Category Archives: RealSelf Leadership

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. 

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.

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

Building a Culture of Confidence: Why I Joined RealSelf as VP of People

Starting in the fall of 2010, I helped build a company called
Year Up Puget Sound from three people to 50, with a focus on developing new leaders. It was my third startup, and I thought my favorite part of that experience was building something from scratch, taking a great idea and putting legs on it.

Five years later, I did it again with Canopy, where I was employee number 1. But a year in, I realized I really missed developing people, specifically new managers.

I had a bee in my bonnet about empowering people through access to information. And I wanted to develop new managers and support a company as it went from being pretty flat to having new layers of leaders.

When I first heard about RealSelf, it didn’t really resonate personally. After talking with CEO Tom Seery, I did more research and, frankly, I talked to my mom. I was looking for a moral compass, asking “Does this align with my values?”

My mom’s almost 60. She’s still in the workforce, competing with millennials. She said, “You know, I’m having to get on these video conferences, and the picture of me that comes up on the screen I don’t even recognize. I don’t know who that old lady is, but she doesn’t reflect who I am as a person and the energy I have. I know people judge me based on what they see, and I have been looking for permission to say ‘That’s not me.’ And I want to be able to make really informed, empowered decisions about how I show up.” That was a pivotal moment for me.

I thought too about my previous nonprofit life, and how so many young people I’d met were going through major gender identity transitions with such poor access to information, at a time when they were launching their careers and really needed to feel confident. It became abundantly clear to me how needed this is.

I realized that I had an opportunity to shape how this company—which helps millions of people make confident choices—instills confidence in its employees. I was sold.

I had really frank conversations with Tom about whether he wanted a traditional HR person. That’s a direction they could have gone. But someone with that background might freak out about the kinds of conversations that have to happen here and what’s on everybody’s computer screens. We came to mutual agreement that the company really needs a builder who can take a more nuanced approach.

In these first weeks, I’m doing a lot of learning. There’s a lot to be done, from jump-starting employer branding to creatively reinventing performance reviews. But the uniquely strong culture and talented people make these challenges so exciting.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to try out for the women’s professional soccer team here in Seattle. Even though I was one of the oldest on the pitch, I managed to survive all three rounds of cuts. They didn’t end up picking anybody up from the tryouts, but it was one of those moments when you push yourself past what you think is possible. You only really need one experience like that to discover a well of self-efficacy.

My goal at RealSelf is to give every employee the opportunity and support they need to push themselves and gain the confidence that comes from raising our collective bar.

Lauren Sato joined RealSelf as VP of People in April 2016. Find out more about our unique culture and see our open roles