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Healthassist, Inc.: leading through a pandemic

Cynthia Ingols (Institute for Inclusive Leadership, Simmons University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Devon Eckert (School of Business, Simmons University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Publication date: 23 June 2021


Case study abstract

The purpose of this case study is to illustrate how Dianne Savastano, founder and CEO of Healthassist, Inc., a US-based health-care advocacy firm, successfully led her clients and team through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. To gather the data for this case study, the authors interviewed the protagonists, the members of her team and two clients. The authors read Healthassist Newsletters and the firm’s documents; and in fact, they included one Newsletter and several documents in the Exhibits of the case study. The authors conducted a literature review for articles in newspapers and journals about the newly developing field of “health-care advocacy,” a field which Savastano helped to create.

Findings of the case study

The authors illustrate how Savastano, using the five practices of exemplary leadership by Kouzes and Posner, in The Leadership Challenge, led her team through the pandemic of 2020. This is a story of a woman leader, using traits such as warmth, empathy, analysis and decisiveness, keeps her small business afloat when so many other firms collapsed in 2020.


The authors conducted seven interviews and literature searches on the topics of health-care advocacy; women leaders; leading through a crisis; and COVID-19.

Practical implications

The case study illustrates how a woman founder and CEO can lead her firm through a crisis.

Value of the case study

This is an example of how a woman leader managed through the 2020 pandemic.

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship



Ingols, C. and Eckert, D. (2021), "Healthassist, Inc.: leading through a pandemic", .



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Cynthia Ingols and Devon Eckert.

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