In every Dai’namic Woman post we feature, we interview high-performing, inspiring women not only in their 9-to-5 jobs but also in every aspect of their everyday lives. Today, we’re featuring Caroline Robinson, a certified dermatologist and a faculty member at the Northwestern University in Chicago. As a dermatologist, she imparts her knowledge not only to her patients but also to her followers on Instagram where she shares tips and tricks from taking care of your skin to battling hyper-pigmentation. As we sit down with Caroline, we learn what inspires and motivates her to help her community and how she maintains work/life balance.
1. Hey! What’s your name and age?
Caroline Nyenke Robinson, 32 years old.
2. Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?
I grew up in Chicago. I left the city for my undergrad at Cornell and then went to pursue medical school at Louisville but moved back to the city to practice dermatology.
3. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My interests outside of medicine are generally in anything that allows me to work my creative muscles. I love to paint which started as a hobby after exams during medical school. This is also related to my love of home decor or interior design. My other interests include fashion, cooking, and exploring Chicago museums with my family.
4. What is your current work hustle and how did you get into your current role?
I am a board-certified dermatologist and faculty at Northwestern University in Chicago. I practice primarily in the South Loop neighbourhood.
5. What achievement are you most proud of professionally?
I am most proud of the fact that I am in a position to give back to the city and community where I was raised. It’s been interesting to see how much the city has changed over the years and I think that knowledge gives me a unique perspective when caring for patients. I think any awards or publications are secondary to this achievement.
6. Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by the many strong women and diverse pioneers that contributed to my field over the years. I am continually learning about these contributions and this history never ceases to amaze me. I am inspired by Drs. Amy Paller, Susan Taylor, Pearl Grimes and the late Paul Prince Boswell to name a few. These physicians tremendously furthered the understanding of various dermatologic conditions.
7. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to do what you do?
Be persistent and have perseverance. Becoming a dermatologist is not only a commitment in terms of time (12 years of schooling post-high school) but it requires discipline and dedication for the many challenges that students might face along the way. Finding a mentor and seeking out resources early can really help students navigate this path and succeed.
8. Your ultimate style icon?
Janelle Monae hands down. I love that she juxtaposes primarily black tailored menswear classics (i.e. tuxedos) with creative/envelope-pushing, feminine prints, fabrics, and the occasional pop of color. I’m always on the edge of my seat to see what she’ll wear next!
9. Your favorite item in your closet?
I am currently obsessed with a waist-length oversized See by Chloe trench that I have. It goes with everything and makes any outfit instantly chic!
10. And your next big splurge?
Not sure but probably a cute pair of pumps!
11. Describe your dress code at work.
Business casual. I generally like to wear knee and tea length dresses with tights. I alternate between flowy, bold, patterned, and tailored, minimalist, or understated dresses. Depends on my mood! This works well for busy mornings when I am running out of the house. This also happens to be my go-to everyday outfit and works well for day to night.
12. And what about your Friday outfit?
I am generally pretty exhausted by Friday (meaning comfort is paramount) so I will pair black stretchy skinny business pants (or culottes) with a blouse. It’s comfortable, work appropriate and chic. Generally all black in the winter. I wear black high waist tights (I love the Zella tights at Nordstrom) and a black or white T or long sleeve top (love LNA). I run errands in this outfit, workout in this type of outfit, everything. It looks chic without trying too hard.
13. What outfit makes you feel totally empowered?
I love a bold colored knee length 3/4 sleeve bodycon dress (I have quite a few of these). Makes a statement that is elegant without being revealing.
14. What workwear piece have you owned the longest, and what’s the story behind it?
A burnt orange stretch knit A-line dress. I think I’ve had it since medical school. It’s just so easy and effortless. I can put it on and instantly look pulled together. The colour is also amazing.
15. If you could change one thing about the accepted professional dress code for women, what would it be and why?
I would love it if bold colours and styles were more accepted professionally. I am fortunate that it is accepted for me but I know this is not the case for a lot of women in various professional environments. I believe in expressing creativity through clothing and I don’t think that doing so should come at the cost of “professionalism.”