Meet Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito, from Women's & Breast Imaging (WBI)

Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito FRANZCR is more than just a distinguished Radiologist; she is a beacon of inspiration and empowerment in the healthcare industry. As the proud owner of Women's & Breast Imaging (WBI) in Cottesloe, Western Australia (WA), Dr Vanessa's unwavering commitment to providing exceptional care and innovative medical solutions places her at the forefront of her field. With over 24 years of expertise in Radiology, Dr Vanessa's qualifications speak volumes about her dedication to excellence. Her extensive knowledge and skill set position her as a leading authority in breast health, making her a trusted figure in the realm of healthcare.
But Dr Vanessa's impact extends beyond clinical practice. As the Clinical Director of Women's & Breast Imaging, she ensures the delivery of high-quality and compassionate care to each patient, reflecting her dedication to optimal health outcomes. Her commitment to education is evident in her role as an Adjunct Clinical Senior Lecturer at esteemed universities, where she mentors and supervises the next generation of healthcare professionals. Dr Vanessa's contributions to the field are not limited to practical expertise; she is also a published co-author of four impactful book anthologies, sharing her insights and knowledge on a global scale. Her exceptional achievements have garnered numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Filipino-Australian of the Year 2023 Awardee and being nominated for the Awards Australia Local Legend Award. But what truly sets Dr Vanessa apart is her innovative approach to breast health. As an Interventional Breast Radiologist, she goes beyond traditional roles to ensure that patients have access to cutting-edge technologies for early detection and intervention. Her patient-centric philosophy, characterized by empathy and compassion, fosters a comfortable and supportive environment for her patients. Active in various community and charity initiatives, Dr Vanessa volunteers her time to raise awareness about breast cancer and women's health issues. Her passion for promoting diversity and inclusion in the healthcare industry is evident in her active involvement in mentoring and supporting women in medicine and other healthcare professions. Dr Vanessa's dedication to transparency and accessibility is reflected in her digital presence.
In every aspect of her work and life, Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito embodies the essence of leadership, empowerment, and compassion. She is not just a practitioner; she is a catalyst for change and a source of inspiration for women leaders around the world.

"It's not just about pushing yourself to the limit. Take the time to nurture your personal growth and well-being. Aim to be just 1% better each day by practicing self-care and self-compassion. YOU are your most valuable asset, so invest in yourself and prioritise your mental and physical health. Never stop learning. Embrace the Sponge Principle and soak up knowledge from every source available to you. Whether it's through books, mentors, or hands-on experience, seize every opportunity to expand your horizons and develop your skills."

When did you start your business?
In 2014, I assumed ownership of Women and Breast Imaging (WBI), a distinguished breast imaging centre located in Cottesloe. With a rich history spanning 44 years, WBI holds the distinction of being the first facility in Western Australia to offer breast imaging services in a private practice setting. Renowned for its personalised approach to care, WBI serves as a one-stop destination for the screening and diagnosis of breast diseases in women, encompassing paediatric and male patients as well. It is an honour to cater to the women of Western Australia, extending our services beyond the Perth metro area to accommodate patients traveling significant distances, often enduring journeys of 3-10+ hours by car, train, or flight for their breast imaging needs. As I reflect on this journey, I am deeply grateful to celebrate my 10th year anniversary as a business owner, a milestone that underscores our commitment to excellence and unwavering dedication to the community we serve.

What was the inspiration behind your work/business?
The inspiration behind starting this business was deeply rooted in a vision to revolutionize breast imaging and empower women to take charge of their health. It stemmed from a dream to establish a partnership with my medical school classmates and close friends, envisioning a super clinic type of corporate practice that would redefine healthcare delivery. As a traveling specialist radiologist, I performed interventional procedures in remote and regional areas of Western Australia and the eastern states, gaining invaluable experience along the way. It was during this journey that I was introduced to the previous owner of WBI, sparking a transformative opportunity. What began as a part-time role soon evolved into an invitation to acquire the company and take the helm. Compared to my previous role as a government employee, the autonomy of leading my team allowed me to prioritise my family while fostering a multicultural environment where growth and development thrived. Ultimately, the journey was not just about building a business; it was about empowering women, advancing healthcare, and leaving a lasting impact on the community we serve.

What are you most excited about in your work/business?
I am most excited about the opportunity to make a tangible difference in women's lives by offering state-of-the-art imaging technology and fostering a supportive environment for their breast health journey. As a business owner, my family is my priority, allowing me to attend significant events in my children's lives and be present during pivotal moments. This unique balance between professional excellence and personal fulfillment fuels my passion for empowering women entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams while prioritising their well-being and family life.
Moreover, my extensive teaching accolades and capabilities to educate about the importance of breast health and imaging via social and online platforms further enhance my commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs. Through my dedication to education and advocacy, I seek to inspire women to take charge of their health and pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations with confidence and determination.
Additionally, my contributions as a published co-author of four impactful book anthologies, including "Courage and Confidence," "Global Girls," "The Power To Rise Above," and "Women Leading the Way," demonstrate my dedication to sharing insights and knowledge on a global scale. Furthermore, my accolades in teaching medical students and trainee sonographers highlight my commitment to shaping the future of healthcare professionals and fostering a culture of excellence in education.

What has been the most challenging thing about starting your work/business?
The most challenging aspect of starting my business has been the journey of transformation and adaptation in the face of entrenched norms and established structures. Taking over a specialist imaging centre without a traditional business background presented its unique set of hurdles, yet each obstacle has been a catalyst for innovation and growth. Resistance to change from existing staff forced me to confront entrenched workflows, pushing me to implement major changes and updates to policies and procedures. Despite initial hurdles, the investment in modernizing our operations proved invaluable in delivering optimal care to our clients.
Navigating the complexities of accessing patients' images from other imaging centres posed another significant challenge. It required years of dedication and collaboration to establish digital connections with these institutions, ensuring seamless continuity of care for patients undergoing life-saving surgeries. While the process was arduous and costly, the impact on our clients' well-being made every effort worthwhile.
Furthermore, as a female entrepreneur and medical specialist, balancing professional aspirations with familial responsibilities and self-care has been an ongoing challenge. The quest for like-minded support and a supportive tribe can often feel elusive, yet each day presents an opportunity to redefine resilience and determination.
Despite the uncertainties brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, each setback has only fuelled my determination to succeed. Through perseverance and unwavering dedication, I have learned to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and empowerment. As women leaders, we have the power to rewrite narratives, break barriers, and inspire change. Together, we can overcome any obstacle and pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a work/business?
To fellow women and aspiring entrepreneurs! If you're thinking about taking the leap into starting your own business, let me share some empowering advice that has guided me on my journey.
First and foremost, cultivate a growth mindset. Believe in your potential to achieve greatness and pursue your dreams with unwavering determination. Remember, success is not just about talent; it's about perseverance and resilience. Put your heart, mind, and soul into everything you do, and watch as your efforts blossom into success.
But remember, it's not just about pushing yourself to the limit. Take the time to nurture your personal growth and well-being. Aim to be just 1% better each day by practicing self-care and self-compassion. YOU are your most valuable asset, so invest in yourself and prioritise your mental and physical health.
Never stop learning. Embrace the Sponge Principle and soak up knowledge from every source available to you. Whether it's through books, mentors, or hands-on experience, seize every opportunity to expand your horizons and develop your skills.
And as you journey towards your goals, don't forget to give back to your community. I have found immense fulfillment in serving as a mentor and supervisor to junior doctors and medical students. By supporting others on their paths, we not only uplift those around us but also enrich our own lives in the process.

My own experience as an immigrant radiologist from the Philippines has taught me the importance of gratitude and service. I am blessed to call Australia my home, and it is an honour to give back to the community that has welcomed me with open arms.
So, to all the women out there dreaming of starting their own businesses, remember this: embrace resilience, believe in your vision, and surround yourself with a supportive network. Stay focused on your goals, and never underestimate the power of perseverance. You've got this!

Why did you enter the Women Changing the World Awards?
I entered the Women Changing the World Awards with a heartfelt intention—to share my journey, inspire other women, and amplify the message of empowerment and innovation in healthcare. For me, it's about so much more than personal recognition; it's about paving the way for future generations of women leaders and changemakers. By participating in these awards, I hope to spark a ripple effect of empowerment and inspire others to fearlessly pursue their dreams, break barriers, and make a positive impact on the world. Together, we can change the world, one empowered woman at a time.

What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
Being part of the Women Changing the World awards was an incredibly enriching experience on multiple levels. What I enjoyed most was the opportunity to connect with like-minded women who are all making significant contributions to their respective fields. The sense of camaraderie and shared purpose that permeated the event was truly inspiring.
Moreover, being recognised for this award was not just an acknowledgment of my personal achievements, but a recognition of the collective efforts of the Women’s and Breast Imaging (WBI) team. It allowed me to reflect on my journey—from the trials and obstacles during my medical studies to achieving specialist status and eventually acquiring my own business. It was a moment to count my blessings and express gratitude to all those who supported and guided me along the way, from my family in Manila to my own family here in Western Australia, as well as relatives, friends, and mentors.
The acknowledgment and recognition bestowed upon the WBI team reaffirmed the importance of our hard work and commitment to serving our local community in the Perth Metro and beyond. It was a validation of our mission to make a difference in people's lives through our dedication to preventive medicine.
Participating in this prestigious award provided me with a platform to amplify my advocacy for preventive medicine, particularly in breast health. It is a mission I hold close to my heart because early detection through imaging significantly improves the chances of surviving breast cancer. By raising awareness about the importance of regular screenings, we can save more lives and ensure better outcomes for women facing this disease.
In essence, being part of these awards was not just about recognition; it was about amplifying our collective voice and impact in promoting health and well-being. It reminded me of the power of community and collaboration in driving positive change.

What surprised you most about the awards?
What surprised me most about the awards was the level of recognition and support provided by the platform. It was truly inspiring to see how the awards celebrated and uplifted women's achievements, shining a spotlight on their contributions and impact across various fields.
The overwhelming sense of community and camaraderie among the nominees and winners was particularly surprising and heartwarming. It highlighted the importance of coming together to celebrate each other's successes, share experiences, and inspire one another to reach even greater heights.
Moreover, witnessing the genuine support and encouragement from fellow nominees and industry leaders reaffirmed the power of collaboration and solidarity among women. It reminded me that we are stronger together and that by lifting each other up, we can create positive change and make a lasting impact in our respective industries and communities.
Overall, the awards served as a powerful reminder of the incredible potential and resilience of women. It was a testament to the fact that when we come together and support one another, there's no limit to what we can achieve.

How did the awards help you in your work/business?
The awards were a game-changer for WBI, providing invaluable visibility and recognition for our mission and services. Not only did they shine a spotlight on our work, but they also opened doors to new collaborations and opportunities for growth that we hadn't previously imagined.
But perhaps the most profound impact of the awards was the sense of community and connection they fostered. I found my tribe among like-minded individuals who share my passion for making a difference. Together, we celebrate each other's successes, cheer each other on through challenges, and inspire one another to reach new heights.
In this community, there's a spirit of unwavering support and encouragement that fuels us during the highs and lows of both life and business. It's a reminder that we're not alone on this journey and that together, we have the power to create meaningful change in the world.
So, beyond the tangible benefits, the awards have been a source of inspiration and empowerment, reminding me of the incredible strength that lies in coming together as a collective force for good.

What advice would you give to other women thinking about entering the awards?
To all the amazing women out there considering entering the awards, my advice is simple: Just do it! Trust me, your future self will thank you for taking this leap of faith.
Entering the awards is not just about recognition or accolades; it's about seizing the opportunity to share your unique story and showcase the incredible impact you're making in the world. It's about stepping into the spotlight and shining a light on all the hard work, dedication, and love you pour into everything you do.
These awards offer so much more than just a shiny trophy or a pat on the back. They provide a powerful platform to amplify your voice and inspire positive change on a broader scale. They give you the chance to connect with fellow women who are on a similar journey, to learn from each other, and to lift each other up.
So, don't hesitate. Take that leap of faith and let your light shine bright. Your story deserves to be heard, and the world needs your unique brand of magic now more than ever. Believe in yourself and know that you have the power to change the world.

What has been the best thing about starting your own work/business?
For me, the best thing about starting my own business has been the opportunity to pursue my passion and make a meaningful impact in the lives of women. At Women's & Breast Imaging (WBI), our goal is to provide optimal care for women in a single day, minimizing their stress and anxiety by offering one-stop-shop services and personalized consultations that prioritise their well-being.
WBI stands out with its boutique approach, offering personalised care and a wide range of services that sets it apart from other centres in WA. My dedicated team and I go above and beyond to ensure that every patient receives the highest quality of care, treating our competitors as collaborators to ensure continuity of care for our patients.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals to provide holistic care for our patients. Whether it's working alongside general practitioners, breast surgeons, pathologist, oncologists, radiation oncologist, breast cancer care nurses, physiotherapists, or allied health professionals, I am committed to ensuring that each woman receives the comprehensive care she deserves.
But beyond the clinical aspect, my true passion lies in empowering women to become advocates for their own health. By raising awareness about the importance of preventive medicine and providing comprehensive care for women's breast and gynaecological health, I aim to inspire women to take control of their health and well-being.
The freedom to pursue this passion and witness the positive impact it has on the lives of others has truly been the most rewarding aspect of starting my own business. From seeing positive outcomes to receiving heartfelt gratitude from patients, every moment reaffirms the importance of the work we do at WBI.

What’s happening next in your work/business?
As we embark on this exciting new chapter for WBI, I am also celebrating a personal milestone – my 10-year anniversary as a business owner and female entrepreneur. This journey has been filled with challenges and triumphs, and I am incredibly proud of how far we've come.
Looking ahead, the future holds limitless possibilities. With the opening of our new branch in WA and plans to expand further, I am filled with a sense of anticipation and excitement. This expansion not only signifies growth for WBI but also underscores our commitment to providing exceptional care and support to women in need.
Moreover, my vision extends beyond borders. I aim to establish myself as a prominent figure in breast health education and awareness, collaborating with esteemed leaders in the medical and business fields both locally and globally. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of women everywhere, ensuring they have access to the resources and support they need to prioritise their health and well-being.
As we continue to innovate, educate, and inspire, I am grateful for the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of women everywhere. Together, we will strive towards a future where breast health is prioritised, celebrated, and accessible to all.

What are your big plans for the future?
In addition to our current endeavours, my big plans for the future include furthering efforts to promote breast health awareness on a global scale. Through educational initiatives, outreach programs, and digital platforms, I aim to empower women with the knowledge they need to prioritize their health and well-being.
Furthermore, I'm committed to enhancing our technological capabilities at WBI. By staying at the forefront of innovation, we can continue to provide state-of-the-art imaging services that offer the highest level of accuracy and precision for our patients.
Ultimately, my vision is to establish WBI as a leading provider of comprehensive imaging services worldwide. Through dedication, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to excellence, I believe we can make a significant impact in the field of breast health and imaging, improving outcomes for women everywhere.

How can we connect with you?

Facebook: drvanessaatienzahipolito
Twitter: @DrVanessaAH
LinkedIn: Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito
Instagram: @dr.vanessa.atienza.hipolito
Linktree: drvanessaatienzahipolito

2024 Women Changing The World Awards

Nominations are open now for the 2024 Women Changing The World Awards