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Plastic Surgery Center Uses Family Relationships to Succeed

Though the popular cable television program “Nip/Tuck” portrays plastic surgery centers as being rife with avarice, backstabbing and dysfunction, the reality at Calabasas-based Eden Surgical Center is quite far from that. In fact, though the business can get harried and frantic, the general tenor within the cozy confines of family-run Eden is quite calm and serene. Run by director of nursing Gail McMahon, her daughter, patient coordinator Amber McMahon and Amber’s fianc & #233;e, business manager Adam Adair, the family has managed to overcome adversity and increase revenues 25 percent this year over last year, while somehow ensuring that the office environment remains cool and collected. Additionally, the family has begun formulating a succession plan that will allow the elder McMahon to step away and leave the business for her daughter and prospective son-in-law. Yet while the state of the business is currently stable, that wasn’t always the case. In its first incarnation, Eden was a business run by Gail McMahon and her late husband who purchased the location (a former silversmith’s shop) and set up shop in 1995. A registered nurse, Gail McMahon served as his right hand man. “The patients never knew that we were married and we worked independently and had a very professional working relationship, and then he died,” McMahon said. “We owned the building and leased it out as a medical office for five years before I realized that I missed worked in this type of business and wanted to be involved again. I found Dr. Alexander M. Majidian who needed a place and it evolved from there.” After advertising the center on the radio, McMahon soon developed an extensive clientele, many of whom still are some of Eden’s biggest referral sources. The amount of business soon overwhelmed McMahon and she enlisted her daughter to help. “The people that really you can depend on most are your family. Everyone in our family has the same agenda: to succeed, progress and grow,” McMahon said. “After Amber graduated from college, I found myself overwhelmed and asked her to come join the office.” Without blinking an eyelash, the younger McMahon agreed to help out her mother. Moving westward “She’d been too successful,” Amber McMahon said. “My mom had done gangbusters business in the first year and I’d never even heard her utter the word ‘help,’ but she called me and I was on the plane the next day.” But as McMahon had a fiancee that she wasn’t about to leave in Colorado (where she had previously been living), Adair ended up taking his business acumen into the company. “They found that the business has a lot of potential and that community was rampant here,” Gail McMahon said. “It lent itself to their strengths. (Adair) is a very effective communicator. He provides us with calm and manly behind-the-scenes leadership. And we run around and answer phones and get everything in place. He fit in perfectly, which was good because there wasn’t much choice.” The prospect of working for one’s mother-in-law sounds like the concept for a bad Hollywood comedy, but to Adair the transition came rather easily. “I learned to communicate directly with everyone and not worry about stepping on people’s toes,” Adair said. “It’s definitely easier to manage people you aren’t related to, but once I got past that we made it work. My goal is to try to help as much as I can without taking sides. I always try to be objective.” Looking outward According to Ernest Doud, the president of family business consulting firm Doud, Hausner & Associates, adding an in-law into the family business is often a good omen for the future of the company. “Interestingly, we’ve seen some really good results when families have been willing to consider the possibility that there are in-laws who bring real strengths to the business,” Doud said. “If indeed there is a qualified in-law and the family is willing to consider them, it’s a very positive harbinger for the future. It says that families are open to new ideas and not bound in tradition and blood line. A lot of family businesses never open themselves up to such a move.” Clearly, Adair and Amber McMahon’s addition to the company’s staff has paid dividends, as revenues have been steadily increasing since they came aboard. Additionally, Adair has major plans for the coming year. “The plan is to grow by 50 percent next year. We’re building the foundation behind the scenes to support that increased patient load, so that when it happens, we’re not going to be insane.” Judging from current patient response, Eden won’t have much difficulty further growing the client base. “This is the best thing going. My previous doctor was very New York/Park Avenue and even then, his operation didn’t hold a candle to Eden,” an Eden client that requested anonymity said. “Amber McMahon was just awesome. She put me at ease and I didn’t feel like I was getting a hard sell. She told me the facts, gave me the information, and let me make my own decisions.” Another major development in the works is the shift of power to the younger generations, as Gail McMahon has slowly begun to reduce her involvement in the operations. “It’s all kick-starting now, everyone’s on board, the hard part is done, The plan is to allow other people to do what I’ve done and let them (Adair) and (Amber McMahon) see how they can take the business farther.”

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