A Legacy of Leadership

Clinic Manager, Orla McClure retires after 42 years of service and dedication

To most of us, the time of being committed to one job, company, or even career path for more than 20 years is an archaic notion of the past. Therefore, the idea of being employed with one institution for over 4 DECADES sounds like the stuff of fairytales! This exact legacy of service and dedication is both real and coming to a meaningful and heartfelt closing at Edina Plastic Surgery with the retirement of clinic manager, Orla McClure. Known and beloved by so many over the past 42 years, Orla has been with the clinic since the very beginning and has played an integral role in laying the foundation, principles, and culture of Edina Plastic Surgery. It is with the highest degree of appreciation, gratitude, and reverence that our clinic thanks Orla for her decades of service and leadership.

“It was the Summer of 1977, and I was looking through the classified ads section of my local newspaper when I saw a listing that intrigued me,” shares Orla. “A new surgery clinic was opening and needed administrative and management assistance to help get it off the ground,” she continues. “At the time, the specialty of plastic surgery was still a relatively new concept to the average person, and I was immediately curious about the opportunity, especially because it would allow me to be involved in setting up a practice from the ground up.”

And set up the foundation she did! Orla McClure became the first official employee of Edina Plastic Surgery and, in 1977, was the ONLY employee working alongside Dr. Carter.

“There was an incredible amount of responsibility at the beginning,” says Orla. “I worked every role within the clinic from answering the phones, scheduling surgeries, bookkeeping, transcription, coding, billing, rooming patients, dressing changes…you name it, and I did it!”

As the field of plastic surgery rapidly evolved throughout the years so did the scope and magnitude of Orla’s role. She progressively hired new staff to take on some of her previous duties as she tackled new ones like HR and payroll to support the growing needs of the clinic. Edina Plastic Surgery credits much of our success and reputation directly to Orla’s tireless commitment to reinventing her role to best serve the needs of our clinic and patients with each passing decade.

“I’ve had a front row seat to the incredible advancements that the world of plastic surgery has undergone throughout the years,” reflects Orla. “From the procedures that are offered and requested to the intricate surgical techniques and even to the perception of plastic surgery itself by society—it has been almost a revolution of sorts,” she says. “I feel like plastic surgery used to be cloaked in this secretive cloud of anonymity, silence and even shame at times,” she continues. “Now, the procedures and techniques are so respectful and celebratory of a patient’s natural character and beauty that many surgeries go undetected to the naked eye and patients are left feeling so confident and empowered! I feel so proud to have been a part of that for so many people.”

Orla not only witnessed and took part in the landscape of plastic surgery changing, but she also oversaw the industry paradigm shift of caring for a patient’s overall skin health with the introduction of medical esthetics. Edina Plastic Surgery was one of the first surgical practices in Minnesota to interweave skincare services such as chemical peels, lasers, and injectables into the tapestry of their patient offerings.

“In the early nineties I began to see this shift in our industry towards caring for skin health, not just appearance,” Orla explains. “Suddenly it wasn’t just about reducing wrinkles and reclaiming a flat stomach after childbirth; patients wanted to explore treatments that would actually prevent aging and not require extensive downtime,” she continues. “Edina Plastic Surgery quickly grew our portfolio of treatment options to answer this demand, and we were one of the first clinics in the Minneapolis area to offer such treatments as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, laser hair reduction, non-surgical body contouring, and clinical skin care. It was so exciting to help pioneer this new approach forward!”

Decades of working within not only a thriving surgical practice but also a rapidly advancing industry like plastic surgery have taught Orla many lessons about life and in turn, about herself. She is quick to say that one of the most valuable skills she has learned is the ability to place herself in another person’s shoes to analyze and appreciate a situation from their perspective.

“Every aspect of an individual’s life shapes who they are as a person and I feel that my profession has certainly played a part in who I’ve become,” explains Orla. “I have worked with so many different employees, co-workers and patients throughout the years that I feel as if I’m almost a composite of all of those interactions and experiences. I have learned patience, compassion, leadership, tenacity and so many other qualities from the lives that have touched mine.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t just Orla’s life that was touched and molded by her co-workers and clinic patients throughout the years; those who have worked with her continuously remark on how her leadership has guided them and her kindness and commitment has impacted them. In fact, patients have merely stopped into Edina Plastic Surgery throughout the years to inquire if Orla is still on staff and to share stories of the positive influence she had on their experience with a surgery or treatment.

“I knew that as plastic surgery became more popular and accessible that patients would have more options and that it would no longer be good enough to simply offer excellent results, we would also have to make patients FEEL amazing,” states Orla. “Seeking out a surgical procedure is a big step for patients who want to feel better about a certain aspect of their appearance,” she says. “It can be intimidating and scary and overwhelming to navigate your way through this industry,” she continues. “Edina Plastic Surgery created a culture that strived to make patients feel truly nurtured, cared for and listened to. We believe that this is the level of respect and compassion that each patient deserves and I think that philosophy makes our clinic truly unique.”

When asked what she will miss after over four decades of working with one clinic, Orla is quick to answer that it is her team. From the surgeons that show such immense passion for what they do to the staff that shares a joint mission each day to make the patients they care for feel more confident in their appearance. Orla believes that these people make up the collective heart of the practice and she will miss each and every one of them.

“I know that it is very rare for someone to stay at one job for the amount of time I have in this day and age,” says Orla. “I feel so fortunate to have found Edina Plastic Surgery and for the opportunity to have been a part of actually building a business from the ground up and playing a role in its success,” she says. “I’m not sure everyone retires with this sense of resolve and accomplishment or can say that they worked with people who they respected this much and considered family throughout the years.”

What does the future hold for Orla?

“First, I plan on taking a nice long nap,” says Orla laughing. “The idea of designing entire days around what I want to do, even if it’s NOTHING, is so alluring,” she smiles. “I definitely have plans to do a little traveling, volunteering at an animal sanctuary and spending time with family and friends,” she continues. “But, I am really looking forward to simply taking the time to reflect on my life and feeling grateful for all of the experiences I have had and the amazing people I have known.”