If you think your schedule is packed, just take a peek at Jessie Knowles’s calendar. Between catching symphony concerts, attending Pilates classes, taking tennis lessons, volunteering her time to local charity organizations, and dreaming up new tiny food recipes—miniature versions of dishes like taco salad and twice-baked potatoes—it’s a wonder she has any time left for sleep, let alone a full-time workload. Fortunately, time-management is one of Jessie’s many talents—and as a project manager in WebPT’s Operational Excellence department, that talent is pretty much a necessity.
During work hours, Jessie’s passion for all things new makes her a great asset to her team, which is responsible for, in her words, “making the company more efficient.” Because she works with so many different departments—from finance to marketing to human resources—she must familiarize herself with a variety of workflows, initiatives, and goals. And that means she’s constantly learning. “We can be given a project that we know absolutely nothing about, and we just have to jump in and get up to speed quickly,” she says.
One of the largest projects she’s taken under her wing—and one that impacts every single department in the company—is managing WebPT’s HIPAA compliance plan. And as any professional in the medical field knows, HIPAA is a complex nut to crack, to say the least. But if there’s anything Jessie has learned in the process of becoming WebPT’s HIPAA guru, it’s that there are tons of compliance resources out there—most of them geared toward providers and practice owners. “The main thing [with HIPAA compliance] is that you can’t do nothing,” she says. “But I think some people just don’t know where to start. I would say, get on some mailing lists and attend a couple of webinars and take good notes, and you’ll be well on your way to doing something actionable.”
While Jessie has definitely found her niche at WebPT, her path here was anything but conventional. Born and raised in Great Falls, Montana, Jessie’s earliest work experience was lending a hand on the family ranch, which is home to “cows, horses, llamas, and a barn cat named Sam,” she says. After graduating from high school, Jessie headed to Portland, Oregon, to study for a degree in piano performance at Lewis & Clark College. But while she always enjoyed the music rehearsal process, she never really took a liking to the concert side of things. “People say you’ll get used to it and that you’ll get better at it, but I never really did,” she said.
So, after she graduated, she ditched her plan to pursue a career as a university staff accompanist and instead jetted off to France, where she worked as an English language teaching assistant for a year. When she got back to the states, she snagged a gig with her hometown symphony, serving as the organization’s education director.
But it wasn’t long before she was jonesing for something new and exciting. So, when her best friend, Rachel—who owns a boutique in downtown Phoenix—suggested that Jessie give the Valley of the Sun a shot, she decided to go for it. “I didn’t think I would stay long,” she says. “But I actually really like it here now. I live in downtown Phoenix in a really awesome community with a small-town feel.” And of course, being a Montana native, Jessie truly appreciates the beauty of a desert winter. “I still don’t love the summers,” she says. “But I love the winter.”
Thanks to “a totally random Craigslist ad,” Jessie ended up working for a local inpatient rehab therapy staffing company. “The therapists worked remotely, so we would help them with things like documentation and using the EMR,” she says. She found that she really enjoyed working in the rehab therapy space. So when Rachel mentioned WebPT to Jessie after seeing CTO and president Brad Jannenga present at a community event, Jessie immediately checked out the company website. Although she wasn’t looking for a new job, she ended up interviewing for a project management position, which she later accepted. And she hasn’t looked back since. “The best part of working for WebPT is the culture,” she says. “The flexibility and creativity here are awesome. Being in a fast-growing company means there are going to be some growing pains, but you also get to impact the way the company will be five or ten years from now, and that’s really cool.”
Plus, being part of an ever-evolving company means there’s never any shortage of new challenges to tackle—and for someone who fills her free time with welding workshops and one-noodle spaghetti recipes, that’s definitely a good thing.
Fave Five with Jessie
- Favorite food: Mom’s homemade lasagna
- Favorite movie: The American President
- Favorite sports team: Arizona Diamondbacks
- Favorite band: Itzhak Perlman
- Favorite place: Sun Mountain Ranch in Montana