Interview with Mrs. Marly-Ann Spronken, CEO at the Wellness Kliniek on 23/05/2015

Top Quote I am blessed with a team that feels truly identified with the Wellness Kliniek. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) June 06, 2015 - Wellness Kliniek is one of Europe's fastest growing private clinics for cosmetic plastic surgery, and an offspring of the Spronken Group (founded in 1959).

    Wellness Kliniek was founded in 1996 by members of the Spronken family, one of which Mrs. Theodora Spronken - Verschuren, hospital director, teaching at the Medical School University of Maastricht, the Netherlands and Knighted in the Order of Oranje-Naussau for work of exellence.The other founder was Mr. Eugene Spronken, an engineer-entrepreneur in ortotics and prostetics and chairman of the Spronken Group. Their daughter Marly-Ann was the 3rd founding partner. She was appointed president of the board of (three) directors.

    Mrs. Spronken, what is your experience with corporate boards?
    I have been on the board of directors, of several family owned companies. I started at a very young age, in 1980, as a junior board member at the board of directors of Spronken Orthopedie; producer, retailer, distributor of orthopedic and rehabilitation equipment. After 16 years of board experience, together with my mother and father, I founded Wellness Kliniek in 1996. As from the start of Wellness Kliniek, I was appointed president, the representative, of the board of directors and CEO. This situation remains until this day.

    Did you have a vision?
    Of course, the vision was and is very clear. With Wellness Kliniek we wanted to create a facility where all the needs of cosmetic surgery patients could be met. 20 years ago this did not exist in Belgium and neither in many other European countries. Cosmetic surgery was still done in general hospital environment. Sick patients were mixed with healthy cosmetic surgery patients. This was very inconvenient, both morally and practically, for both groups of patients but also for the staff.

    There was always the danger of cross-infection; Cross-infection with hospital bacteria is a well-known cause of disease and death. This is why healthy aesthetics patients are preferably not treated in the same operating theatres or departments as patients with infections. It is also best to keep medical and paramedical staff separate.

    Quality of care is highly valued. My parents thought me to strive for excellence and perfection. This is important in the organisation of a medical practice and certainly in aesthetics. To guarantee optimal safety and quality of medical care, the Wellness Kliniek adopted the ISO 9001 and the ISO 14001 quality system. The aim is 100 % patient-satisfaction. All doctors and members of staff try their best to offer optimal information and care, at any time, 24/7.

    Another important must is that the aesthetic surgeons are specifically trained and experienced. All our specialists are carefully selected. They are not permitted to hold a full-time post in a general hospital. All surgeons, doctors and dentists must be passionate about the aesthetics in their field. They need to have sound and formal training in their specialised field of aesthetics, before they can join the Wellness Kliniek team.

    Did you find these specialists?
    Yes, we work only with the best.

    You were married to the plastic surgeon Dr. Hoeyberghs, one of the first doctors at Wellness Kliniek?
    Yes, my first husband was a young plastic surgeon and we had many friends working in the same field of medicine. Everybody agreed; cosmetic surgery should preferably be taken out off the general hospital environment. This gave us the idea to start a facility where doctors could treat cosmetic surgery patients in an optimal setting. My mother provided the knowhow, my father the building, the infrastructure and the funds and I became general manager. Jeff Hoeyberghs was one of the first doctors to start practice at our clinic facility. Hoeyberghs was asked to leave in 2009, after disagreement with the board of directors.

    Did the Ordre des Medicins approve the decision?
    The Ordre de Medecins was not involved in the decision making of the board.

    Independently, they suspended Hoeyberghs' license to Practice Medicine for one year, for the same reason: indecent behavior.

    Where you still married with Hoeyberghs at the time?
    No, we were already separated in 2007 the formal divorce papers followed a bit later.

    What is your personal role at the Wellness Kliniek board?
    Wellness Kliniek is a medium sized company. I am chairman of the board of directors, as well as CEO. During the past 20 years I have developed this working model: The roles of chairman and CEO in a medium sized company are not just additive but synergistic as well. Responsibilities overlap. In this type of company there is no single right way to divide responsibilities between the chairman and the CEO.

    In a small to medium sized company it is important that the owners or leaders can sort out their own responsibilities. Only then can they provide clear direction to anyone else. What really matters is, providing inspiring leadership and empowering others. Titles in a small to medium sized company do not matter. Formal divisions of responsibilities of the CEO and the chairman do not matter. I try to focus on the wellbeing (wellness) of the company, its personnel and its clients.

    As chairman I take the lead on the board of directors.
    The board of directors are appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of the company; approving the annual budget, ensuring the availability of financial resources, accounting to the shareholders and giving advice in general strategies.

    As CEO I take the lead on running the company.
    I supervise management in their day-to-day decisions. The COO and others help me run core operating, strategic and organizational processes.

    Please name the top functions or ways the board adds value to the company (what is the mission of the board?)

    At Wellness Kliniek, the mission is to strive for 100% happy patients. We believe that we cannot obtain this satisfaction without the wellbeing of our staff members and doctors.

    The mission of the board is to empower the mission of the company: The main function of the board is therefore to ensure the wellbeing of the patients and staff alike. Only this way the company can be successful. The COO and other management members are on the floor on daily basis, facing the staff, doctors, and patients. They are the best suited to identify their needs.

    They report to and advice the CEO.
    1. The COO, with the help of the administrative staff, overlooks the financial wellbeing of the company on a daily basis.
    2. All management members must strive for the same objectives and must keep all resources in line and pointing in the same direction.

    How many people are in the management team? What are their fields of expertise? (law, finance, business, medicine ...)

    The management team consist of most internal staff members :
    1. CEO (me)
    2. COO (General Manager)
    3. Chief Surgeon
    4. Quality Manager
    5. Head nursing
    6. Head Polyclinic

    Furthermore, external quality and financial auditors.

    When looking for a new board member, what would you seek?
    Most important is expert knowledge in a meaningful field and loyalty to the company.

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