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Working in HealthTech during the pandemic: Lessons learned in a global technology clinic group

I found myself embarking on a leadership position in a disruptive HealthTech clinic group just as COVID-19 was rapidly spreading across the globe.

Life ebbs and flows in such a way that it’s often only at the end of a chapter that one truly appreciates the experience had within it. After 3+ wonderful years, it’s time for me to move on from my role as Head of Brand & Communications at Health Optimizing: the global clinic group at the forefront of technology-based medicine.

As this chapter closes and a new one opens, I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on my experience working in health during the pandemic, highlights of my time with the company, and of course, lessons learned.

Throughout my time at Health Optimizing, I’ve had the chance to meet and work with incredible people from around the world, fuelled by a mutual passion for health and a desire to positively impact society.

It was in December 2018 that the journey began. I found myself on Necker Island with a group of inspiring thought-leaders from across continents, united to discuss building a better world.

I was invited to spend 6 days with Sir Richard Branson and 20 other entrepreneurs from across the globe at his private island paradise in the British Virgin Islands. Brought together by Fiona Macintyre of Forming Impact, we had an intense week of powerful discussions around the topic of Investing for Change — developing initiatives of impact and building business vessels with the ability to make our world a better place.

It was here I met Thomas Aksnes, a brilliant innovator and leading authority in technology-based medicine as the founder of the health concept and clinic group, Health Optimizing. Utilising a vast combination of high-tech methodologies, Health Optimizing aims to find and solve health challenges from the roots.

My initial reaction was a skeptical one. During our conversation, I was curious to know about their experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), as it was one of the challenges I faced when I was ill, and something that I personally found little to no help for in the conventional system. Due to the difficult nature of CFS, I assumed that their success rate with the immune illness would be slim.

To my surprise, he explained to me how Health Optimizing's Main Assessment process can evaluate up to 20 000 parameters in the body (learn more), making it feasible to identify the root causes of a health challenge and in turn, viable therapeutic solutions. (CFS being a condition that Health Optimizing clinics have a vast experience with.)

It was then I became intrigued about the unusual, technology-based methods he talked about, as well as the overarching mission to redefine the medical paradigm. Why hadn't I heard of this sooner?

Having encountered health challenges of my own in the past, the possibility of making more efficient, non-invasive solutions available to the population started to really appeal to me.

After connecting with CEO, Roger Hovland, and working with the team in a consulting capacity, it was clear this was a mission I wanted to join. Fast forward to 2020, I found myself embarking on a leadership position within Health Optimizing just as COVID-19 was rapidly spreading across the globe.

Little did any of us know at the time, just how significantly this viral threat would impact businesses worldwide, as well as how we interact as human beings on a daily basis. The world of Health & MedTech has become more prominent in conversation than ever before, given the pandemic's spotlight on health and the need for fast-evolving technological solutions.

Just one month before lockdowns took the world by storm, I travelled to South Africa for the company’s annual summit, where I presented to stakeholders and other key international partners at Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa, a beautiful resort featuring a Health Optimizing clinic just outside of Cape Town.

What was intended to be an 8-day trip, soon turned into a 7-week stay due to the precautions and lockdowns. It was interesting to be thrown into the fast-paced environment in such a deep way, not only through the summit where I delivered three talks, but subsequently as COVID impacted travel to the point that we were not allowed to return home.

Navigating the early days of the pandemic in isolation with my colleagues was an unusual experience. We were lucky to find an Airbnb next to Table Top Mountain to transform into our HQ, where we masterminded internally and collaborated with partners virtually to identify and contribute solutions in the fight against the virus - while also figuring out how we could ensure the business’ safety with such an unknown economic landscape.

To say being in that position taught me a lot is an understatement, and set the tone for an intense yet rewarding work environment.

The journey home was an eerie experience to say the least; thankfully made possible via one of the last repatriation flights out of South Africa. Empty airports, infectious disease controls, and an unspoken nervousness among travellers about what would follow.

Some words I journaled about the experience that still resonate with me now: “At a time like this, we are challenged greatly. It's hard. It's emotional. It's hugely disrupting and quite frankly, terrifying at times. However, it also forces us to grow, to evolve, to create a better, healthier, more secure future for ourselves and generations to come.”

5 Lessons Learned:

  1. Business agility is essential: You must be willing to adapt to uncertain situations.

  2. Grow or die: If you don't change when the market does (for whatever reason), you'll be left behind.

  3. Always be solution-oriented: Turn challenges into opportunities for transformation.

  4. Take care of your people and they will take care of you: Find time to nurture your company culture and your team will be committed when you need them the most.

  5. Your health is your wealth: Take care of yourself.

Reflecting on my time with the organisation, I’m happy to have been active in:

  • Building new relationships with strategic partners and stakeholders

  • Driving the revitalisation of the brand voice and visual identity

  • Leading the design and execution of multiple new web platforms, including the brand’s global website (with the help of my team at iGen Creative )

  • Revamping the franchise opportunity materials and on-boarding new partners and franchisees

  • Working with amazing minds from VCs to Inventors, and Scientists to Medical Specialists

  • Collaborating on new ideas and product-brands within the Health Optimizing eco-system

  • Presenting the Health Optimizing mission and eco-system on global stages (virtually and in-person)

Not only that, my passion for health has grown immensely, and I have made many positive changes in my own health management as a result.

I am very grateful to have been on this important mission with such a dedicated leadership team, but now look forward to being an avid supporter as a shareholder and client on the sidelines, as I move on to my next career chapter.

If you would like to learn more about Health Optimizing's clinic concept, technologies, philosophy and/or franchise opportunity, visit our website:

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