A woman leader from a small town

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Darja Popkova, a 3rd year medical student, living in Riga, Latvia two first-year medical student in The Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Paraná, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Leadership is not something coming from your gender, age, experience or race, it is very far from inherited factors like skin colour and eyes shape. Leadership is an ability to take a huge responsibility for you and your crew, to care and support, to love over hate.

We all know the past history of women leaders, which, let’s face it, was very poor. We can blame evolution, history or destiny but that won’t change the fact that women and man are not the same, as their role in society in the past.  Women were meant to care and protect, men were always there to explore and fight.

Despite all previously mentioned factors only those born with qualities like care, support and empathy are the best candidates for the leader’s role, meaning that all women have a huge potential for leadership.  This is something I encourage everyone to think about, meanwhile I will tell you a story about the woman leader, who inspires me every single day.

We all have this one special person, the roll model that inspires us for something great, that encourages us to defeat our inner enemy and reach our full potential. Our personal “super-hero” can be every person we could possible think of, but let me tell you something, no one can inspire you more than your local hero, especially when you are from the small country like I am, especially when she is a woman like you are, especially when you carry her DNA and she is your mother. 

Let me tell you about the woman leader, whose accomplishments you most probably won’t find in a brand-new magazine, who’s name won’t be mentioned on the cover of Forbes, but I can assure you, she is the one, we can definitely name a woman in leadership.

Doctor Violeta Fodina is the local Latvian hero, she is a practicing gynaecologist-reproductologist, endocrinologist, CEO of IVF Riga holding coping with fertility treatment and genetically testing in Latvia, Riga. She was the first to open the one and only GMP certified stem cell laboratory in all Baltic countries and, what is even  more important, she is the one to fight for fertility medicine availability for all public layers, for people with different financial abilities and backgrounds.

She was one of those to encourage the government to develop IVF programs with the government compensation, because she believes  that fertility treatment should be available for each and every person.

She would never agree on me writing an article about her accomplishments and success, she is very shy, meanwhile very responsible and sincere. Violeta is our local hero, creator of life’s, fighter of every woman’s dream and simply a believer.

She has always believed in her patients, her colleagues and  co-workers, she encouraged her students and people around to believe in their strength and follow the desired path. My mother is always there to support,  she is always there to listen, and I am not scared to consider, the one to lead the progress in medicine in our small but proud Latvian country.

About the author

Darja Popkova is a 3rd year medical student, living in Riga, Latvia. She is very enthusiastic about public health and it’s related issues, that is why from this year she holds a position of National Public Health officer at the local medicine student organisation called LaMSA, which is a part of the IFMSA (International Federation of medical student association).

Apart from her biggest interest in medicine and science, especially in fields like neuroscience and endocrinology, Darja loves writing. She is very curious about different cultures, foreign traditions and languages, therefore writing helps her to maintain her ideas, thoughts and share it with the larger people group.

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