In May 2014, Michelle Currie joined the team at PRAXES as operations manager bringing her unique experience and passion for telemedicine to the position. Prior to joining PRAXES, Currie worked as a registered nurse and developed a strong interest in telemedicine after a neck injury sidelined her from providing direct patient care. An opportunity to work on a chronic disease management telemedicine project materialized with Capital Health District Authority and Atlantic Health Sciences and Currie delved into this project for five years. Through this experience she truly “learned how technology could be a platform to deliver clinical services and care to people no matter where they were.”
More recently, Currie worked as operations manager and then moved into the role of manager of privacy, quality and emerging business/client relations with McKesson Canada and was instrumental in developing the 811 service in Nova Scotia. When the opportunity emerged with PRAXES, Currie didn’t hesitate to make the well-suited transition. The energetic mother of four, avid sailor and business leader took some time to answer a few questions on her new role.
What have your impressions been of working with PRAXES so far?
The first thing that strikes one about working with PRAXES is the team. It’s a small amazing group of people who put their hearts and souls into the business. I really love that and I’m so excited about the type of work PRAXES does and the passion they have for what they do. The philosophy at PRAXES really comes down to delivering the best possible care to people no matter where they may be and I really believe that what we’re doing makes a big difference.
Can you describe what your position as operations manager entails?
One of my biggest roles is to make sure that things are constantly moving forward. When we establish new contracts, I ensure that everything that needs to happen is happening including setting up consultations, fostering business relations and building strong relationships with clients. Since it’s a small company, there’s the wonderful opportunity to wear many hats and with my telemedicine experience I think I can contribute and support CEO Susan Helliwell in that specific area. Making sure that we’re following proper operational procedures and working closely with our physicians are also key aspects. Encouraging and building the team, supporting them and helping them to develop their skill sets is very crucial to me. Honestly, the position is growing and changing all the time and I’m just trying to grow with it!
What do you see as one of the most important aspects of your role?
I think that a huge part of it is client relations and making sure that we are providing very high quality service. Quality is very important to me. Being able to foresee and mitigate any potential risks and getting clients that face to face time that they need are top priorities. We want our clients to know that there’s someone they can always contact if they have issues and that we’re constantly in touch with them. As the business grows, it is so important to always make sure that the clients’ needs are looked after.
How would you describe your personal style of doing business?
I bring an open-door policy to my work whether it is virtual or face to face. I’m a team player and I believe in building people, building high power teams and empowering the people who work with us, whether it be through education or just supporting them expanding on their existing skills. My belief is that you never stop learning. Working for PRAXES is a learning experience for me so my style as a manager is that I am no more important than anyone else. I want to know from my team on the front lines what’s going on so that I can be involved and provide the appropriate coaching and managing. I am a hands-on manager but I also think it’s important to be relaxed and approachable.
Do you have a favourite story regarding your work at PRAXES so far?
I have quite a few! On the humorous side, I discovered that the Clearwater clam fleet are not digging for clams with shovels rather they are on a big vessel that drags for clams. People in the office had a laugh over this and I was embarrassed but again – it was a learning experience! I was also on-site up in New Brunswick with some of our paramedics to go through a safety orientation and this was a chance for me to see what they do in person. I had to wear a flame retardant suit that was too small for me and steel-toed boots and everyone still laughs about me calling the safety hats “helmets” so this was another comical experience! On a more serious note – another vivid memory I have, is feeling extremely proud to be there at the route Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race skippers meeting. Representing PRAXES and being able to talk to all of the fleets and captains about the service and additional safety we were about to provide was fantastic. I was there as not only a representative of PRAXES but also as a participant and I know that my family felt so much reassurance to know that we were going to have all this additional support while out at sea.