Alumni Spotlight

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President Barack Obama is briefed by Nancy-Ann DeParle, Director of the White House Office for Health Reform, during a health care meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 18, 2009. ( Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)<br /> This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

Nancy-Ann DeParle

Partner & Co-Counsel
Consonance Capital

Nancy-Ann DeParle is a Partner and Co-Founder of Consonance Capital Partners. Prior to CCP, she was Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the Obama White House from 2011-2013, and served as Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform from 2009-2011. Before joining the White House, Nancy-Ann was a Senior Advisor and Managing Director at JPMP from 2001 to 2009, where she was a member of the Healthcare Group and served on numerous boards, including CareMore, LHP Hospital Group, and MedQuest. In addition, she was a Commissioner of MedPAC, the advisory board to Congress on Medicare policy matters, for six years. From 1997 to 2000, she served as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Nancy-Ann was also a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Health Systems Management at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a trustee or director of several corporate and non-profit boards including Accredo, Cerner, DaVita, Guidant, Medco Health, Triad Hospitals, Boston Scientific and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Nancy-Ann currently serves on the board of directors of Enclara, Psychiatric Medical Care, HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA) and CVS Health (NYSE: CVS); she also served on the board of CCP’s portfolio company KEPRO prior to its sale. She received a B.A. from the University of Tennessee and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She also received a B.A. and M.A. in Politics and Economics from Balliol College of Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

What is the best and/or most rewarding part of your role?

For me, the most rewarding aspect of being a private equity investor is finding world-class management teams that have a business that improves healthcare quality, efficiency, or access, and then partnering with them and helping them grow their business.  Healthcare is so exciting and dynamic—it’s always changing, always challenging, and hardly a day goes by that I don’t learn about a business I never heard of before.

And, there’s a fairly direct line between what I am doing now and what I enjoyed about my work at Bass, Berry & Sims—I’ve always loved being part of a team of people I respect engaged in a mission that is important.  At Bass, Berry & Sims, our team’s mission might have been protecting a minority shareholder’s rights in a family business where an individual was being “squeezed out,” or defending a public company’s ability to be taken private.  Now, as a private equity investor, my mission is to help our portfolio companies like Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC), a Nashville-based company that partners with rural hospitals around the country to help them provide behavioral care services to seniors.  PMC combines two of my passions—rural health and behavioral health—so helping the company grow is very rewarding.  (And I might add, it’s been fun to work with former Bass, Berry & Sims colleague Cindy Reisz, who is advising PMC).

What advice do you have for attorneys interested in having a career like yours?

To those who are just beginning their careers, I would say:  “Congratulations.  You couldn’t be at a better place to learn, to work hard and be challenged, and achieve your professional objectives.”  Take advantage of the depth and breadth of Bass, Berry & Sims to work with lawyers across the firm.  Try out different practice areas.  Ask some of the more senior lawyers to lunch and get to know them.  I wasn’t in the corporate practice group but I invited Brad Reed to lunch and he became a mentor to me and helped me when I started serving on corporate boards.  The culture at Bass, Berry & Sims is very focused on the success of the team as opposed to individual achievement—everyone is interested in helping you succeed, and they’ll have your back.

How did your time at Bass, Berry & Sims prepare you for your role?

Working at Bass, Berry & Sims helped prepare me for my career in government and private equity in so many ways.  I learned so much working with brilliant lawyers like “Governor” Frank Gorrell, Bob Walker, Brad Reed, Jim Cheek, and Leigh Walton.  They played a role that was much more than just “outside counsel,” they were “wise counselors” who helped their clients achieve their objectives and work through issues and resolve disputes.  I learned from watching them in negotiations, in depositions, and in the courtroom:  that you can disagree without being disagreeable, that you can accept an honorable compromise, that you don’t have to win every point but can allow others, even adversaries, to achieve some of their objectives as well.  Everyone I’ve worked with since—whether in private equity, as a director of public companies, or in the White House—has heard stories about my mentors at Bass, Berry & Sims and advice they gave me, or colorful pronouncements some of them made in similarly tough situations.

In addition to learning about what it means to be a professional and seeing the high standards the senior lawyers at Bass, Berry & Sims set for themselves, I also learned about the critical importance of culture in an organization.  “Tone at the top” wasn’t just a motto; it was real and palpable at Bass, Berry & Sims, and I saw it every day in the behavior of firm leaders like Mr. Bass, Sr., Woody Sims, and FA Berry.  Their dedication to the firm, devotion to their families, and belief in community service, forms the foundation of Bass, Berry & Sims’ culture.

Name one thing or experience you have had that would be most surprising for people to learn about you.

A favorite family vacation was the week we spent in the Bob Marshall National Wilderness in Montana, fly fishing, camping out, and riding on horseback over the Continental Divide.  I’ve never looked forward to a hot shower more than I did at the end of that week!

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

That’s easy:  Hawaii.  Any island, but I love Oahu, because you can relax on a deserted beach if you want to, but if you really need to go to Neiman-Marcus, you can also do that.

What is the last non-fiction book you read?

A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, of course:  written by my husband, Jason DeParle.  He [talked] about it at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville in October.  And on a flight to San Francisco a couple weeks ago I read She Said:  Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.

What is your favorite book & why? 

That’s a hard question, but among my favorites at different periods of my life are The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway; Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson; The White Album, by Joan Didion; Middlemarch, by George Eliot; and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X with Alex Haley.

What do you do to unwind?

I love working out, and I gravitate to group fitness classes because I need the community to stay motivated.  You name it, I’ve done it, from Barry’s Bootcamp to Cross Fit to Soul Cycle.  My current obsession is Orangetheory Fitness, a challenging workout that combines running on a treadmill, rowing, and weights.

What was your first job?

I started babysitting when I was 14.  But my first real job was working after school as a “soda-Jerk” behind an old-fashioned soda fountain at the Live & Let Live Drugstore in my hometown of Rockwood, Tennessee.  I made a mean hot fudge sundae.