From Melbourne Business School to startup reality

What a difference a year makes.

12 months ago, I was Acting CEO of St John of God Mt Lawley and thoroughly enjoying the role. I was also in the middle of doing my MBA with the Melbourne Business School (MBS), putting in place the building blocks I needed to embark on a successful career as a healthcare CEO.

Fast forward to now, and yes, I’m a CEO. But, instead of running a hospital, I’m heading up a start-up medical clinic – One for Women.

So … what happened?

Well, I guess MBS happened. The work I did during my MBA planted seeds and allowed them to germinate to the point where I could no longer ignore them.

I clearly remember the very first module we did with Jody Evans. The assessment for that module was to write a marketing plan for either your current business or a business you wanted to consider doing in the next 12 months.

In what would prove to be a pivotal moment, I based my assignment on a new obstetric product. For a long time, I’d wondered what would happen if we targeted those that wanted private maternity care but could not access it for financial or other reasons. Something that had always been in the back of my mind was now front and centre.

Over the subsequent modules, I used this model as the basis of every topic:

  • business strategy,
  • finance,
  • leadership,
  • innovation,
  • brand management, and
  • implementation of strategy.

I was constantly refining my new obstetric model.

There’s a big difference between subjecting an idea to the rigours of business school and subjecting it to the rigours of the real world, however. What pushed me to make the jump? It was the module we did with Don O’Sullivan. Don pushed us to clarify the exact problem our business idea was proposing to solve. As I started to map out the One for Women strategy, I realised it was solving two really important problems for patients:

  • Obstetric care that was truly excellent, but also affordable
  • Exceptional, truly holistic support in the fourth trimester.

On arriving home from the module with Don, I quit my secure role at St John of God Health Care and made the commitment to turn my idea into reality.

Fast forward to now, and as I reflect on the first four weeks of One for Women, I’m immensely proud of what’s been achieved.

Patients can now access a multi-disciplinary approach to antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, at a price they can afford. With a focus on early intervention, education, support and excellence in care, we are certain that our approach will lead to better patient outcomes and experience.

But it’s clear to me that I couldn’t have gotten to this point without the knowledge I gained through my time at the Melbourne Business School and the support of my amazing cohort (SEMBA2018).

So, to Jody EvansSam WylieDon O’SullivanVivek Chaudhri and Brandon Lee, thank you for taking time outside of your formal teaching team to offer me advice and support. To the SEMBA 2018 class thanks for being my advisory board.

I’m hopeful I’ll be able to share the ongoing success of One for Women with you in coming years.

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