Dr Shane Kelly has been the CEO of Mater Health Services Brisbane since July 2015.
What was your first job out of University and how did it shape your future career path?
My early post-graduate years were as an Intern, Resident Medical Officer and Registrar at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH). I enjoyed emergency medicine the most; there was great satisfaction from having the first in-hospital opportunity to make a difference to patients. I was also interested in how the emergency department functioned and this is what led me to undertake formal management training and ultimately a career in health care management.
Who has inspired you the most in your career?
In the early nineties, CEO of Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), Dr Rex Joyner. He was a great leader and very successful in developing RPH into an iconic institution. Later in my career I learned much from Dr Michael Stanford, Group CEO of St John of God Health Care. Michael is an exceptional leader and communicator and has a terrific brain when it comes to matters strategic in health.
How did you become an expert in healthcare?
I have only worked in the Australian healthcare industry for about 30 years, so I don’t yet profess to be an expert given its magnitude, complexity and rapid change. However, my journey has been about formal university and Specialty College training in medicine and health care management, and working in a range of positions. I work hard, have learned a lot from colleagues over the years and put my hand up for enticing opportunities when they arise.
What is the most rewarding part of your current role?
I lead an iconic Queensland organisation and having the opportunity to strive to make it even better is rewarding, as is working with the highly engaged and dedicated staff and Board of Mater Misericordiae Ltd. There are lots of ongoing challenges and it is satisfying to influence the direction of a 100 year old organisation.
What are your top tips for aspiring leaders? How can they break through to the executive ranks?
Put up your hand when good opportunities present themselves and in the words of a mentor, “go at it with your ears pinned back”.
Work hard – there is no substitute for this, experience is what counts.
Be decisive – people expect this from their leaders and get frustrated and disengaged if you don’t make timely decisions.
Humility and respecting your peers and staff will help you get to where you want to go.
As a leader in healthcare, how has the discipline changed in recent years?
Healthcare leadership in a contemporary context provides more opportunity for leaders now than in earlier decades to influence and drive the quality and safety of patient care. And with that privilege comes accountability for organisational performance across the spectrum of measures, including safety.
What are the biggest challenges facing the healthcare sector right now? What’s next for the profession?
Financial sustainability, grappling with and responding to the “digital disruption”, getting the right model to provide an optimal balance between public and private health care in Australia, engaging clinicians in driving hospital performance, dealing with the organisational disconnect between primary care and acute secondary and tertiary services and addressing workforce shortages that will drive the need to redefine scope of practice across disciplines to name a few.
You joined Mater Health Services at a key time in the organisation’s history, was this one of the appeals of the CEO role? What were the other attractions?
Yes, definitely. Building upon the existing strengths of Mater was appealing to me, as was working for an organisation that meets needs in the community and reinvests dollars back into health care to grow and develop the ministry. I was also attracted to the Mater Board led strategy that includes maximising the benefits of having wholly owned subsidiaries in medical research and health education by working together to deliver safe, evidence-based, low variability patient care.
What were the benefits of working with an executive recruiter to secure this opportunity?
Ccentric added significant value in terms of briefing me on the Mater and its strategic priorities, what the Board were looking for in a CEO, what their expectations were, and giving me feedback in relation to whether my experience and approach to leadership was likely to be a good “fit”. The service was exceptional – at all times during the process, Wayne Bruce stayed in close and frequent contact, so I felt fully informed about the selection process and progress.
How do you rate Ccentric and the service provided to you as a candidate?