We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber N. Yoo, M.B.A. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Funny you ask, because I’m naturally pretty risk averse. But, I learned early on in my career that taking leaps in life can lead to the greatest discoveries. I took a leap in my early twenties when I wrote to the CEOs of local animal welfare nonprofits and one of those letters landed me a job for the Seattle Humane Society. At that job, I took a leap when a local news station took me from behind the scenes to in front of the camera on live television. I nearly had a nervous breakdown the day before my first scheduled appearance, but I ended up securing weekly spots on three morning news shows where I talked about an adoptable animal and the latest humane news. I took a leap when my husband, a surgeon, asked me to run his medical practice after I earned my MBA. Now here we are 10 years later with a well known practice drawing patients from around the world. I think we women need to grow more comfortable with stepping into the uncomfortable. Looking back, all of my proudest accomplishments came from carving out opportunities for myself, and that involves taking risks.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My husband and I met while he was in medical school. We lived in Ann Arbor, Seattle and Palo Alto during his training. I earned an MBA around the same time he was finishing his fellowship and so the timing was right for us to go into business together. Today we run a successful private practice called SKY Facial Plastic Surgery. We specialize in cosmetic surgery, injectables and laser treatments for the face and neck. I think there are two things that set us apart. The first is my husband’s training and credentials. He’s been trained by the best of the best and is a very skilled facial plastic surgeon. The second is our customer service. I have very high standards for what I call the SKY Experience that we offer to our patients and it requires an enormous investment of time and energy that I think many companies are not willing to make. I’m very proud that we’re regularly recognized as a top practice in southern California with patients who fly in from other countries just to have their surgery done at SKY.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I usually take my out of towners to Cedros Avenue for some southern California shopping and a drink at either Culture Brewing or Carruth Cellars. Then we head over to the Meditation Garden in Encinitas for some Instagram-worthy photos. I like to drive them along the coast just to see the stunning ocean views. We usually head down to La Jolla to see the seals. I like to take the back way up Del Dios highway to Stone Brewing in Escondido for lunch. Also up that way is the Safari Park which is always fun. I think the African Tram ride at the Safari Park is really memorable and unexpected. Down in San Diego, I like to pair a trip to the Zoo with a scenic drive through Balboa Park to my favorite vegan restaurant, Evolution, which is always a mind bender for my meat-eating friends because it’s so darn good. I always recommend either the California burrito or the buffalo “chicken” roll-ups. And no trip to San Diego is complete without a day of brewery hopping. There are so many new breweries to try, but the two that always make my short list are Stone and Ballast Point in Little Italy (where they offer experimental brews).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am grateful for the strong female role models in my life. Starting with my mom, who created her own small business in geotechnical and environmental engineering of all things despite not having a college degree. I remember sitting on the floor of our two bedroom home stuffing envelopes for a mailing that introduced her company to the local community. I remember the long hours she put into the company, yet she was there for all of my major academic moments. To see all that she accomplished from very humble beginnings is inspiring. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my mom was my first blueprint on how to be a strong women in a male-dominated field. I would consider Brenda Barnette my professional mentor and role model for my formative years. She was the CEO of Seattle Humane, the largest private animal shelter in western Washington at the time. I learned so much from Brenda. Not only did I learn the ins and outs of animal welfare, but also I learned from her leadership important lessons that I didn’t realize until I became a leader myself. And, like with my mom, the biggest lesson I learned was one of strength. I learned from Brenda that there will always be critics no matter what you do, but you are the one who knows the contents of your heart and the direction you’re headed. It may be a long journey to your goal and others may question each step along the way, but keep your head held high and your eyes on the road ahead. You’ll get there. One step at a time.
Dana Frames Photo + Design, Inc Studio MAHA