The 2016 Top 25 Consultants: William Shea


William Shea Cognizant Excellence in Healthcare 

Cognizant’s William Shea has been driving successful managed care strategies for more than 30 years and across several industry cycles. With such a lengthy career, he’s seen a lot of changes take hold in the industry, many of which he helped pioneer in the earlier wave of value-based and accountable care. His knowledge and experience are so vast, clients from the 1990s continue to seek his counsel, across their own careers as well as his.

He leads the company’s Health Plan Consulting practice, and has overseen growth of the practice from $10 million in annual billings and 20 consultants to a team approaching 500 while growing the practice’s business by more than 50 percent annually since joining the firm in 2009. In that time, Cognizant has expanded its market presence across payers, providers, pharmacies and government.

People want to follow a good leader, and Shea has made it a priority to create an environment that nurtures employees’ gifts—a place they want to come and work. “As a consulting firm, we are only as good as the people we have on our team, so providing a challenging and rewarding organization for professional and career growth is key to the success of any consulting leader,” he says.

Among the biggest factors to his success, he says, are his passion, deep industry knowledge, and intense focus on healthcare industry.

“I have worked extensively across multiple healthcare market segments including payers, providers, pharmacies and government and this 360-degree view allows me to bring unique value and insight to my clients,” Shea says.

He says addressing new challenges faced by clients and consulting teams on a daily basis, resulting in a unique vantage point from which to understand the entire industry and its underlying market dynamics are what he enjoys most about the profession.

“As a consultant I have the privilege of working with numerous clients facing off against the same industry challenge.  This provides me unique insight into the relative value of alternative business strategies—and positions me, and my team, to have a meaningful point of view that can influence our client’s most strategic decisions.”

Winning the Top 25 Consultants Award, Shea says, is a testament to the wonderful clients, mentors and consulting leaders he’s worked with over his career.

What motivates you to excel?

“Our team. Every morning we wake up realizing that the decisions we make impact our consultants’ personal and professional lives. That is a critical responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. Additionally, the ability to have an impact on the healthcare industry and to shape its course. Throughout my career I have had the good fortune to work with industry-leading clients who were committed to improving healthcare, both on the administrative and financing side, as well as on care delivery. ”