Catherine Harrell, 38

Name: Catherine Harrell

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Age: 38

Company: Dermatology Specialists of Fort Worth

Position: Dermatologist/Co-Owner

How do you choose to give back to the community? I have enjoyed serving with Justin’s Place, a ministry here in Fort Worth aimed at helping single moms and their children in the Stop Six area. It has been an opportunity for my whole family to serve others together. I also feel passionate about educating the future of medicine and love pouring into medical students and residents. Mentoring and teaching the medical students at the TCU School of Medicine where I am an Assistant Professor brings me great joy. My family and I are also active members of our church and love serving there where we are needed. 

What advice would you give to yourself at age 15? I would tell my 15-year-old self the same thing that I tell many of my teenage patients: life is so much bigger and so much greater than high school. The things that seem so important now will fade as you gain perspective.  

Where did your first paycheck come from? From working in my parent’s dental clinics. My dad, a dentist, owned several dental offices in Dallas when I was in middle and high school.  Working there gave me the unique experience of having worked in just about every job role in a medical office from the front desk to the back office. In retrospect, it has given me a rare perspective as a doctor. 

What other profession would you like to try? Politics. But then I quickly talk myself out of it.

Tell us about an influential person in your life. How did they influence you and why are they important?  My parents, David and Nancy Riddel, have undoubtedly been the most influential people in my life. I am extremely grateful for their unconditional love and support and for instilling in me a love for the Lord. They also inspired a love of education and a desire to be a life-long learner, which has proved invaluable in both medicine and business where things are constantly changing. I remember them telling me that with hard work that I could be anything I wanted to be. They were clear that God had given me specific gifts and talents and that it was not option not to use them purposefully. My husband, Jason Harrell, has also been undeniably influential to me. He is an inspirationally energetic and enthusiastic person with a natural gift of people. Everything I know about managing people has been learned from him. He is a tremendous source of wisdom and a true “fisher of men”.   

What did you want to be when you grew up? I knew I wanted to be a doctor in the second grade. I ended up in the hospital with what I now realize was not a simple case. I remember the surgeon making rounds with his residents and fellows in my hospital room. The surgeon told me that I was so special that he brought his friends with him to meet me and was hoping that I could teach them a few things. It was such a tremendous feeling as a child to be assured and even encouraged in what could have otherwise been a scary situation. I remember thinking that I wanted to make others feel that way- to make them feel valuable and cared about. 

What movie, TV show, book, stage play or video game influenced you growing up? I probably spent way too much time playing the original Nintendo with my brother growing up. We knew all of the secret codes for Super Mario Brothers.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to find out? I took acting classes in medical school and was in some small indie film productions. I even got an audition for a recurring role on Friday Night Lights.

What is your ideal vacation? Any adventure with my husband

Favorite food or restaurant? Sunset Style Chicken Fajitas at Mi Cocina

Favorite drink? ???

Favorite movie: Home Alone and The Sandlot (it’s a tie!)

Favorite sports team: Any Baylor Bears team

Favorite song: The Weight by The Band

Tell us about your prop? My props are my Bible, which is my daily guidebook, a photo of my family whom are my most prized earthly prizes, my dermatoscope which is essentially my third eye, and my tennis racquet. I’m not a great tennis player, but it sure is fun to play!

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