A focus on training and optimizing middle management are the keys to her success.
To say Terry Weber has had a diverse career path is an absolute understatement.
With successful leadership roles across several industries, from oil and gas to psychiatry, from auto parts to lingerie, and currently as CEO of healthcare company Biote Medical, Weber brings her leadership skillsets everywhere she goes, and she has developed some tried-and-true strategies that work across any operation, including hospitals and healthcare facilities. The one consistent thread through all three decades of experience is growth.
Throughout her career, Weber has been responsible for building from $100 million to $2.5 billion companies in annual sales. Companies appearing on Weber's resume include Amen Clinics, brainMD, Frederick's of Hollywood, Mattioli Weber Consulting, Advanced Auto Parts, and several more.
What she learned by scaling multiple businesses (she grew the auto parts retailer from three stores to 2,000; increased Frederick's of Hollywood's e-commerce business from $500,000 to $7.8 million in less than 18 months), was that standardizing education across all staff levels helps raise everyone's competence and ensures the success of the business.
"Whether someone is trying to improve the interaction between physicians and patients, or building the skills of middle management, or scaling deliverables, training is key," she says.
Training acts as the rising tide that lifts all boats
Biote provides preventive healthcare through the delivery of personalized hormone therapy delivered by Biote-trained medical providers. The treatment works by placing pellets under the skin which supplies a steady dose of hormones to the body. Biote runs a program that trains practitioners how to identify and treat early indicators of hormone-related aging conditions.
"We function similarly to a hospital in that we have 5,300 providers who are contracted with us," Weber says. "We are both striving to influence the behavior of an independent practitioner, in order to create a satisfactory level of excellence."
This challenge of educating stakeholders is an issue across all industries and is particularly important in healthcare.
"Much of my career has been about getting better provider/patient interaction, which is a big issue for hospitals," Weber says. "For five years, I worked trying to get psychiatrists to relate to their patients."
The problem Weber faces at Biote is that physicians are not taught about the symptoms of menopause in medical school, so Biote must do the training. "At Biote, we train practitioners to have a conversation that they're not comfortable with having, not even with their wife," she says.
"Only 20% of OB-GYN programs have an elective course in menopause. Other medical programs don't even cover it. That means half of the world is going to their practitioner with menopause symptoms and the practitioner doesn't even know what menopause is."
In fact, in some cultures, menopause isn't even recognized, even though changing levels of estrogen and progesterone in aging women can create more than 34 symptoms, the most common being hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
To solve this problem, Biote created the physician certification program. Weber credits the education piece as being crucial in the continued growth of Biote.
"I took my consumer background and applied it to healthcare," she says. "Number one, you standardize education across the whole platform. Whether it's an OB-GYN or a family practice, or a cardiologist, you teach all of them to the same higher standard of competence. You standardize it like in a franchise, and then you standardize your expectations. For example, we actually put the education requirement in our contracts. It is also in the contracts that we require them to come back for continued training."
Biote also requires that the entire practice staff, not just the physicians, receive training so everyone is on the same page and there can be a smooth transition in transferring the knowledge to the patients. "We mandate that we train the whole office at the same time, and the outcomes are much better for the patient," she says.
Biote recently reached a significant milestone in terms of training; it now has contracts with trained practitioners in all 50 states. When Weber came onboard, the program was operating in only 10 states. "The big story for the company is that it is continually growing, and we haven't had any problem with the recession."
Mid-level management is crucial for change
It is Weber's mission as CEO to steer the company to continued growth. The third quarter report shows revenue of $42 million, an 18% increase year over year. Weber says this growth is driven primarily by the mid-level management in the company. "I know from my consumer background and experience in scaling big companies that my mid-level management is the key to change and growth," she says. "You can't scale or grow quickly, especially in healthcare, without a whole team of mid-level managers who've been trained and allowed to flex their muscles behind you. You're not going to get anywhere without the lower and middle ranks. That's where your change happens."
Weber says at Biote the mid-level group is given opportunities for career growth, to voice their ideas and opinions, hold meetings for their level with senior executives as observers only, and they are given decision-making power, which all helps them "practice" how they would handle situations before they get promoted, or thrown into a higher-level position.
"The real growth is going to happen at that mid-level, that's your talent pool," she says. "You can't just focus on your top-level executives."
Making a similar case for training in a hospital setting, Weber says the focus on rank and file is as important in successful operations of hospitals as companies. "Most entrepreneurs, especially in healthcare, they lean on their cadre of execs around them, but it's that mid-level management, the rank and file, who's going to be your future and you've got to train them now," she says. "The real change has to be operational and it's the nurses who make the day-to-day decisions who need to be involved. That's where transformation happens."
Weber says her aptitude for business started at the age of 12 with a birthday party service, and that did not align with her Irish Catholic family's focus on education. "Most of my family members are teachers with PhDs," she says. "But you know, since I was young, I've always been entrepreneurial."
By the year 2025, there will be 1.1 billion postmenopausal women worldwide, and many of them may end up being grateful that Weber and her entrepreneurial spirit is at the helm of Biote, continuing to create growth and change.
Editor's note: This article was updated on December 5, 2022.
“Whether someone is trying to improve the interaction between physicians and patients, or building the skills of middle management, or scaling deliverables, training is key.”
Terry Weber, CEO, Biote Medical.
Robin Robinson is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.
Weber shares leadership strategies that work across all industries.
The future of a company's growth lies in training mid-level management.
Biote provides training on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for medical providers across the U.S.