Meet Castlight: Q&A with Tamar Rudnick, Senior Vice President of Marketing

In our blog series, Meet Castlight, we’re featuring some of the best hearts and minds that drive our business. In this Q&A, we learn more about Tamar Rudnick, our senior vice president of Marketing.

What’s your role? How does it support Castlight’s mission?

As the head of our Marketing organization, my priority is to ensure that we are effectively communicating our leadership in health navigation to our customers, our prospects, and the market at large. Over the past decade, Castlight has evolved considerably from our roots in transparency early on, to our expansion into the wellbeing market when we acquired Jiff, and most recently as we’ve extended beyond digital navigation with our high-touch Care Guides solution. It’s critical for Marketing to communicate this evolution to the market, so that we’re really understood for the breadth of offerings we have today. 

What led to your decision to join the Castlight team?

I joined Castlight from Bain management consulting in 2014, just before we went public. I was excited about joining a digital health company whose mission was (and still is) to help people live happier and healthier lives. Moreover, I was looking for companies that were at an inflection point in their growth trajectory, and Castlight was really appealing. We had clearly found product-market fit in the employer market, but there were still really interesting questions being asked about how to continue driving growth and product value.

Finally, I was looking for a team and culture I really respected, and I was blown away by the talent I saw at Castlight. I’ve been here almost eight years now, and I continue to see this as the best professional experience of my career—from the people I work with and the teams I have had the honor to manage, to my own professional journey and development as a leader in this organization.  

What’s your mantra?

Stretch yourself, try new things even when they feel hard, and learn and get better with each attempt.

I’ve always been interested in psychology and studied it in school for a number of years. Early on, I learned about the growth mindset concept, a term coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. The concept is that, relative to a fixed mindset, a growth mindset assumes every person can grow and learn with deliberate effort and practice—intelligence and creativity are not inherent, fixed attributes.

I live by this mindset. With each experience, I ask myself, my team, and my kids, “What did we learn, how can we do better?” I get varying responses, including the occasional eye roll. 🙂

What was your go-to quarantine activity?

I have two young children—a two-year-old and a five-year-old—so our family’s quarantine activity was getting out of the house, expending energy, and exploring every possible playground and park in San Francisco, where we live. We found some great new hidden gems, including a rope swing on a tree with views of the city. For an at-home alternative, we invested in our backyard, which is now outfitted with a trampoline, water table, and basketball hoop. We’re incredibly grateful for childcare to have returned!

What’s the biggest challenge and opportunity for leadership with a remote workforce?

As I write this, Castlight is just beginning our own return to the workplace after 15 months of remote work. During that time, our biggest challenge was maintaining our strong culture and sense of community and supporting team collaboration. I believe the hybrid workforce model is here to stay, so it’s critical to evolve and find new ways to foster community and collaboration when we aren’t all side-by-side five days a week.

At Castlight, we’ve started to do that by having more built-in touchpoints and leveraging various collaboration tools, and I think each team will continue developing their own unique approaches to community building. For example, my team has instituted a “celebrations and recognitions” habit during each virtual team meeting to focus on appreciating our colleagues now that we have fewer opportunities to do so informally.

While the transition to a hybrid model will certainly pose some challenges, I believe it has some real advantages that will fundamentally expand the relationship between employees and their employer—it can foster a greater sense of trust, create more flexibility, and, ultimately, increase employee happiness and productivity. 

What are you most excited about as the next innovation in digital health?

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many health trends, including telemedicine. What I observe happening today in digital health is an expansion from traditional “bumps and bruises” telemedicine to true virtual primary care. This could drastically increase access to good primary care—in a really affordable and efficient way—at a time when there’s a primary care shortage. Given how much research has been done to show the extremely positive impact of primary care on long-term health outcomes and cost of care, this trend creates a really exciting opportunity to fundamentally bend the cost curve and enable people to lead healthier lives. 

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I love running and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. I really love the clarity and headspace I get from a five-mile jog, and I’m lucky to live in a beautiful city where I can find views of the water pretty easily. I love reading, so listening to books on tape while I’m driving to pick up my kids from school or finding a new podcast while on a run gives me great joy. In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt was terrific during the pandemic, and I’m just starting to listen to the latest iteration of it, which is called Our Shot and is about what comes next post-pandemic.