Lorna Zelenak is a Registered Nurse turned Cosmetic Injectables salon owner who comes from an acute medical background, has worked in healthcare for over 6 years and holds a Certificate in Cosmetic Nursing. Lorna is currently shaking up the aesthetics industry, with a goal to create transparency from nurse to patient about procedures, risks and side effects. She is vocal about advocating for real, unphotoshopped results and realistic expectations. Within this, Lorna is helping mentor nurses to bring them into an industry where they are well informed and supported to create the best patient outcomes.
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Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Lorna Zelenak: My name is Lorna Zelenak and I am a Registered Nurse turned cosmetic injector salon owner. I have over 6 years experience in healthcare and hold a certificate in cosmetic nursing. Cosmetic Injectables services involve providing anti-wrinkle, dermal filler and fat dissolving services.
Can you tell our readers in what ways you are disrupting your industry?
Lorna Zelenak: I am currently disrupting the injectables industry because I have complete transparency about results, risks, complications, and post information online that sometimes practitioners do not want to share with their patients. Many practitioners choose not inform the patient entirely and purposely leave out information that the patient deserves to know. This is usually done by choice – sometimes by fear that the patient will be scared to hear risks and side effects, or simply because they think it is not worth addressing.
Online I show photos with swelling and bruising so patients can understand how they will look initially afterwards. I speak openly about complications such as blocking a blood vessel or rare complications such as blindness, and what we can do if we go down that pathway in very rare circumstances. I use my platform to create an environment of transparency, so both patient and practitioner know what to expect. Not many practitioners like to share these things as they are seen to look bad to the eye or are unfavourable – however they are all things the patient needs and deserves to know.
It is really important for myself as a practitioner to do this as the patient deserves to be fully informed and have the right guidance and advice. We also have a huge issue with mental health in the area including body dysmorphia that we are seeing more and more. However some practitioners can use photoshop, highly edited photos or even use makeup on the face to make results seem more desirable. Thus we are creating more and more unrealistic expectations for the patient and subsequently can be seen encouraging body dysmorphia. We overall need to create a safe and transparent environment for the patient to be in. This l allows for safer and better care for both practitioner and patient – which confuses me why we are not doing so already.
Did you become a disruptor by choice or by necessity? Tell us more about the journey.
Lorna Zelenak: I did not actually realise I was disrupting the industry as I always have done what I felt is right. I treat patients like I would want to treat myself or a family member. I soon realised I was beginning to shake things up when I was complimented by patients and practitioners about my informativeness and willingness to show photos or videos regarding bruising, swelling, anatomy or talking about complications. To show what other practitioners are afraid to show. I did not realise how loud my voice truely was – so I decided to use it to break the barrier between patient and practitioner and talk about sometimes what we are uncomfortable to.
Now for the main focus of this interview: Many readers may wonder what are the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs must overcome to be successful?
Lorna Zelenak: I think for me it was comparing yourself to others. I know many women who do this, and I used to do this so incredibly much – and especially with breaking out and doing what others are uncomfortable to do, sometimes you can be looked down upon for it. I know in my industry that there is a habit of putting others down to make yourself look better – and I was scared others would put me down for doing the right thing. However I realised that it is so important only to worry about yourself and your clients. Comparing yourself to others will get you no where. Once I truely began to focus on myself is when I have found my best growth.
How did you overcome these obstacles? Who helped you during these difficult times and how did they?
Lorna Zelenak: I began to focus on my business more and stop worrying what about other people were doing. Instead I focused on my patients and how I can continue to make their lives better. This also allowed me to reflect within myself and see how I could grow. My great business partner Kirsten helped me realise the potential I have, and my business coach Jemimah really taught me to let go of what others think of me and to really focus on myself and my patients.
How did these lessons shaped the way you conduct business today?
Lorna Zelenak: I am incredibly transparent with patients on risks and side effects, and what to expect in treatments. I found that if other practitioners are uncomfortable with it they are usually scared to talk about it or simply do not care – which are major red flags. If the patient is concerned then it allows them to have time to think about procedures, which they are allowed to do. Honesty and transparency has allowed for the best business as it creates trust. Overall it has made me opt to be a very transparent practitioner, with a goal to always have the client well informed.
What advice you wished you had received when you started, that you’d like to share now with aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Lorna Zelenak: It’s okay to be different and you’re allowed to be. We all want what someone else generally has. But the quicker you learn that being yourself is the greatest asset is the time when you will find the greatest success.
Out of all of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur, is there a particular one that stands out the most?
Lorna Zelenak: Being recognised as “the approachable nurse.” I have had patients tell me that sometimes injectors can be scary to approach when asking questions. I have been told I create a safe and well informed environment that makes patients feel comfortable to ask all questions and voice any concerns. I know that health practitioners can be scary sometimes, so I am glad I have created a safe environment.
What do you plan on tackling during the 2022 year? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Lorna Zelenak: I have began mentoring upcoming nurses in the cosmetics industry – teaching them how to open their businesses and how to become the best nurse possible with physical, social and business skills. My goal is to create a community of nurses that feel safe and well protected in their environment.
Our battle is that industry has the mentality of putting each other down whether it be other nurses or doctors to make ourselves look better – and that has to change. We need to build each other up, not break each other down. But good will always exceed bad, and the positive work that we do reflects in our patients. And that’s the most important thing. Changing the perception and mentality in the industry is going to be hard work and already has been. But we need to set up our future nurses coming through for success. If we don’t support them, who will? If we as healthcare professionals put down new nurses coming into the industry, then what example are we leading by? We need to start questioning and scrutinising the industry itself – the bigger picture.
I’m sure our readers will be very thankful for the insights you have shared. What is the best book you’ve gone through lately and please share some take away lessons from it.
Lorna Zelenak: A classic – George Orwell’s 1984. I always read it every few years, and it leaves me with something different every time. The best lesson I took from it is that we should always dig deeper into issues that concern us, and we should never just settle for what we already know.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, I do have one more question for you. When was the last time you did something for the first time and what was it?
Lorna Zelenak: Today actually! I went to a 2 day business conference which I had never done before – and met an incredibly supportive group of women who I can’t wait to be surrounded by more. Coming from all different industries, we all reflected and helped eachother grow! It was awesome!
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Lorna Zelenak for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Lorna Zelenak or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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