What We Have Learned From the Pandemic, Part 7

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Monday, December 20, 2021

Three people talk in the background, a chart sits on the table in the foreground

By Michael Meyer, Writer/Editor; and Madilyn Moeller, Editorial Assistant, American Med Spa Association

Eighteen months ago, COVID-19 emerged and changed the way people live their lives. Very quickly, "social distancing" became a familiar term, and how to wear a mask and use Zoom became a way of life. Many in medical aesthetics, and in all walks of life, also have experienced the heartbreak of losing friends and loved ones to the virus. Without question, everyone's lives are significantly different than they were before the pandemic began.

QP wanted to learn how the pandemic has affected medical aesthetics, so in this very special issue, dozens of people who work in and around the industry share what they have learned during this highly unusual time. QP spoke with physicians, nurses, physician assistants, lawyers, finance professionals, vendors, trainers and medical spa owners about how their lives and businesses have adapted—and are continuing to adapt—to the "new normal," and their insights reveal that medical aesthetics is resilient, innovative and strong.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not yet disappeared, and new lessons are being learned every day as people come to grips with the evolution of this pandemic. However, medical aesthetics is nothing if not resourceful, and as COVID-19 continues to demand thoughtful responses to difficult problems, the industry will undoubtedly be among the first to change with the times.

"In and Out of Hot Water"

Headshot of Melissa Rogne

Melissa Rogne
President, Chapter Aesthetic Studio

"One of my favorite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt: 'A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.' The pandemic pushed all small business owners into 'hot water,' as we saw our businesses shuttered, rules and regulations changing weekly and an overwhelming sense of fear and uncertainty.
"What I learned is exactly what Ms. Roosevelt so eloquently quoted: the strength of a group of fiercely determined women. This strength showed up in many ways. I learned how courageous we can be when we lean on each other for support. I learned how passionate collaboration and debate can result in the best possible outcome. I learned that it is okay for your team to see your vulnerability—that tears do not show weakness, but rather a deep sense of responsibility and empathy for your team.
"As a leader, I learned that my role is to listen more than I speak, and when I do speak, to ask the questions that need to be asked, to seek a deeper level of understanding for each individual's journey.
"The pandemic undoubtedly changed me—first as a human and second as a leader. Compassion, empathy, resilience and vulnerability are all traits I thought I had prior to the pandemic, but during the pandemic, I learned that these traits must be present across your entire organization in every interaction.
"The pandemic taught us so much: The aesthetics industry is resilient, and patients will line up outside to get their injectables. But most of all, I learned the incredible impact of a strong, healthy team culture. I learned the real value of team members who put each other first—who really care about not just their own position, but the health and vitality of the company.
"While we continue to invest a significant amount in technical training, the true differentiator is investing in building a team culture that is unmatched. I learned that Peter Drucker's quote rings even more clearly in a crisis—'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.'"

"Challenge and Growth"

Headshot of Terri Ross

Terri Ross
Founder and CEO, APX by Terri Ross and Terri Ross Consulting

"Growth happens as a result of challenge and hardship. Sometimes the greatest breakthroughs and innovations come from the most difficult circumstances. If you don't face hardship, it's easy to stay stuck and continue to do things the way you always have. But when everything changes and nothing is the same, you have to decide how you want to spend that time. I was able to look at what Terri Ross Consulting offers, spend quality time with my team analyzing the industry and what challenges our clients face, and use that time to think how we could help more people and practices through education and seize an opportunity, which is how APX was developed."

"Business Surgery"

Headshot of Jeff Segal

Jeff Segal, MD, JD
Founder, Medical Justice

"The pandemic exacerbated existing stress lines. Business that were teetering on the edge failed. Those with strong leadership were able to 'rally the troops' and survive—even thrive. Businesses had to become flexible. If certain product lines were marginal and others were profitable, 'surgery' needed to be done to keep the organization humming along.
"Technology helped. A lot. Employees needed to multi-task and think and act on the fly. The pandemic is not over, but it's not the same as when it started. There's plenty of pent-up demand for routine bread-and-butter medical services—including medical aesthetics."

"Strength to Adapt"

Headshot of Mitra Silva

Mitra Silva
CEO, Simour Design

"When the pandemic began last year, there was an initial moment of fear and worry for me, as we're dealing with something that abruptly affected not just how we run our business, but also how we run our daily lives. As a leader, I had to reflect—do I go over my fear? Do I want to become a victim of this pandemic? And do I have what it takes to rise victorious during and after this crisis?

"I decided to go above and beyond my fear, and it was the best decision for me, my team and my company.

"While there were, of course, some changes that had to be made, we faced the challenges and made many decisions based on courage and commitment. We also were able to find ways to better attune with ourselves, our clients and team members, and find ways to maximize tools and technology to streamline our processes and dedicate ourselves to be a better performer.

"We have grown more than the years before, with more team members, and we are continuously expanding our footprint in transforming medical spaces nationwide through interior design.

"So, the biggest lesson for me is, when you are clear and intentional with your vision, you will have the strength to adapt and turn challenges into opportunities."

"Failure Was Not an Option"

Headshot of Jackie Spagnuolo

Jackie Spagnuolo, RN
Beauty Nurse NYC (Staten Island, NY)

"As a small business, the pandemic hit hard. I had just opened before the pandemic hit and immediately had to shut down because of how bad it was in New York. I had to think quickly about how I was going to make money if my services require me to be in person with my clients. I turned to selling my own branded lip plumper to make some money in that downtime. Selling the lip plumper really helped me get through the pandemic without falling too far behind.

"From the pandemic, I learned to be prepared and to plan for anything. Also, I learned to really build up a support system. I was in touch with my clients, making sure to stay interactive and give them tips on how to care for their skin and how to cope with the stresses of the pandemic through social media. Failure was not an option for me."

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