Inspiring Woman : Dr. Aivee Teo
You can say that Dr. Aivee Teo is a woman who has it all. She is a well-known dermatologist in the country with a string of successful clinics under her belt. She has a beautiful family, a supportive husband (who happens to be her business partner as well), a home in Manila and Singapore, and a fashionable (to-die-for) closet any woman would love to own!
But more than all that, what’s amazing to witness is her genuine warmth to everyone around her. She has remained humble despite the success she has rightfully earned. She is a fashionista through and through, yes — but she is also hard worker who maintains 4 clinics and sees patients 6 days a week!
And yet after clinic hours, you would see her running towards her family — spending as much time as she possibly can with her three children and husband (a Singaporean doctor), more popularly known as Dr. Z.
How does she do it all? Read her inspiring story and be inspired by this one incredible super mom.
Tell us a little bit about who Dr. Aivee Teo is.
I am a board certified dermatologist with special interest in cosmetic and aesthetic surgery. I took up my medical degree at the UST College of Medicine & Surgery and completed my Dermatology residency training program in Santo Tomas University Hospital. I went on for further training in Louisville in Kentucky USA, Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok and at the National Skin Center in Singapore.
I started my practice in 2002 in the Philippines at Asian Hospital & Las Pinas Doctors Hospital. In 2009, I opened the first Aivee Clinic at Burgos Circle, BGC Taguig. Currently, we have three Aivee Clinics & one A-institute. My husband Z, is also a doctor (aesthetic surgeon) who I met in Singapore while I was doing my fellowship. He is currently the CEO of the Aivee Group and still maintains his own private practice in Singapore. We have two homes – Singapore & Manila where we shuttle back and forth quite frequently. We have been married for 11 years and we have 3 wonderful children. Ken-Z 9 years old, Kenzo 5 years old, and Kelicia 4 years old. I divide my time being a hands-on mom to my 3 kids and at the same time, as a medical director of The Aivee Group & as the senior consultant dermatologist in all our Aivee Clinics.
Wow that sounds like a lot of work! But share with us, what made you decide to become a doctor, and in particular a dermatologist at that?
It was not my choice initially to become a doctor. My father actually bribed me since it was his dream to have a doctor in the family. As an obedient daughter, I willingly obliged to be the one, without realizing that taking up medicine entailed so much sacrifice, effort and hard work.
However, in the midst of my training, I realized dermatology was a specialty that appealed to me & it really stimulated my interest. It was also timely as dermatology was becoming more & more popular and exciting because of the rapid advances in lasers and technology. People became more curious & open about doing beauty treatments and aesthetic surgery. I grew to love & embrace the specialty because it really complemented my personality and lifestyle.
Nowadays, I look forward to discovering the latest state of the art treatments and bring it to the Philippines because I want my patients to have access to the amazing technologies that are also available in the world.
How many clinics do you have now and what do you think sets you apart from the other cosmetic dermatology clinics out there?
We currently have 4 clinics in Manila – Commerce Alabang, Mega Fashion Hall, Burgos Circle Taguig and our latest Centre in BGC is the A-Institute which houses many wellness services in specialized Labs – including Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery, Sleep & Snoring, Orthosports, Weight loss & Body Contouring and Hair Restoration using the Artas Robotics Hair Transplant System.
Besides the size of our clinics and institute, what sets us apart from the rest is probably the wide armamentarium of specialized wellness services and the latest lasers and devices available in our center. We aim to have a more holistic approach in our management since all these concerns are interrelated. We take an extra effort to be innovative & continually improve in our field for the good of our patients. We also put a lot of emphasis on the design & interiors of our different clinics. Some patients describe it as the signature Aivee look! 😃 We want our patients to be as comfortable as possible when they visit any of our clinics and enjoy the whole experience.
What are your future plans for your clinics? Anything we should look forward to in the near future?
After we opened the A Institute in the Fort, we decided it was time to renovate our flagship clinic – The Aivee Clinic in Burgos Circle to refresh the look & add more services. We are also targeting to expand to the North area third quarter of this year. It will be our first Aivee Clinic in Quezon City.
Aside from the field of medicine, I can see that you love fashion too! How did this affinity for fashion start? Do you think being fashion-conscious helps you in your business?
I’ve always been fascinated with fashion since I was young, especially because I grew up with 3 sisters who I am very close to and who are my best friends. We would enjoy shopping together during weekends & every time we travel — that would be our girly bonding time. I am not sure whether my interest in fashion is helpful in my business but rather, I see it more that beauty and fashion can be synergistic. My attention to detail for fashion & my work as a cosmetic dermatologist are both an expression of that artistic side of me which I am to be able to bring out because of my profession.
Because of social media nowadays, a lot of what you do also puts you in the public eye. How do you manage having a public self and a private life?
I think nowadays because of social media, we cannot completely separate our public self from our private life. I have always been quite open with my life since I feel that my patients want to get to know me more and see the different facets of myself. In the same manner, I also would like to get to know them in a more personal level. This way it is much easier for me to do my job when I am good friends and close to my patients.
What’s life for you after work? Tell us something about your day-to-day life after clinic hours?
I usually work six days a week. My work is very demanding so I spend almost 10 – 12 hours at work. My mornings are spent with the kids before I go to work. If I finish early, I also spend my evenings with them. I reserve my Saturday and Sundays with the kids. We normally eat out, watch movies or just stay home and play with the dogs.
We travel to Singapore a lot so I bring the kids with me so I can spend more time with them. We like to go to the grocery, bake cookies at home and enjoy Z’s grilled steak. They also enjoy going to the zoo and eat their favorite Singapore food. When they’re on school holiday we make an effort to bring them to countries they’re never been & discover new places with them.
With a very busy daily schedule like yours, how do you balance your time between your work and your being a wife and mummy?
It’s not easy to be a hands-on mom & at the same time have a full-time career especially since I also maintain two homes in two countries. I think the key is time management. You just have to compartmentalize your time for work & family. It’s an advantage I work very closely with my husband so we help each other out & support each other all the time.
So I don’t get overwhelmed, I take it one day at a time & rejoice on my small victories every time I feel I have accomplished successfully both roles without compromising the other.
You take care of people almost every day of your life. On the other hand, how do you take care of yourself? What relaxes and inspires you?
I make sure I still get some alone time despite the busy schedule. I take care of my body by living a healthy lifestyle- by eating right, avoiding smoking, alcohol and exposing my skin to the sun. I believe prevention is better than cure.
My family is my inspiration to work hard and being with them (including the dogs) is definitely my reward after a long busy day at work. I look forward to our weekends together. I also enjoy traveling with them especially during their school breaks. We make it a point to spend a lot of quality time because the kids are growing up too fast and we don’t want to miss out on anything.
Last but not the least, I always say that there’s a “Spoiled Mummy” in each of us. What do you think makes you, Aivee Teo, a Spoiled Mummy?
I think what makes me a “Spoiled Mummy” is that I am very much spoiled with God’s blessings. I have a great supportive husband, 3 beautiful children & a job that I am extremely passionate about. What more can I ask for? I am able to help inspire others, share my knowledge & expertise, and make a difference in my patients’ life in the work that I do. All these are more than enough for me to believe that I have been truly blessed and spoiled!