Meet Charlene Brophy, President & CEO of Fonemed
2021 Innovation Award Finalist
Charlene Brophy is President and CEO of FONEMED. For 20 years, she’s guided the company through stellar growth — both domestically and internationally — and led the development of Fonemed’s Health Management Platform, embracing technology as a means of providing scalable, sustainable, and accessible care. A speaker and author, Charlene has been honoured with several awards, and is an active board member for several non-profit organizations, and two government innovation advisory councils.
My first job ever was… an untrained health care aide in a seniors home. That’s where I learned the joy that comes from helping those who could not help themselves. It’s a feeling that resides in the heart of every nurse.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… the time was right to address the bottleneck in accessing health care services in a system struggling to deal with a surge in demand for care related to an aging demographic.
My boldest move to date was… moving our corporate office from California to St. John’s, NL. If I had it wrong, I wouldn’t be answering these questions today. But I knew I could build a team here at home, that would share my passion and make my vision of Fonemed become reality. I am so proud to give back to the community and the province that has supported me, growing an international business, offering hundreds of employment opportunities, right here, at home.
My biggest setback was… my greatest motivation. That’s cliché, but it’s accurate. There have been many failures over the years. I truly view every setback – big or small – professional or personal – to be an opportunity to make a positive change.
I overcame it by… trusting my gut, always doing what is necessary to keep focus on quality of care and supporting and encouraging the team that represents our company to the world.
If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that in spite of my business success, I am still a nurse at heart and I care deeply about people – family and friends, employees, clients, community partners, and the people I meet daily. I love the business I am in because at Fonemed, we bring healthcare to people when they need it most. Helping people is what it is all about.
When starting my business, I wish I knew… how tough it could be to take on the old boys’ club. There were times when I asked if it was worth the bother, but I never asked that same question after each win. I’m very proud of the women who challenge the status quo as tough as it is. That’s how meaningful change occurs; by having the courage to persevere.
My best advice to people looking to disrupt the status quo is… be curious. You cannot disrupt anything without first asking why something is what it is.
I stay inspired by… my ridiculously passionate team. They dream big right alongside me. The world is out there, and they have the determination to offer access to care, for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The future excites me because… of the new possibilities in the digital health space, the pandemic has accelerated both the adoption and demand for virtual care. The sky is the limit now.
Success to me means… making positive changes in the lives of people who sometimes feel they are on their own, without adequate healthcare, without anyone to care. Offering access to care to individuals and families, making a difference, to me that’s success.