Adri Isbister


CEO Radius Medical

Managing Healthcare for New Zealanders

Adri Isbister is CEO of Radius Medical Group. The group is made up of two companies Radius Medical Solutions – a company providing management, administrative and clinical support to medical practices allowing doctors and health professionals to focus on patient care – and Radius Medical Ltd, the company that invests in medical practices. Adri leads a team of 18 people in the Napier office; this office supports 19 medical practices and more than 600 people working in the health sector.  Adri is a director of nine different boards throughout the primary care sector.

Motivation for MBA

Adri’s story is an example of how, through hard work, sheer grit and determination people really can achieve anything. The extent of her success and achievements is particularly impressive considering how far she has come. Being married and having a baby at the age of 16 and another at 18 meant that the odds were stacked against her; however, Adri Isbister was determined to make a success of her life. With a strong work ethic and sense of pride she worked her way through extramural studies. Working full time and raising two children, Adri paid for all her extramural education.

After qualifying as a social worker, Adri and her husband founded and built up a charitable trust to help people dealing with drug and alcohol problems. When it was time to move on, Adri left behind a successful organisation which still exists and continues to help people to this day. Leaving all their assets behind in the trust, meant Adri and her family had to start again from scratch.

“It’s only money and it’s an investment in the community, I’ve done this before and I know I can do it again.”

Adri began again by starting up her own business as an insurance broker. The business was so successful that it enabled her to purchase and completely pay for a new home for her family, within 18 months.

With her success her confidence grew and Adri accepted a role as Chief Executive Officer at Life Unlimited, a Hamilton based charitable trust working to help people living with disabilities. Although she understood business principles well and had plenty of hands on experience Adri wanted to extend her knowledge of business theory and develop a global perspective.

“I knew I could build relationships, negotiate and I intuitively knew how to run a business and advance the bottom line. I wanted to advance my career but I needed to make sure I had a good handle on business theory and that’s why I wanted to do my MBA.”

Experience of programme

Adri says she chose Massey for its reputation for excellent teaching and international accreditation. After an initial enquiry her application was underway and she was interviewed for the programme within 24 hours.

She enjoyed the experience of doing her MBA and the contact with her classmates: “I was in a great class, we all made some really good contacts, it was exciting to see the potential in the other people.”

Travelling up to Auckland for classes every few weekends meant some early mornings and time away from her family, but Adri knew it was going to be worth it. The family was well prepared, there had been extensive discussions before she began the course so they all knew what to expect.

“I made a deal with my husband, we discussed how it was all going to work and he was completely supportive. He was amazing actually because he was often the one reminding me to get the books out.”

The work was hard and the hours long but from the beginning Adri focused on the outcome and completed her MBA in her own time without affecting her work.

“The MBA really suited my personality, as I have always known that success is not the result of something spontaneous, you must take action and set yourself on fire. You seldom get something for nothing.”

Of course it wasn’t all work; the social aspect of the course encourages strong relationships to develop between students and between students and teachers as well.

“It’s fun to argue your case with the lecturers, they encourage it.”

Adri also liked the fact that Massey provides MBA students with the opportunity to give feedback after each session, to ensure standards are consistently met.

“It felt good to give the feedback, I really liked that Massey wanted to know what we thought and how they could improve the quality of the programme.”


Completing her MBA has supported Adri to design and introduce systems within her workplace, systems underpinned by sound business theory and not simply gut feeling or intuition. The MBA programme has markedly increased her confidence, especially in areas that she didn’t have much exposure to, such as the share market and investment, but also for everyday tasks like writing reports. Adri feels that she benefitted most from learning about corporate finance.

“I interpret financial information much faster and more efficiently now, which is great because I really need to be able to do it.”

The MBA gave Adri the confidence to enter her previous organization, Life Unlimited, into the Westpac Waikato Business Excellence Awards with some outstanding results. The trust won Westpac Waikato Business of the Year and Adri won the Vodafone Chief Executive of the Year.

“Having my MBA gave me the confidence to enter these awards, it’s helped me with everything from presentation to confidence and really just given me the confidence to back myself.”

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