What is the measure of success? Is it wealth? Recognition? For Lori Keller, the answer is simple- Success is working for a cause that’s greater than yourself; finding purpose through service.
Lori grew up along the Oregon Coast and always enjoyed visiting her grandparents in Tierra del Mar. From an early age, she learned to appreciate the majesty and serenity of the forest and the ocean, which remain her sanctuary to this day.
At 17, she attended Portland State University and worked as a counter manager for Este Lauder at Nordstroms where she turned a passion for skincare and client connection into top earned sales. Her boyfriend at the time, who worked as a hair stylist at the highly regarded Magnum Opus salon, saw promise in Lori and encouraged her to enroll at the Executive Institute of Hair Design where she received her Cosmetology License in 1981.
Shortly after graduating, she relocated to Southern California where she was introduced to the first CO2 laser treatments performed by the head of the Laser Department at UCLA, Dr. Gary Lask. There, she began attending the seminars of soon-to-be world renowned dermatologist, Dr. Howard Murad, who had just started a small dermatology clinic and immediately respected Lori’s insights and opinions, as she’d been running her own business in Manhattan Beach, customizing facials, peels, and recommending skin care routines.
Having moved from Oregon to California, however, took a toll on her skin from the increase in sun exposure, so she sought assistance in removing the sunspots she’d developed. Determined to help, Dr. Murad, Professor of Dermatology at UCLA, brought her in to be one of the very first to be resurfaced. Trusting Dr. Murad and the surrounding team of doctors, Lori went through with the procedure, and once healed, the treatment had taken 10 years off of her appearance. It was life changing, and it inspired her to continue to learn and work in the field of laser skin rejuvenation.
When she returned to Oregon in ‘96, she began working as Aesthetic Division Manager for Dr. Bruce Russell who was just beginning his own Laser Dermatology practice after retiring from the Laser Department at OHSU. Once again, Lori found herself in the company of the best in the business and with access to state of the art technology. As their clientele base grew, more and more individuals were coming in for treatment from Washington, indicating a clear need for a clinic on the other side of the Columbia. Inspired, Lori opened Vancouver Laser Skin Care Clinic in Fisher’s Landing.
Having always been around the best in her industry, and now finding herself as an industry leader, she hired accordingly, finding the best medical directors, operations managers, and aestheticians to fill out her team. The large facility also allowed her to host seminars where she’d speak on the latest tech and products, as well as invite guest speakers to give lectures and offer information like Dr. Tom Wong, a plastic surgeon from OHSU. Her platform allowed her to host numerous charity benefits, but the organization that left the biggest impact was the YWCA, a non-profit organization protecting and caring for local abused women and children.
Lori was made aware of the horrible state afflicting these women and children who’d escaped from abusive situations and were living in hidden “safe houses” that acted as transition homes. Immediately, Lori felt the need to help and support them, so began actively donating to the cause, a first step in what would become her ultimate purpose.
“I went to see one of the safe houses in Vancouver, to know where the money was going,” Lori said solemnly in an interview, “and a 3 year old boy walked up to me and I could see the trauma in his eyes. Same with his mother’s. It was heartbreaking, and I knew this would be my cause.”
In 2017, she relocated the clinic to a quaint building on 5th Avenue in Camas where the business has continued to excel. Today, Lori has shifted from giving seminars to being the model of excellence for the industry, with professionals flying in from out of state to learn from her and the way she’s structured her clinic. Now known as the Keller Med Spa & Laser, she’s currently working on opening another location in Downtown Vancouver as she continues her mission to give back to those who are most in need.
Sure, Lori’s 30 years of experience and expertise has led her to financial success and allotted her a position as an industry leader, but her greatest reward has been seeing the satisfaction of the clients she’s aided in achieving their skin care goals. And her ultimate success will always be the countless women and children whom she’ll never meet, but for whom she’s provided hope. For what could be more important than that?
Words by Dylan Koller, Photography by Lisa Kuhlman, Windows On Life Photography.