The Intersection of COVID, Family, and HPA

HPA Stories: As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, HPA team members share their personal stories and how they have impacted them professionally at HPA. We look forward to sharing these stories with you as part of our celebration of the people at the core of our business.

By Business Development Associate Taylor Seid

Navigating the professional world as a young graduate is always a big transition, but doing this during a global pandemic was an extra curveball. In May I graduated from Haverford College, a small liberal arts institution about 30 minutes outside Philadelphia. I earned a B.S. in biology with a double minor in economics and health studies, an interdisciplinary degree that equipped me with the tools necessary to question science, the economic drivers behind health solutions, and the current structures surrounding research and development in the science/health world. With about 1,400 undergraduate students, 96% of those living on campus, I found myself interconnected between diverse groups of friends, across activities and interests. Haverford’s atmosphere was collaborative over competitive, and the community felt like a supportive family.

Due to COVID, my summer internships after my sophomore year were all remote. Other than lab research roles, I never had an internship in-person, so “work-from-home” became my norm. I began to develop relationships over Zoom/Microsoft Teams, where the initial feelings of isolation started shifting to strong virtual connections. After wrapping up a remote internship before my senior year, I had planned to return to this company, in-person, in Pittsburgh. The Fall 2021 semester began and even though COVID-19 was very much present, the regulations were much different than in Fall 2020. These environmental changes prompted a self-reflection on how the pandemic had impacted me: How have I changed over the past year and a half? Have my attitudes on life shifted? As we re-enter a “normal” lifestyle, what is most important to me?

After much thinking and brainstorming, I kept coming back to the concept of family and community. I realized living in Pittsburgh, 2,425 miles away from my family is something I did not want to do right out of college. Growing up, my family was the “core four,” my mom, dad, and younger brother; this pandemic reflection helped me recognize family was one of my top criteria for a post-grad job, which meant location was priority number one, and it was time to look for jobs in Los Angeles. Over winter break, I submitted many resumes and job applications, specifically looking for a location closer to my family.

From my initial call with Susan Shah (Senior Director, People & Human Resource Operations), to my two calls with Justin Moser (Chief Operating Officer & Partner) and Maria Gontea (Vice President, Business Development & Operations), HPA felt quite different to me than other companies. These individuals genuinely wanted to get to know me outside of my hard skills, to see who Taylor Seid was as a holistic person. This same care and support continued when I met the rest of the team for an in-person lunch during my spring break and on my first day. Sumeet Goel (Founder of HPA) kicks off team meetings asking for recaps of everyone’s weekend, success is shared throughout the office, and collaboration/teamwork is a pillar of HPA’s core values. The environment created by the HPA associates felt familiar to me, and I pondered why – then it hit me: it is community-driven. From my “core four,” to Haverford College, to my track teammates, I’ve constantly been surrounded by groups of people with strong partnership, ownership, and drive for growth – qualities reflected in HPA’s internal, consultant, and client culture.

Within my first month at HPA, I had the opportunity to build client decks, work on projects with our independent consultants, and directly assist the partners in hands-on projects. As a BD associate at a smaller firm like HPA, I get the opportunity to step up and help outside of what someone at a larger institution would do. The entire team is dedicated to the personal and professional growth of each member, and an open-door policy encourages conversations between different levels of team members, who are all encouraged to step up and pursue career interests within the company.

I have seen these core values (ownership, pride, impact, and partnership) first-hand as an associate at HPA, and they really set us apart as a management consulting firm. Our team is dedicated to helping clients reach their growth and strategy goals through a relationship-driven business. Solutions and team member rosters are not copy/pasted between clients but are specifically tailored to meet the client’s needs and requests. Being a member of the HPA team is truly special, not only for the incredible professional growth opportunities but also for the mentorship.

As I start my third month at HPA, I have noticed three things about my work environment, myself, and how I envision my growth going forward:

1. Work-Life Balance: As a recent graduate, a key piece of advice I have been given is to make sure I have a good work-life balance and to set work boundaries. For someone who was constantly on the go in college, this has been a new skill for me. Though I have not mastered it, it is something that has been supported by HPA – where work is a priority but so is taking time for yourself to read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a funny movie. During the pandemic, it was so easy to blur the lines between work and life. Having 24/7 access to a laptop and working remotely created an expectation that work can get done at any time of the day even if it is outside of one’s work hours – something I had grown accustomed to. At HPA there is a balance of days with longer hours and other days where I have the time to find ways to grow outside of my day-to-day work. For example, I am presenting our August Lunch and Learn, which centers on a book on personal finance. Opportunities like this help create well-rounded employees.

2. Returning to LA: After four years in Philadelphia, I was excited to be surrounded by family. Though I have always been family-centered, the pandemic reminded me how precious life is and to enjoy every moment with loved ones and friends. I recently helped my younger brother move into the UCSD dorms for a summer session and have enjoyed many family dinners – something I had missed so much over the years in college. These are memories I will cherish! I made some new LA-based friends and have enjoyed exploring Southern California with them as young professionals.

3. My Growth Moving Forward: In my quarterly check-in with Justin and Maria, they asked me “Taylor, where do you see yourself in the next few years?” Again, HPA’s culture and environment is one where all are committed to the personal and professional growth of each team member. In college, I was heavily involved in working within the Admission Office; using this experience and love for meeting new people, I’m assisting Susan with new associate recruiting. My passion for healthcare is being cultivated as I get exposure to our healthcare industry clients. I enjoy analytical work, so projects that are Excel-heavy are sent my way to further develop my skill with functions and formulas, as well as my overall efficiency. As I continue to collaborate with my colleagues and independent consultants, I know that my growth with both hard and soft skills is nearly inevitable.

I’m grateful for the HPA team, and the journey that has led me here and leads me forward. I am looking forward to continued growth with and at HighPoint, and with strong community as a core value, I know the possibilities are endless.

Taylor Seid is a Business Development Associate at HighPoint Associates. As a member of the BD Team, she works closely with her team members and the HPA partners to foster client relationships and company growth. She also assists the consultant team to provide top-tier solutions and services to clients. 

Prior to joining HPA in June 2022, Taylor graduated from Haverford College with a BS in biology and minors in economics and health studies. At Haverford, she was a member of the varsity track & field team and heavily involved in the Admissions Office as a tour guide/senior interviewer and in the Residential Life Office as a Residential Assistant.  

Taylor has a strong research background, working on projects at Caltech and Haverford. Her work at Caltech, “Imaging neuropeptide release at synapses with a genetically engineered reporter,” was published in eLife Sciences, and she completed a senior thesis at Haverford entitled “Investigating the Role of Phosphodiesterases in Crithidia fasciculata Adherence to Mosquito Hindgut – Providing Insight for Preventative Treatments for Understudied Tropical Diseases.” Taylor has a passion for healthcare, summer interning at Highmark Health and working part-time as a Data Science Analyst during her senior year of college.  

After four years in Pennsylvania, Taylor is now based in Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys going for runs, hiking, trying new dessert places, and spending time with her family. Taylor has a younger brother who is a student-athlete at UCSD, and she enjoys watching his baseball games in person or on livestream!