‘Super Man’ improved clinic’s financial health
Barbara Willis, CEO of Hampton Roads Community Health Center, refers to Michel Bilé, CPA, as the nonprofit’s “Super Man.” He came to the organization’s rescue after its controller resigned just a few weeks before the end of a fiscal year.
Initially brought onboard as a consultant during a crisis, Bilé quickly became the nonprofit clinic’s full-time CFO. “Under his leadership, the organization’s financial position has been strengthened and continues to grow,” Willis says. “Once he had full control of our fiscal year-end financial audits, we have not received any ‘going concerns’ or ‘management letters’ from our accounting firm auditors.”
The 23-year-old center, which provides medical, dental and behavioral health services in Portsmouth and Norfolk, has not missed any federal reporting deadlines and “has been able to recapture reimbursement dollars that were due to us,” Willis adds.
Born in Ivory Coast, Bilé grew up in Ghana. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and operations management and a master’s in business administration.
Before joining the health-care center in 2014, Bilé had worked for Northrop Grumman and Amerigroup, a subsidiary of giant health insurer Anthem.
He enjoys working on what-if types of financial analysis. “I like getting the data and breaking it down for decision making,” he says. “Numbers tell you a whole lot. You can get the facts from numbers.”
Since Bilé became its CFO, the health-care center has been able to upgrade its equipment and facilities while recording a surplus in each of the past three fiscal years. The surplus rose from $196,983 in fiscal year 2015 to $690, 927 last year.
“His quest to improve all areas in which he is involved is evident, and he never gives up in spite of not having enough hours in the day or enough people to do the work,” says Brennan Peterson, director of finance at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. “He perseveres.”
In approaching any problem, Bilé has a calm demeanor, Willis says. “He does not like to rush into making a decision. He will listen, observe, analyze, and then he will speak to what he recommends to be the right course of action.”
Bilé says he looks for ways to propel the organization to the next level. “When I first came and saw the way the financials were in terms of profit and loss, it was a challenge, and I never back away from challenges,” he says.
Nonetheless, Bilé acknowledges he faced a learning curve in moving from a large corporation to a nonprofit. “I had to school myself quickly.”
Willis says Bilé has become a mentor to his staff. “He makes himself available to teach them so that they can be the best at what they do,” she says. “He meets regularly with his direct reports to make sure they are OK on the job or in their personal lives. He is the champion for the less fortunate.”
John Waters, manager at the accounting firm Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, also has observed Bilé interact with health-care center employees. “His leadership and critical thinking skills draw people to him,”
Waters says. “Michel is able to listen, understand and provide suggestions and feedback, making him a valuable resource to the center.”
Away from work, Bilé is a big soccer fan who has served as coach, referee and youth athletic association officer.
“I grew up playing soccer. Now my four sons all play soccer,” he says. “My 13- year-old is one of the top soccer players in the state of Virginia.”