Samantha Miklos, a mother of three, embarked on her journey by founding Cornerstone Medical Recruitment in 2012 alongside her husband Norbert. What began as a small dream fuelled by a grand vision aimed at creating a contented medical workforce and enhancing the overall state of healthcare.
Fast forward to the present day, and this flourishing company serves as a testament to what can be achieved through a potent blend of vision and unwavering determination. In the last financial year alone, CMR has more than doubled its profit margins, a remarkable feat by any standard.
Yet, as with any remarkable journey, challenges were an inevitable part of the equation. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the healthcare industry hard, exacerbating the shortage of healthcare workers and intensifying job demands, all against the backdrop of border closures and restricted flights. However, Samantha took a different path compared to her competitors. She made the bold decision to forgo redundancies and instead focused on strengthening her team by delving deeper into specialized areas. This strategic move propelled CMR into its current standing as a market-leading national network of consultants and contractors.
This remarkable success story recently earned Samantha well-deserved recognition at the 2023 AusMumpreneur Awards. She walked away not only with the Business Excellence award but also claimed the prestigious title of AusMumpreneur of the Year, a testament to her unwavering dedication and her ability to turn challenges into opportunities for growth and innovation. Here’s her story.
Samantha’s journey with Cornerstone Medical Recruitment (CMR) was sparked by a heartfelt desire to make a lasting impact on healthcare in Australia. “Seeing a gap in the market for a healthcare recruitment agency that covered a wide range of specialties, my husband Norbert and I decided to build a recruitment business that did things differently,” she fondly recalls. “A place where consultants were encouraged to truly understand the roles and skill sets they were recruiting for, and where long-term relationships and contented workforces were the measures of success.”
With a blend of unwavering enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit, Samantha and her team set out to create a national network of consultants and contractors that would become market leaders. It has been a dynamic journey, but one constant has been their unwavering commitment to improving the healthcare recruitment industry. Their business ethos revolves around people, connections, community, and a relentless pursuit of doing things better.
Samantha firmly believes that what sets CMR apart is their resolute commitment to more than just filling positions. They are dedicated to ensuring that medical professionals and healthcare institutions find the perfect fit in every placement. As Samantha explained, this commitment isn’t just a tagline; it forms the bedrock of CMR’s approach. “We bring innovation by continuously engaging with our stakeholders, understanding their changing needs, and adapting our solutions accordingly.”
She continued, “Unlike many competitors who focus on a single specialty, we offer a broad and comprehensive range of specializations across all healthcare domains. Our specialized teams, including three core teams, are backed by robust support from our recruitment support team, travel team, people team, and finance team. We are proactive in gathering real-time customer feedback and have dedicated candidate care coordinators.”
CMR’s approach is pragmatic, deeply rooted in their commitment to delivering tangible results. Samantha succinctly summarized their philosophy, saying, “Our approach is holistic – focusing on cultivating satisfied medical workforces ultimately leads to improved health outcomes for all Australians. By aligning our strategies with this vision, we’ve consistently stayed at the forefront of the market.” Samantha’s unwavering dedication to enhancing healthcare is the driving force behind CMR’s continued success.
CMR’s holistic approach
When asked about what makes her business stand out and the important choices and strategies that contributed to the growth of her business, Samantha said that CMR’s standout quality is their deep understanding of the healthcare sector.
“As Samantha explained, “CMR’s expertise stretches across the entirety of healthcare specialties, from nursing to allied health and doctors. This depth, supported by a suite of 13 dedicated teams across the country, ensures that we meet a broad range of temporary and permanent recruitment needs.”
She continued, “Beyond our expertise, we’ve emphasized providing in-house solutions supported by a dedicated recruitment support team to ensure a seamless recruitment process. Our customer-centric approach, defined by our commitment to real-time feedback, keeps us attuned to the evolving needs of the healthcare industry.”
Samantha then highlighted CMR’s resilience during the challenging times of COVID-19. “Instead of making redundancies like many of our competitors, we redirected our team’s focus deeper into specialized areas, laying the foundation for growth even in adversity.”
She also introduced a wellbeing initiative, “Wellbeing @ CMR,” to support the team and temporary workers, with the goal of improving employee health and wellbeing. Still in play today, the initiative includes flexible working, reduced work hours, wellness days, flexi-leave, a variety of dedicated workspaces, mental health first aid, professional development leave, and free EAP services.
“Furthermore, our financial acumen, characterized by setting and meeting ambitious targets, especially for our temporary healthcare workforce, has been essential in our growth narrative. We have achieved significant year-on-year growth and sales volume, achieving the number one spot for growth and now sit within the top 15 percent of competitors for volume. This is a reflection of diligent management of all facets of the business.”
Talking about the challenges, Samantha said that every start-up journey is riddled with challenges, and hers was no exception.
“As a mother of three, balancing motherhood and a fast-growing business was a significant hurdle. There were times of doubt, but I remained steadfast and drew strength from my family and my vision for CMR. I also navigated the complexities of rapid growth and the intricacies of fostering a sustainable career in recruitment for women.”
She continued, “Each of these challenges taught me resilience, the importance of a robust support system, and the need to adapt. One vital lesson I’ve learned is that challenges are merely steppingstones to greater success if approached with determination and a positive mindset.”
Samantha then discussed one of the most challenging periods for CMR during the COVID-19 pandemic. “With border closures and restricted flights, the shortage of healthcare workers became more pronounced, and the volume of job demands soared. Many of our competitors made snap decisions to reduce their workforce in response to these challenges. However, we believe that in times of crisis, true leadership and vision are tested. Rather than making redundancies or moving our team to part-time, we took a strategic decision to delve deeper, focusing on building our team with more specialized areas of expertise.”
Believe, adapt, and make a difference
When asked about advice she would give to women who want to start their own businesses, Samantha offered thoughtful guidance, saying, “To all the aspiring female entrepreneurs, my advice is simple: believe in yourself, stay true to your vision, and be ready to adapt. As a mother, you might face unique challenges, but remember that your perspective and resilience are invaluable assets.”
She continued, “One of the most crucial lessons I’ve learned is that success isn’t just about financial growth or accolades; it’s about making a meaningful difference in people’s lives and staying true to your purpose. Every challenge, every setback, and every triumph offer a lesson – embrace them all.”