How did you get into your area of expertise and why do you stay?
I fell into my area of expertise by accident. When I first moved to Australia nine years ago, I took a contract to cover maternity leave as Head of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs at Blackmores. We worked closely with the industry association and I bemoaned that it could be doing a lot better. When the role of CEO of Complementary Medicines Australia came up Marcus Blackmore called my bluff and said it was time to put up or shut up – so here I am in Canberra heading up CMA.
What has been the main focus or outcomes of your research/work over the past year?
The COVID-19 crisis has been a really challenging time for all of us. My focus has been to have our industry classified as essential, so we can keep manufacturing therapeutic complementary medicines and retail, health food stores and their practitioners can carry on providing essential health advice. All this while we develop a brand new practice management software solution for practitioners to help them manage and market their services.
How has your field changed in the past 5 years? What new areas are emerging?
We have seen the emergence of new product categories which is growing the industry and a significant rise in demand for our high-quality products both in Australia and overseas. Sales of complementary medicines have increased 55% over 5 years. Last year sales of complementary medicines were $5.6 billion and our exports have risen from $175million five years ago to $1.2 Billion last year.
What is the number one way we, as natural medicine practitioners, can make a difference for our clients?
Look out for the launch of ‘Find My Appointment’ at the ATMS conference. This all in one practice management and marketing solution will revolutionise your practice – and the best part about it is it is built by practitioners for practitioners and will be free for ATMS Members
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
Complementary Medicines Australia was awarded the prestigious ‘Association of the Year’ by the Associations Forum in 2019. This was a recognition of the radical transformation we have made to the organisation over five years and is a real testament to the hard work of the team at Complementary Medicines Australia.
What’s the questions you get asked the most often in your field, and how do you answer it?
Everyone has an idea for a complementary medicines product, so I am usually asked how do they go about listing it, getting it produced and getting it in stores?…..I tell people Australia is home to the most complex regulatory system in the world and to get a product from an idea to finished product will cost them $1million, countless sleepless nights and will add 5 years onto your life!
Fun Fact for the Readers: Tell us who inspires you / or who your professional idol is and why?
I have been fortunate in my career to work with so many inspirational people, starting in the UK working in politics for Prime Ministers Margret Thatcher and John Major, and then in Venture Capital where ideas come to life. And in Australia for Marcus Blackmore. I have learnt the valuable lesson of no matter who you are and office you hold treat others like you wish to be treated.
Optional: Do you have a motto or quote that drives you?
Be careful what you wish for….it may come true!