I’d like to introduce the SOTGC readers to Dr. Ryan Wong. I met Ryan a few years back when one of my buddies (who was finishing the fellowship Ryan was starting) said he was bringing a friend to my housewarming party, and that he was a new plastics fellow and was a “super cool guy.” Of course, Jason was right. Ryan is a very an assuming, relaxed, funny, intelligent, and genuinely nice individual.
Born and raised in Orange County, CA, Ryan is the youngest of three. His father was a chemical engineer turned financial analyst and his mother was an elementary school teacher. Ryan’s two older sisters are both attorneys.
When asked “why did you choose medicine?” Ryan replied, “for a lot of different reasons, some of which were because of what I happened to be good at and others based on what the field could offer me.” He was good at science, and wanted to do something with that skill that had real world applications rather than be a “lab rat” working on projects that sometimes have no real relevance to everyday life. On a more practical note, as a career, although medicine is a long and difficult route (most people are not done with training until their early 30s), it does offer the advantage of higher income and job security. He felt that because there will always be jobs for doctors, it would always provide a stable livelihood for himself and his future family.
Ryan attended undergrad and medical school at Northwestern. After his general surgery residency, he completed his plastic surgery residency at LSU (two years), and recently finished a craniofacial surgery fellowship and an aesthetics fellowship at UCSD (two years). When I called Ryan and asked him to do this interview for me…he explained that he would, as soon as he finished packing and moving to Stanford, where he will do his third fellowship for microsurgery.
When I asked why he is now going into his third year of fellowship, he replied that “the economy has been hard on the plastic surgery market, especially cosmetics. Right now, the biggest demand in plastic surgery is for reconstructive microsurgery so I’ll probably look at academic jobs with that in mind. However, with my subspecialty training, I am comfortable with all areas of plastics and am more interested in finding the right job opportunity to maximize the use of the skills learned in my training.”
A huge thank you to Ryan for doing this wonderful interview and a big “thank goodness” for not blowing out your back whilst in the moving process.
What is the one trait you admire most in others?
What is the one trait you admire most in yourself?
Which internal quality do you believe sets women back in the workplace?
Balancing personal and professional life
Which external quality do you believe sets women back in the workplace?
The conflict between establishing gender equality in the workplace vs sensitivity to issues that may be more unique to a woman.
What is the hardest lesson for working women to learn?
Overly defining yourself by gender roles can have diminishing returns and can be a double-edged sword.
Which book is on your nightstand?
An iPad and a TV remote. My brain and body at working all day (and sometimes night). When I am at home, I try to relax and let my body and mind rest.
What woman do you feel is a role model in today’s working industry (could be any industry)?
Margaret Thatcher (the”Iron Lady”). I guess she’s not really modern or in any specific industry, but she was the only female prime minister and as a world leader, held her own against the likes of Reagan and Gorbachev. She didn’t define herself by her gender and didn’t let it hold her back from kicking ass and taking names.
The quality you admire most in a successful man?
Professionalism / work ethic
The quality you admire most in a successful woman?
Professionalism / work ethic
A virtue you believe is underrated?
What is your idea of happiness?
Balance between your professional and personal life
What do you value most in friends?
What, in your mind, would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Dying with regrets
What do you believe is a working woman’s greatest fear?
I am guessing it would be to not have a balanced life, but I wouldn’t presume to generalize what everyone thinks.
In your career, what has been your greatest regret? Do you feel this is a male oriented regret or one shared by men and women alike?
Putting my personal life on hold for my professional ambition. For me it was a conscious decision that I made when I chose to take the long road into medicine.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Let’s do this.”
Cite an example of a woman who you feel made a great achievement?
I know plenty of women who are extremely successful in their careers (lawyers, doctors) but also have a fulfilling home life.
List five qualities that this woman had that you feel helped her achieve her success
Work ethic, intelligence, ambition, humility, recognition that you can’t have it all.
What do you think is the greatest difference between our mother’s generation and our own?
When I asked why my mother why she was a teacher, she always replied “When I was in my 20s, women in college either became nurses or teachers…. and I didn’t want to be a nurse.” Things have changed a lot since then.
One piece of advice to young women in the workplace
If you let your talent and work ethic speak for itself, then your gender shouldn’t matter. If you find that your gender does matter, then it’s probably not an environment you want to work in.