Episode 14 -Cindy Ehnes

Episode 14 -Cindy Ehnes.png

Terri talks with Cindy Ehnes about how she sees crisis as opportunity, how she insists on thriving not just surviving, and how she didn’t let losing her left hand at the age of 19 hold her back from becoming not only the first disabled professional skier but in being a champion for patients in the healthcare system. 

Who is Cindy Ehnes? 

Cindy Ehnes is the Executive Vice President of COPE Health Solutions, an attorney licensed in California and Colorado who served as Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Director of the CA Department of Managed Health Care for seven years, the author of The Prentice Hall ADA Compliance Advisor and was a world class ski racer.  She served for nine years as Consumer Representative and Chairman of Colorado's insurance plan for uninsured, high-risk individuals and was the Enforcement Director for the Consumer Affairs section at the Colorado Division of Insurance, where she oversaw passage of several patients' rights initiatives, including new rules for patients with chronic conditions and for newborns.  


Show Highlights 

  • Cindy became a ski racer in the mid-west and got a ski scholarship to college  

  • Cindy lost her hand in a meat grinder when she was 19 

  • Cindy finds joy in the littlest things in life which is a major factor in her ability to face the challenges in her life 

  • Cindy’s mom helped give her courage to continue with her life very quickly after the amputation 

  • The importance of not transferring your fears as parents to your children  

  • Cindy was selected by cosmetic company Bonnie Bell to ski with their national team and became the first person with a disability to be a professional in the ski industry 

  • Cindy is a firm believer in not just surviving, but thriving 

  • Cindy moved to Colorado, practiced law, had her two daughters, one with a severe medical issue and due to the medical issue, changed her life priorities 

  • Cindy learned that her child, and others like her, were medically uninsurable which led to starting a grassroots effort that led to her work in healthcare 

  • Cindy moved to California and was asked by then Governor Schwarzenegger to be the Director of Managed Healthcare 

  • Cindy became inspired to begin the work on building the technical infrastructure in California to support integrated medical records from experience with Kaiser’s integrated medical record system while she had breast cancer  

  • Terri and Cindy discuss healthcare in the US and the healthcare systems supporting it 

  • Terri talks about the frustrations associated with having disparate medical record systems in managing her healthcare 

  • Cindy used her power of being a regulator to help patients  

  • Patients are expected to, with the high cost healthcare programs, to be empowered to make their own healthcare decisions but aren’t given the tools to do so 

  • Terri talks about her increased optimism around healthcare with changes in the FDA  

  • Cindy encourages those involved in healthcare to focus on the patient because that will simplify solving healthcare related problems 

  • Terri talks about as investors, we can do well and do good and should be focusing on leaving the world a better place for our kids and grandkids and the importance of founders to develop products and services based on lived experiences 

  • Cindy would wave her magic wand to change the president.   


Terri’s Key Takeaway 

If we as parents can give our children a sense of agency over their own lives, we have succeeded as parents. 


Cindy can be found on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/cindy-ehnes-472a609/ 

Here’s a link to an interview she did in 2016.  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-dunn/women-in-business-qa-cind_b_11063826.html 

You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium:  https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead.  

Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com. 

To continue the conversation, go to Twitter at @PilotingLife and use hashtag #PilotingYourLife.