Meet Neil Verdal-Austin, the Chief Executive Officer of SomnoMed, whose has impeccably contributed in the evolution of healthcare sector. His innovative ideas and unique leadership style has made him achieve many milestones in his path, taking his organization to its current stature. Under his guidance, the company has paved its own way in benefiting to the industry as well as the community.
With a mission to delight company’s customers and patients with the highest quality products and services for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Neil and his team are relentlessly implementing the company’s core values on a daily basis that are; Integrity, Customer Focus, People/Patients, Teamwork, Quality, Respect, and Innovation.
Insights Success admire such avid and proficient personalities and takes pride in featuring Neil in its special edition, “The 10 Most Impactful Healthcare Leaders 2020”.
The Man behind SomnoMed’s Success
Neil states that he has been trained at the University of Cape Town as a Chartered Accountant. His ambition was to always be in the business and drive a long-term sustainable environment in which people could thrive. He was also aware from an early stage that the type of business that would suit him would be the one which could change people’s lives. His early career was in Orthopaedics, this profession enables mobility and movement, which certainly gave him the energy to make that business better and stronger for the sake of patients. Moreover his next career stage was within Sleep and SomnoMed. Prior to being the CEO, he served the business as CFO. With almost 12 years of experience at SomnoMed, he can easily say that the company transform people’s lives every day. To be specific, it provides them their sleep and sleep quality back. “Treating patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea is extremely rewarding,” says Neil.
A Glimpse into Neil’s Life
Neil states that he has balanced his professional and personal life with obvious difficulty like most do. Life is demanding; where everyone wants to give 100 per cent and it’s tough to balance all those various aspects. It’s about perspective however and making sure that all components are in some sort of equilibrium. That equilibrium shifts and moves almost constantly and is sometimes out of balance but managing such shifts as best as you can needs courage and determination.
Employee-centric Work Culture
SomnoMed has a culture which is beginning to take a shape that will allow all employees a room at the idea’s table. Neil states that the company is open and respectful of all ideas which will be robustly debated but in a safe environment. This allows creativity at all different levels to be heard which in itself drives “purpose” and productivity and resourcefulness the immediate spin-off’s.
Embracing Technology Up-gradations
Many businesses are trying to or already aligned with some form of technology to either thrive or survive. SomnoMed’s business is no different. It underpins all of its product and service offerings with a technology framework; which is only getting more ingrained and integral each day as the company is helping to treat patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. “The outcomes of this are extremely beneficial to the effective delivery of the treatment, time to treatment and the comfort that the SomnoDent ® appliances offer our patients,” says Neil. Further he states that this comfort drives compliance which is extremely important on the effective treatment of patients with such a condition.
Other treatments, although efficacious, do not show the same levels of compliance which means patients don’t remain in treatment with a condition that gets worse, if left untreated. Further technological developments that Neil and his team is working on, will bring long term connectivity and much easier to use, digitally driven and innovative treatment processes for all partners and patients.
Contributing for the Greater Good
“I like the word ‘evolution’!” says Neil. The company has contributed to the wellbeing of over 550 000 patients worldwide for the last 16 years and will continue to do so. SomnoMed have changed the general view and perception of the treatment sector that is Oral Appliances around the world. SomnoMed began with education and seminar training programs, building awareness and at the same time, lifting the regulatory conditions so that these devices are now classified as medical devices treating a long-term medical disease.
“This has meant that in most of the 28 countries that we trade in, patients are now being offered and treated with, a SomnoDent ® device which enables those patients to regain their sleep and function better each day and that transforms their lives,” quotes Neil.
This also has the effect of subliminally taking control of the co-morbidities which may arise and should obstruct sleep apnea. And, not be effectively treated such as diabetes, heart disease and various cardiovascular issues, etc.
“Our role as the leaders of the oral appliance sector across 28 countries, is to grow the sector and ensure that more and more patients are treated with the most effective solution. The SomnoDent ® is the patient’s choice over many other treatment options. We are committed to investing in the technology that is needed to continually deliver that for them,” Neil adds.
Three Traits worth Knowing
Below are the traits of SomnoMed’s Chief Executive Officer would like to emphasize:
- What springs to mind is firstly an attitude – an attitude that anything is possible.
- Secondly an ability to effectively communicate that attitude and feeling to all stakeholders to get buy in – this includes ensuring, internally, that everyone understands their individual purpose and function.
- Thirdly to be able to formulate a credible and realistic plan around that attitude that is strategically sounding, commercially viable and will create value in the long term.