Member Spotlight: Monique Fares

Monique Fares, CEO, Signature Health

It’s often said that Lebanese families are perseverant, self-reliant, and, despite possible setbacks, always optimistic and prepared to drive forward and achieve their goals.  This can certainly be said of Monique Fares.  She has a dream and she is determined to make it a reality!

Since she was a small child, Monique has been interested in health and wellness and helping others.  She aspired to be a doctor and started on this path by completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. Her first job was working at Panacea Body Wellness Centre/Arthritis & Injury Care Centre.  Here she had the opportunity to use her Kinesiology background by working with Orthopedic Surgeons and Sports Medicine Specialist, but she also developed a taste for the business side of the healthcare field by taking on management positions within the companies.  After three years, Monique realized that she didn’t want to be a doctor – she wanted more!

She went on to get her Masters of Business Administration degree from the Sobey’s School of Business at St. Mary’s University.  With her combined knowledge from both degrees and her natural entrepreneurial instinct, Monique started her own business – Signature Health. This is a unique business for Atlantic Canada; one that provides corporations the opportunity to assist their employees in a novel way – by helping them maintain their health.  The tag line for Signature Health is “Healthy Body.  Healthy Business.”  The emphasis is on providing employers a one stop shop to ensure that their executive level team members pay as much attention to their health as they do the business.  “As Atlantic Canada’s premium corporate wellness clinic, our team of physicians, paramedics, nurses and allied health professionals provide a seamless, integrated approach to personalized health management”.

Monique has teamed up with two outstanding physicians with years of training and expertise.  They provide the assessments and medical knowledge.  She spends much of her time promoting Signature Health to businesses, making presentations and explaining why they should use Signature Health’s services for the benefit of both the employee and the company.  Corporate Wellness/Executive Health is not a new concept to Atlantic Canadians as many travel outside of the Maritime Provinces to executive health clinics in Ontario, Quebec, and the United States to get a better understanding of their health and well being. More than ever busy executives and professionals understand that good health is the foundation of their ability to perform and are willing to invest in the need to be proactive and preventative. However, this can be a challenge as the concept of preventative healthcare and embracing change is not always the first instinct for Atlantic Canada.

“The most effective way to promote [the business] was to develop my profile and portfolio.  Because it’s a new business concept, we need to prove ourselves to our prospective clients by showcasing experience and sharing ideas.  Having great references and feedback from companies that have embraced the concept helps a great deal.”

For the future Monique envisions a Health Centre that provides a multi-disciplinary approach with many medical disciplines offered in the same location. “With this approach you have far more effective communication among of team of professionals and more offerings to clients that can provide a better health and wellness solution for the individual.”

Having Wadih Fares as her father, she grew up in the real estate development world.  Her Dad, of course, always made it clear that there was room for her in the family business. Though the real estate world was fascinating, she wanted to take the entrepreneurship skills that she had learned from her family and go in a different direction.  The Fares family has a long history of helping others whenever they can, so Monique has come by her trait of wanting to care for others easily.  When speaking about her family, and especially her Dad, Monique went on to say that “he was and still is her greatest mentor….I love being his daughter”.

There have been others that have had a major impact on her life – her mother who has always encouraged Monique to believe in her goals and dreams and continue down the path she envisioned for herself. Monique attributes much of her drive and current success to her mother.

Business is not all Monique is involved with.  She is currently the program coordinator for Halifax Special Olympics.  She is very passionate about this cause and has been an active volunteer since 2005.  Next year she will go on to be the Regional Coordinator for the Halifax Region.  She is also a trustee of the IWK Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of the Diman Association Canada, and a Board member of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce in Nova Scotia.

Monique speaks fondly of Nova Scotia and the region and what is has to offer the rest of Canada and beyond.  Of course, the strong family ties add to her determination to make this her home.  She brings passion, grace and smarts to everything she does, and demonstrates leadership daily in the development of other women and young entrepreneurs.  Monique definitely makes a difference in all she takes on!