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30 Best CEOs of the Year 2023

At Akkad Holdings, we’re passionate about building bridges between people and paying it forward: Stephen Shaya, M.D.


“My family office invests in opportunities that leverage J&B Medical’s global channels to improve global health.”

Stephen Shaya, M.D., the Managing Director of Akkad Holdings, established the company in 2017 to focus on healthcare investment opportunities. Since 2004, he has been the Executive Servant Leader at J&B Medical, a global healthcare solutions company. He oversees all strategy, innovation, and growth for the company. Dr. Shaya’s efforts have received many recognitions including the 2015 Global Distinguished Health Care Award from the Center of Economic and Leadership Development, and a United States Congressional Commendation. In addition, Dr. Shaya received the Global Medical Innovation and Leadership Award August 19, 2016, presented at the United Nations, along with a commendation from the New York State Senate. Moreover, Dr. Shaya spoke at the Vatican in 2018 on how leveraging technology could help extend care globally.

Dr. Shaya joined an esteemed line up of global leaders at the Cura Foundation’s Fifth International Vatican Conference in May of 2021, at which time he was presented with a Vatican Pontifical Hero Award. In 2022, he received the Presidential Leadership Award and the Presidential Gold Medal. In July this year, Dr. Shaya was honored with the AAPI Presidential Healthcare Leadership Award 2023 for revolutionizing healthcare delivery. He currently sits on a number of boards including as the Chairman of the American Diabetes Association in Michigan, Henry Ford Hospital (West Bloomfield) Board, and Velatura.

Dr. Shaya graduated from Birmingham Brother Rice High School summa cum laude and was awarded a Merit Scholarship to attend Wayne State University. He attended Wayne State University Medical School and graduated in 1996. He subsequently finished training in Family Practice at North Oakland Medical Center.

The Silicon Review reached out to Dr. Shaya, and he exclusively spoke about Akkad Holdings and his role at the company. Here’s what he had to say.

Interview Highlights

Q. How would you describe your professional journey so far? Tell us about a few roadblocks and learning lessons that helped you grow through the years.

My professional journey has been one of growth, learning, and service - all of which were instilled in me by my Iraqi Christian parents and grandmother. My professional journey has had many moments of great joy and profound sorrow and disappointment. One of the toughest moments on my journey was when my father died unexpectedly two years ago. He was a great leader, role model, and friend. This experience highlighted the fragility of life and reminded me to make the most of every moment. Through these experiences, I have learned that life is full of rewards and challenges, which often come hand-in-hand. Learning to recognize this balance made staying focused on my goals more accessible. No matter what roadblocks or learning lessons lie ahead on this journey, I am grateful for every experience since each has added another layer to the person I am today.

Q. As an MD of the company, what are your major roles and responsibilities?

As the Managing Director of Akkad Holdings, which is my family office, my primary role is making investments in companies and platforms and building relationships with other family offices and key stakeholders around the world. These strong relationships have led to many opportunities for my family and I. My family are Iraqi Christian and the Akkadian empire was the first empire in Mesopotamia. They were the great connectors of their time.

Q. What can you tell us about Akkad Holdings? What are its focus areas? 

Akkad Holdings focuses on investing in opportunities that leverage J&B Medical’s global channels to improve global health. Our mantra is ‘People. Purpose. Pay it Forward.’ and our main goal is to empower people to reach their full potential by improving their physical and mental health.

We have chosen to invest in several areas of healthcare, including digital health, medical devices, supply chain solutions, and FinTech.

Above all else, we value people and believe that anything is possible with great people, so we have created a strong network of passionate individuals dedicated to driving positive change within the global healthcare industry.

Q. Can you introduce us to your services? What are their key features?

At Akkad Holdings, we are passionate about building bridges between people and paying it forward. My family office invests in opportunities that leverage J&B Medical’s global channels to improve global health, as mentioned above. One of our main core competencies has been to build a strong global ecosystem that can help to match private capital to specific opportunities. Today, it takes much more than capital to reach an epic status. If one can get good people and good opportunities together, great things happen. In almost all of the opportunities we pursue, either we or an affiliated group can provide expertise and mentorship to people pursuing a particular opportunity.  

Q. What continuing learning opportunities do you have for your rank-and-file employees?

Our employees and customers want to feel part of something greater than themselves and finding ways to accomplish this is a great learning opportunity for us all. Truly believe that providing affordable and accessible healthcare to all can help to build much-needed bridges around the world. Every day all of us are learning new and innovative ways to provide healthcare for populations around the globe. We truly believe that access to affordable healthcare is a human right. If people have health, they have hope. With hope, you have everything.

Q. How do you see Akkad Holdings changing in five years, and how do you see yourself creating that change

In five years, I see Akkad Holdings continuing to be an active force in the global health sector and we have big expansion plans which will give us access to 66 countries. We will have made substantial strides toward improving the medical outcomes of people around the world and we will have established successful partnerships with key players in the industry and developed new solutions for accessing healthcare services.

My goal is to create a lasting legacy of improved global health outcomes that goes beyond financial gains but provides real value to those who need it most. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “The first wealth is health.” 

Q. Is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up?  

Before we wrap up, I would like to add that our goal of improving global health goes beyond simply investing in the right opportunities. At Akkad Holdings, we strive to be responsible corporate citizens and a force for good within our communities. We are actively working on new models of corporate sustainability and responsibility which take into account how affordable and accessible healthcare fits right into ESG. We call this Stethoscope Diplomacy and Philanthropy. We support non-profit organizations that provide medical relief to underserved areas, provide educational resources to help people make better decisions about their health and well-being, and collaborate with local governments and community leaders to create healthier environments. We also invest in healthcare technology solutions that can increase access to high-quality care while reducing costs. Finally, we recognize that true change comes from collective efforts and actively engaging with other companies and people dedicated to improving global health. The only way forward to achieve lasting impact is through creating unique public and private partnerships and joining forces with other key stakeholders who want to collectively elevate humanity.

“My goal is to create a lasting legacy of improved global health outcomes that goes beyond financial gains but provides real value to those who need it most.”