Top Guns

They are sky-high achievers.Their objective: not to be the first black or the only woman, but to be the best–period.

it.’ We both started laughing, and he said, ‘You know what? If you’ve been able to compete with the boys all along then you must be pretty good,” Pollard recounts. She’s actually a little better than that. Out of approximately 6,000 board-certified plastic surgeons, there are roughly 150 African Americans. Thirty, including Pollard, are black women.

She has maintained a private practice for more than 11 years (first in Indianapolis, then Philadelphia) after completing her residency in plastic surgery in 1991. Ninety percent of her patients are women, 75% are referred by previous patients, and she’s never had a malpractice suit.

Born in Milwaukee, Pollard comes from a family of doctors and originally dreamt of a career in pharmacy. While attending Pharmacy School at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she decided she wanted a more hands-on approach to medicine. During her third year of clerkship at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, she became interested in surgery.

Her work is divided into two areas: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Pollard offers a number of procedures, including liposuction; breast augmentation, reduction, and reconstruction; full face-lifts; Botox Cosmetic and fat injections, as well as skincare procedures such as acid peels.

One of the challenges she’s faced is marketing her business with the integrity she brings to the practice. “The 11 years of training–four years of medical school and seven years of surgical instruction–does not prepare you to run a business. So in addition to keeping up with my surgical skills by attending seminars, I’ve had to attend seminars on how to run a business.”

YASMIN L. HURD, Ph.D. Neuroscientist
AGE: 39
SALARY: $100,000-plus
GOAL: To return to New York and land a professorship at a top university.
MISCONCEPTIONS: “Being a scientist is not just about having a high IQ. You have to be able to think and have a vision. It’s about being innovative.”
LATEST PROJECT: Received a grant to study the brain development of children born to parents who take drugs.
Marital Status: Single

“I used to capture ants and try and reattach their legs,” laughs Yasmin L. Hurd, Ph.D. about her early academic interest in an area not often popular with girls. But as a child, science captivated her, and she hoped to become a doctor or a teacher. She’s become both.

Hurd is a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, where she is also the director of graduate studies in the department of clinical neuroscience, psychiatry section. Her area of expertise is the brain, focusing on drug addiction and psychiatric disorders. “I love the brain,” she explains. “It’s so complex and we understand so little about it.” She travels internationally presenting her findings and has been published in leading scientific medical journals.
Born in Jamaica, West Indies, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Hurd learned early on that her journey would be a difficult one. In one of her honors classes, she had a good friend who was white and whom she outperformed academically. “We had the same guidance counselor,” she asserts. “He tried to persuade

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