HPW’s Inspiring Women series profiles remarkable Greek-American professional women whose stories of success inspire and encourage us to achieve our own career goals and aspirations.
DR. ANNE CHAPAS
Founder and Medical Director
Union Square Dermatology
It is often said that the practice of medicine is as much an art as it is a science. In our ancient Greek roots, the nine Muses presided over the arts and the sciences. So it is no wonder that successful dermatologic surgeon and Greek-American professional woman Dr. Anne Chapas spans the aesthetic and the medical. She is the Founder and Medical Director of Union Square Dermatology, a state of the art center in Manhattan for medical and cosmetic treatments. Her specialty is laser surgery, and she applies that expertise to the treatment of skin cancers as well as to cosmetic procedures.
Interested in medicine and with an aptitude for math and science from early on, Chapas began laboratory and research work with her first career mentor, Dr. George Cotsarelis, as an undergraduate at University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magnum cum laude. “No one ever goes it alone,” declares Chapas, who says mentors helped her throughout her life. “You need the right people at the right time to help you on your path.
Chapas then moved on to Harvard Medical School, where she earned her M.D with honors. She was drawn to oncology, which led to the study of skin cancers, which finally brought her to a career in dermatology. The Hellenic Medial Society partially funded her research when she first started out. “Reach out to everybody you know, because you never know who can help you.
“I have a lot of help — my parents, my staff, my nanny, my amazing Athenian husband who is hands-on with the kids. You have to have help and a partner who is 50 percent there, not 10 percent.”
“I still do a lot of clinical research and laser research,” she continues. “Lasers are a tool — they’re only as good as they person using them. I originally started using lasers to treat skin cancer and now use them for both medical and cosmetic purposes.”
Chapas added a third skill to her professional repertoire when she decided to launch her own business. “I built it from scratch, going from never working with lawyers to having three different attorneys, dealing with contracts, real estate, staff, and more. That’s what keeps me up at night but it’s very gratifying. The biggest challenge is confidence and risk-taking. Doctors are risk-adverse and in business – as well as in your personal life – you have to take a leap. Mentors helped again,” she adds.
“I always wanted my own business. Both my grandfathers were from Greece and had their own business. My father was very encouraging. It’s very Greek-American to do that. We have an independent spirit. I kept thinking, ‘other people have done it, so it’s doable.’”
Her final words of advice, “Don’t limit yourself. Dream as big as you can. But be careful, because they do come true.”