Episode 1: Know Your Host

A podcast devised to help emerging and experienced therapy leaders learn more about various topics relevant to outpatient therapy services.  This is the first episode of the Agile&Me: A Physical Therapy Leadership podcast series where we learn about the host, Richard Leaver.

Richard is currently CEO of Alliance Physical Therapy Partners and its various network affiliates.  As a licensed physical therapist with almost 30 years of clinical experience, Richard understands what’s necessary to deliver an outstanding patient experience and great clinical outcomes. In addition to completing his Physical Therapy degree, Richard earned his has undergraduate degree in Physical Education from the University of Birmingham, UK; Masters in Ergonomics from the prestigious Loughborough University in England; and an MBA from the University of Michigan.  In addition, Richard is Board certified in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Podcast Transcript
<p>Agile&Me: Know Your Host</p> <p>*Intro song*</p> <p>Thank you for listening to the first of many podcasts titled Agile&Me. A therapy leadership podcast series. I am Richard Leaver the host of the podcast series and the show has been developed to help therapy leaders manage and grow their rehabilitation department or clinic. This podcast series will help inspiring and seasoned clinical leaders avoid the many mistakes and pitfalls of running a successful clinical practice and business. With increasing challenges to outpatient therapy and the impact of Covid-19 it has never been more important to understand the business of therapy, something that PT school doesn’t teach! Today I have Brandon Gerardy with me. He is a physical therapist and regional director of clinical operations for Alliance physical therapy, Brandon has kindly agreed to be the guest presenter for today’s podcast titled, “Know Your Host”. Thank you, Brandon.</p> <p>Thank you very much, Richard, thanks for having me. This is a great project. I think this is going to bring a lot of meaningful information to both seasoned leaders and people who are trying to learn more about our profession.<br /> So, I am interested in where the name came from, “Agile&Me”. How did you come up with it?</p> <p>The genesis of the title of “Agile&Me” was a direct result of Covid-19. For most people in 2020, it has been a tough year and presented us with many challenges, on an ongoing basis to be successful one has had to have remarkable perseverance, doggedness, and the ability to implement change into one’s lifestyle quickly. In other words, one had to be extremely agile, so as leaders we navigate lots of change and make many decisions, sometimes unpopular. Often under time constraints to help make our companies and employees successful now and into the future. Hence the title reflects an important attribute every leader including myself needs to possess. </p> <p>I couldn’t agree more, it’s through the last several months of leadership that being agile and being able to move quickly and come up with new innovative ways to continue to manage departments and treat patients has been incredibly important. So, what’s the format of your podcast series and then what have you found to be the purpose? Kind of, what is your reach?</p> <p>The format is going one of a kind of casual interviews style. Usually, one on one although I’m sure certain podcasts may have more than 1 guest and the purpose is really to help and inform and educate and hopefully entertain the audience/listeners. To learn from other people’s experiences. All being well you’ll have some takeaways and benefit from the wisdom of others and complement your existing knowledge or just provide an alternative perspective.</p> <p>One of the things I think is amazing about our profession is there are so many different avenues a physical therapist can go down professionally in different settings. But a lot of the topics that you will cover are relatable to all the people in your audience. </p> <p>Yeah, absolutely. As a new graduate, all you have been taught is a basic clinical skill set. While that is invaluable for starting, to be truly successful you need a whole range of skills. So, the topics for Agile&Me are going to be a variety, something for everyone from emerging leaders to experienced seasoned leaders. </p> <p>I think it is going to be an incredible project. Just to engage multiple people from different facets of our business. </p> <p>I am going to get guests that will be from finance to leadership to recruitment, compliance, and strategy. All those topics are fundamental to being able to not only establish but also develop and grow a business. </p> <p>You hit the nail on the head earlier when you said in PT school we learn a basic skill set but when it comes to any deeper knowledge, all those facets of our business you just mentioned, time and effort and it will be good to get all those professionals in one series so people can follow along and get something good out of it. </p> <p>Yes, there were many times in my career when I wished I had a mentor or somebody, who had already managed or led a practice or organization with who I could speak with. It would have saved me many mistakes. </p> <p>*Short Music Break + Advertisement*<br /> Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series. </p> <p>If we now talk about your career, what I want our audience to know is a little bit more about you. As I know you have worked in a variety of settings and you chatted about your experiences but who is most influential to you, your career, and the person who pointed you to the path you’re on?</p> <p>Yes, as it may sound a little corny, but my main influence was my parents, and they were important for pointing me on the path that I took. They were evacuees in WW2, so they had limited formal education and opportunity and it was about making sure myself and my brothers had the opportunities that my parents never had. They just wanted us to be successful and to be the best versions of ourselves that we could be. It installed the principles of hard work and education, respect and dedicating our lives to providing for others.</p> <p>That’s awesome! It is a great story about the direction you would put in. Who was most influential professionally? </p> <p>I think there have been too many people to count! I was fortunate enough to be taught by clinicians that had worked with James Cyriax, Robert Mckenzie, Brian Mulligan and Jenny McConnell. So I think from a clinical standpoint that was extremely helpful for developing me as a clinician. From a personal perspective, I think everyone along the way has helped from the tea lady at college to colleagues and managers and various other family members. </p> <p>I had similar experiences, educationally and professionally. Just being shaped and taking a little away from all the interactions I have had in my career. There are always going to be those interactions that shape who we are as individuals. Tell me more about where you came from originally as you didn’t grow up in Michigan did you? Also, tell me a little bit about your background. </p> <p>So, I am originally from England in a little town called Exeter which is where the Romans got to and then they decided to turn around and go home. They didn’t go any further south than Exeter in England. I was one of four boys, with no sisters. Growing up my parents were of very limited means; I certainly didn’t go without but there wasn’t any excess. I went to college in England originally and did a degree in physical education and geography and when I graduated with that first degree it was a recession. It was difficult to find what I call a “Graduate Job”. I applied for multiple jobs and what transpired was the opportunity to go to physical therapy school. I remember saying to my parents at the time that I wasn’t necessarily sure if that was what I wanted to do, but I would start and then change if and when I found a proper job! After working in the UK for about 10 years for the public healthcare system (The NHS) also for many years in the automotive industry sector in occupational medicine. I then moved across to the States. Since then, I have worked in a variety of settings. Such as physician-owned practices, hospitals and for the last 8 years I have been in the equity-backed outpatient clinic space. </p> <p>What are you most proud of accomplishing in this field so far? </p> <p>There is not necessarily any one thing from a career perspective. I am very proud of the fact that I have managed to serve so many patients in the profession. Developing, mentoring, and educating clinicians and emerging leaders. I found that very rewarding and hopefully I have set many people on the right path. In the profession, there is an obligation to not only support the profession but to also grow the profession and the clinicians in that. So, I have spent many years providing student clinical placement and advocacy for ourselves, the clinicians, and the profession. </p> <p>What I would like to do is to get away from the professional side of it and learn some fun stuff about you. Tell me a fun fact about yourself. That those of us who work with you don’t know. </p> <p>For those who work with me on a day-to-day basis in the office then they will already know this but for those who do not, I try to cycle into work whenever I can/am able to. So, I park my car up and hop straight onto my bike every day. Hopefully cycling around 15 miles then gives me not only some good exercise but also time to help prepare myself for the day ahead. Also on the way home, it gives me some time to reflect on the events that happened. </p> <p>What about bad weather days when it is raining cats and dogs or blazing a white sheet across the roads? </p> <p>I try to dress up warm and suck it up and get on with it but if the weather is too bad or if it is dangerous I will just drive but that doesn’t happen too much, especially in the warm summer weather. </p> <p>I do have to say that when I walk in I chuckle, and I am super impressed when I see you bike on days where the weather is just appalling. </p> <p>I have been doing it for at least a couple of years now and what I find amusing is that I have spent more money maintaining my bike and getting it fixed and repaired than what the bike was worth in the beginning.</p> <p>So, I approached all our colleagues and asked them if they had any questions for you and the number 1 question that came back was, do you prefer the Beatles or the Stones? </p> <p>Yep. I am going to cop out of this question. The Beatles and the Stones both have good music. I am more of a Pink Floyd fan I am afraid. Nobody is ever going to find out which it is whether it is the Beatles or the Stones. </p> <p>Short Music Break + Advertisement*<br /> Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series. </p> <p>If there was one thing you could tell a new graduate, what would that be? </p> <p>What I would say is to be successful there are 3 things.<br /> You must a certain level of formal educated.<br /> A certain attitude that matches the role in the profession<br /> Clinical experience. I call that patient millage.<br /> Without these 3 things, you cannot be successful as one could be. It is all about<br /> growing as an individual. </p> <p>What would be one thing for let’s say a new business owner for example? </p> <p>First would be to listen to these podcasts, and they can provide a great insight into what PT school doesn’t teach. I would also recommend or suggest would be that<br /> A mentor or someone who has already set up their own business. As it can be quite daunting setting up your own business for the first time. That goes for anyone. From a coffee shop to a physio and finding a mentor can save so much pain and heartbreak. </p> <p>What has the biggest challenge been to our profession in 2021 and 2022?</p> <p>I feel like in the coming years that it is going to continue to be managed Covid-19 settings so masks will still be applicable but face to face sessions will be staying here at least for the meantime. Another thing will be fighting against the reimbursement challenges. They are the 2 key factors in the short term. In the longer term, I think it is really ourselves and that we are advocating for ourselves. </p> <p>What do you think is the long-term outlook for PT in general looks? </p> <p>I am optimistic which may seem a little strange. The reason why I am optimistic is first and foremost we have an ageing population, so the demand for PTP services is going to increase. The other thing is that as a society we have realized that the way we have been managing muscular skeletal disorders has been relatively ineffective, usually with medications and surgical inventions. I hope that the public and healthcare, in general, will realize and appreciate the value that PT have, they really can truly provide. Whilst there are always going to be challenges of reimbursement there is still that strong demand for our services. </p> <p>I couldn’t agree more.</p> <p>Short Music Break + Advertisement*<br /> Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series. </p> <p>Richard, what do you feel the difference is between successful and unsuccessful practices in the future? </p> <p>I feel success is determined by the leadership and the team rather than external factors. Those practices that I feel will be successful are determined by their agility, their ability and willingness to embrace change. Unless one can embrace change, then they cannot be successful. That reminds me of the book called, ‘Who moved my cheese’. It is a basic textbook for all emerging leaders that they should read. The ability to adjust behaviors is also an important quality of the ever-changing healthcare environment. </p> <p>Richard with all the challenges we have seen in 2020, can you paint us a picture of how you have been able to continue to manage a successful business. Especially with all the challenges we have had. </p> <p>In the short term, it is making a lot of decisions to optimize the business and control expenses but in the long term you are never successful as a business owner just focusing on expenses, you need to focus on growth as well. </p> <p>*OUTRO*</p>
Podcast Transcript

Agile&Me: Know Your Host

*Intro song*

Thank you for listening to the first of many podcasts titled Agile&Me. A therapy leadership podcast series. I am Richard Leaver the host of the podcast series and the show has been developed to help therapy leaders manage and grow their rehabilitation department or clinic. This podcast series will help inspiring and seasoned clinical leaders avoid the many mistakes and pitfalls of running a successful clinical practice and business. With increasing challenges to outpatient therapy and the impact of Covid-19 it has never been more important to understand the business of therapy, something that PT school doesn’t teach! Today I have Brandon Gerardy with me. He is a physical therapist and regional director of clinical operations for Alliance physical therapy, Brandon has kindly agreed to be the guest presenter for today’s podcast titled, “Know Your Host”. Thank you, Brandon.

Thank you very much, Richard, thanks for having me. This is a great project. I think this is going to bring a lot of meaningful information to both seasoned leaders and people who are trying to learn more about our profession.
So, I am interested in where the name came from, “Agile&Me”. How did you come up with it?

The genesis of the title of “Agile&Me” was a direct result of Covid-19. For most people in 2020, it has been a tough year and presented us with many challenges, on an ongoing basis to be successful one has had to have remarkable perseverance, doggedness, and the ability to implement change into one’s lifestyle quickly. In other words, one had to be extremely agile, so as leaders we navigate lots of change and make many decisions, sometimes unpopular. Often under time constraints to help make our companies and employees successful now and into the future. Hence the title reflects an important attribute every leader including myself needs to possess.

I couldn’t agree more, it’s through the last several months of leadership that being agile and being able to move quickly and come up with new innovative ways to continue to manage departments and treat patients has been incredibly important. So, what’s the format of your podcast series and then what have you found to be the purpose? Kind of, what is your reach?

The format is going one of a kind of casual interviews style. Usually, one on one although I’m sure certain podcasts may have more than 1 guest and the purpose is really to help and inform and educate and hopefully entertain the audience/listeners. To learn from other people’s experiences. All being well you’ll have some takeaways and benefit from the wisdom of others and complement your existing knowledge or just provide an alternative perspective.

One of the things I think is amazing about our profession is there are so many different avenues a physical therapist can go down professionally in different settings. But a lot of the topics that you will cover are relatable to all the people in your audience.

Yeah, absolutely. As a new graduate, all you have been taught is a basic clinical skill set. While that is invaluable for starting, to be truly successful you need a whole range of skills. So, the topics for Agile&Me are going to be a variety, something for everyone from emerging leaders to experienced seasoned leaders.

I think it is going to be an incredible project. Just to engage multiple people from different facets of our business.

I am going to get guests that will be from finance to leadership to recruitment, compliance, and strategy. All those topics are fundamental to being able to not only establish but also develop and grow a business.

You hit the nail on the head earlier when you said in PT school we learn a basic skill set but when it comes to any deeper knowledge, all those facets of our business you just mentioned, time and effort and it will be good to get all those professionals in one series so people can follow along and get something good out of it.

Yes, there were many times in my career when I wished I had a mentor or somebody, who had already managed or led a practice or organization with who I could speak with. It would have saved me many mistakes.

*Short Music Break + Advertisement*
Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series.

If we now talk about your career, what I want our audience to know is a little bit more about you. As I know you have worked in a variety of settings and you chatted about your experiences but who is most influential to you, your career, and the person who pointed you to the path you’re on?

Yes, as it may sound a little corny, but my main influence was my parents, and they were important for pointing me on the path that I took. They were evacuees in WW2, so they had limited formal education and opportunity and it was about making sure myself and my brothers had the opportunities that my parents never had. They just wanted us to be successful and to be the best versions of ourselves that we could be. It installed the principles of hard work and education, respect and dedicating our lives to providing for others.

That’s awesome! It is a great story about the direction you would put in. Who was most influential professionally?

I think there have been too many people to count! I was fortunate enough to be taught by clinicians that had worked with James Cyriax, Robert Mckenzie, Brian Mulligan and Jenny McConnell. So I think from a clinical standpoint that was extremely helpful for developing me as a clinician. From a personal perspective, I think everyone along the way has helped from the tea lady at college to colleagues and managers and various other family members.

I had similar experiences, educationally and professionally. Just being shaped and taking a little away from all the interactions I have had in my career. There are always going to be those interactions that shape who we are as individuals. Tell me more about where you came from originally as you didn’t grow up in Michigan did you? Also, tell me a little bit about your background.

So, I am originally from England in a little town called Exeter which is where the Romans got to and then they decided to turn around and go home. They didn’t go any further south than Exeter in England. I was one of four boys, with no sisters. Growing up my parents were of very limited means; I certainly didn’t go without but there wasn’t any excess. I went to college in England originally and did a degree in physical education and geography and when I graduated with that first degree it was a recession. It was difficult to find what I call a “Graduate Job”. I applied for multiple jobs and what transpired was the opportunity to go to physical therapy school. I remember saying to my parents at the time that I wasn’t necessarily sure if that was what I wanted to do, but I would start and then change if and when I found a proper job! After working in the UK for about 10 years for the public healthcare system (The NHS) also for many years in the automotive industry sector in occupational medicine. I then moved across to the States. Since then, I have worked in a variety of settings. Such as physician-owned practices, hospitals and for the last 8 years I have been in the equity-backed outpatient clinic space.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in this field so far?

There is not necessarily any one thing from a career perspective. I am very proud of the fact that I have managed to serve so many patients in the profession. Developing, mentoring, and educating clinicians and emerging leaders. I found that very rewarding and hopefully I have set many people on the right path. In the profession, there is an obligation to not only support the profession but to also grow the profession and the clinicians in that. So, I have spent many years providing student clinical placement and advocacy for ourselves, the clinicians, and the profession.

What I would like to do is to get away from the professional side of it and learn some fun stuff about you. Tell me a fun fact about yourself. That those of us who work with you don’t know.

For those who work with me on a day-to-day basis in the office then they will already know this but for those who do not, I try to cycle into work whenever I can/am able to. So, I park my car up and hop straight onto my bike every day. Hopefully cycling around 15 miles then gives me not only some good exercise but also time to help prepare myself for the day ahead. Also on the way home, it gives me some time to reflect on the events that happened.

What about bad weather days when it is raining cats and dogs or blazing a white sheet across the roads?

I try to dress up warm and suck it up and get on with it but if the weather is too bad or if it is dangerous I will just drive but that doesn’t happen too much, especially in the warm summer weather.

I do have to say that when I walk in I chuckle, and I am super impressed when I see you bike on days where the weather is just appalling.

I have been doing it for at least a couple of years now and what I find amusing is that I have spent more money maintaining my bike and getting it fixed and repaired than what the bike was worth in the beginning.

So, I approached all our colleagues and asked them if they had any questions for you and the number 1 question that came back was, do you prefer the Beatles or the Stones?

Yep. I am going to cop out of this question. The Beatles and the Stones both have good music. I am more of a Pink Floyd fan I am afraid. Nobody is ever going to find out which it is whether it is the Beatles or the Stones.

Short Music Break + Advertisement*
Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series.

If there was one thing you could tell a new graduate, what would that be?

What I would say is to be successful there are 3 things.
You must a certain level of formal educated.
A certain attitude that matches the role in the profession
Clinical experience. I call that patient millage.
Without these 3 things, you cannot be successful as one could be. It is all about
growing as an individual.

What would be one thing for let’s say a new business owner for example?

First would be to listen to these podcasts, and they can provide a great insight into what PT school doesn’t teach. I would also recommend or suggest would be that
A mentor or someone who has already set up their own business. As it can be quite daunting setting up your own business for the first time. That goes for anyone. From a coffee shop to a physio and finding a mentor can save so much pain and heartbreak.

What has the biggest challenge been to our profession in 2021 and 2022?

I feel like in the coming years that it is going to continue to be managed Covid-19 settings so masks will still be applicable but face to face sessions will be staying here at least for the meantime. Another thing will be fighting against the reimbursement challenges. They are the 2 key factors in the short term. In the longer term, I think it is really ourselves and that we are advocating for ourselves.

What do you think is the long-term outlook for PT in general looks?

I am optimistic which may seem a little strange. The reason why I am optimistic is first and foremost we have an ageing population, so the demand for PTP services is going to increase. The other thing is that as a society we have realized that the way we have been managing muscular skeletal disorders has been relatively ineffective, usually with medications and surgical inventions. I hope that the public and healthcare, in general, will realize and appreciate the value that PT have, they really can truly provide. Whilst there are always going to be challenges of reimbursement there is still that strong demand for our services.

I couldn’t agree more.

Short Music Break + Advertisement*
Welcome back to Agile&Me a physical therapy leadership podcast series.

Richard, what do you feel the difference is between successful and unsuccessful practices in the future?

I feel success is determined by the leadership and the team rather than external factors. Those practices that I feel will be successful are determined by their agility, their ability and willingness to embrace change. Unless one can embrace change, then they cannot be successful. That reminds me of the book called, ‘Who moved my cheese’. It is a basic textbook for all emerging leaders that they should read. The ability to adjust behaviors is also an important quality of the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Richard with all the challenges we have seen in 2020, can you paint us a picture of how you have been able to continue to manage a successful business. Especially with all the challenges we have had.

In the short term, it is making a lot of decisions to optimize the business and control expenses but in the long term you are never successful as a business owner just focusing on expenses, you need to focus on growth as well.

*OUTRO*