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Girl's Club

As one of the only fellowship-trained female plastic surgeons in Dallas, Dr. Rachel Walker is breaking glass ceilings in medicine and business.

Article by Christiana Nielson

Photography by Molly Murphy Photography

Originally published in Park Cities Lifestyle

Dr. Rachel Walker isn’t your typical surgeon. She’s bubbly, hugs her patients, talks about her dogs, posts trendy and relatable videos on Instagram, talks about medical terms in approachable ways, and—as one of the few fellowship-trained female plastic surgeons in Dallas—knows what it’s like to make her own way in a historically male-dominated field.

She moved from Oklahoma to Dallas in 2019, just one month before she opened the Plastic Surgery Center of Dallas near I-635 following six years of residency and one year of fellowship. Her practice has grown immensely since then. “We now have our full plastic surgery center with an associated laser and aesthetic center,” Walker says. “Over the past couple of years our offerings have expanded tremendously—we do comprehensive lasers, radiofrequency microneedling, filler, toxins, and, of course, surgery.”

Walker’s most common procedures are “mommy makeovers” and breast surgery—along with eyelid surgery accompanied by laser resurfacing by her laser specialist, Paul Kraft. In a few short years, she has managed to grow her business in large part due to referrals, a testament to the quality of her work.

“I think the ultimate compliment is having a practice that is very much referral-based—patients having a great experience with you and telling their friends,” she says. “At our practice we really focus on the actual customer experience, and we want to get to know our patients. We’re very respectful about people’s varying ideals of beauty.”

Those principles have taken Walker far in an industry in which everyone’s looking for something different in their plastic surgeon. And nationwide, female plastic surgeons are less popular than male.

“I definitely think being in a male-dominated industry can be difficult, but it can also set you apart in positive ways,” Walker says. “I’ve been blessed in that my core mentors have been very supportive of females in this space. And in my fellowship, I had a tremendous female mentor—it was nice to see somebody really dominating a space with some of the more female qualities that you don’t often see in male surgeons.”

In the Dallas community, Walker has made it a point to connect with other female entrepreneurs and is a part of a young female entrepreneur group. She also values practical education and supporting women and their experiences: giving young women good role models to see how they can function in an entrepreneurial or medical space. “People will reach out to me on social media,” she says. “Often it’s young women wanting to go to med school or maybe starting a career in aesthetics or different kinds of female entrepreneurs, just talking through their unique struggles.”

A piece of advice that Walker gives young women is to know that there will be challenges and setbacks along the path to becoming a surgeon or business owner—but that it’s how you deal with them that counts.

“I think something that’s missing in the entrepreneurial space is people don’t like to talk about their failures much,” she says. “And you’re definitely going to have failures. You’re going to have setbacks. It’s just how you handle them—viewing the problem as an opportunity to learn and grow and not getting demoralized in the process. A failure can be turned into a success if you have the mindset of failing quickly and failing forward.”

Walker also advises embracing the qualities that can make women unique. “My office looks a lot different, and how we treat people is different,” she says. “How I interact with my patients is different because, at the end of the day, I am different than a lot of my peers. To patients I probably don’t seem as academic, and I don’t mean that negatively, but I try to use words that are relatable to patients because I like to meet everyone where they are on their journey, while not compromising on quality or values. My advice to young entrepreneurs is to embrace the things that make you uniquely you and accept that you’re not going to appeal to everyone.”

Three and a half years after forging her path and opening her own practice, Walker now has 12 females and one male who work for her. She has cultivated a positive medical and business environment by creating value and treating her patients and her team with respect and empowering the latter to grow in their roles.

Outside of her practice, she’s passionate about supporting other local Dallas businesses and restaurants including Nonna, Jia Asian Bistro, Sachet, and the Dallas Farmers Market. “I love good food, but it’s also about supporting someone’s craft,” Walker says. Her other passion lies in animals and animal rescue, inspired by her two bulldogs and her cat that she features prominently on her social media.

So the next time Walker is in her office consulting with a patient, she’ll probably give them a hug, tell them about her dogs, and continue to build a community of strong and supportive female plastic surgeons and entrepreneurs in Dallas who inspire the next generation.

You’re going to have setbacks. It’s just how you handle them—viewing the problem as an opportunity to learn and grow and not getting demoralized in the process.

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