Monthly Archives: September 2015

RealSelf Stories: How This Doctor Advisor Became a Patient

When Debra Gravelle joined RealSelf in 2012 as a doctor advisor, she was a cosmetic surgery skeptic. Three years later, she’s undergoing her own inspiring transformation, starting “from the head down” with laser resurfacing, Voluma, and Botox. In December, just before her 60th birthday, she’ll get a tummy tuck with liposuction and fat transfers, followed by a breast lift. She’s documenting it all in her RealSelf review, and in a forthcoming “‘Sexy at 60” mini-documentary by our RealSelf video team.

We asked Debra what she loves about her role of doctor advisor, why this was the moment for her to make such big personal changes, and how her perspective on cosmetic surgery has evolved.


Debra Gravelle, Senior RealSelf Advisor, looking fabulous.

I loved everybody I talked to during my RealSelf interview, but I had a lot of questions about what I thought about plastic surgery. I just didn’t get that these were things people were doing to increase their confidence and happiness level — I thought it was about vanity. I didn’t realize the depths of change that can happen in a person when they go through it.

When I read the stories on RealSelf, I started to understand that it’s more about how you feel inside than how you look, that those things are so connected.

What I love about the role of doctor advisor is that it’s a combination of relationship building and helping doctors with marketing. I didn’t realize how satisfying that customer service piece of the role would become for me, building that trust with doctors and giving them a chance to give back to the community as they build their practice.

In most cases, we’re dealing with their marketing and office staff, more than with the doctors themselves. I love getting that chance to support a practice, almost like one of their team members, coaching them on how to build their presence on our site. When you see them get a new review, you get excited for them, because you know last week you talked about the importance of asking for reviews. You see the results of your advising first-hand. You get to share in their successes.

I have one doctor who told me he had two people chatting in his waiting room, and they realized they’d both been on RealSelf. They’d been commenting on the same post, and they knew each other’s usernames. They laughed and said, “We’ve been on RealSelf together!”

It’s also great being part of the Advisor team. There’s a lot of support that goes on. I’ve been here nearly three years, and I have more than 30 years of experience in helping people through coaching, advising, or selling. I love to see the new people have success with their doctors, hearing them say, “I told my doctor to do this, and two weeks later he’s getting more inquiries.” I love that!

It’s scary to share my own treatment journey on RealSelf because I’m not anonymous. I have posted a couple pictures that I would never send to a fellow employee and say, “Look at this picture!” But anybody at RealSelf can see it. I’m not a prude by any means, but I’m aware that I’m not anonymous, that I have adult children who might go, “Oh my God, Mother.” I’m aware I have a granddaughter who will see those photos when she gets older. So I’m being tasteful about what I put up, but I still want other people to see and share and be encouraged, because I’ve been so encouraged by others.

Never in my wildest dreams when I showed up at RealSelf would I have thought I’d be going through with this surgery. But I changed my mind, seeing the confidence people gain. This is a banner year for me: I’m turning 60! I feel like if I’m going to do it, I need to do it now. I want to enjoy it for a while! — Debra Gravelle is a Senior RealSelf Advisor. Follow her personal journey, Bringing Sexy Back at 60, on

RealSelf Doctors Spend 230,000 Hours Giving Back to the Community

RealSelf Doctors Spend 230,000 Hours Giving Back to the Community

RealSelf isn’t just the office you’ll visit in Seattle. We’re also a whole network of men and women who contribute to the RealSelf community from all around the world. Many of them are doctors who use their rare downtime to answer the pressing medical questions of men and women they may never meet.

Recently, those doctors hit a major milestone. They officially provided 1 million answers. That means in the past five years, RealSelf doctors spent more than 230,000 hours providing a little peace of mind to hundreds of thousands of men and women.

See the highlights on RealSelf Trends, which features the editorial stories RealSelf data has to tell. Oh, and fun fact: the doctor who posted the millionth answer was also the doctor who posted the second-ever answer on RealSelf back when we started. Thanks, Dr. Walden!

On Tap: A New RealSelf Tradition

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Software Developer David Ross and Product Manager Jasmine Park enjoy a pour.

We’re having a big growth spurt at RealSelf, with new team members starting nearly every week. We care a lot about integrating new folks into our social circle, usually through our shared affection for food. We greet them on their first day with a bagel breakfast for all. We invite them to join us in our Slack #lunch discussions and at the communal lunch table. And on Friday afternoons, we welcome them to our version of the water cooler: the kitchen kegerator. (We drink water, too, but not usually so socially.)

We asked David Ross — Software Developer, food trivia master, and one of the instigators of our rotating taps — to share the inspiration for this tradition and pay tribute to his favorite craft brews. Thanks for fermenting our cultural brew, David.

RealSelf Glasses

Office kegerators are a popular startup perk with good reason: having a tap or two at work leads to a much more social workplace, especially on Friday afternoons.

The path to flowing taps at RealSelf started shortly after I was hired on as a Software Developer. The week I started, I decided to carry over an end-of-week tradition from my previous workplace (and offer thanks to the team for taking me onboard) by sharing some bottled beers I’d been holding onto for a special occasion.

My new team embraced this tradition, which gave us all a bit of novelty and levity to look forward to each week. Craft brews also turned out to be great conversation starters: beer lovers could try something new (given the Pacific Northwest’s wealth of breweries, there’s no shortage of new things to try), and people just getting into them could get a feel for what they like. When it became clear how much people were enjoying it, talk turned to an office keg system. 

Once the decision was made (and budget granted), we settled on a two-tap system from Kegco, so we could rotate through smaller 1/6th kegs, keeping the options frequently rotating. Slack was very useful here, allowing us to coordinate options in a dedicated #on-tap channel and find area breweries we could feature. Our inaugural beers came from Odin Brewing: their seasonal Lemondrop SMASH and standard Asgard IPA.

On the second rotation, featuring Seattle Cider Company’s Semi-Sweet and Two Beers Evo IPA, impromptu keg gatherings really took off. Given the popularity of IPA on the West Coast, that was an expected hit, but the cider was surprisingly popular, bringing those who weren’t really into beer into the kitchen for a pour. Ciders have since become a second-tap staple, especially the delicious Black Currant from Finnriver

Ultimately, introducing the keg to the office has been a resounding success. Friday afternoons are always lively, we enjoy more options at special events, and the Friday Bottle Share still pops up on special occasions. — David Ross

Interested in joining our team? See our open roles.

RealSelf Opens Doors for Seattle Tech Startup Week

RealSelf recently helped host a week-long extravaganza of Tech Startup Open Houses. From August 17 to 24, we and 11 other companies opened our doors to people interested in learning more about Seattle’s startup scene. The company missions ranged from cloud management to social analytics to RealSelf’s focus of building an online community for people considering elective procedures.

dreamteamStartup Week happened thanks to a group of Seattle recruiters who started meeting earlier this year to share best practices.

At first, the group was small, representing only four companies. Soon, though, word spread. Now the “Dream Team” has more than 40 members from all around the Seattle metro area.

In Dream Team meetings, we share ideas on everything from which Applicant Tracking System to use to how to inspire executives to help with recruiting. Most importantly, meetings give us an outlet to share great candidates who might not have worked out our company but would do great at another. (We get the candidate’s approval before sharing, of course.)  

openhousemattIt was in one such Dream Team meeting that the idea for a week-long open house came up. Less than two months later, we made it a reality. We opened our doors to show candidates a peek inside the world of a startup. Geekwire even picked up the event.

In all, we had more than 200 people register with 130 people attending the event at RealSelf alone.

Besides the food, fun, and Apple Watch we gave out as a door prize, we even scored a great candidate. A new project manager is joining us at the end of this month thanks to the event.


Cheers to everyone who attended our inaugural Open House. We hope to have more in the future and have an opportunity to shake your hand!

To find out more about current openings at RealSelf, please visit our career page.