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Feb. 25, 2022 12:00 PM PST

In our new column, My Life’s Work, we ask tech founders and executives how their unique life experiences influenced their careers. Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

When Dr. Iman Abuzeid founded Incredible Health, a staffing engine for nurses, in 2017, she didn’t anticipate that a pandemic would soon make hiring healthcare workers infinitely harder for hospitals. But, she did see cracks in the healthcare system, and she felt some of them could be ameliorated with technology. Abuzeid, a medical doctor, co-founded Incredible Health with Rome Portlock, an MIT-educated engineer, creating a platform that asked hospitals to pitch themselves to nurses looking for jobs—she once said chief nursing officers refer to them as “the Match.com of hospitals and nurses.” ​​The company is now used by 500 major hospitals nationwide, and claims to save each hospital at least $2 million annually. Here, Abuzeid shares her path to becoming a CEO, including her childhood in Sudan and Saudi Arabia and plenty of inspiration from her family of doctors.

Abuzeid was raised by Sudanese immigrants in Saudi Arabia, who emphasized tireless ambition.

Though I’m originally from Sudan, I grew up in three different countries: Saudi Arabia, the Emirates; and the U.K. So, growing up in an immigrant family, I’ve been a minority everywhere I've lived, and my parents really just pushed a culture of excellence. Whatever you choose to do, you just need to be really good at it and keep perfecting your craft, perfecting your skills. That was really drilled into us from an early age.

Growing up in Riyadh, Abuzeid attended the American International School, which prepared her for her life’s next big move.

One of my favorite parts about growing up in Riyadh was having an international and diverse group of friends and peers at school. I went to the American International School there, with students from 50 different countries. Having a diverse and international group of friends taught me the importance of diversity. [That became important when I moved to London, where] I was exposed to an even more diverse set of people and got my first real exposure to a country’s health care system, including its many challenges and opportunities.

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