5 minutes with…Sue Channon

Sue Channon

We spend 5 minutes with Sue Channon, Group CEO of Virtus Health.

Could you please explain your current position?

I currently hold the position of Group Chief Executive Virtus Health. Virtus Health is a recognised global health care company and the market leading Assisted Reproductive Services (ARS) provider in Australia and Ireland with a growing presence in Singapore and Denmark. Virtus Health was the first ARS provider in the world to be publically listed; and listed on the ASX in June 2013.

What was your first job out of University and how did it shape your future career path?

My career commenced in New Zealand with a hospital based nursing degree which meant that I studied while working full time within the hospital training program. Working within health care for most of my career and health care management in the last 20 years has provided me with a clear appreciation of the day-to-day workings of clinical practice including the tensions and competing priorities that can occur.  This hands on training sharpens the ability to make decisions which impact all key stakeholders working at the coal face.

Who has inspired you most in your career?

There has been no single person who has inspired me. I am inspired daily by the amazing team of health care and allied professionals that I work with, the passion that they have for their patients and the work that they achieve collectively is highly motivating.

How important is HR in being an effective leader?

Good leadership and management are vital for organisational success. As such established HR systems and processes for people management, which define leadership requirements, assist in developing the leadership skills of managers across the organisation. Virtus is currently developing a Management Development program for its leadership and middle management teams and has invested in coaching for its executive team to enhance personal and as a consequence, organisational performance.

Were there any challenges along the way for you to reach this point in your career?

I started my career as a nurse, I did not plan nor expect to be in the position of CEO of a public company. I have been challenged in many aspects as I have changed my focus from bedside nursing to CEO with all the corporate compliance and governance requirements of my current position.

What is the most rewarding part of your current role?

Leading an organisation of passionate and committed people who provide the broader community with the chance to achieve their dream of creating and or growing the family they desire, is meaningful and extremely rewarding work for us all.

What is the biggest challenge facing the private healthcare sector?

Health care professionals are committed to providing their patients with the best care and outcomes possible. The cost of providing this care as technology changes and is applied at the medical/scientific level and through patient care/ infrastructure presents opportunities and challenges. Health care service funding will become increasingly more competitive as the population ages and governments have limited resources available, leaders such as Virtus will help ensure fertility treatment remains accessible to the community.

Could you share your top tips for aspiring female leaders?

Be authentic, always operate with the highest level of honesty and integrity and don’t compromise this.

Don’t lose your passion for what you do.

Develop good listening skills, always be ready to learn, you won’t always be right.

Employ the right people.

What are the benefits of working with an executive recruiter to secure this opportunity?

We have used Ccentric to recruit a number of health care executives in Australia and more recently overseas. As a busy executive having a professional organisation focused on undertaking a robust search and providing a shortlist of suitable candidates is valuable.