Women's History Month: Finding Inspiration and Paying It Forward
To celebrate Women’s History Month, American Express Open Forum asked a group of women leaders to share who has inspired them in their careers. I was invited to share my perspective as a female plastic surgeon and woman business owner.
I’m proud to be featured in this Amex article “Business Leaders Reveal the Women Who Inspired Them” among a group of talented women. As I reflected on this article, here are a few thoughts I’d like to share with other women professionals during Women’s History Month.
Find Your Mentors
Thanks to strong female mentors, including Dr. Victoria Vastine and Dr. Betsy Hall-Findlay, I have learned how to thrive both professionally and personally. They show me how to find balance while leaving a mark on your profession. I’m thankful for my business partner, Dr. Cynthia Diehl, as well. Identifying mentors, both men and women, and engaging with them on a regular basis is so important to our professional development.
Leverage Your Network
Leveraging one’s network means reaching out to women and men who have the knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals. Women’s History Month is truly a celebration of our history.
I realize how I am a part of not only the UNC Chapel Hill network from my time as an undergraduate and medical student there, but other groups as well. I will always be a part of the University of Virginia, Hand Center of Texas in San Antonio and Wake Forest Baptist Health families. This is complemented by national groups I belong to, most notably the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. If we look hard enough, each one of us has a network that is there to support us when we needed it most.
Give Back to the Community
This all comes full circle when we give back to the community which shaped us. I firmly believe in supporting and empowering the next generation, and showing gratitude to those who have paved the way before me.
Giving back can come in so many different flavors. I spoke at my daughter’s career day at Brier Creek Elementary School last year. Last month I gave a presentation to the residents of Carolina Arbors at Del Webb retirement community, educating them on good skin health. Soon I will be speaking with the students at Panther Creek High School about how women and men can be successful surgeons and loving, active parents.
This community engagement fills everyone’s bucket, as my five-year old would say with a smile. Next Women’s History Month and all the ones to follow will continue to be better. As you move forward in your career, always remember to give back to your community.
Putting It All Together
Women’s history month is the perfect time to look back at what has been done. In parallel, we must think about what we want to see and do in the future! We all have a special part to play in this cycle. At the core, our common goal must be to inspire the next generation with the wisdom and lessons we learn along the way.