There’s no doubt that the pandemic has been a uniquely challenging time on a global scale – similar, in many ways, to a mountainous hike with no visible end point.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges has been learning to climb together and follow the same guiding star, despite our different views and preferences.

For medical professionals, there has also been the challenge of acceptance – knowing that in some circumstances, things may not go to plan, no matter how meticulously the plan is created.

As with any long climb, this is a journey of balance – of knowing when to push for the outcomes that matter, and when to pull back – and if anyone knows that balance, it’s Dr Anne Zink.

After becoming Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer in 2019, Dr Zink was suddenly responsible for leading the state through COVID-19, and she learned a few important lessons on the way up.

Sometimes, consistency is key, like in the guiding North star principles that have kept Dr Zink on her career path and the focus on filling her own cup first.

Then, at other times, success is a moving target, as is always the case when dealing with individuals who have their own preferences, beliefs and desires.

In medicine, the ascent to the top is never really done – and for many women, the real climb is only just beginning – but Dr Zink as a shining example of what it possible, it’s easier to believe that we will make it.

In this episode, Dr Zink shares her insights into the medical profession and what it takes to achieve success – for yourself, your patients and your team.

So what’s this episode really about? 

  • How important it is to set expectations and manage things accordingly
  • The value of a solid “base” in allowing you to take on challenges
  • Showing up for the climb – even if you’re not sure you have the skills to reach the summit
  • The strength of the human spirit, bringing us back together when it’s needed most

Why you should listen 

Going with the flow led Dr Anne Zink into the medical field, no matter how hard she tried to resist it – but only hard work could have led her on the trajectory of her career so far. Even after leading Alaska through the COVID-19 pandemic, she still has plenty to give, and an inspiring story to tell.



You can quote me on that…

“Don’t plan. Don’t worry about it. Don’t try to map it out, because life is not very mappable.” 

  • Dr Anne Zink

“We’re still learning how to treat a heart attack, we’re still learning [whether] to operate on an injured spleen from a motor vehicle accident or to watch it – so that’s medicine, and that’s life and our individual, cultural and societal preferences… We’ll all continue to change and evolve.” 

  • Dr Anne Zink

“A bright spot is really when everybody collectively can really feel that there’s an impact and difference made.”

  • Hannah Austin

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