Christi Throneberry Henry, PharmD
Founder and Chief Executive Officer | Clinical Solutions Pharmacy
See a need and fill it.
That simple mantra led Christi Throneberry Henry to launch a unique business in 2004 to provide mail order pharmacy and consulting services to correctional facilities. She began by providing medications to one small county jail. Today, Clinical Solutions Pharmacy works with more than 370 correctional facilities in 24 states.
"I absolutely love fixing problems and a really good challenge," she said. "If you think about it, it is the genesis of how most entrepreneurs start their companies."
Her first introduction to healthcare came from her father, Larry Throneberry, who spent his entire career as a hospital administrator. "He would constantly encourage me to consider healthcare as a profession. I am so glad he did!" Henry said.
She traces her desire to become a pharmacist back to Cullman High School in Alabama. "I have always loved math and chemistry," Henry explained. "I was encouraged early on in high school by an amazing math and chemistry teacher to take college courses at a local community college for calculus and inorganic chemistry. That decision changed the entire projection of my career as it allowed me to start pharmacy school earlier, and I was able to obtain a head start in starting my business."
She completed her undergraduate degree at Samford University in Birmingham before earning her PharmD from Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Her training continued with a year of residency at Ascension Saint Thomas Health, which brought her to Nashville.
Henry said she really loves the intersection between clinical care and healthcare business where she resides. Like many in the industry, her work is made more meaningful by knowing that it helps others - whether that is the end user who gets much needed medications, a client trying to find effective solutions or those carving out careers at Clinical Solutions. "I enjoy watching my employees go from an entry level position to one of our top levels within the company. That is what gets me up in the morning," she said.
Finding the right people is always a challenge, but Henry recognizes the need to follow the business axiom of "hire good people and get out of the way." Currently, Clinical Solutions has about 150 employees. After landing two exciting new contracts, she said the company anticipates adding another 20 to the staff.
Like many entrepreneurs who nurture a business from idea to expansion, she said it can be difficult to let go of tasks. "When you start the business, everything does have to be an emergency because one little thing can put you out of business," Henry noted. Now that staff has grown alongside of the company, she's trying to put day-to-day issues into perspective. "Everything is not an emergency," she stated, before adding, "I say that ... but living it is a little different. I still operate in this mode, which can be so exhausting," she said with a wry smile.
Still, Henry is making strides with identifying which items demand her undivided attention. "I have learned to always prioritize what is important," she said. "If you are always taking care of the patients first and foremost, everything else just falls into place."
Refreshingly, she admits to struggling with work/life balance, noting it can set up unrealistic expectations for women to think they should be able to do it all flawlessly. "My business is my life's work," Henry said. "I try to figure out how to make that work around everything else. There are choices you have to make, but my husband is so supportive."
She and husband Todd hike every weekend rain or shine, often with their seven-year-old rescue pup, Sophie. "We enjoy all the wonderful parks in Nashville and surrounding areas and being in nature helps clear my head and decompress," she said.
With long hours during the work week, Henry noted weekends tend to be very low key. "We both work long hours, so we like to just hang out." Henry enjoys painting, and when the opportunity arises to travel, the couple enjoys trying new foods and unique dishes. "We're definitely foodies," she said with a laugh.
Taking weekends to recharge prepares her for whatever new challenges land on her desk during the week. "I truly believe 99 percent of staying in business and staying relevant is just showing up and not giving up - just pure perseverance," Henry concluded.