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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RealSelf Makes Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List for 2017

We made it!

Every year, Glassdoor announces the best places to work based on employee reviews, and we’re thrilled that we made the list for the first time ever!

RealSelf landed the No. 17 spot out of 50 on Glassdoor’s 2017 Employees’ Choice Best Place to Work list in the small to midsize category (under 1,000 employees). We also have the honor of being the top-rated company in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

This win is especially important to us because it is based on reviews. As we provide a safe platform for people to share transparent, honest feedback on aesthetic procedures, this honor reinforces our strong belief that reviews matter–whether coming from your community or your employees.

“A fulfilling moment for a team-oriented CEO like myself is to get feedback that your people feel connected to the mission and engaged with one another,” CEO Tom Seery said about the Glassdoor nod.

“The team has grown significantly over the past decade, and we have worked very intentionally to keep RealSelf a place where people can be themselves and create a culture that they want to come back to day after day,” he added. “To me, this award is an acknowledgment that this work has been and will continue to be worth the investment.”

To celebrate the Glassdoor Best Places to Work announcement, enjoy our latest video capturing a day in the life at RealSelf, and find out what unlimited beef jerky, office chihuahuas, and Flat Tom have in common.

We’re hiring! Please visit our Careers page to see what we have open for 2017.

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Meet RealSelf Business Analyst Meredith Miller

We have a talented work crew at RealSelf, and occasionally, we’ll feature an employee who makes our team even more incredible every day.

Meet Meredith Miller, a business analyst on our growth and analytics team. In addition to her strong math background, Meredith has long held a passion for analyzing data, even as a kid comparing her swim times to her competitors (more on that later).

A Seattle native and graduate of the University of Delaware, Meredith has a bachelor’s degree in the science of economics, with minors in math and Spanish, plus an master’s degree in economics.

Meredith has been at RealSelf just over a year, but is already an essential part of the team. Here she talks about her background, what she does at RealSelf, and what everyone who’s thinking about a career in data should know:

How did you get into analytics?

I’ve always been very good at mathematics and statistics, so studying economics was a natural choice in college, as I wanted to find a field that combined math and practical applications.  

What did you do before joining RealSelf?

I worked in the economic research group at Zillow doing housing market research and managing data production. I previously interned at the U.S. Department of Agriculture economic research service doing research into the assets and debts of low-income households and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participation in between stints in graduate school.    

meredith-millerWhat made you decide to join RealSelf?

I was referred by a former colleague who thought that I would get along well with Alan [Treanor], the VP of growth and analytics. I was especially intrigued by the possibility of joining a much smaller, still-developing organization and to have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the business. I liked that the company was still growing and learning, and I would be able to help figure things out as we evolve.

What’s your typical day like?

I spend the morning doing small things I can get done, like addressing requests from PR and other teams. Then I look at longer-term projects. I’ve been helping the product managers put together insights about new features we’re launching, especially in the app.

What’s been key to your career development?

What’s helped me out is that I’m naturally inquisitive and persistent. Being inquisitive is great personality trait for an analyst. I always want to know the “why” behind the “what” when we see things happen on the site, and find the logical explanation behind the numbers.

As for the being persistent, I think that you have to be patient, but my success as an analyst is really determined by the quality of the information in accuracy and succinctness I can provide to the product managers, and if I can give the people I’m working with clear, actionable insights into the questions they’re asking.

Meredith kicks back with the other Meredith (Russian) at the 2016 Ragnar race.

Meredith kicks back with the other Meredith (Russian) at the 2016 Ragnar race.

What do you always find surprising when analyzing data?

I just did a lot of research into trends in Seattle and Portland [Ore.], and you can definitely see a difference in interest with us in the Pacific Northwest and what we’re seeing in trends nationally. I thought it was really interesting to see a lot of things people in the Portland and Seattle area do research on have to do with the face/neck, as compared to the more body-specific procedures in other places.

One thing that is generally interesting for me is to learn more about innovation and the science in surgical and nonsurgical industries. People are constantly trying to improve their surgical techniques and make them more effective, and in the non-surgical space, a lot of research goes into creating those products and making them more effective as well.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in analytics?

I’d definitely say to have a strong background in math and statistics. I kind of had a weird elementary school experience in that we didn’t follow a particular curriculum, but did a lot of math and science and logic puzzles. I did a lot of math classes in high school and college and grad school, too.

I always loved numbers. When I was a kid, I was on the swim team, and I would research the times of the others I would be swimming against because I would want to see how fast I would need to swim to win. I like to win.

We’re hiring! If you’re a business analyst don’t hesitate to get on board with Meredith’s team by applying to be our next Senior Business Analyst or Business Analyst.

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RealSelf Adds Former TripAdvisor Executive Christine Petersen to Board of Directors

Christine PetersenRealSelf has gained an important new team member with the addition of Christine Petersen to our board of directors.

“When I first conceived RealSelf, I often expressed my vision as building TripAdvisor for the face, body, and smile,” said RealSelf CEO Tom Seery. “Ten years later, and with a thriving online community, I am delighted to bring Christine and her unique marketing and consumer insights to our board.”

Petersen was a key member of the early leadership team at TripAdvisor for nearly a decade. At TripAdvisor, she served as Chief Marketing Officer from 2004 to 2010, and then launched and served as President of the company’s TripAdvisor for Business group from 2010 to 2013.

Petersen also serves on the boards of London-based digital and print publisher Time Out Group, and Bankrate, Inc, a consumer financial services company based in New York City.

“As we continue to establish a category-leading lifestyle brand and expand globally, Christine will provide key feedback and guidance in a number of strategic areas,” Seery added.

Petersen will serve alongside current board members Seery, RealSelf Founder/CEO; Rich Barton, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Zillow Group and founder of Expedia; and Mike Slade, founding partner of Second Avenue Partners.

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8 RealSelf Fellows to Support Reconstructive Surgery Efforts Around the World

This summer we announced our new RealSelf Fellowship to help fund trips for medical providers who deliver care and training in highly underserved communities worldwide.

Now we’re excited to present our first class of RealSelf Fellows, eight physicians dedicated to humanitarianism and bringing their knowledge of reconstructive surgical care and sustainable solutions to improve the overall quality of life in these locales.

Here are the RealSelf Fellowship recipients (in order of their trip’s departure date):

The impact of these trips will be far-reaching, primarily focused on providing reconstructive surgery free of charge for children and adults with traumatic injuries and correctable deformities. In addition, the teams will work to educate host-country doctors and medical staff to perform these complex procedures, as well as providing additional training in anesthesia, pediatrics, speech therapy, and nutrition.

The RealSelf Fellowship is an ongoing program open to physicians and surgical-care team members who will volunteer medical services or serve as volunteer educators to advance the skills of local doctors and staff. Fellowships can cover a wide range of needs, including hand surgery, burn reconstruction, microsurgery, and advanced cleft techniques, as well as anesthesia, nursing, orthodontics, and physical and hand therapy.

Giving back is at the heart of culture at RealSelf, and as we continue to grow, we are determined to find ways to use our scale for good, so our impact grows with us.

RealSelf evaluates applications twice per year. The next phase of applications for trips taking place after April 1 is open now, with a deadline of Feb. 1, 2017. Medical professionals interested in participating are invited to view eligibility requirements and complete the online application.

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Cancer Took My Breasts. Reconstruction Helped Me Move On.

Pre-chemo hair shearing.

The week I started chemo, I got my hair shaved off and made into a wig.

Our employees have incredible backstories. Community Manager Mari Malcolm shares her experience with breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I’d just turned 35 when I found a lump in my right breast. My doctor told me I was so young that it was probably nothing. It took a few months before I admitted to myself I should probably get that optional mammogram.  

My original diagnosis was stage IV. Thankfully, I was really only late stage III, so I’m still here. But the tumor was so big and close to my chest wall they had to shrink it with five months of chemo before they could do the mastectomy. They took so much tissue, I was left with pretty much just skin over ribs.

The first time I peeled back the bandage, my knees buckled and I had to sit down, which my surgeon said was totally normal. Nurses would compliment me on the neatness of my scar, but I felt like I had been (very necessarily) mutilated.

I kept working through most of my treatment and recovery, often from the hospital. In an environment where showing weakness wasn’t a smart career move, I went to the office in a wig, missing eyebrows and eyelashes, trying to hide how tired I was with makeup.

I was honest about my cancer, but I wasn’t comfortable with most people knowing I’d lost my breast. For a year and a half, I wore a prosthetic pocketed into a bra and avoided low necklines.

Breast Reconstruction Isn’t a Given

Whenever I see stark black-and-white photos of breast cancer survivors baring their mastectomy scars, and I’m in awe of their badassery.

Choosing to live without breasts in this culture is an act of defiance and intense self-love. When I’ve talked with women who decided against reconstruction, they’ve told me that by the time they’d finished cancer treatment, they were sick of surgeries and just wanted to move on.

After five months of chemo, three surgeries, and six weeks of daily radiation, I understood this.

But also I suspected reconstructive surgery would help me move on in the way I needed to. In my oncologist’s waiting room, I’d met a fiftysomething woman in for a follow-up. She heard about my upcoming mastectomy and came this close to taking her top off to show me her new breasts. “Look, they’re so perky!” she enthused, giving them a squeeze.

After that, I knew if I made it to the other side, I’d get new breasts. I wanted a reality where I didn’t have to think about cancer every day. Continue reading

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