“As an executive woman, a lot of young girls will look up to me and aspire to be like me so it is my duty and responsibility to mentor and empower young girls and work side-by-side with other women, not in rivalry or competition but in solidarity and support”
I have admired Adanna from a distance since I started watching her YouTube channel. I was inspired by her passion, hard work and tenacity! She is a super mom who does it all! Doctors have a unique super power because they get to save lives everyday. Medicine is a gruelling but extremely rewarding field.
Dr. Adanna Steinacker is a multifaceted Emergency Medicine Physician, the co- creator of Adanna David Digital Ltd, the Founder of Medics Abroad and a digital influencer. She is a humanitarian who is passionate about empowering young women! She started AdannaDavid whilst she was a medical student. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Medicine is one of the most impactful careers; doctors are literally life savers. How did you know you wanted to pursue a career in medicine?
My gravitation towards Medicine was a very natural one. In high school I loved science, my favorite module was chemistry. I also had the opportunity to grow up with my grandparents and towards the later years of their lives I couldn’t understand why they were always in so much pain (a condition I now know as Osteoarthritis) or much later when my grandmother couldn’t use the right side of her body (paralysis secondary to stroke). My determination to study Medicine was to find answers. Since I already loved sciences, it was very easy to make the choice to study Medicine.
Your Youtube Channel is amazing and we love your vlogs, what inspired you to start it? And how did you balance your studies with your creative passion?
My husband (David) and I always talked about sharing our opinions and experiences. We had different careers and we grew up in two completely different societies and so our conversations were always very deep and very exciting. We hadn’t gotten around to launching our Youtube channel when a dance video of us went viral. We got a lot of traction on social media and finally decided it was the right time to set up our channel.
In terms of balancing my studies, it was very important to have a schedule and prioritise. Needless to say that it came with a lot of sacrifices. If my schedule involved putting up a new video on Youtube, that meant I had to create the content (record/edit/upload) over the weekend, which in turn meant that I couldn’t afford a long Friday night out that will make me end up in bed all day Saturday. Having a very supportive feminist husband was also a huge help in creating the balance.
Balancing a day job with your personal life can be very difficult in our fast paced society. You have a very busy work schedule ( and two children). How do you balance being a wife, mom, a medical doctor and entrepreneur?
I hate to think being a wife is one of the things I have to balance. Being a wife is in fact where I find balance with everything. David is one of the main reasons I’m able to achieve so much because he’s very supportive and very hands-on at home (especially with the kids). That being said, I always tell people that I look at the important things in my life as wearing a hat and you can only wear one hat at a time.
Before having my second son Noah, being a working mum meant that when Kian was in creche and I was in the hospital, I put on my Doctor hat and focused on being a professional. At the end of the day when I got back home to Kian (who David would’ve collected from creche), I put on my mum hat and was present for him. The same applies to every other thing going on in my life. I set aside time for each of them and make sure that I focus solely on achieving the best outcome within that time frame.
Now with my second son, I’m at home on maternity leave as he’s only just turned 6 months old. I make use of his nap times to check-in with my team members and develop ideas that will grow my startup (Medics Abroad). Medics Abroad is growing quicker than we expected so I’m looking to focus on that full time. That would mean I’ll be working in remote hospitals in Africa for short period of times (and I will take my family with me) and the rest of the time I’ll focus on other business ventures as well as being a mum.
Overall, I would say my most productive hours are when the kids are in bed, usually between 9pm-1am when I can get work done (occasionally interrupted if both kids wake up crying).
What are some of the struggles you faced as a double minority in medical school?
I graduated from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), a college that represents over 60 different nationalities so fortunately I didn’t face any form of racism or sexism during my study.
However, the odds were stacked against me when I chose to specialise in Surgery after graduation, which is typically the path for “men”. The struggles I faced were in the form of inconsiderate behaviours from my male colleagues (both junior & senior). At the time I was completing a rotation in Orthopedic Surgery, I was heavily pregnant with Kian (8 months pregnant to be precise) and since I was expected to scrub into theatre, there was no consideration to either limit my theatre time or reschedule it altogether. I would be expected to stand hours for a total hip/knee replacement surgery wearing very heavy lead aprons. In my opinion, it was a subtle way of being told that I had no place in that specialty.
I was invited back by my college to give a talk on “Suturing the Gender Gap” and I was honored to share the stage with Ms. Houriya Kazim, the first female surgeon in the UAE. You can watch the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2MhT8nWZDY
We would love to learn more about your entrepreneurship journey and your company, Medics Abroad. How did you prepare yourself to lead a company whilst balancing a family and your day to day life?
The idea to finally set up Medics Abroad as a company came when I was pregnant for Noah. Unfortunately, due to antenatal complications I was required to stop work when I was 5 months pregnant (a lot sooner than I had planned). Being on bed rest gave me a lot of time to think about my passion to improve medical education through travel. I researched the basics and went ahead to register the company. Coming from a very medical background meant I had no business knowledge whatsoever so I felt the next thing to do was to gain a bit of structured knowledge on Entrepreneurship. I decided to complete an online course on Entrepreneurship from Harvard Business School, identified an experienced mentor, joined an Entrepreneurship accelerator programme and things really picked up from there.
In that time, Kian was in creche during the day and David was at work. Essentially, I was working from home but in a more relaxed and controlled environment. We made sure the evenings were strictly for family time (play, dinner, chat etc). It was a perfect balance.
What advice do you have for young women who want to pursue a career in medicine?
I would say follow your dreams. People are mostly put off by the length of time it takes but I think of it like the time is going to pass anyway, whether you’re working or studying. So why not spend that time working towards something you’ll enjoy doing probably for the rest of your life.
Also, something we’re mostly not told in medical school is that a degree in medicine does not necessarily translate into working in clinical medicine if that’s not what you want. I personally believe that my degree has given me the foundation, knowledge and credibility to start Medics Abroad and even if I don’t go back to working in a hospital, I know that I am still making a positive difference in the healthcare industry.
What does being an executive woman mean to you?
It means being a leader and having the courage to take on the world. As an executive woman, a lot of young girls will look up to me and aspire to be like me so it is my duty and responsibility to mentor and empower young girls and work side-by-side with other women, not in rivalry or competition but in solidarity and support.