Our Magnificent Team:
You could describe Brenden, the founder of A Step Ahead, as engaging, encouraging, enlivening energetic, enthusiastic, vigorous, vital and vivacious and still fall 37 adjectives shy of perfectly describing his passion for work and for life. To say he’s your typical podiatrist is like saying Uluru is just another rock.
He began A Step Ahead with the goal of assembling a staff of passionate people with an unquenchable thirst for life. He didn’t just want a team of podiatrists content with the status quo. Instead he wanted a team of podiatrists who dared to think big; who believed that good was the enemy of great; who understood that the harder you work, the wider the window; and who shared his boldness in thinking that they, as a staff, could better the lives of their patients.
To make this goal a reality, he went about organizing a crew. Believing that brilliance feeds brilliance, he, as a rule, only hired people smarter than himself. For as Brenden says, “If I’m the highest denominator, we’re all in trouble.”
And now, after more than 20 years as the face of A Step Ahead (or as he calls himself, “the guy who wears the fez”), his quest for bettering the lives of others has not wavered. Nor has it gone unnoticed. He has appeared on the Today Show, What’s Good for You, Mornings with Kerri Anne and Current Affair, and has been featured in Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, New Idea, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and even the “all-knowing” Dolly Magazine, which described him as an “expert.”
Yet, despite these accolades, the endorsement he prides most came from a potential job candidate who turned down an offer with A Step Ahead under the reasoning, “They are not normal podiatrists. They make their staff work really hard.”
When away from the office, he relishes exploring all of life’s magical possibilities with his wife and daughter.
What patient or patients do you remember most?
One was an older man who could no longer walk his grandkids to school due to severe pain. Soon after we treated him and rectified his pain, he took up bush-walking with his grandkids. And the other patient I remember most was a young man who weighed 160 kilograms. He could not walk past his front gate without pain. So we fitted him with orthoses/insoles, giving him the ability to walk without pain. He then walked so much he returned one year later 45 kilos lighter and in need of new insoles to replace the original pair he wore out.
If you could meet anyone, who would it be?
Wow…Truly no one…Isn’t that crazy? I suppose the question should be framed, “Who do I admire?”…I admire Nelson Mandela. I admire former Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. I admire any person, who despite popular opinion, has looked towards creating change for the greater good.
Do you have any unknown skills, facts or interests?
When I was young I was taken out of school by the Education Department and placed in what I call a “Hippy Camp.” I was selected as a potential “future leader of Australia” and was taught all sorts of crazy leadership and team building skills. I also had a microchip implanted in the back of my neck, which, I’m told, will be remotely activated when the time is right for me to lead the country. You can decide which bit is true.
What’s your biggest flaw?
Music. I would love to be able to read music, but I’m terrible at it. Also, I’m horrific at skipping.
Who would you be if you could live someone else’s life?
No one. I like the life I have. I love building my own life.
I have two:
My little girl’s scripture teacher asked her class, “Who would like to go to heaven?” All the kids in the class raised their hands except my daughter. When the teacher asked her, “Don’t you want to go to heaven?” she replied, “No. I like staying with my mum and dad if that’s okay?”
My little girl was moving from one school to another. The principal from the school she was leaving told my wife, “We will miss her. She is a great little girl, she is school captain material.” My wife cried, and then so did I.
Shendi has more titles than Amazon.com. Among them include: podiatry assistant, massage therapist, longest tenured staff member, office foot lollie distributor, Brenden Brown’s wife (yes, the same Brenden Brown from the bio above, who founded A Step Ahead), Brenden Brown’s go to girl, and Brenden Brown’s dream instigator. Her expertise in foot care allows her to travel with her husband, attending to the needs of the elderly in aged care facilities, and examining the feet of refinery workers in Brewarrina and Bourke.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention her title of chocaholic. Shen craves chocolate like koala bears crave eucalyptus leaves. There are some on our staff who suspect Shen is Willy Wonka’s secret love child. But her tastes aren’t limited to chocolate. She also has a fondness for French wine. If not at A Step Ahead, she could see herself working as a cross between Willy Wonka and French sommelier. But unless France and Switzerland merge and begin producing Château Lafite-Rothschild-filled bontons, we’re confident Shen won’t be leaving us any time soon.
When not attending feet or pursuing chocolate, Shen enjoys cooking, skiing, scuba diving, exercising, and shopping for clothes.