2009, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award
It was Nicola MacNaughton’s commitment to excellence and entrepreneurial spirit that led her to found Occupational Concepts, one of the largest private state-of-the-art occupational therapy rehabilitation facility in Atlantic Canada.
Moving to Canada from England with her parents and brother in 1975, Nicola MacNaughton became the first child of many generations to attend university. With a passion for education and strong determination, Nicola proved to be a trend setter in her every endeavor.
After graduating from the occupational therapy program from McGill University in 1990, she began working for the New Brunswick Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB). Occupational therapy is a health profession that is client-centered. The goal of occupational therapy is to promote health and well-being through occupations and performing activities of everyday life. This is achieved by modifying the occupation or environment specifically for an individual. Occupational therapists work with people and communities to enable them to do what they want to do, need to do, and are expected to do.
For ten years Nicola stayed focused on skill development in work rehabilitation with the WCB. A pattern began to surface as she changed departments every two years, striving to obtain new knowledge. In early 1999, she realized that she had run out of departments to transfer to and from. This led Nicola to re-evaluate her career path and embark on an exciting journey.
Drawing advice from the local Chamber of Commerce, Nicola knew that it was her time to jump on the entrepreneurial band-wagon. In September of 1999, Occupational Concepts opened its doors for business. Nicola was now part of the five per cent of Occupational Therapists in New Brunswick to be a private practice owner.
Knowing how important it is to be one-step ahead in life, Nicola was chosen as one of the two candidates for the Occupational Therapy Post Professional Masters Degree program at Dalhousie University. She completed her degree in May 2002. She has continued her link to the academic world, teaching for the Pacific Coast University for Workplace health Sciences.
Occupational Concepts is a state-of-the-art Occupational Therapy assessment, rehabilitation and training facility located in Moncton, New Brunswick with satellite offices located in Bathurst, NB and most recently Fredericton, NB. Its clients are individuals who have suffered an injury or illness that has resulted in a disability preventing them from engaging in their everyday occupations of self-care, leisure and work; employers who are seeking to improve the safety and accommodation of their employees following and injury or illness. The team at Occupational Concepts works with cases based on physical and/or mental illnesses. Equipped with a team of occupational therapists, kinesiologists, rehabilitation assistants and an amazing administrative team, Occupational Concepts commits to Getting Individuals Back to Living.
Nicola not only gauges success on her bottom line profit but on the ability to maintain a positive work environment. This extends not only to the clients that they work with, but also to her professional, administrative and management team. Nicola is truly proud to have created an environment where everyone comes to work because they want to be there. It is a place where clients feel confident in the expertise of their therapist and their referral sources know that they can count on consistent effective delivery of service.
Occupational Concepts demonstrates its commitment to excellence through the commitment to formal management system. Each and every day the team are asked “What prevented you from having a perfect day?” From there the improvement team collects the information and guides the continuous improvement, innovation and growth at Occupational Concepts. The Chamber of Commerce recognized the team’s success with the awarding of the Small and Medium Business Excellence award in 2016. A proud moment for Nicola.
Nicola now has a new adventure on the horizon and that is the franchising of the Occupational Concepts model of practice. Surrounded by a team of experts, Nicola is on a mission to increase the accessibility of occupational therapy to individuals, employers, insurance companies and communities throughout the country. Occupational Concepts will be accepting inquiries from those who are interested in an OC franchise commencing in September 2017.
“Nicola is an extremely strong and driven individual. She has an ability to take on, manage, and be successful with multiple projects at once. Sitting around doing nothing is not part of who she is, unless of course she has book in her hand. Keeping a balanced life with work and family is important to her. I am very proud of Nicola in everything that she has done and know that I will be as proud in everything that is to come,” says her husband and business partner, Paul MacNaughton.