Meet Pia Clinton-Tarestad, from Clean Slate Clinic
Pia is the Chief Executive at Clean Slate Clinic. She is a health economist with over 20 years experience working in healthcare across public and private healthcare systems in the UK & Australia, in Operations, Commissioning and Strategic Advisory roles. She is passionate about tackling the interface between social justice and healthcare, and reducing unacceptable health inequities, with a particular focus on tearing down the barriers to accessing addiction treatment services.
"Hearing other winners’ stories, and learning about some of the other amazing projects and businesses women are working on all over the world was really inspiring, and a reminder that passion and purpose can go a long way, and to keep at it!"
When did you start your business? I co-founded Clean Slate Clinic in November 2020 and it took us about six months to get the service up and running – we started seeing our first clients in July 2021
What was the inspiration behind your work/business? I had experienced alcohol dependence myself and knew first-hand the limitations of the current treatment system. I had a busy job, and responsibilities outside of work, which meant it just wasn’t practical for me to take extended time-out to address my relationship with alcohol through an inpatient program. The stigma associated with addiction, and fear of judgement also meant there was no way I wanted to attend an outpatient clinic. My co-founders both worked in the Alcohol & Other Drugs field and knew that there was a huge gap in availability of services for individuals needing withdrawal support and so we came up with the Clean Slate Clinic, detox from home model.
What are you most excited about in your work/business? Seeing the difference we are making to individual’s lives and consistently delivering great outcomes for our clients is an absolute joy & privilege and keeps me motivated and passionate about what we’re doing. The fact that we have been able to prove that a virtual care model not only works, but can work better, for many individuals, and tear down those barriers to access is incredibly exciting – I feel like we are delivering the future of healthcare. I’m also incredibly excited about the data that we are gathering as we grow, which is enabling us to continuously improve our ability to predict and prevent relapse.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your work/business? Like with any new business, building momentum and brand credibility has been a challenge, along with the constant juggle of simultaneously needing to work in the business and on the business. I’ve also found it incredibly hard as a female-led Social Enterprise to attract growth Investment – the Impact Investment eco-system in Australia is very early in its development, and Impact Investors tend to be focussed on very particular areas – addiction is a notoriously difficult area to attract investment into. We probably couldn’t have made it harder for ourselves if we’d tried: Social Enterprise; Female Led; Addiction Focussed! That said, we have been incredibly lucky to have the backing of the Snow Foundation, who are leading the way in investing for impact.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a work/business? Find mentors and advisors early, and join an accelerator program if you can. I probably left it a little bit late to do some of those things, and missed out on invaluable advice early on. I’ve found other female founders and senior leaders to be incredibly generous with their time, so reach out to those that inspire you and draw on the wisdom of others to help you solve problems you might be facing.
Why did you enter the Women Changing the World Awards? I was nominated by one of my co-founders, and it was a great opportunity to be part of a movement that is trying to do something positive in the world. Self-promotion is not my strong point, but the Women Changing the World Awards felt right, and a great opportunity to expand my network to other like-minded individuals.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards? Hearing other winners’ stories, and learning about some of the other amazing projects and businesses women are working on all over the world was really inspiring, and a reminder that passion and purpose can go a long way, and to keep at it!
What surprised you most about the awards? The sheer breadth and variety of impact-based businesses that women are working on.
How did the awards help you in your work/business? It’s given me renewed confidence and focus on the impact we’re trying to achieve at Clean Slate, and a new global network to share and learn from.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about entering the awards? I’d encourage anyone considering entering the awards to go for it – the application process is not too onerous, and was actually a useful tool in helping me think through some of the strategic questions for Clean Slate Clinic and myself.
What has been the best thing about starting your own work/business? The ability to pursue a passion and mission and build an organisational ethos and culture that I believe in has been absolutely awesome, along with the freedom of being my own boss.
What’s happening next in your work/business? We’re growing Clean Slate Clinic in Australia and building funding and referral partnerships across the country so that we can truly be available to any Australian who needs us. We’re also beginning to turn our attention towards global expansion and how we can bring our virtual care, purpose-led model to other global communities who need us.
What are your big plans for the future? I want to see Clean Slate Clinic as the leading Virtual Care Social Enterprise in the world. I truly believe that the combination of a purpose-led organisation, excellence in healthcare delivery and cutting edge technology can make a meaningful impact on the sustainability of global healthcare systems, and it is my life goal to see that impact realised.