Loretta Gallagher - Founder, Gallagher Associates, LLC

Loretta Gallagher is the founder of Gallagher Associates, LLC, an IT firm specializing in the implementation of Electronic Medical Records.  Before devoting her work fulltime to Gallagher Associates, Loretta was an adjunct professor for Passaic County Community College. She also worked closely with Rutgers University and William Paterson University’s Office of Continuing Professional Education; working with companies on their behalf to assist with IT training needs.  Loretta has written several training tutorials for Rutgers Office of Professional Development for Microsoft classes they offer.

Loretta Gallagher has an undergraduate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Finance/Economics and a graduate degree in Education from Marygrove College; she is a Microsoft Office Certified Specialist and holds two Epic certifications.

Loretta’s professional skills include:

  • Multi-hospital implementations that include inpatient, revenue and ambulatory.
  • Managed $10 + million Go-live/Command budget.
  • Extensive ability in scheduling and tracking of resources.
  • Incorporate multiple intelligence training techniques which enhance understanding and retention of information systems content
  • Support the CIO and CMIO in all aspects of the Clinical Program implementation, Vendor Management, communications with key stakeholders, liaison with Portfolio, PMO and collaboration with service areas and clinical stakeholders.
  • Facilitate decision making through system defined intake and project governance structures, project management structures and decision criteria.
  • Help ensure that system build goals and usability are met through rigorous application of agreed upon workflow requirements, governance and decision making processes. Report progress and communicate effectively with Executive Sponsors, clinical and business stakeholders and other governing councils.
  • Outstanding analytical abilities, interpersonal, negotiating, problem solving and decision making talents

In addition to the positions at the Universities and Gallagher Associates, Loretta Gallagher has a husband and three daughters.  She lives in Wayne, New Jersey and looks forward to being part of the evolution in healthcare IT.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

In the early 90’s my husband and I were doing the two people working and trying to raise a daughter.  When I became pregnant with my second child we decided it would be a good time to take a few years off and concentrate on the family.  So, in July 1993 I left the work force.  Although I love being a mother, I missed the adult interaction and work environment terribly.  Having planned on not working for a few years, meaning we planned on me not having an income, it seemed like an opportune time to start a business and make a go at it.

By September 1993, just three months after leaving the work force, Gallagher Associates was forming.  With two little ones at my ankles and the internet in my home, I started networking.   I started with my first client, a local state college that hired my company to help them with an overflow of corporations calling their non-credit professional development office for help with the emerging computers and software.  It was the perfect start, I was out of the house about two days a week and trying to develop new clients the other days during naptimes and early evenings after bedtimes.  Within a year we were growing and I was having my third child!  As the family grew the commitment to the business grew.

When the kids were all in school I would be onsite at clients businesses, as they grew older we grew again and I often traveled.  This business actually grew in the stages of my children.  By the time they were all in high school, we had a dozen associates and clients in many states. Today one daughter is married, and one is engaged.  My son-in law does some part time work with the business and my daughter helps in the office.  Truly the definition of a family-owned small business, the American dream.

How do you make money?

We sell consulting services; we essentially sell our experience and knowledge.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

With very little overhead when we started, we turned a small profit our first year and continued to grow.  We have been profitable 24 out of our 25 years

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I never had doubt it would work, I was unsure how big or small we may be in the end.

How did you get your first customer?

Cold calling and networking; not always a fun part of the business.  You need to be strong and handle rejection.  Building a client base is tough and requires a great deal of perseverance.  Getting in touch with the right people and getting them to hear you out can be a challenge.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

I have never advertised or marketed our services.  We have a large base from referrals and I do cold calling and networking.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

I had an associate that was on-site with a client for several months and well ingrained into the project.  Weeks before go-live she asked for an unreasonable amount of money or would leave.  Leaving both the business and the client in a bad position.  In the end I let her leave.  I found it unprofessional in the middle/end of a job to change your terms and not a precedent I wanted to set with other associates.  This decision added burden to the business and bringing in outside resources to assist was costly.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

A strong foundation and understanding of the industry we support and the ability to work long and hard hours.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Our annual holiday party!  Getting everyone together we have worked with and celebrating their successes and the businesses together.  Taking time to appreciate each other and how hard we all work.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

Hopefully many more years of hard work and happy clients.  My son-in law has started doing some work with the business and my daughters are beginning to take part also.  We would like to stay a small family run shop and work together.

What business books have inspired you?

I really have not turned to books on my business for inspiration.

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