Award-winning hairdresser turned Business Executive, Ashlynne Sharma has proven that you can have more than one successful career. With experience across business development, sales and even corporate recruiting, Ashlynne is a keen problem-solver and enjoys tackling any challenge her clients throw her way.
We were delighted to chat with her about her career journey and role as an Account Executive at Vmation, a video content marketing agency in Brisbane.
These are incredible professional accolades, but tell us, who is Ashlynne the person?
Ashlynne the person is a loving mother who really enjoys spending time with her family outside of work hours. You’ll find us either at the beach or in the country.
What is something that not many people know about you?
A fun fact about me is that I am extremely talented at using claw machines!
What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?
Ted Talks everyday. I have attended two Ted Talk events here in Brisbane in the last couple of years and find them endlessly inspiring.
It is commonly recognised that there are fewer female leaders in digital and technology. How did you end up working in this industry?
I do agree with this statement. It was a role I just sort of fell into however I loved it and was so glad it worked out that way. I definitely encourage women to pursue a career path in this industry as it’s certainly very rewarding.
What’s on repeat with your work playlist right now?
Andra Day – ‘Rise Up’
What do you think can be done to improve diversity in the digital industry, particularly in more technical positions?
I think more awareness around the issue would certainly help to ensure more diversity throughout the industry.
What technology development is most exciting you at the moment? (e.g. AI and why)
Autonomous driving- because I dislike driving.
What’s your most recommended Business/Marketing resource?
Pre Covid-19, attending Interactive Minds was my favourite way to learn about the ever growing, fascinating world of Marketing.
How do you maintain work-life balance as a successful BD/Sales professional?
I’m lucky enough to work for a great company that understands the importance of work-life balance. I’m very grateful for this.
What is next for you?
I don’t have a specific title or role selected for my 5/10 year plan. What’s important to me is continuing to learn new things, get better at what I know and progress in my career at a reasonable pace. Working with sophisticated professionals is also crucial – as I feel like I’m at my best when working with other high quality people. Which is what I have at Vmation.
A huge thank you to Ashlynne for chatting with us and don’t forget to connect with her on LinkedIn. If you want to read more Q&A’s with the top women in business head over to our blog! We will also be sharing further female success stories on our socials so stay updated with our Facebook and Instagram.
Designed for today’s in-demand health professional, Clinic to Cloud is an award-winning medical practice management platform revolutionising the telehealth industry with their next-generation technology. Passionate about health innovation, they also recognise and are dedicated to diversity in tech as a means to fuel innovation!
Welcome! So tell us, how would you personally describe Clinic to Cloud?
Sarah: Continually evolving. The platform is updated with a velocity that I’ve not witnessed in any other SAAS company. Our team is constantly growing as do our learnings and knowledge. Ideas for improvement and pushing the boundaries are not left in the realm of thinking for the small group of people in upper management. The team as a whole are encouraged to dedicate time to thinking about what we can do better, how can we make the patient experience better and the customer experience better?
Shoaleh:Clinic to Cloud (C2C) is a thriving environment where we constantly review our qualities as an organisation to ensure we are effective in the outcomes we produce. Our success derives from a collective mindset, which takes a lifetime to develop and it comes from individual life experiences.
We constantly think about how we can design a healthier future for our people internally as well as the people who use our software to solve their problems on a daily basis. Our purpose at Clinic to Cloud is about how we can become better human beings and how the human qualities we cultivate will improve healthcare and quality of life for the people who use Clinic to Cloud in their lives on a daily basis. It is our purpose and mindset that gives us as an organisation the competitive advantage we have which will also lead us into the future.
What is one thing not many people know about Clinic to Cloud?
Sarah: How diverse our customers are! We support the small, sole clinician practices and then the large multi-disciplinary practices as well. All on the same platform, all with their own experience. Each and every customer who chooses to join us is celebrated, regardless of how large or how small their clinic may be.
Shoaleh: Change is inevitable at all levels at Clinic to Cloud. There has not been a month that I didn’t feel part of a change. It’s very challenging to deliver on quality when happiness and experience are at the core of our mission whether for customers or employees.
Talk to us about your early days/onboarding with Clinic to Cloud. What is the one thing that still really sticks out for you?
Sarah: Our Founder and CEO, Rafic Habib, really cares about people. His attitude and behaviour with regard to the team and our customers has been adopted company-wide and is reflected daily in the way the teams work together, the way we work with our customers and the way that we plan our future roadmap – it’s all about improving the experience for the patient. It was, and still is, okay to put your hand up and say you don’t know the answer to something and this often leads to some fantastic opportunities to collaborate.
Shoaleh: Considering the business to be a start-up at the time, the employee on-boarding was not yet established and I didn’t come from a healthcare background. So I remember thinking to myself, how do I get my head around all this in such a fast paced environment? The impact and consequences of our products are high as it manages patient information.
I had this notion that surgeons or doctors, practitioners or practice managers are time poor (and they really are) but soon I learned that they are such generous individuals. I don’t recall ever being rejected for any interviews, or site-visits. These practitioners made themselves always available to the product team, and their passion was infectious. Even if they were unhappy, they still made the time for us to listen to their problems and it is because of them that Clinic to Cloud makes the changes needed to make a difference in their lives.
Obviously diversity in digital is important to Clinic to Cloud but what is your personal definition of diversity and why do you think it is important?
Sarah: Without diversity, life would be very boring. There are the obvious diversities – gender, culture etc. However, I find individual diversity the most exciting. What is it that makes people tick? We all have such diverse passions and pursuits and I love watching people light up when they speak about theirs. It’s a great opportunity to learn and share and you never know where those learnings will take you.
Shoaleh: Diversity to me is where people with all different skills, ages, idealism, opinions, backgrounds, and personalities can feel connected and at ease without any judgement. It is important for individuals who contribute to a bigger mission to feel they can be themselves, contribute respectfully and be included to the greater mission that as employees we have all signed up to achieve. I also think it’s important to have diversity because it is, to my opinion, the driver of innovation and human learning.
How would you describe your current thinking about diversity, and how has your thinking changed over time?
Sarah: I used to think that to be successful, you needed to fit in and mirror those around you- it was not a good thing to be different to the rest of the team. This thought pattern has changed significantly since I started my journey with Clinic to Cloud. Being a part of the team at Clinic to Cloud means that your individuality is not something to hide – it is recognised and celebrated. We are not expected to fit the same cookie-cutter mould and this enables us to be more authentic which builds a greater level of trust and loyalty.
Shoaleh: I would describe diversity as when we all can digest the five human senses in a way that would have a positive outcome. What we see, what we hear, what we say, what we touch, and what we smell are the DNA for how we perceive things and behave. If we can accept and manage all that in an environment, then we are truly diverse in how we are as humans. My thinking has changed over time as I used to think diversity was about being inclusive of different cultures, but now it’s about human interactions.
What does it mean to Clinic to Cloud to have a commitment to diversity?
Shoaleh: To be inclusive and create an environment where we can support people with different capabilities visible and invisible. Support our community, employees and customers and treat everyone equally. It also means cultivating a culture of transparency, wellbeing and great minds that can be the building blocks of diversity.
How do you think Clinic to Cloud is demonstrating that commitment?
Shoaleh: This is not a tick box exercise and it is something that needs to be created from the top to the bottom and it takes time. However, the changes we have done as a company in the last 12 months is creating the path for that commitment. Although we are taking barriers down, we have no hierarchical structure. No matter where you are positioned in the company or who you are and what you do, you can reach out to anyone, including the CEO for feedback and collaboration. The floor is open for all. We encourage transparency and collaboration to solve problems and that goes across the entire ecosystem. I feel like Clinic to Cloud is about inclusion and at the same time hiring the right people for the job.
What is Clinic to Cloud doing to help increase the number of women in the workplace?
Sarah: The Health Tech space is a small arena to be playing in. When searching for the next team member, Clinic to Cloud does not keep the search fields narrow to a small selection criteria. We have a number of staff with very non-traditional career pathways who work at Clinic to Cloud, myself included. Where a candidate has some great qualities but not necessarily a background in health or tech they are not overlooked. We have a fantastic, flexible working environment and families/children are celebrated, they are not something to be hidden for fear of being overlooked. This makes it much easier for women to take a role with Clinic to Cloud and feel secure in that position when life happens.
Something that really stands out about Clinic to Cloud is their approach to diversity. It isn’t just about building a diverse team but with patients being at the centre of everything you do, it is also about improving the experience and care for patients.
Is there an example or project that stands out to you that exemplifies this?
Sarah: This is true, and is also something that is not really known about Clinic to Cloud. It is wonderful to watch people sit back and think about that fact when we are speaking to them about our purpose and why we do what we do. Nobody chooses to be sick and if we can improve the patient experience by enabling a medical practice to focus more on their patient and not on their software, we are doing a good job.
Our Patient Portal is the perfect example of our commitment to improving the patient journey. One of my favourite patient stories to recount is that of Nicole Cooper, which you will find here.
Shoaleh: There are many projects that we are embarking on which will amplify and cover the D&I but one particular long-term project that I’m involved with is the Patient Portal. Patient Portal is a web portal designed specifically for patients’ needs. It will provide a broader range of access to all patients of all demographics. It makes patients medical information accessible to all communities.
To businesses or leaders that want to improve gender diversity within their team but don’t know where to start…. What advice do you have for them or what have you learned from Clinic To Cloud?
Shoaleh: Be genuine about inclusiveness of your employees and the balance of D&I. Have a good training program for senior leadership or the people who have the hiring power to make them understand what the requirements are, and why we need to do this specially when we are hiring new employees or dealing with customers. And start by supporting and enabling your people first.
From a small-startup to a thriving platform supporting over 7,200 medical professionals and over 3.6 million patients, Clinic to Cloud, is a leading example of a digital innovator disrupting the market, powered by strong, talented and clearly passionate women. Their insights into the value of creating a supportive and balanced workplace that encourages innovation and inclusivity really resonates with us and is why we champion the company as a Women in Digital Corporate Member.
Thank you so much to the women at Clinic to Cloud for chatting to us about these incredibly important topics. We support Clinic to Cloud’s clear commitment to diversity for innovation, diversity in tech and diversity in leadership, and we couldn’t be happier to have the wonderful Shoaleh Baktashi and Sarah Larsen share their insights and stories with us.