This year Elizabeth Adefuwa (or Lizzy, as she’s affectionately known at PI) will graduate from King’s College London, after studying medicine for six years, to become Doctor E. Adefuwa. But how does a soon-to-be doctor find herself working at a fintech?
To understand that, you first have to understand some key facts about Lizzy: she is fiercely ambitious, exceptionally independent and has the energy of a million duracell bunnies. Traits that have so far meant she’s led a busier and more varied life than many, even at her young age.
Lizzy was conscientious and driven throughout school, keen to keep all of her options open, despite being fairly sure she wanted to be a doctor early on. There was a moment, though, where she nearly went down another path altogether. Lizzy isn’t one to cage herself in with stereotypes; she may be scientific and logical, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t passionate and creative.
I wanted to be a dancer when I was younger… but there wasn’t a future for me in dance!
Throughout her youth she studied contemporary dance and ballet, juggling studying at the Laban conservatoire in London with secondary school. For a time her sights were firmly set on training at Rambert, before taking to a career on the stage, but instead she took the arguably more sensible path of science.
“It’s a lot to have to decide the entire path of your life when you’re just sixteen”, she says of having to pick out her A-levels and choose between English and Science. In the end, though, her innate desire to help people won. She’s maintained her love of the arts, though, spending her free time reading and practicing… not that she has a lot of free time.
I feel bored when there’s not a lot going on! I need things to stimulate my mind and I don’t really like sitting still.
After being accepted at Kings, Lizzy wasted no time in making sure she could fund herself through her studies. She did everything from hospitality to opinion surveys, and the latter is how she came to hear about Dozens... before it was even Dozens.
Lizzy had signed up to complete a survey about the future of banking, which was “a lot more interesting than the usual surveys” she was used to completing. So, she took her time over it, really thinking through her answers. That effort must have shown because she was then selected to take part in an online focus group for a company called Project Imagine.
It was really interesting. There weren’t a lot of younger people there, so I really felt like my opinion was helpful, and it was great for me to see all of these different perspectives on money.
A few months later, Lizzy was invited to come and spend a day with Project Imagine at our first community research event. A whole day was quite the commitment for Lizzy (who was still juggling her time between other part-time jobs and studying), but she was tempted by how interesting she had found the first session… and the fact that it came with a £100 thank you gesture for the time.
I rocked up, saw the team, saw the idea behind Dozens, and fell in love with the concept of helping people on their journey from spender to saver to investor. It felt so different to what was already available from other banks and fintechs.
Lizzy looks back on that day with true fondness; “it was creative and fun, we built small models and ended the day with a dragon’s den style pitch about banking in the community, which was great”, but naturally it fell to the back of her mind as she returned to the reality of working events and studying medicine. That reality quickly became tiring though; the long hours of working events became difficult when her studies started getting more intense. So, she decided to search for a part-time job that would be a little less physically taxing. As she scouted around job search sites, she serendipitously came across an ad from Dozens.
I was already using the app and loving it when I saw the job ad. And after the great time I’d had at the event, I was excited at the prospect of working there.
Four interviews later, Lizzy was offered a job as a customer service associate at Dozens. She started almost straight away and was full-time for two months over her Summer break from university. The contrast between her hospital residencies and her work at a new fintech was stark; from NHS hospital rooms to a WeWork in the city, it was like two different worlds, but Lizzy says she felt (and still feels) lucky to have a foot in both. There were times when she’d finish her shift at Guys’ Hospital and ride her bike the short distance to the office in Tower Bridge to start her next (and very different) shift at Dozens, and she’d feel a wonderful kind of freedom flying, on her wheels, between the two worlds.
I’m a city girl, so being right in the centre of it and having all the places I needed to be close to each other was fantastic.
Lizzy is nostalgic about those early days: “there were lots of late nights in the office and good chats over dinner in between working, it really felt like a little family.”
After graduating, Lizzy will have to dedicate herself fulltime to the beginning of her career as a doctor. And, as much as we’ll be sorry to see her go, the world needs more doctors like Lizzy right now.
Never satisfied with her achievements though, she already has her sights set on doing a masters, shortly followed by a PhD. After that she hopes to use her skills to volunteer in the Global South, but she hasn’t set her plans in stone.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few years. I change my mind quite a lot when it comes to where I want to be and what exactly I want to do, so I try to have a ‘take it as it comes’ sort of attitude.
Lizzy says that when the time comes it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to Dozens. For someone who’s used to juggling multiple jobs, studies, passions and more, it’s going to be strange to settle into the single role of doctor... but perhaps not as strange as it’s going to be for Dozens. We’re really going to miss you, Lizzy but we’ll be wishing you all the luck in the world for the future.