Arriba Group recognised as Australia’s Most Innovative Healthcare Company 2020

  • Written by Lanham Media

Arriba Group is reshaping the future of thousands of Australians through return to work, disability employment and NDIS allied health services. This week the company has been recognised for a suite of prestigious awards:

  • AFR BOSS Most Innovative Healthcare Company Award 2020
  • Women in Leadership Award - Australian Growth Company Awards 2020 (CEO Marcella Romero)
  • Company to Watch – Australian Growth Company Awards 2020 (AimBig Employment)

The workplace rehabilitation and wellness sector has been particularly affected by COVID-19, with the pandemic having a major impact on both the provision of health and wellness services, and how employers manage the health of their employees. But the opportunities are there for companies that seize them. The Arriba Group has recorded big growth this year and secured first place on this year’s list of AFR Boss Most Innovative Health Companies for its digital wellness platform.

Additionally, the company received further recognition this week in the Australian Growth Company Awards. CEO Marcella Romero won the Women in Leadership Award, and AimBig Employment (part of the Arriba Group family) was recognised as this year’s Company to Watch.

“We are incredibly excited that the family of Arriba Group companies have been recognised by these prestigious awards as innovation is at the centre of everything we do,” says Arriba Group CEO, Marcella Romero. “For us, it’s about embracing innovation at every level, no matter who you are in our business. But it’s no use innovating when nobody’s going to use it. We have to be solving a problem or filling a gap. The best way to innovate is to listen to the client.”

The digital health platform recognised by the AFR Boss award features two key programs: CheckInToday, a screening and assessment tool, and StepUpToday, an intervention support program. Both tools are designed to cover the continuum of care – from early intervention to ongoing rehabilitation – helping people return to good health using an evidence-based, personalised approach.

“We’re empowering participants to choose to be part of their recovery journey,” Romero says. “That’s really critical. If they’re not motivated, they won’t do it. You’ve got to motivate them, and we have used innovation to do it.”

CheckInToday, the preventative support program, uses an online, evidence-based standardised assessment questionnaire to inform the design of a tailored mental health program for participants. It is designed to be simple to use and covers a range of wellbeing support across physical and mental health, lifestyle, work and study. Participants might be provided with psychological support, or a tailored physical exercise program according to their goals. A robust data strategy ensures that de-identified insights can also be harnessed by clients.

The StepUpToday app program is designed to utilise participants’ everyday activities to improve their function. Participants create meaningful, tailored goals around their day-to-day life, with the online system connecting them to healthcare professionals and a range of resources for self- directed learning, covering everything from sleep hygiene to mental health tips and resources for home support.

“Many rehab providers offer return-to-work programs, however there is a focus on paperwork and manual reporting, which makes it difficult to quickly assess each individual’s progress,’’ says Romero. ‘‘By digitising our program at both the back and front ends, the whole program has become easier to access and manage, for both participants and our rehab consultants.”

The results speak for themselves — CheckInToday has seen the average wellbeing score of its users improve by 30 per cent, while 86 per cent of StepUpToday participants have achieved their ‘return to work’ or ‘return to life’ goals, reducing claims costs by 25 per cent in the process.

Romero notes there has been a noticeable uptick of interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-January, Rehab Management, one of the Arriba Group’s three companies, has seen a 35 per cent increase in mental health claims across their workers’ compensation, compulsory third- party insurance and government agency clients.

“During the pandemic, employers have been keen to look after the health and wellbeing of their employees. And to see if this can be done in a way that’s effortless, with seamless quick access. It is cost effective, as well.”

A dedicated internal innovation team meets with an external consultant weekly, and staff across the company are recognised at annual innovation awards.

For Romero, winning the coveted top spot on the AFR Boss Most Innovative Healthcare Company list is validation that the Arriba Group’s approach to innovation is now paying dividends.

“This is the ultimate for us. It’s a rewarding feeling, to be acknowledged for our hard work, right across the business. We lead from the top, but it goes all the way down. We’re very passionate about innovation.”

Romero hopes winning the ‘Women in Leadership’ Award at this year’s Australian Growth Company Awards inspires other women to dream big.

“A message to all the women who have a dream to succeed in your career – whether you are a young woman looking for your future career, a migrant who is trying to establish a career, a professional who wants to change your career, and / or a mother who is re-entering the workforce - if you can dream you can do it!”

Founded by Romero in 1998 as a one-woman outfit based in her Hunters Hill, Sydney home, the Arriba Group now employs over 400 staff and manages a massive portfolio, working with some of Australia’s largest organisations, including insurers (Allianz, GIO, EML, Boral, Apple, QBE, AIA and iCare) and government departments and agencies (Veterans’ Affairs, Home Affairs, Services Australia (formerly DHS), Health, Education and the Australian Federal Police).

About Arriba Group

Arriba Group has a family of companies that have been created to give people their best opportunity in life. The group was founded by Marcella Romero, a strategic, passionate and innovative leader who expanded a one-woman home office to three successful enterprises — Rehab Management, AimBig Employment and LiveBig — with over 400 diverse employees across 106 offices, all working to deliver quality services to its clients. Our business is a people business based on the absolute belief that every individual deserves a better future. Our success is predicated on this belief, it is at the heart of how we approach each business, challenging ourselves to ensure our service truly meets and exceeds the needs and requirements of our clients and innovations is the key to this.



Awards and achievements:


  • 2020: AFR Boss Most Innovative Healthcare Company Award
  • 2020: Women in Leadership Award - Australian Growth Company Awards
  • 2020: Company to Watch – Australian Growth Company Awards
  • 2020: Marcella Romero was recently selected from 9 countries across Asia Pacific (and 1 of 4 Australians) for the prestigious EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women global program for high-potential women entrepreneurs with know-how, connections, and community.
  • 2019: Rehab Management were recipients of the ILC Economic Participation of People with Disabilities Grant through the National Disability Insurance Agency.
  • 2019: Arriba Group was named the 8th most innovative health company in Australia for BusyBeans, a disability employment program promoted by AimBig.iv
  • 2019: Marcella was a top 5 finalist in theTelstra NSW Business Women’s Awards (Medium and Large Business)
  • 2019: CEO Awards StartUp Executive of the Year finalist.
  • 2019: Rehab Management was an iCare NSW CASE (Excellence & Innovation) Award Finalist.
  • 2018: Health Executive of the Year Award CEO finalist (CEO Magazine) and a judge for the CEO Magazine Executive of the Year awards.
  • 2017: A finalist in the Telstra NSW Entrepreneur Award
  • 2017: Finalist in the CEO Magazine Executive of the Year Awards.
  • 2017: Rehab Management was an iCare NSW CASE (Innovation & Customer Excellence) Finalist Awards.
  • 2014: Winner of the Comcare WHS Award for the Rehab Management RMReach program.


The AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies list (previously the BRW Most Innovative Companies list) is now in its ninth year. The list ranks the most innovative organisations in Australia and New Zealand, by industry, and is the only national list of its kind. The list is judged and compiled by Inventium – Australia’s leading innovation consultancy. Inventium uses a unique, scientifically proven approach to help organisations grow through innovation. In 2020, the list comprised of ten industry lists, compiled from over 600 nominations.



Inventium is Australia’s leading behavioural science and innovation consultancy. Since 2007, Inventium has helped over 400,000 people become more innovative and more productive at work. Inventium applies the latest findings from science (psychology and neuroscience) to help organisations unlock growth through innovation. Inventium is the official methodology partners of the AFR Most Innovative Companies list and the AFR Best Places to Work List. Inventium is also a proud BCorporation.



For more than 50 years The Australian Financial Review has been the authority on business, finance and investment news in Australia. It has a reputation for independent, award-winning journalism and is essential read-ing for Australia’s business and investor community. The Australian Financial Review is owned by Fairfax Media Limited [ASX:FXJ], a leading multi-platform media company in Australasia.