#RealSelfLife: 21 Questions With Amber From Sales

If you met Amber for the first time, it might be hard to see her as anything other than a star member of the RealSelf sales team.

One of our most successful doctor advisors, Amber has had many roles at RealSelf, including digital marketing specialist in PR, and an audience-engagement specialist on our Community team.

We know that Amber is making the most of the opportunity to grow at RealSelf, but what do we really know about her?

Amber sat down with us for the first installment of 21 questions with your RealSelf co-workers. Let’s get to know her better.

What is your favorite snack in the office?
String cheese or beer

What was your favorite TV show growing up?
Dick Van Dyke

Where do you want to go on your next vacation?
Indonesia

Where is your favorite place to go for lunch in Pioneer Square?
Pho Fuchsia

If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
Invisibility

Who are three people alive or dead you’d want to have dinner with?
Oprah, Beyoncé, and Chelsea Handler

iPhone or Android?
iPhone

Twitter or Instagram?
Instagram

What is one skill you wish you had?
Singing

When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer

What is your favorite food?
Popcorn

What is one thing you’ve never done in Seattle that you want to do?
Scuba dive

What three things do you keep in your fridge or pantry at all times?
Cholula hot sauce, Parmesan cheese, and wine

What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween

What toppings do you like on your pizza?
Meat, garlic, and extra cheese

Do you pronounce GIF with a hard G or like GIF or a soft G like JIF?
GIF

Who is your favorite musician?
Prince

Is a hot dog a sandwich?
No, it’s more like a taco

What was your first job?
Selling Dish Network and DirecTV in a creepy call center

What is one thing in the world you think is underrated?
The cinematic film Madagascar

Which one of your co-workers would make the best president?
Kirsten Mann

Want to work for one of Seattle’s best companies? We’re hiring! Apply to join our team today.
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RealSelf Fellow Raises the Level of Care in Nicaragua

The scene inside the hospital in Managua, Nicaragua, is a familiar one for Dr. Patrick Byrne. Dozens of young children need care for cleft lips, cleft palates, severe burns, and other issues. Some have traveled from other parts of the country–the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere–for a chance to receive care from visiting doctors.

A plastic surgeon in Baltimore, Dr. Byrne, started making humanitarian trips to Nicaragua in 2009. This time, there are a few familiar faces in the crowd. Three patients from a previous visit have returned. They aren’t seeking additional medical care. Instead, they came to thank the doctors who changed their lives.

Miguel is a young man who suffered severe burns. A lover of baseball, he was unable to play due to his injuries. That was until Miguel received a microvascular tissue transfer on his neck and chest to restore mobility and function. Now, Miguel is able to play baseball and hold down a steady job.

“It was just a smile and hug fest,” Dr. Byrne said in an interview with RealSelf.

Dr. Byrne has taken similar trips all over the world. In recent years, his efforts have been focused in Nicaragua. He is the co-director of the Greater Baltimore Cleft Lip and Palate team. His team has partnered with Aproquen to provide care to those in need and establish a standard of care comparable to what patients receive in the United States.

“It’s unbelievable how sophisticated our effort is now,” he said.

Photo courtesy: Dr. Patrick Byrne

In addition to performing cleft lip and palate surgeries, Dr. Byrne’s team has added dental care, nutrition, orthodontic care, speech therapy, and other services. 

It’s no longer a situation where visiting doctors parachute in and perform as many surgeries as possible. Dr. Byrne and his team are establishing guidelines, training local providers, and using technology to help provide aftercare. That includes a telemedicine program for speech therapy.

Dr. Byrne said the current operation is a “night and day” difference from when he first started visiting Nicaragua. Back then, he would see many poor outcomes from previous surgeries. Patients didn’t receive the full care they needed. Basic medical records were limited or nonexistent. 

“You see a kid who was operated on by some other team at some other time, and they look pretty bad,” Dr. Byrne said. “There are no op notes, no record, you have no idea who did what when. Now it’s pretty close to the type of clinic you’d see in the United States.”

Recent efforts have improved the sustainability of care. Dr. Byrne’s team trained a local physical therapist who has become better at cleft speech therapy than many speech therapists in the United States who rarely perform cleft therapy. The advances in speech therapy, complication rate, and overall success have been staggering.

On his most recent trip to Nicaragua in February, Dr. Byrne traveled as a RealSelf Fellow. The RealSelf Fellowship awards funding to medical professionals who donate time and expertise to deliver care and training in underserved communities around the world.

“The gift is really meaningful,” he said. “That goes a long way on a trip like this.”

Photo courtesy: Dr. Patrick Byrne

On this trip, Dr. Byrne operated on about 20 new patients, but the work is hardly complete. He and his team are still busy trying to elevate the standard of care and help establish a sustainable system by working with local hospitals to collect data, using technology to reduce the gap in care, and training local providers.

They are also planning to visit Nicaragua two times per year, up from one.

“Since we’ve been involved and developed all of these programs, word has gotten out,” Dr. Byrne said. “Families and doctors from all over Nicaragua send their kids to the group.

“It’s great, but we need to keep up with the demand.”

Learn more about the RealSelf Fellowship and how to apply here.

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RealSelf Joins Downtown Seattle Spring Cleanup

Seattle’s downtown neighborhood Pioneer Square has a fresh look thanks in part to the RealSelf local giving team.

Photo credit: Kari Quaas

RealSelf team members, along with a few of their family members and friends, participated in the 2017 Pioneer Square Spring Clean on April 8. Over 100 volunteers, many from other companies in the area, participated.

The group spent a Saturday morning cleaning and restoring the neighborhood. They picked up bottles, broken glass, and other trash. They also cleaned the sidewalk and put down fresh bark in the flower beds.

Photo credit: Sarah Williams

The Alliance for Pioneer Square hosts the the Pioneer Square Spring Clean every year. This is the first time RealSelf participated, as we wanted to make an impact on the area we work in every day.

Later this month, RealSelf’s local giving team will be back in action during National Volunteer Week by helping prepare groceries for the Food Lifeline Hunger Solution Center.

We’re hiring! To learn more about life at RealSelf, apply today.

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Hundreds Attend Free Self-Defense Class Hosted By RealSelf

In early March, RealSelf doctor advisor Kelly Herron was attacked by a known sex offender when she stopped during a run to use the bathroom at Golden Gardens, a popular park in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Kelly fought back using training she learned at a self-defense course RealSelf had hosted just weeks before.

On Tuesday, RealSelf offered the same Fighting Chance Seattle self-defense class to the public for free.

Hundreds showed up to take part.

https://twitter.com/JenniferCsays/status/846764349981044736

https://twitter.com/ColleenKIROFM/status/846748542777507840

Participants learned to identify red flags, avoid dangerous situations, and unlock their most powerful selves. Fighting Chance Seattle instructor Jordan Giarratano taught the class, who was also the instructor for the first class hosted at RealSelf.

“Making it free removed a barrier, sad but true, that discouraged me from attending such a class in the past,” one attendee said. “Thank you for eliminating that excuse and for investing in us!”

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Announcing the 5 RealSelf Fellowship Recipients for 2017

In October, we unveiled the first class of RealSelf Fellows to support reconstructive surgery efforts around the world. Now, we’re thrilled to announce the five 2017 RealSelf Fellowship recipients who will receive financial support to help fund life-changing humanitarian trips to underserved communities around the world.

The RealSelf Fellows deliver medical care and training in areas where surgical care was previously difficult to access. They work to make a meaningful impact that improves the quality of life and furthers the RealSelf mission of bringing confidence to people worldwide.

“We feel fortunate to be able to support medical humanitarians who are donating their time to better the lives of people across the globe,” said RealSelf Founder and CEO, Tom Seery. “From oculoplastic surgery training in Haiti, to advanced burn treatment training in Mozambique, to plastic and reconstructive surgery training in Tanzania and Mexico, this group of Fellows will have a lasting impact on the communities they visit, with their teachings continuing to give back long after their trips have ended.”

Here are the 2017 RealSelf Fellowship recipients (ordered by trip departure):

  • Dr. John F. Nigriny, Lebanon N.H., plastic surgeon traveling to Mozambique with ReSurge International on April 22, 2017.
  • Dr. Matthew Hansen, Perth, Australia, plastic surgeon traveling to Tanzania with Rafiki on May 12, 2017.
  • Dr. Jed H. Horowitz, Newport Beach, Calif., plastic surgeon traveling to Mexico with Plasticos Foundation on June 22, 2017.
  • Dr. Matheson A. Harris, Salt Lake City, oculoplastic surgeon traveling to Haiti with Charity Vision and LDS Charities on Aug. 27, 2017.
  • Dr. Oumar Coulibaly, Mali, physician traveling to Nepal with ReSurge International on Nov. 15, 2016.

The impact of these trips will be significant and long-lasting. The fellows will perform reconstructive surgeries, free of charge, for those who have suffered traumatic injuries or were born with correctable deformities. They will also pass along some of their expertise, and help create sustainable solutions, by providing training to local surgeons.

In addition to the five Fellow winners, more than 20 other applicants will also receive recognition. RealSelf will donate $250 to the nonprofit those applicants are working with, while Seery will make a matching $250 donation.

The RealSelf Fellowship is open to physicians and surgical care team members who volunteer their medical services or serve as volunteer educators to advance the skills of local doctors and staff in a range of medical needs.

RealSelf evaluates applications annually. The 2018 application deadline is Dec. 1, 2017. Award recipients will be notified Jan. 15, 2018. To learn more about the fellowship or apply online visit www.realself.com/giving/fellowship.

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RealSelf kicks off book program with ‘The Upstarts’ about the new rules of Silicon Valley

What are the new rules when it comes to being successful in tech? This week, RealSelf staffers got a firsthand look with our new reading program RealSelf Reads and Brad Stone, author of the new book The Upstarts

As a veteran journalist covering Silicon Valley for Bloomberg news, Stone visited RealSelf to talk about his latest book and participated in a wide-ranging conversation about Airbnb and Uber, and how these groundbreaking companies are rewriting the rules of tech. He covered topics ranging from how to build a brand, to flying cars, and other emerging technologies.

Stone specifically talked about how both companies are ushering in a new era and redefining the way millions of people travel. He pointed out that neither Airbnb or Uber were the first to explore their markets — they just did it better than their predecessors. Both companies achieved success by finding and connecting with large audiences with needs and providing the best experiences to satisfy those needs.

“When you create an alternative that people love, and present them with new economic options where the options are very constrained, they’ll flock to your brand,” he said.

Why talk about Airbnb and Uber? As recent upstarts that have gone global, there are a few ways RealSelf can benefit from their playbooks.

Stone stressed the importance of building trust with your audience to succeed, adding that companies need to embrace that responsibility and “walk in their customers’ shoes” to understand what they really want.

As for flying cars? Stone had some good news for everyone commuting into the office.

“Everyone from West Seattle will be flying into work pretty soon.”

We’re hiring! Look over our career ops and apply today.

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RealSelf ranked No. 29 for top company culture by ‘Entrepreneur’

The workplace accolades keep coming. Entrepreneur magazine ranked RealSelf No. 29 on a list of large companies exhibiting the qualities of top company culture.

‘Entrepreneur’ March issue

Partnering with Culture IQ, software that helps improve company culture, Entrepreneur features The 2017 Top Company Cultures list, a comprehensive ranking of 153 U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures. Companies earned a place on the list based on 10 areas that predict top cultures: agility, collaboration, innovation, communication, support, wellness, work environment, responsibility, performance, and mission alignment.

“A high-performance culture leads not only to employee engagement, but also to measurable business results,” says Greg Besner, founder and CEO of CultureIQ. “These organizations show us that great companies start with great culture.”

RealSelf was ranked among 50 large companies with at least 100 employees. Small companies of 25-49 employees and medium companies with 50-99 employees were also ranked. The rankings were determined by employee surveys measuring the aforementioned 10 core components.

Creating and maintaining a strong company culture has been a priority at RealSelf since the company was founded. CEO Tom Seery said the company has worked to establish a culture where employees can be themselves, and work in an environment that makes them want to come back every day.

This is the third honor we’ve received for company culture in recent months. RealSelf was ranked No. 5 on Seattle Business Magazine’s Top Midsize Companies list. It was ranked No. 17 on Glassdoor’s 2017 Employees’ Choice Best Place to Work list.

Want to join one of Seattle’s best companies? We’re hiring!

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RealSelf Learning: Owning Your Space

RealSelf employees practice their self-defense techniques.

This week we turned part of our office into a temporary dojo when we launched our new learning series with a self-defense class. Rachel and Jordan from Fighting Chance Seattle joined RealSelf for an afternoon to teach us about empowerment, awareness, and, ultimately, confidence.

The class started with a conversation about moments when some of us hadn’t felt confident in our safety and what we were hoping to get from the class. Jordan began by helping us understand why we should trust our intuition and built up to helping us practice feeling comfortable saying a simple and direct “No.”

“I believe in teaching you skills not only for an extreme situation but skills you can practice and build in your day-to-day experiences. Practice your firm ‘no’ with a telemarketer. Seriously! The more you practice, the easier it will be to clearly and directly say no when your intuition says you need to,” explained Jordan.

Fighting Chance Seattle demonstrates for RealSelf.

“Hearing out loud ‘Whatever your intuition is telling you: you’re right.’ was super cool!” said Kimberly Lund, RealSelf Office Manager.

Eventually, Jordan and Rachel moved to some training, both demoing some moves and letting us get some hands-on-pads practice. The bottom line? “Put something hard somewhere soft,” Jordan said as he pointed to his elbow and the base of his palm.

Special thanks to Fighting Chance Seattle for sharing their knowledge and expertise in an approachable, welcoming, and totally-not-scary format. For those interested in more, the Ballard dojo features a variety of martial arts classes and monthly self-defense workshops with a focus on empowerment and awareness.

The RealSelf Learning series will feature a different class, talk, or event every month that supports learning focused on personal and professional development to make us more confident in our daily lives.

Want to join our next class? We’re hiring!

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RealSelf Adds CFO and VP of Performance Marketing to Executive Roster

Jim Nida, Chief Financial Officer

At RealSelf, we’re proud to announce two new important hires to our executive team.

Jim Nida, our VP of Finance, has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. We’ve also added Thomas Hickey as our Vice President of Performance Marketing.

Jim will continue to lead the company’s financial performance, focusing on growth, a role he’s held for three years. Prior to joining RealSelf, he was the CFO of EnergySavvy and held financial leadership positions at Microsoft and aQuantive.

Thomas comes to RealSelf from Amazon, where he led consumer and business marketing teams with the Amazon Local division. While at Amazon, he created several programs that helped the online retailer attract and retain new vendors and customers. At RealSelf, Thomas will be responsible for building the company’s performance and direct marketing program.

Thomas Hickey, VP of Performance Marketing

“I did consulting work for RealSelf and was impressed by both the company culture and the breadth of opportunity open to RealSelf in the expanding aesthetic market,” Thomas said.

“I recommended RealSelf to many of my former colleagues, and finally realized that I should take my own advice.”

As the world’s largest online aesthetic marketplace that helps people research, find, and engage with cosmetic and aesthetic professionals around the world, Founder and CEO Tom Seery is happy to announce the additions to our fast-growing company, a Glassdoor Best Place to Work for 2017. 

“I’m thrilled that Jim Nida is expanding his role as CFO and look forward to continuing to work closely with him to build a valuable, high growth, global business,” Tom said. “Jim’s leadership, dedication, and focus has been instrumental in helping us achieve and sustain profitability over the past five years, and he will continue to play an integral role here at RealSelf.”

“I’m also very happy to welcome Tom Hickey to the team,” he continued. “Thomas brings a fantastic blend of performance marketing and business development expertise to RealSelf that will serve us well as we expand into new channels in 2017.” 

Ready to work for one of the best companies on Glassdoor? See our open positions and apply today. 

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RealSelf Fellow Changes Lives in Guatemala

As one of our first RealSelf Fellows, we were excited to talk with Dr. Larry S. Nichter about his recent volunteer trip. The Orange County plastic surgeon traveled to Guatemala and Cuba with the Plasticos Foundation in November.

This visit to Guatemala is Dr. Nichter’s latest in a long-standing relationship among Plasticos, Dr. Nichter, and the local medical community. In Guatemala, Dr. Ernesto Cofino was introduced to Plasticos through his local nonprofit group, Angeles en la Terra (Earth Angels). From their first meeting in the 1990s, Dr. Nichter was impressed by Dr. Cofino’s commitment to helping his fellow Guatemalans access much-needed reconstructive surgery.

Why Guatemala?

Photo courtesy of the Plasticos Foundation

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, but there is no plastic surgery training program. Dr. Nichter shares RealSelf’s belief that medical professionals can make a dramatic difference in these communities by helping build sustainable surgical resources. By working with local doctors, these efforts also help build self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on foreign care.

On trips to Guatemala, Dr. Nichter works with Dr. Cofino to show him how to correct progressively more difficult deformities. During Dr. Nichter’s last visit, Plasticos received a specific request to show doctors there how to make an ear.

Treating a condition called microtia, which causes children to be born without an ear, is one of the most complex reconstructive surgeries that can be performed. But with the help of the Plasticos doctors, Dr. Cofino performed his first procedure to treat this condition by the end of this trip.

Teach a Man to Fish or Build an Ear

“To have a significant impact you need to foster training of local medical personnel and support them to become independent over time,” Dr. Nichter said. “Just like the Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.’

“After we leave, surgeons continue to operate on many children with conditions they were once fearful [of] or could not treat,” he added. “That way our efforts are leveraged, multiplying the number of patients taken care of.”

Eventually, Dr. Nichter hopes to work with Dr. Cofino to start the first plastic surgery residency program to tackle the immense demand for reconstructive surgery in Guatemala. For now, he’s satisfied with the knowledge that he’s changing young lives.

“To have a child at that young age desire and look forward to the surgery and try to smile through the discomfort,” Dr. Nichter said. “Tells volumes.”

What is the RealSelf Fellowship?

The RealSelf Fellowship awards funding to medical professionals who donate their time and expertise to deliver care and training in underserved communities around the world.

Learn more about the RealSelf Fellowship and how to apply here.

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