1. Tell us about the business you work for and its mission
MedShr is an innovative platform that facilitates the secure exchange and discussion of clinical cases and the provision of medical education with our global membership of over 2.6 million healthcare professionals. Our mission is to empower doctors and health care professionals to share their knowledge and skills to improve patient care and save lives.
2. What attracted you to working in operations originally?
Working in operations enables you to sit across multiple strands of an organisation, helping to influence collaboration, knowledge-sharing and a drive towards a common purpose. I value the people aspect above all else – how to get the best out of each individual and ensure their voice is heard, and their support needs are met.
3. What was your path to becoming a Chief Operating Officer?
Beginning my career teaching abroad, I learnt how vital effective communication is. This is now central to my ethos, and was key when I joined a pioneering U.S. fintech startup, setting up a small-scale replica of our HQ and working across various disciplines. Moving through a company sale, I was then appointed to a senior operations role within the parent company, and my career really went from there.
4. What are the core skills and experience required for your position?
Fundamentally, it’s about balance. While the company mission is and should be central to every key decision you make, it is the team that gets you there. It’s therefore important to be able to balance empathy with strategic thinking. You need to be able to work with people at all levels, both in terms of their role within the business, and the level of detail that each situation requires – whether you are setting the detailed lines in the budget, or pulling back to question alignment of a programme’s delivery trajectory.
5. The Chief Operating Officer of a business has a wide-ranging remit encompassing everything from finance to sales to recruitment. How do you approach managing so many different departments?
The key to this is the team. Ensuring that you have great people with the right expertise in place, means that you can approach this from the perspectives of trust, challenge, support, development and recognition, rather than managing the detail. You will learn from the team and they will be empowered and motivated.
6. You've worked in many industries including HealthTech and financial services, did you find any major differences from the perspective of running operations?
In short, not really, and this is one of the things I love about what I do. The issues you deal with on a day to day basis are common, because they’re ultimately people issues – whether that’s colleagues, clients, regulators or other counterparts. Moving between industries often forces a steep learning curve, which is where humility and the need to not be afraid to ask questions is critical.
7. Tell us what you love most about working in ops
Within a role like mine, you sit at two different levels simultaneously. The first is the more holistic strategic viewpoint, where you get to see connections and spot opportunities. The second is team leadership, dealing with people and their issues, supporting them, and seeing them grow. In both, you are helping to fix problems and make good things happen.
8. What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar career path?
Observe and learn from what you see around you, but make sure you have the lens of seeing the bigger picture and how that translates down to decisions and people’s interactions. This will give you a strong foundation. Also read, there is a lot out there, sometimes conflicting, but take it all in, and form your own viewpoints.
9. What do you do to relax in your free time?
Keeping physically active is so important – running gives me headspace and podcast time. Getting away to see new things and new places whenever possible with my other half and kids (and sometimes dog) is what I love to do.
10. Which essential item do you always pack for a business trip?
Laptop and melatonin (ok that’s 2 items!).