Kerryn Phelps has long been the voice of those who can’t speak. A revered medical practitioner, academic, advocate, councillor and small business owner, she has serviced the community time and time again with her “people first” ethos. Recently sitting down with me on The Brew , Kerryn opened up and shared numerous gems of knowledge accumulated over her storied career.
Growing up in Sydney’s northern beaches, Kerryn was quickly drawn to sport, joining in almost any activity she could. She believes that her willingness to always have a go has served her well across her life: “You find your passion by participating.”
A UNSW graduate, Kerryn got her start as a medical practitioner at the Royal North Shore Hospital, and then at the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners. Drawn by the ability to call the shots and do things her way, Kerryn took the leap to small business and became the owner of her own practice at the age of 27.
Her practices, based in Double Bay and Surry Hills, have always been based around the needs of the patients. By communicating with and catering directly to her patients, she has been able to create a fantastic customer experience and adapt seamlessly; an approach that many small business owners can apply with their own clients.
Kerryn, more than anyone, understands the value of the team around her. In the many different avenues of her career, she’s seen first-hand the importance of swift teamwork. For this reason, she places the utmost value on the contribution that the people around her produce: “I value the contribution of every team member; even if they aren’t valued by anyone else, they can be valued by me.”
The 59-year-old refuses to settle for staleness. She places an importance on challenge; always striving to improve. “I do this as part of expanding my consciousness,” she explained. In the ever-changing, unpredictable world that small business can be, aiming for higher ceilings and ticking new boxes can only mean good things for owners.
Mentorship is another aspect of business that is often neglected, but Kerryn places a huge amount of effort into helping others coming through the ranks. “I think it’s important for those who are senior in their career to mentor others,” she said. “What drives me is to pay it forward… people who have something to say and have valuable experience deserve to be heard.”
Her main message, however, is one of simplicity: “Be unashamedly yourself.” Over a career that has had its well-publicised highs and lows, Kerryn Phelps has certainly always remained solid in being exactly that.
To hear more of Kerryn’s amazing tales and advice, listen to Part 1 of The Brew.