Brenda Cumming wanted to be an artist. She excelled at painting and drawing, and wanted to go to art school. She even sold many of her drawings. Her mother, however, had another idea.
“My mother decided I would go to nursing school and I’m so grateful,” said Brenda. “I come from a long line of nurses. My mother was a nurse. My sister, too.” Her mother enrolled her in a CNA course at a nearby hospital. She worked as a CNA, then became a nursing student and graduated from the University of Texas.
Brenda worked in a big trauma hospital while in nursing school and after graduation. “I always wanted to be an ER nurse. I just loved it. I loved the nonstop excitement. I got to ride in the ambulance to see what the paramedics did on the outside. That was really fun, too,” she said. She describes herself as a workaholic and an adrenaline junkie who thrived in the ER. She later moved into the ICU and recovery room, and spent her nursing career specializing in trauma, post-anesthesia and critical care. “I thought the post-anesthesia care unit would be easier, but it was harder because there was less backup when you were out on call. It really sharpened my critical thinking skills.”
She lived in Houston, Dallas and Austin before moving to Evergreen in 1994 with her husband and two babies. She read that Mountain Family Medicine, in the Lakepoint Center at the time, was looking for an ER nurse with critical care experience. This was an opportunity for her to work close to home. She was hired for the evening shift, running the urgent care from 5 to midnight.
In 2001, she started reading about an emerging field for nurses: chemical peels, Botox injections and spider vein therapy. Initially, she thought it sounded like something fun to do in retirement. But when Mountain Family Medicine closed in 2002, she didn’t want to go back to working in hospitals, and this new path seemed like a viable option. With a deep breath, she changed career direction.
She went to California for the training and certification to become an aesthetic nurse specialist. And she taught herself how to run a business. “That part is much different than being in a hospital with set protocols and policies,” she said.
She started Medical Aesthetics in Evergreen, but also freelanced in Denver and Lakewood where there was greater demand for these services. As interest grew in Evergreen, she opened a location on Meadow Drive, then relocated to the space that is now above the Woodcellar. The business continued to grow and she moved to Bergen Village Shopping Center, sharing a space with Whispering Pines Day Spa, and eventually she was able to support her own space in the current location on the west end of the complex.
As the industry advances, Medical Aesthetics continues to add services and introduces new techniques and products. “We haven’t stopped growing for 20 years. In fact, we are busier now than ever. I couldn’t do it without my girls,” she said, referring to her talented, hardworking staff. “And Dr. James Hutcherson, who has provided great support since the beginning.”
As it turns out, she is using both her art talents and her nursing skills, in a way she’d never imagined starting out all those years ago. “People want to feel good about themselves, and we really enjoy keeping everyone looking their best.”
In 2010, Brenda started a skin care company that now has expanded into the international market. In addition to her time at Medical Aesthetics, she works as a speaker and educator, traveling around the country and the world. She teaches Botox and filler to nurses and doctors, and speaks about skin care and current trends in aesthetics. “I never thought I would be an entrepreneur,” she said. A nice benefit of her travel is that she has the opportunity to take her family on her overseas trips.
Brenda loves to support the community, especially local small businesses, “because I am one.” She is a former board member of Leadership Evergreen. She spends her free time spinning, hiking and paddleboarding to stay in shape. “It’s nice to be reminded of what a beautiful place this is.”
Brenda’s mother emigrated from Galway, Ireland, and her father is also Irish. Fun fact: She has 140 first cousins from all over, who regularly get together. “I know them all,” she said.
Her best skin care advice? “Use professional skin care. It’s 80 percent of a patient’s success with any services we may offer. And, wear sunscreen, so we don’t have to fix the damage later.”