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A Discussion with Dr. Alina Sholar on Success and Giving Back

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Dr. Alina Sholar

Dr. Alina Sholar is a plastic surgeon from Austin, Texas. She began her venture into the medical profession in 1994 when she attended Texas A&M University on a full scholarship. Here she received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science with Magna Cum Laude honors. Dr. Alina Sholar then went on to earn her MD from the University of Texas Medical Branch and to complete a five-year residency, including Chief Resident in General Surgery at the University of Louisville. She continued gaining experience by completing an additional residency in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Tennessee, also serving as Chief Resident. Dr. Alina Sholar was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 2008.

Throughout her career, Dr. Alina Sholar has received many prestigious awards for her work. She received her first award, the Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Award and Achievement Citation for Women in Medicine, while at the University of Texas. For her outstanding work during her residency, she was awarded Best Resident Instructor and Mentor by the students of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Alina Sholar has also been honored with multiple awards and publications in various research areas.

Today, she owns Skin Science Soul by Dr. Sholar, plastic surgery, and medical aesthetic practice. In addition to providing cosmetic services, Skin Science Soul supports women-owned businesses and donates to causes that benefit women, children, and their communities. Dr. Alina Sholar is also the owner and CEO of Serenity Medical Centers and Sage Practice Solutions, a medical practice consulting firm.

Knowing how difficult it can be for women in any industry to navigate without mentorship and support, Dr. Alina Sholar donates much of her time to encouraging and helping women entrepreneurs. She provides pro bono business consulting for women, physicians, and non-physicians, on both a local and global scale.

 

Why did you decide to go into aesthetic medicine?

I believe beauty and confidence come from within and I wanted to help women not only bring this inner beauty and confidence out but also to see their true potential. My goal has always been to enhance natural beauty, as I believe each woman is naturally beautiful in her own way. Unlike most other cosmetic surgeons, who only focus on external aspects, I wanted to have the opportunity to bring the internal piece to this field — the part of beauty and confidence that comes from the soul.

 

What trends in your industry excite you?

Maybe not so much of a trend, but more of a change that I am seeing that is exciting is women getting involved and flourishing in typically male-dominated industries. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a long way to go! But, it’s great to see women entering into various industries and feeling like they can reach their goals, even if they are only one of a few females in their chosen field. Not only am I excited about this change, but I also want to be part of it. I believe it’s important for women to stick together and to help each other build confidence and reach their goals.

 

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

To women looking to get into this industry or any male-dominated industry, I would say — you can and should do it! I am a female physician in a male-dominated field, which is why I spend so much time mentoring young females. I want them to know that they can do whatever they want to do and that someone is here to support them. I strive to be a positive role model so they can see that anything is possible — as a woman, you can be a surgeon and an entrepreneur and you can be successful at both.

 

How has cosmetic medicine changed over the last decade?

Technology is one thing that has come a long way. Not only has technology revolutionized how I manage, organize, and communicate, but it has also significantly impacted cosmetic practices. For example, technological developments have provided new and exciting techniques in non-invasive, non-surgical skin, and body rejuvenation. Skin Rx Biometric Analysis and VirtueRF Microneedling, for instance, are new technologies that our patients love. This is not only exciting for me and my staff, but also for our patients who are seeing amazing results because of this new tech.

 

If you could change one thing you did at the beginning of your career what would it be?

At the beginning of my career, I was too trusting and not confident that I could be a success on my own. My first mistake was partnering with someone I didn’t know very well. Turns out, he wasn’t who I thought he was and our ethics and values started to clash. Once I concluded that it wouldn’t work, I removed myself. The outcome was a hard pill to swallow but it was the right thing to do. And, after all, was said and done, good things came out of it — I built my own businesses and became my own boss. If I could, I would go back and do things a little differently, listen to my inner voice. But, you live and you learn and I have definitely learned from my past mistakes. Failure is, and always will be, a part of the path to success.

 

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

For me, the secret is in my interests outside of work. First and foremost, I have my rescue dogs. They keep me grounded and have a special way of reminding me of what’s important in life. Prayer and meditation are also very important aspects of my life, helping me to stay balanced, present, and grateful. I also enjoy creating art. Being creative helps me relax, keep my mind off work, and even opens my mind to new solutions and possibilities.

 

Explain the proudest day of your professional life.

Receiving the Best Resident Instructor and Mentor award was one of the proudest moments of my career. Not only because it demonstrated to me that I was beginning to become successful, but also because it was awarded to me by my peers. This was so rewarding because it meant that my peers recognized my efforts, respected me, and enjoyed working with me enough to vote for me as the recipient of this award.

 

What does success look like to you?

My life’s mission has been to empower women to feel confident and beautiful from the inside out. So, success to me looks like doing just that. When I see a woman leave more confident than when she arrived, that is a success. When I mentor someone and see her reach her goals, which is a success. Encouraging others and helping them to see their true potential, that is what is important to me. As much as my success in business and as a surgeon is significant, what’s more important is giving back and inspiring and helping others, especially women, to reach their true potential.

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