Your role within Optegra?
I am Optegra’s Regional Director for the south overseeing four hospitals – Central London, North London, Surrey and Hampshire.
This means I am responsible for everything that happens within those hospitals including clinical functions, finances, staffing and patients – both private and NHS.
Prior to this I was Hospital Director for Optegra’s central London hospital on Queen Anne Street, so my role has grown hugely – from running one hospital to running four!
What has been your career journey to date?
I started my clinical career studying for a Bachelor of Nursing in Australia before traveling across Europe and finally arriving in the UK and starting as a scrub nurse rising up the ranks to mentor and teach assist surgeons and finally, managing theatre teams. I was fortunate enough to manage a new orthopaedic surgical group in central London which combined my clinical and business management skills. I completed my MBA and the business grew to become very successful.
Following a spell within the fertility industry as Director of a London centre, responsible for stabilising a new senior management team with a corporate takeover, I decided to work as a consultant for various healthcare clients. I enjoyed the variety of work – governance, operational/business development and advising clients – and it led to an opportunity with an American company that was developing in the UK single specialty focused centres. My role was to develop a state-of-the-art women’s health centre, operating theatre suites and general surgery group
Fast forward to my time at Optegra. My role here is a combination of clinical, business and operations. I do miss being in the operating theatre, seeing a team work together in accuracy and efficiency for a patient. However, I love delivering great healthcare being a role model and leader for multiple teams, and I believe in developing our talent – it’s what I get up for every day.
What first attracted you to work in this industry?
I had never worked in ophthalmology before but I knew my skill set could be adapted. I was attracted to Optegra because of the vision and focus of CEO Peter Byloos and the opportunity of developing a hospital and develop its team.
What brings you joy in your work?
I love helping people to develop their skills, being a role model and seeing individuals progress in their careers.
I also find it incredibly rewarding when I hear feedback from patients who can now read or drive following surgery and I enjoy speaking to patients to find out about their care.
Creating the Be You initiative, which is bringing awareness to and celebrating diversity, has always been a dream so I’m delighted to have achieved that here, and to have such a positive response. I have never been part of an organisation that has championed diversity to such a degree.
How has the pandemic affected work over recent years?
Covid has been challenging with remote working whilst still maintaining a regional perspective. Lots of Teams calls! But Optegra has re-structured to cope with this, and so we haven’t sacrificed efficiency, and we deliver extraordinary patient care.
Also I am now managing four hospitals, so life is naturally much busier with more staff, patients and revenue.
What is the proudest moment of your career?
I feel lucky to have many proud moments in my career but two stand out – gaining a distinction in my MBA whilst working as an MD full time. That was a lot of hard work!
And also collaborating with a strong team to transform the business within Optegra to cope with the pandemic. What we achieved is quite extraordinary really.
How would you describe the ethos of Optegra?
The ethos of Optegra is fundamentally to deliver better eyesight and offer solutions to as many people as possible in the UK and internationally – whether NHS or private.
Providing accessible environments and being able to deliver on the NHS is very important to us as we strive to be the leader in the market, with the best surgeons, teams and outcomes.
What has been the most challenging moment in your career?
Last year was challenging on so many levels, both physically and mentally. It was quite an undertaking, but it was completed as a team.
To get up every day and motivate a team was an honour and having great people around is part of that. To deliver surgeries to people who were isolating for a long time was really quite special.
What is your perfect holiday?
It depends on the season! I love being on the beach – that is the Australian me! My go-to place to relax is a Greek island. But I am also happy being active on a skiing or cycling holiday.
Any interesting hobby?
I am from a musical family and play multiple musical instruments. I am a trained classical pianist and enjoy all forms of music from classical to jazz.
I enjoy cycling and run home from work when I can to try and stay fit and healthy.
Favourite cocktail and signature dish?
I make a mean negroni or espresso martini – and my roast chicken is quite the knock-out!