BIV is proud to recognize Richard Vandegriend, co-founder of Arya Health and cardiologist and director of heart failure services at Royal Columbian Hospital, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.
Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at biv.com in the days ahead.
Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?
One hundred per cent of the credit goes to my family for instilling my work ethic in me. I’m the youngest of four brothers and they set the bar pretty high with their own endeavours and accomplishments.
What drives you?
It’s a feeling of, “If not me, then who?” It’s nonsensical to complain about your problems if you’re not meaningfully trying to solve them.
A favourite book you would recommend?
The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen. It’s a wild true story about a poor man who founded a banana empire with many lessons along the way about how – and how not – to do business.
Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?
I realize that a renewed focus on my health is needed. As a cardiologist, I am seeing younger and younger patients present with heart disease and it serves as a constant reminder that I need to do better.
What was your childhood career dream?
I played sports throughout my childhood and teens, and I aspired to one day become a professional basketball player. Fortuitously, a series of sports injuries in my youth led me to become interested in medicine.
What was your toughest business or professional decision?
Truthfully, as a cardiologist, I make difficult life-or-death decisions every day. The decision to pursue Arya Health, however, was different in that it forced me to move out of my comfort zone and dedicate time and money to a field that I had very little previous familiarity.
What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Take advantage of opportunities and expand your scope of interests. In my 30s, I have made a concerted effort to learn about what my education lacked.
What is your best habit?
With life moving as fast as it does, I rarely procrastinate.
Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.
In my spare time, I am a landscape and fine art photographer and have won many awards.
Best piece of advice ever received?
I was reminded recently that nothing good comes easy. Failures and setbacks are learning opportunities and often turn out to be for the best.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Not allowing people to waste my time. Time is a precious commodity and it takes experience to determine if someone is truly sincere in their interests and intentions.
What career highlight are you most proud of?
The creating something we are proud of. The launch of Arya Health was a culmination of years of envisioning that we could produce an electronic medical records system that was efficient, intuitive and collaborative.