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Stephen Shaya, M.D., Endeavor Detroit’s newest board member, oversees all strategy, innovation and growth for J & B Medical, a privately held global health care products, solutions, and services company based in Wixom, MI. In 2017, Dr. Shaya established his family office, Akkad Holdings, which focuses on health care investment opportunities.
Dr. Shaya has received many recognitions including the 2015 Global Distinguished Health Care Award from the Center of Economic and Leadership Development. In 2016, he received the Global Medical Innovation and Leadership Award, which was presented at the United Nations along with a commendation from the New York State Senate. In 2017, Dr. Shaya was named the American Diabetes “Father of the Year,” and in April 2018, Dr. Shaya spoke at the Vatican on how leveraging technology can help extend care globally.
What are your areas of expertise? What were some early challenges in your career and what did you learn from those experiences?
My main area of expertise is healthcare. I went to Wayne State University Medical School then trained in family practice. During that time, I delivered almost 100 babies, which was a unique challenge.Since 2004, I’ve been working at J & B Medical full time, but I dedicated quite a bit of my time during the inception of the company from 1996 to 1999. Some of the early challenges at J & B included starting the business from scratch with little financing and getting fired quite regularly. My father’s philosophy was always “don’t spend money you don’t have,” a mantra that certainly helped along the way. I also learned to really appreciate the value of building of deep and productive relationships, which has become the foundation for the entire enterprise and my approach to life.
Why did you decide to join Endeavor Detroit’s board? How heavily did the idea of mentoring entrepreneurs factor into your decision?
I decided to join Endeavor’s board as a way to give back to my community and I have always enjoyed mentoring people. I believe strongly that creating jobs and economic empowerment can help to unite people from all walks of life — in this hyper-charged time we are living in, it has never been needed more.
Mentorship is obviously a critical part of Endeavor’s model – what do you think makes a good mentor?
I believe that good listening skills and empathy are important hallmarks of strong mentorship. Oprah Winfrey said it best: “A great mentor is someone who allows you to see hope inside of yourself.”
What has been your greatest challenge in entrepreneurship and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge in entrepreneurship has been managing the dynamics of a family business. Despite the varied challenges those dynamics have presented, J & B has grown from a small startup to a global business. I believe that in addition to the wisdom time and experience bring, the inspiration and knowledge from the many mentors who have guided me along the way have been instrumental in navigating forward and optimizing everyone’s efforts.
What do you think is one of the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?
The most important characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is passion. When you chase your passion, you find your purpose. With passion and purpose, one is unstoppable.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Think of yourself as a lifelong learner.
What is one piece of advice you would give an entrepreneur looking to scale their company?
Protect your business values. Often as companies grow, these values can dilute. Stay true to who you are and to what helped you grow in the first place.
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