I immigrated to Canada in March 2002 and moved to Ottawa in September 2002. By this time, I already had over 7 years of experience as a physiotherapist in India in my own clinical setting. My early days in Ottawa were quite intense, but extremely rewarding. As with most newcomers, I had to walk the extra mile to establish my professional credentials while gaining as much experience as I could possibly get access to. From 2004 to 2011, I worked in various health care facilities across Ottawa and took the time to learn from some of the best health care practitioners in our community. In parallel, with the active support of my husband, my family and my friends, I started working on the launch of my own independent physiotherapy clinic. MapleCare Physiotherapy was born out of a determination I shared with my husband to leverage the entrepreneurial support system in Ottawa. In this decision, I was also driven by genuine joy and sense of reward that I feel when I see the impact of my work on the lives of my patients. Together with my husband and one more therapist, I launched the first location of MapleCare Physiotherapy Clinic in 2012. From that humble beginning, we are now in three locations and also run a successful home visit practice. Our core team of 13 therapists has expertise in multiple disciplines including orthopaedic, neurological, and geriatric and we are a well recognized name in our space in Ottawa. For my inspiration, I always turn to my immediate family, my close knit group of friends, my colleagues and my professional mentors. Music and gardening, two of my many interests, inspire me to introspect and reflect. For my spiritual guidance, I also read books from Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher and peacebuilder.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success in Ottawa or Ontario?
I would count the consistent and selfless support of my Ottawa community as the single most influential factor in the success of my business. My engagement with the community gave access to unique opportunities to learn from the experiences of those who had traversed the entrepreneurial path in the health sector before I commenced my own journey. I consider myself truly lucky to have so many inspirational figures guide me in my career. Besides the entrepreneurial support, I was also extremely lucky to have access to the research opportunities that have come my way all throughout my career as I expanded my area of expertise to treat neurological conditions like Stroke and Parkinson’s. From participation in research projects with Bruyere Research Institute, University of Toronto and Ottawa Research Institute to my relationship with the Canadian Physiotherapist Association, my professional relationships have really inspired me to continually raise my game. I have had amazing mentors, patients, business associates, colleagues and friends.
How have you contributed to your local entrepreneur community – an example could be introducing job opportunities, mentoring etc.?
Both through my own personal efforts, and through the initiatives that we have supported through MapleCare Physiotherapy Clinic, I have made a conscious commitment towards engaging, empowering and supporting local youth initiatives and local entrepreneurs. I have also been actively engaged with a number of non for-profit entities and local community organizations. Within the business, it has been my commitment to actively mentor and support the physiotherapy residents - from across the world - who chose to spend their residencies with us. I am also a clinical supervisor for physiotherapy students from the University of Ottawa, many of whom chose to come work with us to gain the necessary experience to build their own careers as successful physiotherapists. As a part of our educational outreach, I regularly host, facilitate and lead voluntary presentations for public and health care professionals to educate them on the benefits of physiotherapy in orthopaedic and neurological conditions. As a part of my commitment to community advancement, I serve as a volunteer Education Coordinator with the NeuroScience Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.
What does the City of Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards mean to you and your business?
I was delighted to receive the City of Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, as I saw it as a community endorsement of the wonderful entrepreneurial journey I have undertaken with the support of my family and the wonderful group of colleagues, friends and mentors who inspire me on a daily basis. To be in the company of other recipients, all of whom have worked hard to achieve wonderful things in their life, is both an honor and a privilege. Ottawa is an amazing city to call our home and the award is a constant reminder for me that I have to keep working hard to bring the best of health service delivery to my beautiful community.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I am sure that my answers to the questions before capture my deep sense of gratitude towards my family and friends, because my entrepreneurial journey would have been a lot more difficult without their active and consistent support. At a very personal level, my husband, my father and my brother have been the biggest supporters of my entrepreneurial endeavours. From an early age, my father and my brother inspired me to think out of the box and encouraged me to develop a problem-solving perspective. My husband, an Engineer by profession, took a leap of faith to join in my physiotherapy practise during the early days to journey to lead and manage the business development and the business operation aspects of the new clinic. Since 2012, we have been running MapleCare Physiotherapy Inc. together. Growing our practice, with 2 young kids, would not have been possible without the genuine care and love we have received from our family and friends.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your entrepreneur pursuit, what would it be
(that could serve as advice to an upcoming entrepreneur)?
I have had a wonderful entrepreneurial journey filled with immense learning and I have enjoyed every single aspect of it. While I did not have any specific challenges that I can share any learnings from, I would like to share my thoughts on “risk taking” and making a conscious effort to “be conscious about values and culture”. As is the case with most immigrants, who leave the certainty of life in their home countries to start a new life in Canada, one could say that I was a bit “risk averse” in the beginning and that I could have commenced my entrepreneurial journey a bit earlier but I believe that it is important for aspiring entrepreneurs to take measured risks and balance the rewards with the risk. It was also very important for me to be confident in my capabilities to lead my own independent practice and I took the time to work with some wonderful practitioners in my field to really develop the necessary skill-set. My comment on values and culture comes from my experience that without a conscious effort put into establishing culture and values, it is difficult to align on decisions as a team without a common understanding to guide. It is with this view that, at MapleCare Physiotherapy Inc., we have worked very hard to develop a culture of transparency and self-organization.