Photographs by ChiChi Ubiña
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I am a proud New Yorker, born and raised. My husband and I returned to the city after finishing our education and then lived there before moving to idyllic Greenwich, CT to raise our family. I graduated cum laude from Harvard University, went to NYU Medical School and completed my dermatology residency training for 3 years at King-Drew/Harbor-UCLA in sunny LA.
How did you decide to specialize in dermatology with a specialty in Cosmetic Surgery?
I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a little girl. Coupled with my love for science and creativity, I have always been fascinated by the rare and intimate connection that doctor has to patient. When I was in medical school, I considered going into plastic surgery, which appealed to me as a hands-on mix of my passions for art and science. However, the thing that surgery was missing for me was the patient interaction – not so easy to connect with your patient when she’s under anesthesia on the surgical table. As an alternative, dermatology turned out to be the perfect combination of everything I wanted in my medical career. Being a cosmetic dermatologist allows me to help improve my patients’ confidence as they pursue their work and dreams. I am the person my clients come to when they want to look and feel their best. What is better than that?
How did you meet your husband, Chris?
Our history runs deep. Chris and I were high school sweethearts at Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. My very best friend introduced us, and later became the maid of honor in our wedding. Chris is a lawyer. We share the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit. We have always respected and admired both fields of medicine and law.
What are your children up to?
Chris and I have three awesome children. Sasha is 14 and attends Greenwich Academy. She’s incredibly hard-working and funny, and I hope she will run my business one day. Our 12-year-old son Peyton is carrying out the family legacy at Hackley, Class of 2028. He loves to play football; we joke that his name is Peyton for a reason. Finally, our son Desi, 10, is the star of the show on stage. He most recently played Gomez in the Addams Family and he was incredible! Our kids are all very different, which I love.
What brought you to Greenwich?
After practicing in Manhattan for seven years, I was ready to open my own business. My vision was strong, I wanted to bring New York luxury dermatology to a community that would appreciate it. This is when I developed the concept of NicholsMD of Greenwich. I wanted to provide a luxe, Upper East Side experience without the trip into the city. NicholsMD is a complete skincare destination offering cutting edge, physician-validated services with ease, convenience and accessibility that meets the demands of today’s consumer.
Tell us about your parents.
Yes, I am very grateful for my parents. My mother is extremely humble and will never brag about herself, but she is a Yale-trained lawyer who worked during my entire childhood and taught me what it is to be an involved working mother. And my dad is the voice in my head, always telling me to take it easy on myself, and to smell the roses along the way.
What do you do in your free time? Do you exercise?
Thanks to the pandemic (we built out our home gym during that time), I’m back to my regular exercise routine, and am trying to keep it that way. During my “free” time, I like to hike with the kids and Blue, our dog. Chris and I love going to concerts, a passion that my kids are now picking up as they get older.
Tell us about your work/life balance.
In all honesty, sometimes the lines are blurred between my home and work life. When you love what you do as much as I do, it all meshes. However, I do make a point to make the most of my time. For instance, I will take calls from the car on my way home so I can be present with my family upon my arrival. And in the mornings, I wake up very early to answer emails and map out the day, so I have “mind-space” to chat with my kids on the way to school. Of course, I couldn’t do any of it without my team at home, who make it all happen every day.
We love your beautiful home. Tell us about how you came up with ideas when designing/renovating it.
Thank you! Chris and I love to travel, so when building our home, we often picked up design ideas on our trips. A few years ago, we were in Vegas on a work trip (yes, Vegas…) and we walked into the most-chic elevator that had been lined with beautiful rich leather. I sent a photo to our interior designer, Erinn Valencich, for inspiration and she came up with an amazing grommeted leather wall for our powder room that is one of the highlights of the house! Building our home has been a very long process (we’re still not done…) but working with a designer whose vision I trust, has made the process fun.
What are the pluses and minuses of owning your own business? What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is helping my clients feel and look their best. It’s what gets me up in the morning, despite challenges that are bound to come my way every day. And being an entrepreneur is at the core of who I am. I know full-heartedly that the autonomy of owning my own business is more important to me than anything else. And I’m surrounded by my staff who think the same way. NicholsMD started with 6 employees and has grown into a team of 22. As we continue to grow, I make it a priority to educate and ingrain my mission into every new employee. What we do isn’t unique, it’s how we do it. With perseverance and hard work, you can achieve almost anything – our opening of a third location in Fairfield is a testament to that.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial side and how you came up with the idea for “Hustle and Glow?” They always say that entrepreneurs see a void and come up with the idea on how to fill it.
As a physician and proud entrepreneur. I started Hustle & Glow™ to educate those in the beauty business on how to attract, maintain and grow loyal clientele. Hustle & Glow™ is a complimentary webinar with both didactic and live treatment portions. So far, we’ve aired six episodes, and have lined up four more shotts for the upcoming year. I invite you to watch ourmost recent episode, “The Untapped Opportunity: Retail Integration,” on our YouTube, NicholsMD of Greenwich Dermatology. Physicians go to medical school, not business school. I wanted to share a series of pearls I’ve learned over the years to help build my brand, while growing my business. Each topic is curated by me, for others in my field, with passion and profitability in mind.
Tell us about the competition in your business.
When the vision is strong, competition makes no difference. And truthfully, I think competition is a compliment.
Tell us about your expansion into Fairfield? Do you have any other towns in your sites?
It feels like the location in Fairfield was meant for us. NicholsMD of Fairfield is downtown, right on the main strip. We imagine having a similar clientele as our Harbor Point office, SkinLab by NicholsMD, which makes our transition that much more seamless. We know the town will appreciate the one-of-a-kind, concierge service we offer. Fairfield is just the beginning, NicholsMD will be bi-coastal before you know it.
Who has been your biggest influence in your life/career?
My grandparents were integral forces in my life, always reinforcing my work ethic and potential to do big things.
Tell us about your involvement in our community.
I’ve been on the board of the Metro NY North Greenwich chapter of the American Red Cross for 6 years. I’m also a committee chair for The Skin Cancer Foundation, and a leadership council member of the Greenwich YWCA. In the past year I also became a mentor for Girls Inc., an organization that instills young girls with the skills and confidence needed to succeed in their dreams. In addition, at my practice, we have always put philanthropy at the heart of our core mission. Each month we highlight a product and treatment and donate a portion of the profits to a chosen non-profit organization within the community. I find it is a great way to get my patients and staff involved in giving back to causes that directly impact those around us.