Progress for PointOne


Phillips boldly goes where no one has gone before

Jumping ship from a stable, established consulting firm to an upstart company is a big leap. But in accepting the position of vice president of business development at PointOne Systems, Janet Phillips has made an even more daring move: buying into a medical technology that is only beginning to emerge.
PointOne Systems is a bioinformatics company that is working to create software that allows physicians to develop patient care based on information contained in a patient’s specific genetic code. The firm is a spinout of the Medical College of Wisconsin, and has developed technology that creates a patient-specific genetic profile, structures it with specific genetic knowledge and protein expression data, and integrates that with demographic and other information.
Using PointOne technology, physicians will be able to generate personalized information on specific disease risk, likely response to various drugs, preventative strategies and treatment protocols by disease type.
In order to see the genetic-based system rolled out nationwide, PointOne needs to see the system implemented for the first time as a pilot, according to PointOne President Drew Palin.
"We want to form a couple of key strategic collaborative relationships with a health-care provider – an end user to help us design and test the system," Palin said.
Developing those relationships, which need to go deep in an organization and touch many people and departments, is Phillips’ job.
A licensed psychologist with a background in industrial organizational psychology, Phillips left the Milwaukee consulting firm of Humber, Mundie & McClary to take the position with PointOne.
"I was consulting with a variety of different organizations, including some in health care, on any kinds of people issues they had at work," Phillips said. "I was helping them hire executives, creating psychological profiles and doing team building. I’d work with teams on performance issues."
Phillips would also help companies while they were in the process of reorganizing to make sure the new structure would be effective.
But prior to her work at Humber, Mundie & McClary, Phillips had roots in high-tech that she perhaps has not worked fully out of her system.
"Before I came to Humber Mundie, I was with Microsoft," Phillips said. "Microsoft had grown tremendously – 40% per year prior to my arrival. They had a lot of young people in management who didn’t know about management and needed a lot of help. That gave me exposure to high-tech and being involved with a broader organizational focus."
A different kind of business development
Many people associated the term "business development" with outside sales, pressing the flesh and closing the deal. But while Phillips learned the kill-what-you-eat realities of sales, handling new business duties in the consulting arena (she landed more new business than anyone at her firm since 1952), her role with PointOne has more to do with setting up a complex working relationship after the deal is sealed.
Phillips’ background can be useful in a number of environments, according to United Way Milwaukee communications and marketing director Candace Walton, who serves with Phillips on the board of TEMPO International, a nonprofit devoted to empowerment and networking for female business leaders.
"She brings the real human perspective," Walton said. "She has an excellent background in human resources and working with people."
And working with people is what Phillip’s new position is all about.
"What I am doing is going into a client organization – these are large health-care providers – and mobilizing all the different sectors in order to get our project customized for the need at hand and implemented," Phillips said. "Right now we are working with Aurora. In time, we will branch out and work with other health-care providers as well."
Because of the complexity of the system and the degree of change it brings to health care, it just may take someone with Phillips’ background in organizational change to make the product go.
"It is business development in that the only way we can successfully gain revenue is by effectively organizing every aspect of a client organization to bring our product to fruition," Phillips said.

May 10, 2002 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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