Introducing Dr Michelle Wright, British trained GP and director and founder of HealthFirst
Why did you become a doctor?
When I was ‘growing up’, I always wanted to become a newsreader on the television! But then I was good at science at school. I particularly enjoyed biology and anything to do with the human body, so that’s where my interest in becoming a doctor began. I’ve also always been a ‘people person’ and so combining that with my love of science made medicine an obvious choice. But then, I guess you could say that as my career has evolved. My desire to read the news has been partly met through my radio show, Health Matters, which I have been hosting on World Radio Switzerland since 2008.
What would you describe as your biggest achievement in your career so far?
In November 2023 we had our ‘end of year’ team meeting. I sat looking around the room and couldn’t help but feel emotional about the kind, passionate, expert team that has grown since the beginning of HealthFirst. This is the biggest achievement of my career so far; being a founder and the director of a company that helps others to stay healthy, happy, and safe. The journey hasn’t always been plain sailing. Challenges such as the COVID pandemic and the disruption that this brought to our services as well as the fact that I am a doctor and not a ‘businesswoman’ by training and so have had to learn a lot ‘on the job’. I am extremely proud of what I have built with the help of my amazing team. The testimonials we get from participants and clients, particularly the ones about how they have helped save someone’s life or reduced the impact of an injury or illness, make all the hard work worthwhile.
What do you do when you are not working?
I love being outside in the mountains and so that’s where you’ll find me at every opportunity. The scenery, the physical activity, the tranquillity, and the opportunity for mindfulness is what draws me. Despite being here for almost 20 years, I still pinch myself that we live in such a beautiful country with the mountains on our doorstep. In summer, it’s mostly hiking, but in winter it’s skiing and ski touring. My best ski trip so far was ski touring in the Lofoten archipelago, Norway. This year, I’ll be travelling even further north to Svalbard. Always up for a challenge, in 2022, I completed the ‘short’ Patrouille des Glaciers from Arolla to Verbier . This is a ski mountaineering race organised by the Swiss Army with almost 30km of distance and 2200m of positive elevation. I won’t deny that a tear or two were shed as I crossed the finish line!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I can’t believe that I’m admitting this, but I never miss an episode of Eastenders! For those unfamiliar, it’s a British soap opera, running since 1985 chronicling the lives of residents of the fictional Albert Square in East London. Even when we’re on holiday, it’s on record and I catch up when we’re back! My definite passive R’n’R and switch off time.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Two things: be confident in your decisions and trust your gut instinct. There have been many times in my career as a doctor but also in my role as Director of HealthFirst when I have struggled for one reason or another. When times are tough, or there are important choices or decisions to be made, reminding myself of these two things always rings true.