Ep 113: Leading with authenticity, determination, and optimism with Dr. Paula Ferrara


Dr. Ferrada joins me today to talk about her remarkable journey to become a surgeon. She faced countless barriers including moving to the US, having her first categorical slot go way, gender bias, and the common trials of learning to be a surgeon. She thrived on what she describes as "pathologic optimism," which is truly evident in her positive outlook and determination despite the many obstacles she has encountered. She has shifted her career into leadership and inspiring the next generation. She is a true leader in the change that needs to happen in medicine, and surgery culture in particular. 

“It takes courage to change the status quo.” -Paula Ferrada

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover strategies for overcoming challenges in surgery and thriving in a demanding field.
  • Embrace authenticity to unlock your full potential in the surgical profession.
  • Cultivate compassion to enhance patient care and build stronger connections with your team.
  • Learn the importance of personal growth in leadership and its impact on surgical success.

My special guest today is Dr. Paula Ferrada.

Dr. Paula Ferrada MD. FACS. FCCM. MAMSE., currently serves as the Division and system chief for Acute Care surgery and Trauma for the Inova healthcare system and contuse to serve as  an educator as well as a professor of Medical Education for the University of Virginia.

She is a Colombian born female Surgeon-Leader. She is an internationally recognized advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion.

You can discover more about Paula Ferrada at the following links:

  • Twitter: @pferrada1 
  • Instagram: pferrada1

The key moments in this episode are:

  • 00:00:02 - Dr. Paula Ferrada's Journey to Becoming a Surgeon
  • 00:04:29 - The Determination and Hustle to Achieve Goals
  • 00:09:57 - The Power of Believing in Yourself
  • 00:11:38 - Navigating Career Evolution and Leadership
  • 00:13:42 - Institutional Loyalty and Personal Goals
  • 00:14:41 - Navigating Workplace Obstacles
  • 00:17:33 - Advocating for Yourself
  • 00:19:43 - Changing the Surgical Culture
  • 00:21:57 - Women Supporting Women
  • 00:24:18 - Purpose-Driven Leadership
  • 00:30:56 - Finding Passion in Leadership Positions
  • 00:32:48 - The Journey to Leadership
  • 00:35:51 - Authenticity and Empowerment
  • 00:39:47 - Universal Alignment and Intention
  • 00:42:47 - Courage and Personal Decision-Making
  • 00:47:00 - The Power of Resilience in Disney Movies
  • 00:47:42 - Overcoming Fear of Failure
  • 00:48:00 - Living Your Life as a Compelling Story
  • 00:48:41 - Finding Purpose in Challenges
  • 00:49:04 - Believing in Yourself