Dr. Johnny Walker: The Australian doctor changing things for the better in Ireland
Dr. Johnny Walker is our guest this week on The Architects of Business, in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™.
Dr. Johnny Walker is no ordinary entrepreneur, and no ordinary doctor.
The Founder of Jinga Life - a company that keeps health records for patients digitally - balances his work in business with his role as an interventional radiologist at the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Dublin.
Johnny's career has taken him all over the world, from the back of a truck treating pregnant women in isolated Western Australia to setting up Global Diagnostics and, more recently, Jinga Life, and he has plenty of stories to tell along the way.
He describes how one day working in the outback in the 1990s, treating pregnant members of the aboriginal community, shaped his entire career as he grappled against both nature and some very, very basic medical equipment.
“It was just this spectacular blue sky and this stunning, stunning deep red soil and there we were literally out the back of a truck with (the mother) lying on the back of the trayback and an old diesel generator, so I couldn’t have been further away from what I’m used to,” the 2010 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Finalist reveals to host Tadhg Enright.
“That was the moment that I realised I had a catastrophic pregnancy during one of those 48 mums that I was scanning that day, in 48 degrees.
“And, it was then that I just felt incredibly isolated and I’d grown up in this, in a really protected environment, really, at these centres of excellence around the world and then here I was, suddenly, out there on my own, completely and utterly isolated and seeing this level of care being delivered to the Aboriginal mums, which we wouldn’t accept in metropolitan cities anywhere in the world.
“So I just felt that there was this huge divergence between the haves and the have nots and we had to do something about that.”
Listen to the full show here..
When the then Minister for Health Mary Harney invited him over to Ireland to speak in the mid-2000s, Johnny knew that he wanted to leave the United Kingdom and set up permanently in Ireland.
He speaks about how the work he does has an impact on family life, and how in any busy industry it’s important to cherish every moment with loved ones.
“I think most of us would look back and think ‘Gosh, could we have done it differently?’ particularly when it comes to family and that absolutely unconditional totally focussed time with your wife, with your children.
“So when the little man, my little 12-year-old, says ‘Dad that was a Maserati that just went past’, don’t just keep walking and say ‘that’s great, mate’, stop and ask him ‘Mate, how did you know that was a Maserati? Tell me about the Maserati. What’s the difference between the Maserati and the Ferrari? Tell me that. And what’s that logo?’ And, you know, get him talking and make him the most important person in your life for his special little moment.
“And I think, as busy people, not only entrepreneurs but across the deck, we just don’t stop and prioritise what’s really important in the long run and I think family is just unconditional.”