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Dr. Gabrielle B. Davis: “I believe that everyone should have access to life saving medical and surgical care despite demographic, socioeconomic or cultural barriers”

If I could inspire a movement it would be a global health initiative. I believe that everyone should have access to life saving medical and surgical care despite demographic, socioeconomic or cultural barriers. The only thing that makes us different from one another is the environment in which we were born into, in which we […]

If I could inspire a movement it would be a global health initiative. I believe that everyone should have access to life saving medical and surgical care despite demographic, socioeconomic or cultural barriers. The only thing that makes us different from one another is the environment in which we were born into, in which we have no control over. It could just as easily been me born into a situation of limited resources. I think once we realize that we are all the same, then humanity as a whole will prosper and we will be more inspired to improve things that matter to us all, such as taking care of this planet for future generations.


As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure ofinterviewingGabrielle B. Davis, MD, a practicing Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Davis’ redefines aesthetic medicine by implementing her unique research background in tissue regeneration into her medical practice to reduce the effects of aging on the body. Dr. Davis obtained her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. She then completed general surgery training at the University of Southern California. During her time at USC, she was able to explore her interest in stem cell biology by taking 3 years away from her surgical training to conduct research. Her research was funded by a competitive stem cell grant through the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. To further expand her knowledge in stem cell technology, she completed a master’s degree at USC in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the focus of her thesis was the effects of stem cells derived from fat on skin injury. After leaving USC, she concluded her training in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the prestigious Stanford University. Dr. Davis’ mission is to create natural appearing results implementing the scientific principles of aging with sound surgical technique. Her philosophy is that while aging is a normal process of life and scientifically we cannot stop the process, we can definitely redefine the concept of “aging gracefully”.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I discovered my passion for medicine when I was in college. I witnessed a very tragic car accident and happened to be one of the first people on the scene. I found myself intuitively running to aid the victims. However, when I approached them, I quickly realized that I did not have the skills to render the appropriate medical care. That burning desire to help came so natural and the disappointment of not being able to help stayed with me for a very long time. Funny thing is, I never considered a career in medicine until this moment. That moment inspired me to begin volunteer work at a hospital. I wanted to explore this desire I had in my heart and soul to help injured people! My volunteer work solidified my path in medicine.

A few years later I found myself applying to medical school. I was so fascinated with how someone could use their hands to eradicate disease or alleviate illnesses. I found the design of the human body intriguing and complex. I was so impressed with how surgeons were able to master this complexity and understand its rhythm and flow during surgery. It was like a dance, and I wanted to be a part of that beautiful movement. As I started to learn more about surgery and the different areas of expertise, I became fascinated with the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery. I witnessed some of the best in the field maintain tremendous focus and meticulous attention to detail in their work, and the results led to life changing outcomes for their patients. I believe that plastic and reconstructive surgery is one of the most rewarding fields in medicine because you are involved in the recovery phase, restoring form and function, typically after a traumatic event or cancer eradication. What I love about the aesthetic component is that it allows me to implement a bit of my artistic creativity into medicine.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Since starting my practice I had the exciting opportunity to collaborate with plastic surgeons from all over the world. I was fortunate to be able to travel abroad for 3 months to work with prominent plastic surgeons in France and Spain. I was stimulated and challenged by the intellectual interchange of ideas and added synergy that all surgeons share. I have been able to utilize this experience to integrate new surgical techniques in aesthetic medicine into my practice.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I certainly do not subscribe to that thinking that surgeons have a “ God” complex, however, as a surgeon I do hold the thinking sometimes that I am capable of doing anything. My funniest mistake is applying this thinking to social media marketing. My thought was that if my children are able to navigate social media, I surely will be able to master it myself. However, I had to learn the hard way that social media is a dynamic marketing tool with a certain art and strategy to it. I realized it would serve me best if I allowed someone with experience to assist me with this area of my practice.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Well I certainly stand out as a female surgeon of color practicing in a male-dominated field particularly in my area. However what makes me unique as a human being is that I am relatable. As a mother and a working professional, I understand the demands, and the constant “juggling” act women face to find the perfect work-life balance. I too go through all of the stages of life that many of my clients experience, and the emotions that are associated with each stage: from having children, breastfeeding, or just aging in general. Because of these experiences, I understand and empathize with their stories, and I think that these qualities allow my patients to have a more personal relationship with me,

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

In expanding on the previous question, I am working on establishing a social media presence to empower people who are considering plastic surgery to be an informed, active participant in the process. To be aware of all the options available to them, even from how to pick the best physician based on their needs. I think an informed patient minimizes surgical risk as well as improves overall satisfaction with the experience.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

The advice that I would give other female leaders to help their team thrive is to identify everyone strengths in the organization and delegate tasks appropriately based on ones strengths. Treat everyone on the team with dignity and respect, in the same way you expect to be treated, and reinforce the concept that every role has equal value and importance in the organization to make it whole.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

There is a perception of women in high-powered positions, particularly in male-dominated fields, that if you are direct or firm, you are difficult to work with or work under. On the other hand when your male counterpart displays these same qualities, they are perceived as confident and as one who “takes charge.” However, to be an effective leader, especially over a large team, you have to be direct, decisive and communicate effectively about what needs to be done without being preoccupied by these misconceptions. My hope and belief is that in the future society will evolve to move past these stereotypes.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My grandparents were the most influential people in my life. They were from humble beginnings yet always demonstrated through hard work, faith and determination that anything in life was achievable. They raised 5 daughters in the heart of the civil rights movement and knew that higher education opened doors of opportunity that at one time was not readily available to them. They sent five daughters to college and beyond to obtain fulfilling careers in education, medicine and criminal justice. My grandmother later in life enrolled at a university as well to obtain her college diploma. Their drive inspired me to always strive for my dreams, no matter what obstacles or challenges I may face.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

During my training at Stanford University, I was fortunate to become involved in Resurge International. ReSurge International is a humanitarian organization with a mission to provide access to life changing reconstructive care all over the world. This organization, formerly named Interplast, was founded by Dr. Donald Laub, a former chief of the Stanford Plastic Surgery Program. Their main goals are to educate and empower doctors in developing countries to improve their medical infrastructure in order to provide high quality surgical care. As my practice grows, I plan to take a more leadership position within the organization.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1) Find your passion in life. When you discover your passion, and are on your path, you will always be fulfilled, and work will never feel really like “work.”

2) Be a Lifelong Learner. Innovations and new ideas stem from constantly expanding ones knowledge and staying at the forefront of their craft.

3) Share your Knowledge. Mentorship is probably one of the most important gifts that one can give. To inspire the next generation of leaders in my opinion is the best legacy that one can leave on this earth.

4) Lead by Example. Set a positive example in your life of what you would like from others. For example if you want your employees to work hard then you have to work hard. If you want your kids to be kind then you must be kind.

5) Be Resilient. Never allow anyone or anything to deter you from your path and never give up on your dreams.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement it would be a global health initiative. I believe that everyone should have access to life saving medical and surgical care despite demographic, socioeconomic or cultural barriers. The only thing that makes us different from one another is the environment in which we were born into, in which we have no control over. It could just as easily been me born into a situation of limited resources. I think once we realize that we are all the same, then humanity as a whole will prosper and we will be more inspired to improve things that matter to us all, such as taking care of this planet for future generations.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A former mentor of mine at USC always told me that “difficult situations in life are opportunities for growth.” I think that when we all go through obstacles or challenges in our lives, it seems like the hardships will never end. However everything in life always come to completion and we must remember this. When I have reflected back on the most difficult times in my life, they were always powerful periods of transformation and growth.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would absolutely love to meet with Michelle Obama. She is truly an inspirational individual and role model to many young women and girls all around the world. She always carries herself with dignity and grace despite the criticism and adversity that she faced. She was a very accomplished woman even before she met Barack Obama and was able to utilize her platform as the First Lady to spark impactful initiatives such as educating young women around the world.

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