Dr. Mark McKenna is a licensed surgeon. He completed his degree at Tulane University Medical School. Although he originally began practicing medicine with his father, he was attracted to the real estate development industry and launched McKenna Venture Investments. Unfortunately, Mark suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Katrina. This natural disaster destroyed much of his business interests, and he worked hard to rebuild the area. In 2007, he moved to Atlanta and began ShapeMed, a wellness/medical practice. A decade later, he founded OVME, a technology-rich, medical aesthetics business with the goal of reinventing elective healthcare. Speaking with Mark will give other entrepreneurs a closer look at his path and what makes him successful.
What made you think up the premise behind OVME?
While I was employed in the medical aesthetics industry, I began thinking of some ways to bring OVME to life. I was able to expand my practice and make it one of the most successful of its kind in this country. Throughout the process, I began seeing numerous chances to shake things up. This is what led to the idea behind OVME.
After Hurricane Katrina’s devastating losses, how did you afford to start OVME?
We were able to raise $4 million from a number of investment firms, including Equity 38. This helped us begin our mobile app and start clinics in Nashville and Atlanta, two major cities.
What is a normal day in the life of Dr. Mark McKenna? How do you stay productive?
I usually wake up early with my daughter and have breakfast every morning. Then, I shower and go to work. I put in a regular day and return home for a family dinner. After our meal, I practice Jiu Jitsu, return home, and keep working until bedtime.
What brings your ideas to fruition?
I believe in setting goals and visualizing positive results. When you truly see something happen, many times you work hard and don’t stop until it comes true. Also, I meditate. This frees my mind and allows me to keep my thoughts organized so that it is easier to bring my ideas to life.
What is a trend that excites you?
From a medical perspective, it is pleasing to see that more and more Americans are quitting the smoking habit.
Speaking of habits, do you do anything that increases your productivity?
I am an avid reader. I love books. They hold undiscovered knowledge that is just waiting to be unleashed. The more a person learns, the more productive he or she becomes. I read books in various genres to uncover things that are outside the medical field. When you expand your horizons, your ideas become limitless.
If you could turn back time, is there anything that you would change?
Some people do very little to uncover their true passions until an older age. I was one of them. If I could go back, I would have been more serious when I was younger. All I was worried about was getting through school and graduating. I think that this mindset rushes things. Sometimes, it’s okay to go slow. Speeding without a solid direction serves no purpose.
You started out in medicine and moved to real estate. What prompted this change?
My father was a doctor, so I grew up around the medical field. However, real estate was much more interesting to me.
If real estate excited you, why did you return to medicine with OVME?
I saw the writing on the wall. The real estate market was changing. When people with zero income were buying property at 100 percent financing, I knew that it was time to shift back to my second passion.
How does OVME differ from your other business ventures?
OVME was intended to build a brand around the retail medical aesthetics market. Botox is widely recognized, but there is no set outlet that offers the product. The new venture was meant to provide a top and luxurious client experience. Instead of going to a doctor, individuals can receive cosmetic procedures in a less “medical” setting. We are developing an app that lets us send providers to clients. We can perform virtual consults as well. It is like Uber for the aesthetics world.
What does “OVME” mean?
In the beginning, we wanted to name the business Face Medical. However, this couldn’t be trademarked. OVME, pronounced “of me,” is less obvious, but it captures how well we help patients improve themselves.
What is a strategy that has helped your business expand?
I truly believe in being surrounded by smart people. Even if you think that you are the heart of your business, it never hurts to have a team of intelligent people at your side. Tunnel vision leads down a narrow path. Having others who challenge your thoughts will always help you grow. This is true in business as well. Thanks to my staff, I am able to make better decisions.
What software do you use most often?
I like to keep things simple. To be honest, my computer houses few programs besides Microsoft Office. I use XCEL often as well. When you don’t get too technical, everyone can easily follow all of your work and ideas.
You said that you read frequently. What is one book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs?
One particular book, “Think and Grow Rich,” is definitely something worth reading. It discusses the power of visualization. Like I said before, this is one practice that I truly believe brings success. When you see something in your head, you have an end goal in mind.
Are there any people who have influenced your business decisions?
Michael Bloomburg has had a major influence over many of my decisions. He is known for his political career, but he is also an extremely successful businessman and philanthropist. He is a true leader who has a solid grasp on the financial sector and never compromises his moral perspective. This is exactly the type of person that I strive to become and follow by example.
Off the back of Mark’s interview, we’ve highlighted some powerful lessons that can be learnt from his attitude, approach to work, life, and family, and hope for growth in the future. Dive in below to benefit from his wisdom!
Lessons From Dr. Mark McKenna – How Simple Truths Can Transform Business and Life
Even amidst the impact of Hurricane Katrina, Mark held on to the power of positivity and hope and rebuilt greatness from deep devastation.
Life doesn’t always go as planned. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Mark felt first-hand the impact an unforeseen natural devastation could have on hopes and dreams. His real estate development business, McKenna Venture Investments, suffered extreme losses due to the destruction of the natural disaster. However, Mark didn’t give up on his vision for the future at that point. After helping his beloved city to rebuild, Mark continued to build his business, finding the funding he needed from equity investors and launched ShapeMed, a wellness/medical practice that led into his further vision for OVME a decade later. Key equity funding at this point allowed Mark to develop OVME from the vision he carried into a profitable business that provided a life-changing service to the highest degree of care.
In the midst of so much that was unknown back in 2005, Mark continued to cultivate two powerful attitudes: positivity and hope. Without the combination of these, OVME would have never risen from the ashes of Hurricane Katrina. Mark continued to believe in his vision for the future, and worked hard to rebuild his city and communities, using his skill set and abilities to restore function and capacity to his region. Hurricane Katrina caused deep devastation for thousands of families and businesses, but it also affirmed the beautiful community spirit shared by the affected locals as they worked together to bring their region back to life.
It’s inspirational to see the journey Mark has taken in order to bring his vision to life. Rather than letting circumstances send his path ricocheting in another direction, Mark held firm to who he was and what he believed was possible. By taking this attitude into every day, Mark was able to forge ahead, developing into the entrepreneur he is today, and birthing opportunities for others as he progressed.
By looking to the way other industries have been disrupted by creative new approaches, Mark has been able to grow his business to a singular level of competitive advantage.
There’s one secret visionaries share: they see potential where other people see the status quo.
For Mark, drawing inspiration from the disruption of other industries has allowed him to go from strength to strength in positioning OVME as the industry-disrupting cosmetic enhancement X service provider it is. He drew inspiration from the way companies such as Uber saw a better way to provide a necessary service to the masses. Mark works alongside technology to continue to progress what’s possible in the cosmetic enhancement space. His understanding of what’s important to his customers is reflected in the way OVME’s services are shaped to service them perfectly – by envisioning the perfect customer experience, Dr. Mark Mckenna has been able to propel OVME far above its competitors, through its customer-oriented point of difference and unique selling point.
Mark’s mention of the positioning of OVME as the Uber of the aesthetics world is a key element to consider for your own work. Looking at your industry, product, or service, are there areas where you could bring in the business logic of an entirely different industry player? By looking at Uber’s functionality and understanding what attracts customers to its key functionality, Mark was able to adapt and implement key learnings that strengthened OVME and set it out from the crowd of competitors. Uber’s not in the aesthetics industry, but by looking to other industries for inspiration, Mark gained immensely and gained a creative and competitive edge on his competitors.
The power of believing in the importance of your work, no matter the industry – why a belief in the fundamental positive potential of cosmetic enhancement continues to empower Mark to serve his customers well.
Many people jump to assumptions when they hear the term ‘Botox’, picturing inflated lips and simple cosmetic procedures. However, Botox has progressed far beyond these ideas, and has the power to change lives for the better. OVME not only works with cosmetic enhancement cases, where clients may be finally fulfilling a lifelong dream to shape their appearance more closely to the image they have of themselves in their head, but it also plays a vital role in facilitating healing and recovery for burn victims or individuals who’ve had their appearance impacted through a negative incident.
Mark also proves the power of bringing authority to the field. His background in the medical field, beginning with his work with his father, positioned him to be able to draw on his wealth of industry experience and bring it across to the aesthetics industry. Dr. Mark Mckenna used his hard skills as a licensed surgeon and combined them with his soft skills – enthusiasm, passion, vision, an ability to connect with people and to build teams that worked towards a common goal. The combination of Mark’s trained skills and his personality/work ethic added up to be greater to the sum of its parts.
What skills in your own life could you combine to create greater impact? Look at both your hard skills and your soft skills, and find your unique point of difference that will set you apart in the market in the same manner Mark has achieved.
The power of routine can’t be overlooked. Simple routines that prioritise health and harmony have great impact on the course of every day.
It’s hard to look at a man like Mark and imagine him enjoying a quiet breakfast with his daughter, but the things Mark holds close and values are powerful reminders of just how it is visionaries and entrepreneurs are able to keep going with their eye set on the goal – without burning out.
By incorporating simple and positive daily routines, Mark is able to stay grounded. He understands the power of caring for his body and mind first – if these aren’t in check and balanced, he’s of less value to his wider community and will perform to a lesser degree on a day-to-day basis.
Mark chooses to start his day in the space that matters most – with his family. By protecting these windows of opportunity to take a step back and protect his perspective, Mark walks into the rest of his day with clarity, focus, and the energy he needs to over-deliver on a regular basis, taking OVME in the direction he envisions.
— Dr. Mark McKenna (@drmarkmckenna) April 12, 2018
‘Speeding without a solid direction services no purpose.’ Without vision, hard work will never get you to where you need to go.
In our modern day and age, it’s all too easy to find yourself running to keep up with the demands of daily life. We wake up and check our work emails before we’ve even rolled out of bed, immediately flooding our mental state with checklists, concerns, questions and workloads. Our days don’t get much slower from there, and it only takes a look around city intersections during peak hour to see the streams of people who are wearily dragging themselves through yet another week, just waiting to recover at the weekend – always stuck on the guinea pig wheel.
This isn’t how Mark approaches life. Although he carries many responsibilities, Mark doesn’t make himself busy for the sake of it. By prioritising what’s truly important, staying focused, and saying no to things that detract from his ability to deliver on his goals and responsibilities, Mark has been able to achieve exceptional results, taking OVME from strength to strength.
While this approach to life may feel counterintuitive, give it a try today. Take your to-do list and strip it down to the essentials – what truly matters to you? How can you refine your vision in the same way Mark does on a daily basis? How does that protect your time and focus through simplification?
You can make no greater decision than surrounding yourself with smart, dedicated people. Build a team who support your strengths and your weaknesses, and give everyone the ownership they need to shine.
OVME founder Dr. Mark McKenna is quick to point to the strength of his team. United behind his singular vision, Mark carries the qualities all great leaders have in common – recognising that more can be achieved together than it can alone.
By surrounding himself with a team who he trusts, Mark is able to foster a spirit of unity, growing OVME with a team of professionals who bring the same kind of creative focus to work every day that birthed OVME and its vision in the first place. Mark is also well aware of his strengths and weaknesses, and instead of trying to control every aspect of his business, Mark strategically allocates tasks and responsibilities in order to gain the most out of his own working day capacity.
Better yet, a talented team lets Mark continue to focus on the big picture elements of growing OVME and disrupting a gentrified cosmetic enhancement industry. By allocating tasks and areas of focus to his team, Mark can continue to build his business through strategic relationships and positioning.
Many businesspeople, especially those beginning a new venture, struggle from ‘control freak’-itis. They’re too attached to every element of their business, and don’t trust that someone else could do it as well as they feel they could themselves. However, if you’re a visionary and you’re getting caught up in admin, you’re losing your capacity to continue to set and refine vision and steer the path of the ship. It’s much more effective to bring on the team members you need to support your vision whilst ensuring that you have the space to do the work that only you can do best.
Look at your average workday. Identify areas where you’re spending your time that aren’t geared towards maximum impact. How can you re-orient your time and focus to protect the most valuable output potential?
There’s great strength in simplicity. Don’t let complex solutions or options get in the way of getting the core business done.
As technology continues to evolve, it’s all too common for small businesses to get excited about every new business product or app that enters the market. Mark isn’t a believer in loading a team down with apps that aren’t integral to business activity. Even then, he’s a big fan of the power of simplification. Mark achieves breakthrough in his business on a daily basis – armed only with Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. Has your team over-complicated their workflows? What could you strip back so core work is prioritised, rather than long conversations or considerations about how to execute that work?
Knowledge is power. Cultivating a habit of reading will expand your horizons, increase your idea pool and give you a continued advantage in your own industry as a result of knowing what’s going on in others.
Dr. Mark Mckenna highlights in his interview how reading books has continued to refine his beliefs and thought processes. By drawing on the power of others, Mark is able to grow as a businessman, a leader, an influencer and a visionary. He speaks about the ability to learn and grow from the ‘undiscovered knowledge waiting to be unleashed’, and says his habit of reading books across various genres helps him to consider ideas that are outside of his specific medical field. Mark believes that expanding horizons helps to build a limitless idea pool.
The power of books is the knowledge they transfer from writer to reader. Follow Mark’s encouragement and dive into the wide and varied world of books available to you – what better way to sit inside the brains of champions without any cost or barrier? Are you in need of new ideas and solutions that could be triggered through the ideas shared in book form from a field entirely different to your own?
Never underestimate the power of visualisation. This habit can change your life and impact your results daily.
— OVME (@OVMEofficial) April 9, 2018
This lesson is powerful coming from a man who experienced the devastation of Hurricane Katrina first-hand. In a city ravaged by natural disaster, Mark held firm to his business vision. He believed the path he saw was worth pursuing and championing in the midst of a city that was rebuilding. Although the circumstances looked desperate, Mark chose to see something different, and to hold on to the power of potential and hope.
Mark didn’t wait for the perfect circumstances to present themselves. Instead, he worked with the circumstances he was in, throwing himself wholeheartedly into the potential of every day. He had visualised where it was he wanted to go, and he held firm to that as his determination was tested on every front. Now, his vision has taken its form in OVME.
What is it you’re visualising? How can you bring your vision into clarity so you know what it is you’re intentionally building, or chasing, every day, regardless of the circumstances that surround you? Without a clear vision, no amount of work will take you to an ideal destination. There is no greater gift you could give yourself today than the refinement of that inherent vision into one that’s clear, concise and powerful.
‘Never compromise your moral perspective.’ No matter the cost, stay true to who you are, and it will pay off for years to come.
Anyone who’s spent time in business knows that it can get hugely personal. Black and white falls away, and instead, decisions are often made when it looks like there’s only shades of grey to choose from. It’s easy to rationalise these decisions from time to time, especially if they lead to increased profit or business opportunity. If enough of these grey decisions are made over time, it can start to impact your ability to know your instincts from your rationale, leading to a weakened moral spine and an inability to make decisions based on what’s most important to you as an individual.
However, no matter what the cost, Mark believes that standing firm on your moral perspective, and holding onto the things that make you who you are, is more important than any opportunity that presents itself. Respecting your own moral backbone and letting it guide your decisions is one of the things that will set you apart on the playing field, in business and in life. When faced with the option to compromise who you are, take the high road – it’s leading to a foundation you’ll need as you continue to step into your future.
Take a step back and look at your own moral perspective. Write a list of the qualities you believe are most important – whether it’s qualities such as loyalty, faithfulness, generosity, empathy, or creativity. These characters are part of what set you apart on the business world and in your personal life as well. By pinpointing the morals you want to protect, no matter the cost, you can trust that your journey will continue to take you where you need to go as a result of your moral backbone and integrity.