THE BLOG
10/07/2014 06:55 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2014

Women in Business: Patricia Dunion, COO of Transform

Patricia Dunion joined Transform in 2006 and was soon promoted to the position of chief operating officer and is currently in charge of a staff of approx 300 staff and overseeing 27 clinics and two hospitals across the country.

Pat has built a strong team around her and ensures that her weekly schedule allows time to visit the clinics and hospitals and maintain her experience first-hand of the service Transform offers its patients. The company's key aim is to deliver a consistently high level of customer service alongside exceptional clinical service. This approach is reaping rewards as the company continues to grow within its market sector.

Before Transform, Pat worked with IBM for 20 years working with the company in a variety of positions and sectors including banking and finance, government where she ran large IT projects and laterally provided IT services to AstraZeneca.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
In many ways - life experience has taught me that being respectful and treating people the way you would want to be treated is key to a successful life, both in business and in your personal life.

Also, I have found that a smile is always better than a frown when dealing with colleagues and business associates. I always try and approach situations positively in order to get the best outcome.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Transform?
Massively - previous to Transform, I was with IBM for 18 years and during this time I was provided with excellent training and development.

I also moved roles every 12-18 months and this gave me an enormous amount of experience across a wide variety of posts from customer facing roles to internal operational positions.
IBM gave me a great grounding in business and I am exceptionally proud of my time there and everything it taught me.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Transform?
I'll start with the highlights - definitely the setting up of our two hospitals, The Pines (Manchester) and The Riverside (London). To be the only provider in the country with our own dedicated cosmetic surgery hospitals, for me, is a great achievement.

A low was the world-wide PIP crisis which engulfed us in 2012 where a regulator had failed to do appropriate checks on a fraudulent manufacturer. Our patients suffered a great deal of stress and anxiety during this time and the business was under unprecedented levels of pressure.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking a leadership role?
My advice to anyone is to first and foremost believe in yourself and your own capabilities.

You should stay professional at all times and not segregate or devalue yourself based on your gender.

I've never let being a female hinder or get in the way of my success. Remain focussed on your abilities and strengths and never give up. Feel the fear but go for it!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I'm very fortunate to have a very supportive and understanding husband which helps with maintaining a work/life balance.

I also have an extensive family network which keeps my personal diary busy. I work hard but I also like to make the most of my personal time which is usually spent travelling, walking, reading and socialising.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Absolutely - it's vital to a successful career irrespective of what industry you work in.
You need someone to sound ideas off, someone who you respect and who is impartial. None of us have all the answers in business and in our personal lives and it's important to use the skill and wisdom of close people around you to further your own knowledge and get a different perspective.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Madeleine Albright stands out a strong and professional character. Her ability to work in a very male dominated industry and to not be phased or rattled by anything is commendable.
She comes across as caring but yet firm in her beliefs and approach.

What do you want Transform to accomplish in the next year?
Over the next year, I want Transform to continue to grow and to remain the UK's leading provider of cosmetic surgery, in what is, an increasingly competitive market.