Dr. Manuel Ignacio Vejarano Restrepo was born in Popayán, Colombia. He earned his medical degree from the Universidad del Cauca in 1997, and went on to earn a degree in Ophthalmology from theUniversidad Industrial de Santander in 2003 where he developed a focus on the anterior segment of the eye and refractive surgery. Dr. Manuel Ignacio Vejarno Restrepo then moved to Mexico where he expanded his areas of expertise by earning a remarkable range of certifications, as well as an accreditation in oculoplastic and reconstructive surgery at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Always interested in sharing his varied knowledge and experience, Dr. Manuel Ignacio Vejarano Restrepo has participated in a number of medical conferences in Mexico and internationally, and he has authored and co-authored a range of research papers on a number of ophthalmological topics.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
When I started in ophthalmology 25 years ago, I saw a significant need for a comprehensive ophthalmology service in Mexico, but such a thing simply did not exist at the time. Seeing that unmet need gave me the idea for Vejarano Laser Vision, and I worked to make that idea a reality in order to meet that need.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love the continuous evolution in technology, in surgical instruments, and in diagnostic testing. Year after year, the medical profession is able to make more accurate diagnoses and utilize more effective therapeutic tools and techniques. We’re constantly learning and constantly working to remain at the forefront of our ever-advancing fields, and to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.
What keeps you motivated?
My work is my passion and my motivation. I love what I do. I strive to keep my skills and my knowledge up to date, because my patients deserve the best, and I work to provide them with the best outcomes possible.
How do you motivate others?
I try to motivate others by example. I utilize group training wherever possible, and I demonstrate with facts and my own experiences that any project approached with a strong vision, clear organization, and focused intensity can be made a reality.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
When we started, Vejarano Laser Vision was only a very small clinic in the State of Mexico. We found success in our work, and grew to become the largest laser vision center in the state. We now have two locations; one in Metepec, and the other in Naucalpan de Juárez.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find my inspiration in what I do professionally. I love being able to help my patients, to improve their lives. Year after year, my patients keep me inspired to keep learning and keep growing my skill set, so that I can better help them. They also inspire me to share my knowledge with not only the rest of my team, but with the ophthalmological community at large, so that the things I’ve learned and the surgical techniques I’ve pioneered can help people everywhere.
Who has been a role model to you and why?
My role model has been my father, Dr. Alberto Vejarano. In addition to being an extraordinary doctor and professional, he is a strong family leader and overall excellent human being.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
My way of maintaining a solid work life balance is to live in the moment as much as possible. When I am working, I focus 100% on the work issue at hand, and when I transition away from work and toward my personal life, I focus completely on that. I don’t take my work home, and I don’t take my personal life to work. It took me a long time to sort this out, honestly, because my work is my passion. And when you love what you do, it’s easy to forget that your work is work and you still need to forget about it for a while, even if you don’t feel like you can or want to.
What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
My love for what I do is irreplaceable, but so is my training and experience. I have trained and studied for more than 13 years, and I have extensive experience in the medical and surgical fields gained from over 100,000 surgeries.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
Don’t underestimate the power of working as a team. Make sure you have access to the best and latest technology and training, and stay up to date as the field evolves. Also, it’s important to understand that doctors are trained to serve all of their patients regardless of who they may be.
What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?
To grow my medical practice, I needed to manage and, at times, implement subrogation services between various companies, the government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on a wide scale in Latin America.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Be more reserved, both in work projects and in personal projects. Clear drive and passion for your work are wonderful things, but only to the extent that you don’t overwhelm the people who would help you achieve your goals. Keep your projects moving forward, but don’t leave your team behind.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest professional accomplishment is having made Vejarano Cosmetic & Laser Vision Center a reality. My biggest and best personal accomplishment is, of course, my two daughters, Beatriz and Carlota Vejarano.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
The best piece of advice I would give to others is that life passes by very fast, and you have to put in the effort to live it. Don’t let potential life experiences and learning opportunities slip through your fingers. You’ve only got one life to live, and you have to make the best of it.
Outside of work, what defines you as a person?
I see myself as a family man, dedicated to my daughters and my family. I also enjoy staying active through sports.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
We already have two locations, and in the next 5 years, I see my practice expanding into most of the states of Mexico.
Explain the proudest day of your professional life.
The proudest day of my professional life was when I was named an honorary Rotarian for having led the largest health program in the history of Mexico, the program to address blindness in Mexico in 2013.