BBW MEMBER INTERVIEW: Katherina Calvillo, Founder and Breast Cancer Surgeon, New England Breast and Wellness

What is your name?

Katherina (Kathy) Calvillo, MD, FACS

What is your title?

Founder and Breast Cancer Surgeon

What is your business name?

What is your website URL?

www.nebreastandwellness.com

What is your Instagram handle?

What is your LinkedIn URL?

How long have you been a Boston Business Women member?

Less than a year

Where are you based? How did you end up there?

After being at Dana Farber Cancer Institute for 16 years, I opened my own practice in Wellesley.

Tell us more about your company! What do you do and what pushed you to start?

I founded NEBW as I am committed to providing intimate, personalized, and comprehensive breast care to support women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or at high risk of breast cancer. What pushed me to start my practice was I saw how much medicine was changing over the last few years. It has become more of a business and less about the patient. I perform breast surgery for benign and malignant conditions, including breast biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, lymph node biopsy and prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy. I also perform same day genetic testing and breast cancer risk assessment for those looking for that important information. I want to help patients be proactive about cancer prevention, not reactive after they have already been diagnosed and I test for over 70 cancer genes. Patients have options at NEBW. They can see me for a single appointment, or choose my personalized concierge Care Program. I want to empower patients to understand every aspect of their care and provide the information needed to monitor their health to make informed decisions about their care. If someone has been diagnosed with breast cancer, I also coordinate medical and radiation appointments with top cancer specialists in Boston and throughout the country to curate the most effective treatment plan to help you minimize their future risk of a breast cancer recurrence.

What is your definition of success? How do you know when you’ve reached it?

My definition of sucess is being able to provide patients with unparalleled, exceptional care. I know when I have reached it when a patient and their family tell me I made them feel so much better after seeing me, I made them feel hopeful and less scared, and I made a difficult journey easier.

Tell us about your most transformational moment as an entrepreneur?

My transformational moment as an entrepreneur was seeing my vision for a serene beautiful space come to fruition and the reaction of my first patient and her husband when they entered the space after leaving a big cancer center in Boston.

What was one of your biggest challenges in business?

My biggest challenge, by far, was figuring out how to start a business without any business background. I have learned so much and I have colleagues now reaching out to me, wanting to do the same.

How do you handle the harder days? The struggles? Those moments when you feel like giving up?

When I have a hard day and moments when I feel like giving up, I just think back to the patients I am serving and the care I give them and how they feel after seeing me. As one patient said to me, ``you HAVE to do this!!``

How has being a Boston Business Women Inner Circle member positively influenced your life + business?

I am new to BBW, but I see the support that women give each other and I am hoping for that support as well. As a new private breast practice in a city like Boston, I have a lot of competition, so the support will make or break my practice. I know word of mouth is critical in medicine. I am looking forward to seeing what happens with this connection and I am excited about the beautiful space I have created for patients!

Tell us about your most proud moment in your career.

My most proud moment in my career was being asked by our society's President to be the Program Chair of the 23rd Annual American Society of Breast Surgeons Meeting and the first from Boston in its 23 years.

Who is the woman behind your business? What does she like? How does she spend her free time? What does she value?

The woman behind my business is a mother of 2 amazing daughters, 14 and 12 years old, trying to show them what hard work, dedication and commitment can do after being told many times that I would fail. I am an immigrant (Poland) who came to this country at an early age, where my parents focused on education and creating a better life for ourselves. My friends and family would describe me as authentic, empathetic, loving, fun, energetic, and generous. Relationships with people are what fill my cup. I love to ski, which I learned with my daughters at 41, spend time with family and friends, and my addiction is travel. What I value most is my family.

What makes you stand out from others in your field? What do you do differently?

What sets me apart from others is I give patients peace of mind. That is invaluable, especially someone just diagnosed with breast cancer. I have the ability to see patients the same day or within 24 hours, regardless of the reason for the visit. What also sets me apart is that patients will never feel rushed. They will feel heard and cared for, not like a number. I genuinely love what I do, am honored to do it, and patients feel that difference.

Where can we keep up with you? What social media platforms do you use the most?

I am learning a lot about marketing and I use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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