We had the good fortune of connecting with Ezra and Gina Kuenzi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ezra and Gina, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of Connect Pediatrics is the culture that we have worked to create and carry out to the families we serve. We started Connect Pediatrics in 2014 with the simple goal of providing each family with the same level of service that we would want for our nephew, Dillon (Dillon went without oxygen for an extended period of time at birth and requires almost 24/7 nursing care). Over the last six years, we’ve experienced substantial growth and provide private duty nursing and therapy services to hundreds of children across Texas. In six years, however, we have never had a marketing team or even one person who is focused on growth. Instead, we’ve focused on creating and carrying out our culture on a daily basis. The core of our culture is building and developing relationships.
As a pediatric home health company, we provide nursing care and therapy services to medically fragile and special needs children. Many of these families never pictured having a medically fragile or special needs child, and oftentimes, each day can be a struggle. Each family has a different story, and in order to provide the highest level of care, we focus on getting to know each family and finding caregivers who are the “right fit” for each family. That said, finding the “right fit” takes a lot of time and effort which is why relationships are so important to us. Relationships require open and clear communication (both the good and the bad). Relationships require listening. Relationships require trust. Relationships require mutual respect and mindfulness. Relationships require understanding other people’s perspectives. Every single day we actively work on building relationships and carrying out our company culture. For example, we celebrate birthdays, recognize milestones and achievements, and also try to provide support and encouragement when a family or caregiver is going through a difficult time. A relationship driven culture takes a lot of time and effort, but at the same time it is the most rewarding aspect of our business because we are privileged to have relationships with some very special people.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Before starting Connect Pediatrics, I worked as a lawyer and Gina worked primarily in a large hospital setting in the cardiac cath lab. However, we both knew that we ultimately wanted to start a pediatric home health company. We started Connect with very few industry connections and no outside advisors. There was a huge learning curve, but we were young and eager to get started. We made mistakes along the way, but we learned through our mistakes and focused on getting better every day. As we’ve grown, we realized that our lack of industry experience has actually been a competitive advantage in the sense that we have a different perspective from many of our competitors, are structured differently, and tend to think outside the box with various operations issues. As we’ve grown, we have continued to focus on people and cultivating relationships, but we’ve realized that we cannot personally have relationships with every employee and every family that we serve. It takes a team to build relationships. Over the past year, we’ve focused on building a team that fits our relationship-driven culture. We have a fantastic team in place that not only understands our culture but is actively engaged in carrying out our culture by developing and fostering relationships.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have a lot of out of town family and friends and always love showing them around the DFW area. Out of town guests typically want to see something unique to Texas. The Fort Worth Stockyards provides that experience with its history, daily cattle drive, rodeo, and Billy Bobs. Downtown Fort Worth (Sundance Square), Magnolia Ave., and W. 7th Street area are some of our favorite places in Fort Worth. We lived in downtown Fort Worth when we first moved to the DFW area, and we’ve been to almost every restaurant, entertainment venue, museum, etc. that’s close by. Some of our favorites are Four Day Weekend, Pho District, Heim Barbeque, the Modern Art Museum, and the Fort Worth Zoo. As a sports fan, catching a football or baseball game in Arlington or a basketball or hockey game in Dallas is always fun. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) tour is a must see!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In June 2006, our nephew Dillon was born. Because he went without oxygen for an extended period of time, he suffered severe brain damage. He’s the inspiration behind what we do. Without Dillon, we would have never started Connect and we would have never had the opportunity to help all these children and their families. One of our favorite quotes and the inspiration behind our name is “You can’t always connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards.” We still don’t see the full picture, but looking back we can see that God has used Dillon’s life in so many ways, and we are grateful to have a small part in his story.