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A Discussion with Daryll Knowles About Building A Successful Life & Career

Daryll Knowles is an entrepreneur and business executive located in New South Wales, Australia. He has an extensive background in pharmaceutical science, business administration, and entrepreneurship which has led him to be the owner of numerous related businesses as well as an expert lecturer on the subjects. Daryll has an extensive academic record including graduating […]

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Daryll Knowles
Daryll Knowles

Daryll Knowles is an entrepreneur and business executive located in New South Wales, Australia. He has an extensive background in pharmaceutical science, business administration, and entrepreneurship which has led him to be the owner of numerous related businesses as well as an expert lecturer on the subjects.

Daryll has an extensive academic record including graduating from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy and graduating from Harvard Business School with an Executive MBA.

In between he was able to complete a Fellowship in Regenerative and Functional Medicine being the first Australian pharmacist to graduate from this program.

Between 2006-2015 Daryll presented dozens of lectures and presentations on aspects of business, endocrinology, pharmacology, neuropharmacology, biochemistry and pharmaceutics as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Guest Lecturer and Member of Faculty.

He has been a pharmacist for over 40 years, owning 8 pharmacies during this time. He was awarded Australian Institute of Pharmacy Management Pharmacy Manager of the Year in 1995. Daryll has an extensive experience in drug formulation and dose design which has led to partnerships with over a dozen Universities as a translational medicine and clinical trial supplier over 30 years. He has also had Board, Consultancies, Chief Scientific Officer, Chief Commercial Officer roles of 7 different medical and pharmaceutical businesses.

In 2019 he was awarded the prestigious honour of Fellow of the Australian college of Pharmacy for services to Compounding industry research and education.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit, or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

When I entered my Pharmacy degree over 40 years ago I did it with a passion to help people. This passion has been the driving force through the whole of my career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. My total belief in personalized medicines customized to the individual needs led me to introduce Modern Complex Compounding to Community pharmacy in Australia in 1988.

After a life-threatening health event 3 years ago, I reassessed my personal and my career goals and have re-prioritized family time, attacking the bucket list my wife and I created over the years and am spending more time with my children (7) and grand children (9).

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

Its not often that I actually feel unfocused. But when I do I review my goals and life projects. I reassess the vision that created the projects in the first place and decide if it is still relevant. I ask has innovation shifted the goal posts. You must continually review your projects and motivations to see where the competition has grown rigid or innovation has moved the goal posts. This is the constant metamorphosis of modern medicine. By identifying alternatives, you can test and refine the new alternatives to work out which one or more are superior within the new changing paradigms.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

That’s a simple question as I do this on a regular basis with my younger employees and graduates. Never stop learning as he or she who stands still goes backward.

Don’t let the old turkeys and their ideas get you down. In the conservative Pharmacy industry, there is a hierarchy of control which is usually comprised of under achievers at the end of their careers desperately trying to make their mark and maintain the status quo regardless of impact on patients and positive medical outcomes. I tell them not to lose their focus and ideals. Be first to the next battlefield. As the famous 19th Century Scientist Max Planck said, “Science progresses one funeral at a time”. Todays heresy is tomorrows mainstream thought.

 But in saying this you must always be aware of the need to slow competitive efforts to react by moving to the new paradigm of thought first. The famous Warrior strategist, Sun Tzu says this perfectly in his famous writings The Art of War, “He who is first to battle is at ease, he who is late to battle is at labour”.

My advice to young smart ambitious students of life is therefore: life in the exciting world of new ideas and pathways was not supposed to be easy and they like all of us who dared to question the status quo and have gone before them will encounter the same recalcitrants who are comfortable with the way it is. Because that is where their power and knowledge bases also live, and they are simply too rigid and often too old to adapt and entertain new ideas.

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you? 

As boring as it seems, as a scientist with a perpetual thirst for knowledge I love the Google Search engine. To have that electronic source of all knowledge of the real world at my fingertips is exciting not to mention instrumental in avoiding countless family conflicts.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

I am a firm believer in surrounding myself with more influential and intelligent people than myself. Something I have done from a very early age. So, I have no one person that stands out as the biggest influencer. Career wise, I have my many professors from U Syd and Harvard and business partners but for overall influence on a life level I cannot go past my father’s wisdom.

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

Chase your dreams, surround yourself with smarter people than yourself and don’t waste your precious time trying to convince holders of opposing opinions. Again, I defer to my hero Max Planck who says” A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”. You will be closer to true happiness which is after all the ultimate goal.
 

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

A successful person is in the position both health wise and financially to be able to chase your life passions.  

Someone who has accumulated knowledge over the length of their career, enough that their colleagues and students can learn from you. To be hired on the basis of your wisdom and not your braun.

Having a happy family, a successful career in my case, helping millions of people obtain positive medical outcomes where mainstream medicine had let them down. To obtain true peace of mind with the resources to follow your chosen path in retirement is what makes someone successful.

How do you stay motivated?

I wake up every morning with a project in mind. I like to continually problem solve. This is a perpetual journey as new problems which did not exist yesterday exist today.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I want to be remembered as the person that made a difference by questioning the status quo and disrupting the recalcitrant mediocrity. The guy who told young people to trust their vision and be first to the next battlefield. 

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