Welcome to my new interview series featuring some of the brightest and most hard-working women I know. My goal for this series is to collect stories from women in all levels of their career. The hope is that their journey and their advice will trigger something in you, and help you take the jump you need to achieve your personal level of success. Whether they are freelancers, founders of their own business, corporate employees, or students, this #LadiesWhoHustle series will showcase their unique talents and help you unveil yours.
I'm happy to introduce the next motivating woman in my #LadiesWhoHustle series, Dr. Heather D. Rogers. Heather D. Rogers is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship trained dermatologic surgeon. A Washington native, Dr. Rogers attended Stanford University and returned to Seattle for medical school. She completed her dermatology residency at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY where she served as chief resident and started the first dermatology clinic for organ transplant patients in the state of New York. Dr. Rogers also received a prestigious travel grant from the Women's Dermatologic Society allowing her to spend six weeks in Australia studying skin cancer and its treatments including photodynamic therapy.
From there, Dr. Rogers completed two procedural dermatology fellowships with extensive training in Mohs micrographic surgery, surgical reconstruction, laser procedures and aesthetics. Dr. Rogers worked as faculty at Columbia until moving back to Seattle in 2009. She lectures internationally, has published numerous articles and book chapters and is an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology media expert team. Dr. Rogers is regularly named a Top Doc by Castle Connolly nationally and Seattle Magazine locally.
Within dermatology, she has a particular interest in the treatment and prevention of skin cancer and scars. She loves making beautiful, hidden scars, combating the consequences of too much sun and creating the perfect anti-aging treatment regimen for each of her patients (it will always include sunscreen!). Dr. Rogers also created Doctor Rogers RESTORE® Healing Balm, a petroleum-free and allergen-free balm in response to both her patients’ requests for a petroleum-free ointment to use after skin procedures, and Dr. Rogers’ frustration with the unnecessary allergens found in the products currently available.
Dr. Heather D. Rogers lives in Seattle with her husband and two children.
Dr. Heather D. Rogers
Dermatologic Surgeon and Co-Founder of Modern Dermatology, and Founder and CEO of a skin care company, Doctor Rogers Skin Solutions, LLC.
Why do you do what you do?
I love my job. I get to connect with people and fix problems all day long. It might be skin cancers or sun damage but they both feel really good to make go away and the patients are so appreciative for the care.
I started my skin care company because the beauty industry is saturated with mediocre products and misinformation. I wanted to fix this problem by giving people products they could count on in their time to restore their skin to health.
All Doctor Rogers RESTORE products are effective, a pleasure to sue, plant-based, hypoallergenic and in 100% recyclable packaging.
What inspired you to start your skincare brand? Has this always been a goal of yours?
Not at all! It all started to fix a problem for my patients. I do surgery on the skin every day. Studies show that skin heals better when it is protected with ointment and a bandage. However, I could not find an ointment I felt good about recommending to my patients. The risk of an unwanted reaction with Neosporin, Bacitracin or Aquaphor is surprisingly high (up to 66%). Pure petroleum products like Vaseline are less likely to cause a reaction but fewer and fewer of my patients are willing to put a fossil fuel on their healing skin. The natural alternatives often contain essential oils or fragrances, another common source of irritation. After a meticulous treatment, patients would have a complication to what they were using on their skin to supposedly help the healing process. I see these reactions regularly, they hurt, itch, and slow the healing process. I needed to make something better.
What does your average day look like?
Up at 5:45am for a 20 minute Peloton ride then get ready for work. Wake up kids at 6:30am and get everyone ready out the door by 7:15am. School drop off at 7:45am and start seeing patients at 8am until noon. Then lunch, a meeting and an afternoon of patients. Work calls on the way home from 5:15 to 6pm. Family time and dinner until 8pm. Kids go to bed and I work on RESTORE then ideally get some time to relax with my husband and off to bed. Lights out by 11pm.
What sets your skincare brand apart from others?
As a practicing dermatologist, I see what works and what does not in the world of skincare. I know what is out there and I am trying to fill what I believe to be significant holes in what is available. This is not about making a quick buck, it is about giving people products they can count on and feel good about using. It has been remarkably challenging because unlike medicine where there is a clear path, the road to launching a skincare business is different for everyone. I thought making good products would be the hard part. I was so wrong! It is figuring out what to do with them once you have made them.
Who within your industry is a big inspiration to you?
Rose-Marie Swift of RMS Beauty. She is such a forward thinker and has been a trail blazer to clean things up in the beauty industry. Her efforts have created significant awareness about many of the same issues I am working against in skin care and I am inspired by what she has accomplished.
Paula Begoun of Paula's Choice is also a pioneer. She started the movement of educating the consumer. She is a voice the consumer can trust and has done an amazing job of removing common irritants from her line of skin care products.
What is one thing people outside of your industry get wrong about your job?
As a physician, people have no idea about how much time we spend jumping through arbitrary hoops created by insurance companies. I don't know how we have let things get this bad but it is driving good doctors out of medicine or to drop insurance all together because it is so disheartening. I went down this long road to connect with my patients and not spend hours working on electronic medical record and prior authorizations not because it improves care but because the insurance companies require it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Where I am now with hopefully a bit more wiggle room in the daily schedule!
What has been your biggest career win to date?
I have two.
Three years ago, I opened a dermatology practice in Seattle, Modern Dermatology. We had to build out the space and create every detail from scratch. It was a remarkable amount of work but was exactly the right thing to do. I am so proud of being part of the "go to" dermatology practice in Seattle where patients know they will receive the best care. Because it is our own practice and not regulated by a hospital, we can provide the care we want to provide and work with the people we hand selected. Modern Dermatology is all about the patient experience and the quality of the care versus a mass production.
I created Doctor Rogers RESTORE to make a healing balm for my patients to use after procedures. I had so many requirements for the product and it took years to make and test. When I finally brought it to market, I knew it was a good product. But I did not know how good. Now, after 4 years of using it in my practice, doing clinical studies, and getting feedback, I am amazed. So many products promise miracles purely for marketing claims, but in actuality, do nothing. The Healing Balm is truly a game changer when it comes to healing the skin, much more than I could have predicted.
What about your biggest career struggle?
With starting a new practice and skin care company with small children and a husband who works full time as a surgeon, I often feel like there is not enough time to do all the things I want or need to do. Sleep, exercise, date night, friends, and eating well are all often pushed to the back burner. I am making progress but it remains a challenging juggling act.
What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
Believe in yourself. Trust your instincts. Don't give up or give in.
What about the worst?
That as a doctor I should let the MBAs run my skin care business to make it profitable.
What are you the most proud of?
Being happily married with two wonderful children.
What advice do you have fro those looking for a career in your field?
Find a mentor to answer questions and help you down the right path. Once you are on the path, find people you love to work with and make sure you do!
When do you feel the most confident?
When I feel loved and appreciated by the people I hold the most dear, in particular my husband who is my greatest champion.
How do you relax?
Traveling, getting out of town with my husband and kids. Exercise calms my mind.
Currently coveting: time, exercise, personal shopper.
Favourite way to sweat: spinning (Peloton, Soul Cycle, Fly Wheel).
Favourite book: Pride and Prejudice for sentimentality. The Great Gatsby is perfectly written.
Morning bird or night owl? Morning bird.
Favourite city: NYC.
Spirit animal: Dragon Lion (my astrological signs).
Get in touch with Dr. Heather D. Rogers:
Facebook: Doctor Rogers
Know anyone that would be great to feature in the #LadiesWhoHustle series? Connect with me on Instagram to nominate them - or yourself!