As Chief Executive Officer of RetireAustralia, Brett brings a wealth of unique and complementary experiences to the role. Not only does he have over a decade of CEO and executive leadership experience in organisations founded on care, health and wellbeing, but he’s a medical doctor and former professional rugby player.
Brett’s rugby career saw him play 16 test matches for the Wallabies and take on the role of the inaugural captain of the ACT Brumbies, after which he obtained a PhD in Clinical Orthopaedics from Oxford University. Off the field, Brett made a significant contribution to his sport as the General Manager of the Australian Rugby Union’s High Performance Unit.
Brett’s medical training helped shape his thinking, analytical and leadership styles. He says the most important part of any patient interaction is taking his or her medical history – asking the right questions, really listening to their answers, and providing the time and space to get a sense of the real issues at play.
“As a medical student and doctor, you have to learn to listen, and understand that it’s often what sits beneath that is a driving force for a patient’s behaviour or concern. It’s always more complex than it appears.”
Brett brings this same patience, empathy and compassion to his role as CEO.
“Purpose is the essence of why we exist. I want to be part of a business that cares for and supports people. At Glengara Care, you’re not a number, you’re someone who is really important to us and our team.”
Brett draws a contrast between traditional residential aged care, in which the built environment was designed for the benefit of clinical drivers, and Glengara Care, which has been designed for the benefit of residents.
“Residential aged care can feel very clinical, with lino two thirds of the way up the walls, shared bathrooms, the smell of antiseptic and a sterile environment. At Glengara Care, residents receive nurse-led high care in a beautiful environment that genuinely feels warm and caring.
“You’re still in your own home, you can live with your partner, your pet can join you and you can live as independently as possible without losing control of your environment. Ultimately we want to provide a community where older Australians can thrive and enjoy life.
“For many of our team members, their purpose in life is to look after older people and make them feel loved and supported. Whilst I’m not doing that directly every day, I’m so proud to be working with people who do.”
Brett’s experience of seeing his own father spend months in high care has given him great compassion for what families go through.
“It’s such an emotive time for families and for those individuals. The ability to nurture people through that is a privilege if you can do it well and proudly. I’m really proud of Glengara Care. It’s the kind of place that I would consider for my own mother.”
Meet the rest of our Glengara Care team here.