It’s amazing how simple decisions can lead to great things.
When the European debt crisis hit Portugal, our Executive MBA Alumna Daniela Seixas started her program at IE with the intention of taking a healthcare module for 6 months that could not take place given a lack of students. What she ended up taking instead was the entrepreneurial track, where she met classmates that formed the brains behind a great idea.
Fast forward a few years and now she’s the CEO of Tonic App, a mobile app for professional communication and content in healthcare. “From the doctor’s mobile phone to the patient’s bedside“-this was how the app created “by doctors for doctors” was highlighted by the Portuguese press a few weeks ago.
A doctor of medicine by training, Daniela is the perfect combination of science and entrepreneurship-where she was recognized as a “natural entrepreneur” by her professors at IE.
Aside from being an active entrepreneur, Daniela is an affiliate professor, consultant in several medical associations and has been working with the European Commission as an independent expert.
Acknowledging the fact that the most common challenge for a woman in the workforce is to be often underestimated, she now uses this in her advantage-a recommendation that she shares with all of us.
We hope that you enjoy reading our interview with Daniela and get inspired to take more risks!
1. Tell us about yourself and your actual role at the moment.
I’m a medical doctor by training and I’ve practiced 16 years of my life as a neuroradiologist. I had a clinical and academic career.
Now I am the CEO of Tonic App, a digital health company building a professional ecosystem for medical doctors and their patients.
2. How did you get where you are today and how has your experience at IE helped you?
It’s actually a funny story.
When the European debt crisis came, I’ve decided I wanted to better understand what was happening and its impact on healthcare. There were significant cuts in the public healthcare system at that time in my country.
So, I’ve enrolled at IE for an Executive MBA, where the last six months of the program were to be dedicated to healthcare management. But there weren’t enough students and I ended up choosing an alternative: entrepreneurship.
Tonic App’s project was born out of those six months, co-founded by Christophe de Kalbermatten, Dávid Borsós, Andrew Barnes, and myself. And then it completely changed my life!
3. How do you achieve work-life balance?
Someone compared being a CEO with being a high-performance professional athlete-I agree.
The responsibility and pressure are many times overwhelming, especially in a fast-paced startup. Having said this, achieving a work-life balance is difficult. It is a constant struggle, also because the CEO role, in itself, keeps changing as the company grows.
I’ve had to transform myself already several times. What works for me is doing what relaxes me the most: exercise, reading, and socializing. And of course, the role is much easier when you have people in your personal life who love you and support you.
4. What advice would you give to women who want to succeed in the workplace?
TAKE MUCH MORE RISKS!
5. What kind of mindset should younger generations have to break the glass ceiling?
The start is always believing you can do it and never let yourself be disheartened by people who make you feel otherwise (there will be many).
Then there’s the second part: study a lot and work a lot in what you are passionate about. The rest will come. And if it doesn’t, at least you’ve enjoyed the ride!
6. How do you mitigate various unconscious bias at the workplace as well as for your own career planning?
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