Carl Camden and Hollie Heikkinen Exclusive Interview with Matt Bird at Converge2Xcelerate | ESG News – Boston, MA
Carl Camden, Founder/President of iPSE-U.S and Hollie Heikkinen, CEO of iWorker Innovation with Matt Bird at Converge2Xcelerate Conference (Boston, MA)
- Approx. 36% of US workforce are independent contractors
- Carl is the former President and CEO of Kelly Services
- Independent Workers contribute approx. $1.56 trillion to US economy
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Carl Camden, Founder/President of iPSE-U.S and Hollie Heikkinen, CEO of iWorker Innovation with Matt Bird
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
All right, here we go. We’re still going and Oh my God. Well we have next, we had Carl Camden and Hollie Heikkinen. Carl, how are you doing buddy? Good to see you, Hollie. Good to see you. So Carl you are the co-founder of iPSE, the associates for independent workers. Hollie, the CEO of iWorker. You both our partners or on the iPSE side, right?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 00:22
iSPE is actually my client.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:24
He’s actually a client yet. Now listen, I got a chance to see both your keynotes and they were amazing. The lunch keynotes, it’s been a long day. Lots of content, lots of thought leaders, lots of information to consume. Carl, what’s your big takeaway from today? What can we pick up?
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 00:42
So I leave with more hope that we’re going to come up with solutions to make the world fair for America’s independent workers and they are going to have access to healthcare and that there’s a lot of great people here who care that they do.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:52
I agree. I absolutely agree. Hollie, how about you?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 00:57
My takeaway is that technology actually is probably the foundational element that’s going to change the face of healthcare for Americas.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 1:06
You know, that’s really well said. In fact, what we learned today is a conductivity, especially when a telemedicine and blockchain is really at the core of all of that, right? Infrastructure and conductivity. You know, you heard an interview earlier this morning with the, the ambassador of Kosovo. She talked about how after everything went down in Kosovo, they rebuilt with a connectivity infrastructure that now they can serve as pretty much the 80, 90% of the whole country via telemedicine. Why are we lagging so far behind here and when we are actually infrastructure wise, we’re way ahead of everybody else. It’s always easier to build from scratch than
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 01:44
It is easier to convince boards and people that you should tear down the old to build the new. It’s costly, it’s uncertain, but you have no choice when you’ve had, when your country’s been bombed as much as Kosovo was. But to start from scratch and she’s done a great job or she represented a tremendous job that’s been done in Kosovo to rebuild healthcare from scratch. That’s what the U S would look like if we were doing it from scratch.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 2:06
So basically necessity breeds invention and with a lack of fundamental infrastructure, they you went to virtual. That’s fascinating. Now you’ve got an interesting story. You told a little bit about it up there. You’ve come from some rough times, which brought you to where you’re at now. Now you want to empower a gig workers and 1099 workers with some layer of protection, some sort of benefits. And that’s what we’re, you guys see collectively our lot doing at iPSE, which is the advocating for those workers. Tell us a little bit about what you, what you’re doing.
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 2:36
Yeah, so iWorker Innovations is a national insurance brokerage and a platform as a service company. So I’m partnering up with companies that have the right tools and resources that can serve the independent workforce. So these are people that don’t traditionally have access to as portable benefit structure. They don’t have retirement planning and access. They don’t have protection from discrimination or workplace safety, all these types of things. So we’re actually doing a lot things under a single entity.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:01
What can, what can the average every day person do to help move advocacy and education? Move, move it, move it along a little quicker. Because I mean, that’s really what we’re talking about. Education. Adoption, right? What could people do to help?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 03:14
Well, let us hear your voice. And I would say join iPSE, the national association of independent workers. The website is IPSE dot U S a that’s the number one thing they can do. Let us communicate with them and connect with them so we can hear what they have to say and then properly represent them federally and on state level.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:31
I love that. And you guys are all definitely on, on the federal stage and creating graduations on the launch of national independent workers day.
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 03:40
No, I think that Hollie describes this group often as an invisible workforce. These are 37 million people who are making their money this way. They’re happy, they’re contributing trillions to the US GDP and people don’t see them, they don’t hear them. And most importantly, the government doesn’t help them. But we’re going to fix that.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:59
You and I, one of your speeches, or I think it was on the panel, you had mentioned something about how our workforce is growing, but the coverage is shrinking. Can you touch a little bit more on that? Because we’re the only modern country where health benefits is not a defacto, it’s not part of our right as a citizen. And you elaborate a little more. Why don’t you, can you touch on a little on that?
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 04:22
Yeah. We decided coming out of the great depression that we should be providing benefits to workers. That was a good way to help the country grow. And it did. And then we moved on to decide that even an errors, a wage and price controls, we could help workers by giving them insurance. But in the rest of the world, you get insurance no matter how much money you make, whether you work or don’t work because they believe that access to healthcare as a fundamental human right. And by the way, so do I. I don’t think that you should have to put your family at risk because you work in a way that the government doesn’t favor
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 04:58
So what’s important to me though is that we are a country founded on choice and as you see and you speak to people all across the United States, choices become a prominent word. And I think keeping the healthcare on the private market or in the private market is what we need to do as well.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 05:15
That’s fascinating. So on the proposition side, providing, providing education and resources to self-insured employers and independent contractors. We know we overlook, we use everyday care.com home advisor, you know Angie’s list, but those workers are gig workers. And when you think about as much as the reason why they’re gig workers, because they have other stuff going on, they have families, they need supplemental income, but they don’t have the fundamental benefits that full time workers do. How, how big is this market that we’re talking about?
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 05:49
You know, the market is a third of the American workforce and I think the easiest way to about this, 22 million Americans make 100% of their money this way and they love it. Another 12 million people make a significant part of their money this way and they hope to make all of their money this way. There are some independent workers who want nothing more than to have a job. There’s a whole lot of employees who want nothing more than to not have a job and to be an independent worker. And the workforce is in the process of sorting itself out. But when it’s done, the majority of American workers will be independent workers and they’ll never going to want to go back to being an employee.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 06:35
As someone who has insurance, I mean I have insurance, I paid for my insurance and I look at some of the simple mental plan plans that are out there. And I think to myself, why am I paying for this full coverage when supplemental is really all I need? And employers look at that as a cost that needs to be buried on the employees. So those that can’t afford this up metals and a lot of times more than sufficient. How are we going to get those programs out?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 06:59
Yeah, it’s going to take them a bit of change and really some policies on there’s IRS tax codes that prohibit us, but from putting certain products into an association membership that would allow an instant access you know, underwritten and direct access constantly. We have to fix a few of those problems before they’re going to happen. And then a big thing I’ve been working on is spending quite a bit of time with some of the larger insurance companies in the country. A lot of them realize that the, the times are changing, the way people are working, working is changing. And that some of these big companies that are so used to administering plans through the employer employee relationship, they’re going to lose some of their market shares. So they’re actually taking a look at this independent work force.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 07:39
You know, it’s fascinating. I’m a technologist and an entrepreneur. I, you know, I cover the world economic forum for, for a CNBC, Equities, ABC and some of the other networks from time to time. I’m here covering this event. But you know, I’ve, I’ve founded some technology companies and ad networks and I look at the insurance industry almost the way I look at managed a dedicated hosting and Rockwell location. We have cloud based computing today, which is that you just buy what you need and you don’t need any more. It’s very, very efficient. The insurance is still in a very brick and mortar infrastructure and we don’t necessarily need all that heavy brick and mortar infrastructure, a light program or pay as we go. A program approach may actually plug the gap for that market.
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 08:26
I think there’s lots of insurance alternatives. The question will be to find the ones that fit the different work styles best. When you have a workforce that chooses to engage for six months on a project, but then they take six weeks off and then they come back and engage for three months. It doesn’t fit a typical insurance model. It tends to raise the costs. And so I think that the insurance industry that Hollie comes from has got innovation today as well as how we go about reducing the financial penalties that individual workers are paying to gain access to these benefits.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 09:04
That’s actually really well said. So there is a market for supplemental, there’s a market full of brick and mortar there. There, there are, there are markets for each of these things. Where do you see the insurance market next 12 months?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 09:15
I see most of the larger companies really moving towards technology. They understand that there is the possible use with apps and different things like that with companies. For example, like Carl Camden used to be the CEO of Kelly services. It would be possible for them to use an app to administer and monitor those independent workers that are in that sphere and that would be the way to have people only pay for what they need as they use it.
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 09:40
And part of the job that we’ve got to do is to help the people who are actually making it possible for these independent workers to find assignments under work. We have to reduce the fear they have of running afoul of arcane government laws, regulations. They should be able to step in and help the people they deploy without worrying that the IRS or the department of labor is going to be coming after them.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 10:04
You know the gig economy; it’s growing so fast. It’s almost impossible to predict exactly where it’s going to end up. But if it’s organizations like yours that are keeping up with the changing times and we need, we need more of it, we need more of it. I’m really glad you guys can decide to come out and support the event. A big takeaways. What was your big takeaway for today? Leaving here, the net takeaway, telemedicine, blockchain, you saw some panels. What was your favorite part of the whole thing?
Hollie Heikkinen – CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation: 10:30
So we often talk about people returning to the way they used to work for thousands of years, basically as independent workers and from their homes. As I sit in this last session talking about a telehealth, I often sat there in amazement thinking in realizing that they were saying that they were just at some conference in Amsterdam, a global conference where they’re basically talking about taking medicine back to the home. So I just find this very interesting that we’re constantly moving back to what we used to do. So it’s not a bad thing. We’re just using the technologies to be able to work the way we want to work and live the way we want to live.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 11:06
Is that a decentralization of the current healthcare system?
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 11:10
It will ultimately end up being a de-centralization, but even more so a customer empowered, you know?
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 11:16
Well said. That’s a very well said. Well said. All right, Carl, big man. I’ve almost forgot. We have a former fortune 500 CEO standing right next to us. What’s the big takeaway? All the content, every consume. What’s your favorite part of today?
Carl Camden – Founder/President, iPSE-U.S.: 11:29
You know what? I think that the progress that the blockchain people have made is tremendous. When you, especially when you start having people who are working for shorter and shorter periods of times at companies and for people whose insurance needs aren’t being met by that one doctor that they went to for everything back when they were younger. But now a hundred doctors, 50 doctors, but know they go straight to the specialist, they, they skip, go and move on to the target that have a system that securely manages the aggregation of that medical data, securely manages the aggregation of the diagnoses and in the future will allow AI is to sweep through it and to point out problems that a doctor would. Those a doctor doesn’t have the same breadth of embedded knowledge that an AI would and say. And by the way, doctor, you should be checking about this cause this collection of symptoms often represents a specific issue.
Matt Bird – Host, Traders Network Show: 11:54
Well, you just touched on the really cool part. It’s the hidden value within the what the immutable ledgers and the, and the data can reveal within it within a blockchain stack. It’s, we, if there is information that we don’t know what we don’t know and they’ll produce that that day and those outcomes. But listen, it’s great to have you both here today. We’re going to be closing up, wrapping up today’s coverage of the Conv2x conference. I’m Matt Bird, you’re watching ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS are syndicated partners. Special thanks out to equities.com for underwriting the program today. And I think we have one or two more guests, I got to tell you guys this great.