How To Be An Incredible Practice Manager ft. Whitney Owens, Lindsay Keisman, Jaclyn Fortier & Uriah Guilford

An amazing practice manager is an essential part of a stable group practice.
Join us for this special panel discussion between group practice owners Whitney Owens, Lindsey Keisman, Jaclyn Fortier, and Uriah Guilford. Click to listen now!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

  • What to look for in a great practice manager
  • How a practice manager to support their practice and practice owner

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Practice Manager Pro
Productive Therapist VAs
Wise Practice Consulting (Whitney Owens)
Leading Your Practice (Lindsay Keisman)
Carolina Counseling (Jaclyn Fortier)

䷉ Click for full episode transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Practice Manager Pro Panel discussion. We're so happy you're joining us. In this discussion, we'll be talking with four seasoned group practice owners about what they look for and need from a great practice manager. In our panel, we'll be talking with Whitney Owens, who is the brilliant founder of Wise Practice Consulting, which helps other practice owners grow their practice. We'll also be chatting with the lovely Jacquelyn Fortier, who owns Carolina Counseling Wellness Associates. She is a seasoned group practice owner and one of the loveliest practice owners we've ever worked with at Productive Therapists. I'm so happy she's here. Lindsay Keisman is another genius practice owner who helps other practice owners through her consulting program, leading your practice. And of course, we'll also be chatting with the one and only, Yuraya Guilford, who is not only the head nerd and founder of Productive Therapist, but also has an amazing group practice in Northern California. So all in all, a crack team of practice owners who are looking forward helping you become the very best practice manager you can be. Thank you all for being here. This is going to be a really awesome discussion.
So maybe we could start out with our first question. What have you found to be important to you in a practice manager? And maybe we could get Lindsay to start us off with this. I know you have some good insights into this. What are your thoughts?

Sure. I know for me, for a practice manager, they need a lot of different variables, but the one that's really important is good communication skills, verbal, written. And I specifically look for a love of learning independently because I know that that role is constantly evolving, constantly changing, needs to stay up to date on everything. And I don't want to always have to tell somebody what they should be checking out. So I'll stop there.

That's an awesome observation. A love learning. I love that. I feel like that probably resonates with, Uriah, how do you feel about that? I feel like that's something we look for at Productive Therapist as well.

Oh, my goodness. There's always problems to solve, right? So the first thing that I thought of was somebody that's a problem solver who takes initiative because I want the practice manager to help support me to grow the practice and take some of the hard things off my plate and do so without having to be asked to do so. So someone who will identify the problem and then go find the resources to learn the solution and then ideally present the solution to me, and then I can say, Yes, that sounds great. Let's do that.

I find the most important quality of someone I can trust. Because if anyone's going to hear when something difficult is going on, then I can trust them with understanding the practice and loving it like I do. It's my practice manager. I give her that authority to really hold me accountable. As a business owner, when I'm struggling, maybe it's with an employee trying to make a decision on pay or on hours or on something like I can have my own biases and opinions. I want that in check with someone who also can see what's going on.

I concur with everyone so far having that and also being tech savvy and being able to teach me something that I might not be able to know. I know my practice manager has, in a very partnership energy, showed me some things I didn't know, and I want to learn new things. For, like Uriah said, to be that always learning and that energetic energy of like, Let me go fix that and learn that. Then we come back and we collaborate together in a partnership. I love that.

I can definitely say for me, my practice manager is my number two. That might not always be the case for every practice, but she definitely is a good sounding board for decisions, and even most recently, some pretty big decisions. It's hard to find anybody to work for you that cares about the mission of your business, but I think the practice manager needs to be bought in and understand why we're here doing what we're doing and why the mission matters more than just the day-to-day kinds of things. That's hard to find, but it's definitely possible.

Yeah, that's a great point. I know we hadn't prepared this particular question, but how In you guys' experience, have you... Because it's difficult when you hire somebody new, even though you know that they have the potential to be amazing or they already are amazing, they still don't know your practice like you do. They don't love it like you do yet. How have you helped your practice manager to learn to love your practice like you do?

I'm going to answer that one. I'll let the cat out of the bag to say that I currently don't have a practice manager manager because I have parted ways with someone who wasn't a good fit for me. And one of the things that made me want to answer your question is that I think that was part of a missing piece for me with my person. And personally, I just realized that wasn't something I could hire for an interview for and really believe. It was something I needed to see over time. But when I interviewed for some replacement administrative positions, I had looked for some people that had had leadership potential or leadership roles in the past, even if they were at a restaurant job or something that they had done younger. But I actually focused a lot more on values, right? So looking at what are my values as a person. And I know this sounds silly, but we do these values exercises for the business. But I I want my practice manager to be a bit of a mini me. And so it's more than just the practices global values, right? It's like, who am I as a person? Who am I as people's leader, as people's boss, as people's whatever I am to them in the business? So right now, I have somebody in that role, and I'm so super pleased to see that she is just that way, right? She has just shown some of the same characteristics that I really want to have. And maybe many me sounds weird, but I know for me, my goal was to get rid of some of my responsibilities, and I do them well, which is why I still own them, right? So if somebody else is going to do them well, then it's not too much of a jump and leap to hope that they would have the same similar characteristics and values and approaches. So a weird answer to your question, but I hope it did.

So Yeah, no, I really like that. So you said that you looked for somebody who either showed leadership potential or they had been a lead in some capacity in the past. Would you say that one of the things that makes a practice manager great and that helps them to learn to love your practice like you is somebody who takes initiative? They're a natural leader. They lean towards leading, and because of that, they're invested in the company they work for and what they're doing.

Yeah. Let me say I was looking for somebody who led teams of people in very social environments. For instance, the person who I've recently hired, I've got my eye on her for a practice manager. She did some associate's degree work, and she worked at a Starbucks, and she was lead at a Starbucks, which is a very extroverted social job. She then worked seven years at an AT&T sales store, but she was a lead salesperson, a mentor, mentee, additional roles. So it wasn't just leadership, because I think there's jobs you can get where you get promoted. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you are in charge of creating team culture. And it was really neat when I interviewed her. And I never thought about phone store as the way that I do now. But she was just like, they've got a new promotion every month, and you got to train them and get them ready to go. And they've got to know all the details, and you got to get them pumped about it. And then you've got to have expertise on every shift. And I just loved creating that for people. And I was like, Yes, that's what I want.

New recruiting opportunities, Starbucks and AT&T!

Great resource pools! That's really interesting. Does anyone else have any thoughts or insights?

I do. Going back to your original question of when you bring someone on, how do you... I do have a very healthy and good relationship with our practice manager. She's been working with me for a few years now, and I think of her as the front of the house and the heart of Carolina Counseling. She knows that I am a positive words of affirmation. I've sent her flowers. I've never met her in person, which is fun for a virtual assistant, but we just operate with this really great partnership. I feel like I found what that fit was, and I've been able to benefit from watching our practice here grow. We have two locations now in eight offices. Uriah knows a lot about our success story, and he's been a part of it. Just our relationship. We have a relationship of trust and mutual respect. She really is just in that version of energetic, problem solving, very responsive. I think that's one thing that we've worked on, just keep building. But she came in that way. Finding someone who just has those innate characters that you don't have to train. You sometimes don't need to. You just let them have the floor, give them the space to shine and bring in the trust. I trusted her from the beginning, and I think that also helped her feel like she had a place for a voice and to be able to use it. And that's been helpful as well.

That's brilliant. So the common theme I'm hearing here is somebody who takes an interest in the team that they're working with and who takes the initiative to build a culture with them. Does that sound about right? Yeah. So if you're watching this, you as the Practice Manager, those are some things that you can proactively do now to help you love the practice you're working with, but also, like Jaclyn put so well, be the heart of the practice so that the Practice Owner can depend on you. That's it for today. Thanks so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review and hit the subscribe button to make sure you never miss an episode. If you're looking for more personalized help, you can reach us through Thanks so much for listening. We are Productive Therapists, and this is the podcast that helps therapists get more done and have more fun.

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