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Balancing the Grind with Ali Stokes, Co-Founder & CEO at Beyond The Clinic

Ali Stokes is the co-founder & CEO at Beyond The Clinic, a health tech company that offers a scalable digital health tool for improvement in the communication between doctors and patients.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I am a registered nurse, corporate dropout, and now the proud CEO of a health tech startup, Beyond The Clinic.

My nursing career was predominately in the operating theatres, before I moved to Cape Town, South Africa for my husband’s work.  There I was unable to nurse so landed into the world of medical device sales with Johnson and Johnson, selling trauma implants. This was an interesting role as shattered bones from gun shots was the ‘daily grind’, never a dull moment!

I spent 10 years with J&J in multiple roles across two countries.  My last role was in professional education across Australia and New Zealand where I supported many surgeons to develop their clinical skill across multiple disciplines. 

Tired of sleeping in hotel rooms away from my family, I thought it was time to try my entrepreneurial hand.  Coming from a family of small business owners I knew I wanted to combine my clinical and business skills to achieve better outcomes for patients and clinicians.  

When considering how to improve the surgeon patient relationship throughout the surgical journey, my business partner and orthopaedic surgeon embarked on developing Beyond The Clinic.

A simple to use patient app that provides customised information and instruction pre and post surgery. BTC allows clinicians to remotely monitor and communicate with their patients and track their progress on a clinicians dashboard, supporting patients throughout their surgical journey.

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

  • 5am – Start with exercise.  Either a surf, run, or ride, living in beautiful Currumbin, I am spoilt for choice.  Exercise is my elixir for a sane life! 
  • 7am – Mad rush for lunch and the school run for my 2 kids, Molly 17 (actually she is self sufficient) and Jan 6.
  • 9am – Up to Cohort Innovation Space -where I am surrounded by some of the brightest minds on the Gold Coast.
  • 5pm – Witching hour begins – dinner, bath, homework, decompress from the day.  One of my favourite daily rituals is dinner with my family and each of us share what we were grateful for and something we did for someone else in the day.
  • 8pm – Time with my husband and friend, this fills my bucket up for the next day

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

I am completely flexible and have a home office set up in addition to my office up at Cohort.  However, having a startup can be a real struggle to turn off. Actually, I have never worked so hard for such little money in my life!

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

My ultimate goal is to avoid burnout. Resting and turning off is as important as working hard.  I juggle so many roles in life and if I don’t manage my time effectively I will not be good at any of them.  I have learnt to become very selective with where I spend my time and acknowledge I have finite capacity.  

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

Prior to the last 12 months I was crazy about triathlons, being a very goal driven person when COVID cancelled all our races, I lost all motivation to keep training.  It has taken me some time to find the motivation.

In addition the business has become so demanding that I realised I may not have the additional 10 hours per week to train for a triathlon and I have had to refocus my priorities.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Seth Godin is obviously a legend when it comes to business.  At the moment I am reading The Patient will see you, by Eric Tool it explores future disruptions to how we provide health care and puts the patient at the centre of the decision making. Patient Centric Care is a philosophy I subscribe wholeheartedly to.  

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

My Garmin watch and Strava to map my training!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

Jacinda Adern, what an inspiration .  

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It is something to be constantly conscious of, and don’t take life too seriously.  A wise old surgeon once told me not to over complicate life and keep it to 3 principles:

  • Have someone to Love
  • Have something to Do
  • Have something to Look forward to

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.