, I call Bolingbrook, Illinois my home.
I attended Medical School at the University of Autonoma Guadalajara (UAG) in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Q: What got you to the United States?
A: At 15 (without telling my mother) I applied to be a foreign exchange student in Reno, Nevada. A thousand students applied for seven spots but I was chosen. When I got selected, I told my mom and she didn’t stop me. I loved the people I met in Reno, especially my host family and a cardiologist I met while doing his landscaping work. I ended up returning to Reno for my undergrad degree.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be?
A: A doctor. I tried to talk myself out of it but I always wanted to heal, to make someone better. I knew I did NOT want to be a lawyer. My whole family—my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and also three of my brothers and my sister—all were lawyers!
Q: Who do you admire or look up to (living or dead)?
A: My mother. She was strong and determined—and she had strong values. She believed in the power of an individual; you can be ANYTHING. She lived her life to the fullest. She used to tell us that when you sleep, you’re wasting time. She got us up at 5 or 6 AM every morning, even if it was a holiday!
Q: Do you have a favorite sport to play—or watch?
A: Football, basketball, baseball…the San Francisco Giants, 49ers, Chicago Bulls are some of my favorite teams and I love watching the World Cup. I coached baseball for several years—Pony Baseball League. Also, I was an avid surfer growing up.
Q: What does success look like to you?
A: If I’m doing something that makes me happy, I’m successful…and I’m happy when I accomplish my goals and tasks – when I’m able to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to come home to after work?
A: My kids, my family.
Q: What is your personal or professional motto?
A: Personally, it’s “every day is a new day.” Professionally, it’s “Treat others as you want to be treated.”
Q: What traits are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud of my people skills. I stay calm and I bring people together. I think this is a natural role for me because I don’t identify with any particular group. This trait is especially important today because we live in such a polarized world.
Q: What characteristics do you admire in others?
A: Honesty, integrity, hard work—and humility!
Q: What does the world need more (and less) of?
A: Less hate. There’s a lot of hatred in this world. We need more understanding, more compassion.
Q: What’s the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned as an adult?
A: It’s so simple that you might think—is this the best you could come up with? But it is this simple, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
A: Manage my time better.
Q: What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for work?
A: That’s a hard one. What do you consider a sacrifice? In the English dictionary, sacrifice is about “giving up” something and I don’t think I’ve really done that. As an example, when I was coaching my son’s baseball team, I left work at 5 PM and, while I was driving to the game, I called in the line-up. I was always at the 6 PM game in time to coach! I didn’t need to give up my work or my family.
But you want an answer. Okay, I know. I would have spent more time with my family back home (in Brazil). I haven’t been back to Brazil in 2 1/2 years. I want to go there this year because I miss them.
To read more about IPI’s leadership change, click here.