Joanne is a mentor from Vancouver who loves her city. She had always dreamed of becoming her own boss, so in the fall of 2020, she established Pacific Peak Therapy. She went into business on her own at first, but soon found that she needed help from a trustworthy colleague due to the volume of referrals she was receiving. After more than 2 years since opening her practice, Pacific Peak Therapy is a thriving Vancouver-based adult occupational therapy practice, with a satellite clinic in Revelstoke. She coaches a hard-working and competitive team of eight therapists.
Interview completed on October 28, 2022 by Ashley Reina, Owner of Therabyte App
Are you new to working in private practice? Tell us a bit about your transition story.
I worked in private practice as a manager at another clinic for 5 years before branching out on my own in 2020. Prior to this, I spent a year working in public health.
What were some key resources that you relied on during your transition into private practice, or in improving your private practice?
The CAOT private practice business network, colleagues in private practice, podcasts on business/OT business.
What transformation has your clinic experienced with Therabyte?
“Having everything in one place and being able to access it all from my phone, because I travel to see clients. It has streamlined charting, client information, and scheduling which really saves a lot of time for a busy entrepreneur.”
What made Therabyte stand out from other options?
I really like that it was developed by an OT, that it is more cost-effective for a one-person operation (which is how I began), and that the developers are receptive to suggestions for making the system even better.
I was really impressed with the team building activity that you did this summer. Could you share a little bit about that, why it was important to you and the positive impact it had on our team.
My team is community-based. We don’t have a clinic where we meet regularly and all work remotely.. At least every other month, if not more often, we get together for no particular reason. It’s a social gathering. Then twice a year, I plan a major event.
This past September, I took the team and their partners to Kelowna. We rented a house on a lake, took a wine tour, and went wakeboarding. It’s fun to meet their partners and learn about them outside of work. I think these events help bring the team together and make us feel more connected as a team, even though we’re all working from home or our clients’ homes. These events really help me to get to know them better. I get to know their personalities, which helps me when assigning referrals to the appropriate team member.
In a profession that is dominated by women, having babies and maternity leave is inevitable for many. It is something that I wish we talked more openly about. You’ll be going off on maternity leave soon. How are you preparing for that time off? How long do you plan to take?
I can only tell you what I’m planning, but I suppose that’s why I wanted to go beyond being a solo practitioner, because taking leave alone would have been more difficult. I would lose income and clients, making the return challenging, it could almost be like starting over. So, having a team means I can trust my clients with anyone on my team. I’ll be able to step back knowing that my team is working smoothly and is small enough to rely on each other. I’ll keep working during maternity leave on business operations, but if I’m not accessible or don’t answer quickly, team members can rely on each other for support. So I hope it goes well, ask me again in 6 months how I did!
What is your advice for someone considering the switch into private practice either part time or fulltime? What is the one thing you wish you had done or would tell yourself.
I wish I had done it sooner! It is so amazing to have control over your own schedule.
To read the full OT panel transcript and hear more from Joanne and the other panelist on various questions regarding building a thriving private practice – click here
Connect with Joanne!