Maven is building more than a product—we’re on a mission to transform healthcare for women and families around the world. At the heart of this goal is our team, who drive the impact we make on our members and clients every day. A truly people-first organization needs to be helmed by a strong, mission-driven HR leader, and we found that in Kate Muzzatti, our new Chief People Officer. 

We recently sat down with Kate to learn more about her background, what brought her to Maven, and the advice she has for other people leaders across healthcare and beyond. 

We’re excited to have you here at Maven, Kate! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Going into college, I wanted to be a psychologist, and my plan after graduating was to return to school to get my master’s and Ph.D. in psychology. After graduating, I ended up getting a job in people and recruiting at the largest advertising agency in San Francisco, while working towards my master’s part-time. When it came time to quit my job to get my master’s full-time, I found I was enjoying my work too much to do it. I ended up pausing the program and deciding to pursue a career in people and recruiting instead. 

My professional HR experience has been in high-growth startups, working for several founder-led companies. Most of the companies I’ve worked for have had a physical product that required a fulfillment center and a warehouse, so I have experience managing hourly employee populations, and meeting the varied needs of hourly, corporate, and tech employees. 

What made you interested in joining Maven as our new Chief People Officer?

I was drawn to Maven because of the mission. I’ve recently gone through my own family-building journey, and I faced challenges trying to become a parent. I now have two amazing children, but that experience made me want to work in an environment where being a working parent is supported and understood. 

I also sought out Maven because of how passionate everyone is about our mission—working in an environment like that every day brings me energy and joy. As a part of my hiring process, I spoke to Kate and the rest of the executive team and fell in love with the shared vision and purpose here at Maven. It’s incredibly important to me to have that purpose drive my work here. Additionally, I was really drawn to Maven’s mission of building an equity brand for all, and I am committed to doing that internally at Maven in my role as Head of People.  

You’ve said that DEIB is a primary area of focus for you. Can you talk more about how you’ve prioritized DEI throughout your career in HR?

DEIB has been an area that I’ve personally led at previous companies I’ve worked for. As a part of that, I sponsored all the ERGs and the DEI counsel, and that open line of communication and insight into the diverse needs of employees helped me design the companies’ programs and resources to make an impact. 

DEIB is an area that’s incredibly important to me, and it’s an area where I understand the impact that strategic investment and focus can make. As a company, Maven is extremely dedicated to advancing health equity and supporting DEIB among our members and clients. I’m excited in my new role to further advance Maven’s internal focus on these areas, ensuring that we are continuing to make a difference for our own employees. My upcoming focuses are relaunching Maven’s DEIB counsel with employee involvement at all levels of the company, and bringing in an Inclusion and Engagement Director to further drive these initiatives at the company. 

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What do you think are some of the unique challenges facing HR leaders in 2023, and how can they overcome these challenges?

  • Hybrid work and remote work: As the workforce continues to evolve post-pandemic, there is some great talent both currently at Maven and future Maven talent who prefer in-person office culture. There is also some great talent, both at Maven today and future Maven talent, who prefer hybrid work and can be successful in that set-up. Flexibility is the cornerstone of our philosophy on successful hybrid and remote work policies. We will continue to evolve our approach to meet the needs of the business and our teams. 
  • The macroeconomic environment and compensation: Today, healthcare costs are rising, budgets are under more scrutiny, and many companies are doing layoffs. In this environment, it’s important for people leaders to reexamine their total rewards programs to ensure it’s meeting employee needs. Between compensation, benefits, culture, equity programs, and more, leaders should ensure they have the right tools in place to attract and retain the best talent. 
  • Better support for working parents: Between the lingering effects of COVID-19, the broader macro-economic environment I mentioned earlier, and shifting reproductive health restrictions in the U.S., working parents and parents-to-be are especially struggling right now. For example, we see employees turning to their HR leaders asking for more support as they start a round of IVF or navigate a high-risk pregnancy. HR leaders may not find all the tools they need to help these employees as a part of their traditional healthcare offerings, and are instead looking to trusted family benefits solutions like Maven to fill those gaps in care and better support employees as they start and raise their families. Focusing on support for working parents will help employers retain talent, increase loyalty and lower healthcare costs overall. 

Here at Maven, we talk a lot about the importance of caring for employees through comprehensive family benefits. In your opinion, why should taking care of employees’ family health needs be a priority for HR leaders?

All of us are individuals, not just employees, and have many facets of our lives beyond what we bring to work every day. Not offering comprehensive family benefits creates a situation where employees don’t have enough support to manage their life outside of work, and they aren’t able to bring their best selves to their day-to-day work. Supporting people beyond the job, by giving them the tools and resources they need can have ripple effects across their lives, including improving their health and well-being as well as their engagement, productivity, and success at work.

In your opinion, what is one key thing HR leaders should look for when evaluating digital family health vendors?

The inclusivity of the benefit is always top of mind for me when evaluating vendors. For example, we know that LGBTQIA+ people who are trying to start their family often struggle to get coverage for their fertility treatments, or may be turned away by an adoption agency because of their sexual orientation. Looking for a family benefits vendor focused on offering truly inclusive, equitable care to all employees is key to reducing some of these disparities. As HR leaders, we’re the ones deciding to implement a new benefit, and finding a vendor that is proven to provide this kind of equitable care is often worth the increased costs of launching the new benefit. 

You’ve worked in HR for over 15 years. If you could share one piece of advice with other HR leaders, what would it be?

Try to really understand the business that you’re working for at an in-depth level, so you can be a strategic business partner to the team. Throughout my career, it’s been invaluable for me to take the time to understand the company’s craft, model, policies, and procedures so I can make effective and impactful people decisions. The most successful HR leaders I have seen take the time to understand the business and become a user of the product to be able to make recommendations based on the business goals as a whole, not just within their people and programs world. 

To learn more about how Maven is making an impact for women and families everywhere, contact us today

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