University of Michigan School of Information
Alumni Snapshot: Lisa McLaughlin
Co-Founder and CEO of Workit Health
Workit is a digital addiction care clinic and we do telemedicine-based care for individuals with opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder through mobile phones. Right now we cover 34 million lives so we are really scaling nationally. My role is focused on business development and clinical. I use my social work background to really lead our development teams to help develop dynamic programing and then really bring more of my information science background to fundraising and more macro level strategy for the company.
Advice for people interested in the field
When it comes to digital therapeutics and products, I was lucky after my time at SI to work in edtech on some early open education MOOC platforms and that's something that inspired me to develop a really deep understanding of UX features that I have used through my career including in this role. Being an early adopter has helped me a ton. Just trying everything and getting to know all innovations in my field.
Looking at organizations’ communications plans, the types of ways that their systems are set up for communicating has been a guiding light my whole career and every organization I have come into and every organization that I founded. I spent a lot of time looking at knowledge management and how we are learning as an organization and I got that understanding from learning how many gaps there are as an organization scaled. SI 500 was a big [help] for me.
Favorite SI memory
I really have two. In social work school, I stumbled into a seminar that was a community information seminar. At the time I was really burnt out doing direct practice. I was responding to [Hurricane] Katrina and was talking to all these people who lost their homes and a lot of what I was doing was information gathering. Using a survey to ask people what they needed. A lot of the questions were like “ Can you estimate the damage of your house?” and their whole house would be destroyed and they had nothing.
I stumbled into the seminar with a group of people thinking about the social impacts of information gathering and I was really blown away. And I knew it was the career for me. So I immediately asked my social work advisor to tell me more about SI and how I could get involved. And that was a spark for me and I stayed really close in touch with all the students that were part of the seminar. They have all done amazing social impact work with their careers,
The second memory is that I had the pleasure of working for Dan Atkins after I graduated who was the co-founder of SI. I got to do this amazing project for him where I interviewed 30 people he knew in his career to create a report on what should happen to the community informatics program at SI. It was really amazing and I met so many brilliant people that I never would have gotten a chance to talk to. I got so many ideas for how to think as a professional. It was the best thing to do after I graduated and I am really grateful to SI for merging that opportunity for me.
Advice for current SI students
I developed really good habits for managing my professional network and I started the practice because I had really smart classmates and colleagues that were doing this. Everytime I met someone I put them on my Linkedin and I followed people on Twitter. I got really smart about how I interacted with communities professionally and that’s been really helpful to my career. People who spoke with me at a summit became angel investors in my company. The network you are forming now is the seed of your whole professional network going forward. And it's really powerful, so as much as you can invest in your classmates, you will be amazed at what that brings you in your career.
Published Dec. 21, 2020
Send UMSI an update and share your own Alumni Snapshot with the world.