Stella Petrou Concha left medicine to pursue a career as an entrepreneur

How Stella Petrou Concha left medicine & pursued a career as an entrepreneur

“I knew from a very young age that I wanted to help people and, as a kid, I thought that looked like being a doctor,” Stella Petrou Concha says. “I worked very, very hard during that time to build up myself academically so I could get into medicine.”

She hoped life as a doctor would be like her favourite movie – Patch Adams. But once she finished university and entered the hospital system, she knew it wasn’t the right field. 

“I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be the right job for me. The hospital system was asking me to be quite distant to people when all I wanted to do was to get close.”

She left medicine and found herself unemployed and unemployable with “a degree that couldn’t land me a corporate full time job.”

That was when she turned her mind to starting a business. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Reo Group, a specialist finance management consultancy and recruitment agency. She’s also completed with honours a BMEDRADSCI an oncology degree.

She recently launched Reo Group’s Corporate and Social Responsibility campaign “Elevate a Nation”. Every time Reo Group places a candidate, they give 50 days of technology education to children in remote Australian communities.

Stella was listed as one of Australia’s Top Ten Women Entrepreneurs by My Entrepreneur Magazine in 2018 and is one of the Corporate finalists in the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards.

She spoke to us about the unconscious bias towards women in the her industry, her shift from medicine to recruitment, and the importance of routine.

Our finalists are sharing some awesome career wisdom in these Q&As, as well as more on their back story and leadership journey. See our growing hub for this content here

And tickets to the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards are still available at the time of publishing, here

What put you on this career path?

After I left medicine I started my first business, Mind Connection. I then fell into recruitment some years later. In recruitment, I was able to use all of the skills I’d learnt from my medical background and running my first business. I utilised my bedside manner and patient care in an industry that really lacked care from a candidate perspective.

I brought my entrepreneurial skills and reliance from starting my first business to make the cold calls needed to grow a business. That’s how I found success in recruitment and if it wasn’t for the journey, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It was the challenges I faced in early part of life that taught me the skills to be a good recruiter. I’ve been in recruitment now for 14 years.

 What are you working on right now that’s got you really excited?

I am just about to release my second book Stone Heart Light Heart – Thriving and Succeeding in Life Using the Ancient Wisdom of The Mind.

This has been a bucket list dream for me and I can’t wait to have it hit the shelves.

What’s a key issue facing women in your profession or line of work right now?

Women in recruitment is well progressed compared to other professions. We have equal opportunities to men to thrive and be successful. Our industry really lends itself to optimal working conditions. I would say my greatest challenge is more as a Head Hunter and the challenge I see when I recruit for clients. There is an strong unconscious bias towards females and my job is to chip at the bias day in day out.

The best tip you’ve been given in your career?

“If you can’t be proud about your achievements, who will?”  Vaughn Richtor Founder and Former CEO ING Direct.

How have mentors, sponsors or some other kind of support system aided your career, if at all?

I have always had mentors and I have always paid for a professional coach or advisor. Additionally I consider my candidates and clients advisors given they are all C-Suites in large listed corporations. They often provide me the best perspective and advice.

As well as your career, what other priorities do you juggle?

I have 2 kids, 6 and 4, who are in school and day care. I work full time as does my husband. I juggle a busy personal life. My eldest also has some learning challenges so I spend half a day in therapy with her in school hours. My kids are really my priority.

I also lead a C-Level Consortium with 2020 Exchange. This is an advisory board that takes about a day a month from the schedule. Everything on top of that is fun and play. 

How do you manage your wellbeing and stay at the top of your game?

I have a really good routine that supports my mental and spiritual wellbeing. I wake every day at 5:55am to meditate. Then I kick into my routine with getting the kids ready for school.

I exercise at lunch time 2-3 times a week.

And I have quality time with the family from 6:30-8:30pm every night.

From 8:30pm onwards I have the flexibility to either watch some reality TV like the Bachelor (which I LOVE) or read, work, play depending on how the day unfolds.

My morning routine is super key for me.

Where do you currently get news and info regarding your industry and career?

  • HBR
  • Women’s Agenda
  • Shortlist – (recruitment news)
  • And I follow a few corporate super heroes on Social 

Got a business or career book or podcast you’d recommend?

I have several. On my website I share my favourite 6 business and personal empowerment books. 

    • Personal Empowerment books would be A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and Bring Out The Magic Of Your Mind by Al Koran
    • My favourite leadership book is Primal Leadership and second to that is Legacy by James Kerr
    • Podcasts: Super Soul Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox