Level Up: /ˈlev(ə)l/ /UHp/: to advance to the next level of development

In The ScoliClinic’s 7th year, we focused on ‘levelling up’ in many ways. In the fall, our leadership team reached a crossroads of decisions: what’s our next move?

Last year we focused on refining of some major processes within the company. Now, aside from the ongoing evolution of processes to improve our service delivery and operations, we needed to plan the next phases of The ScoliClinic’s growth.

To do this, we re-assessed the needs of our clients and our team, and discussed the realities of operating a business in today’s economy. Our vision remains clear: we believe that everyone with scoliosis in British Columbia should have access to high quality, inclusive, individualized conservative care.

Planning for a 3-5 year timeframe, we laid out many, many possible avenues that The ScoliClinic could pursue to work towards our vision. But which road to take? To assist our strategic planning, we wanted to learn some fundamentals of business, so Andrea applied for the Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) program through Simon Fraser University.

Some argue that formal business schooling isn’t necessary – we agree; industry experience is a tremendously effective platform for learning about business – but just as healthcare professionals study the anatomy of the body prior to learning assessments and treatments, we wanted to understand the anatomy of business prior to making any big moves.

Andrea’s acceptance into the 20-month program set off a string of preparations. The curriculum would demand much of her focus, resultantly creating space for other team members to develop their leadership style and hone their skills. It has become an exciting opportunity for The ScoliClinic to level up our leadership.

As the primary managing partner, Madison has taken the lead with the team’s on-site operations since September.

We also created three new leadership roles based on our team’s needs:

  • Physio Meagan supports our therapists as the Clinician Manager
  • Physio Christiane encourages our team’s technical growth as the Clinical Education Coordinator
  • Physio Marissa develops and nurtures relationships as the Community Engagement Coordinator

This has shaken our organization’s status quo, in a good way. Our leaders have risen to the challenge and together, we’ve broadened our capacity to level up The ScoliClinic in many ways.

What we learned:

Leadership is an art and a skill

Artists strive to find their unique expression and experts practice their craft; we believe leaders must invest in doing both. Holding a leadership position in our company isn’t only about a title and a list of responsibilities; it’s an opportunity for self-development. We’re exploring and ‘levelling up’ our communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, project management to find our unique styles.

Plan for the future, and stay present

Despite a deep dedication to systems and planning, we were still challenged with steeply rising operational costs, rampant illness of clients and staff, and more-than-normal snow days. We learned to refer to our plans, and to stay attuned to the unique context of each situation.

Take time to process

Our flood at HQ was a major hurdle we overcame, and here’s what we’ve learned: we’re really good at managing crises. We also learned the importance of slowing down after intense events to recover and process the emotional and energetic aspects.

What we’re celebrating:

Two major research projects

For private clinics like ours, financial feasibility of research can be a challenge. Chance encounters with experienced university-affiliated researchers allowed us to launch two important projects:

  • Dr. Beth Snow of CHEOS and UBC Faculty of Medicine is supporting the ‘Scoliosis Success Project’, where we interview people with scoliosis to learn what their definition of treatment success is.
  • In partnership with Dr. Edmond Lou & Dr. Eric Parent of the University of Alberta, and Carl Ganzert of Hodgson Orthopedic Group, we hired a full-time researcher to develop a predictive model to determine which factors may increase probabilities of progression.

What’s next:

Spurred by our team’s ideas, our leaders initiated multiple exciting projects to:

  • develop detailed learning modules on rare scoliosis cases
  • organize more education workshops
  • improve X-Ray acquisition processes
  • establish more effective meeting and mentoring rhythms
  • publish more digital content to increase access for those who face geographical or financial barriers

Notable stats? What are we working on for next year?

Read the full report: 2023 Annual Impact Report – The ScoliClinic

Andrea Mendoza and Madison Williams
Co-Owners of The ScoliClinic
April 6, 2023