Entrepreneur, philanthropist and avid world traveler, this successful woman tackles life head on.
Deborah Alessi has a life I describe as an interesting, fulfilling, diverse, exciting, sometimes heart-wrenching but always blessed dichotomy. In her personal life, the fiery and fabulous Scotland native lives in Beverly Hills and is married to a renowned plastic surgeon.
She is also an ambitious and successful woman entrepreneur, who owns Beverly Hills Vitamin Therapy, an IV treatment company with locations at luxury resorts and hotels in exotic cities and locales including The United Arab Emirates, Maldives, London, Beverly Hills, Thailand and soon she will be opening in Bali.
Conversely, there’s another side of Deborah’s life that is far from glamorous, but in some ways more impactful. She spends part of her year navigating horrific slums in Cambodia, flop houses in Eastern Europe, back-alley dwellings in the Middle East and other dark and dangerous dots on the globe for her renowned Face Forward International foundation.
The organization rescues victims of cruelty and provides often times life-saving plastic surgery and care for them. Her annual celebrity-studded, black-tie gala in Beverly Hills is one of the biggest in Los Angeles, and, as a successful woman entrepreneur, she’s raised millions of dollars to care for victims of cruelty in the past ten years.
One week she could be trying to help save a 24-year-old wife in Afghanistan, whose face was disfigured by an acid attack from her husband. The next day, she could be relaxing on the beaches of Saint-Tropez after meeting with luxury hotel partner who is including her IV therapy treatment in their amenity package. Luxury travel, managing stress, running a business, dealing with constant pressures and deadlines, it’s all just part of Deborah’s life. A life from which we can draw knowledge and inspiration.
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We caught up with this conscious globetrotter to hear from her firsthand.
ICONIC LIFE: You have gone all-in launching your IV therapy business, but you were incredibly busy before that with your Face Forward International foundation. What triggered you to start Beverly Hills Vitamin Therapy in such an aggressive manner where you covered the world looking for the right partners. As a successful woman entrepreneur, did you see a huge opportunity that you needed to jump on immediately?
Deborah Alessi: I love traveling, but I hate jet lag. I have tried every pill that is supposed to help naturally, and nothing worked. One day I was sitting on the beach at Niyama, Maldives, and I realized how much better I felt this time around. The time difference is definitely not for the weak as they are 11 hours ahead of us and transitioning to that drastic of a change is hard. The difference for me that time was a jet lag and hydration IV I had before I left California. I realized then that I might be onto something big.
ICONIC LIFE: I think a lot of us have heard of vitamin therapy through IV therapy treatments, but for those who have never tried it, what are the primary benefits?
Deborah Alessi: Our lifestyle is now very stressful, especially if you are a successful woman entrepreneur, and we definitely need that extra kick of something natural to keep us healthy and give us more energy. If we take a pill for that, we get around 10 percent absorption, but if it’s administered with an IV, we get 90 to 95 percent.
ICONIC LIFE: You have relationships with many five-star resorts and hotels around the world. Is that your primary market right now?
Deborah Alessi: Yes, but we have grown so quickly, I have also decided to work with medical clinics, wellness doctors, and now we are getting ready to open my own clinic on Harley Street, London with my UK partner. My very first location was at the Alessi Institute in Beverly Hills, and we serve our Southern California clients there on Wilshire Boulevard.
ICONIC LIFE: Is there something special and better about the IV’s you provide customers? Did you work with doctors and specialists to find a unique formula?
Deborah Alessi: We have Dr. David Alessi (Deborah’s husband) as our US Medical Director who oversees everything that Beverly Hills IV Therapy creates. I have a medical director in each country. Our menu is different at each location. I like to customize the menu for each client, and we try to keep our product as plant-based and natural as possible.
ICONIC LIFE: Your business as a successful woman entrepreneur requires you to travel around the globe. Literally. Yet you have a full life in Los Angeles and are married to a prominent plastic surgeon. I’m fascinated to find out how the two of you manage the time that you are gone?
Deborah Alessi: We try our best not to be apart for longer than two weeks. If I’m required to be away longer, then David will fly to meet me and help find new projects to work on in that country. I definitely keep him busy at the different locations.
ICONIC LIFE: Can you share the benefits people receive from Beverly Hills Vitamin Therapy?
Deborah Alessi: People tell me often they have a general feeling of wellbeing. They are energized and much more focused immediately following the treatment. Another benefit is they can boost weight loss when combined with the proper diet and an exercise program.
ICONIC LIFE: How has having access to your IV therapy treatments changed your life when you are traveling?
Deborah Alessi: I cannot imagine my crazy schedule as a successful woman entrepreneur without having my vitamin therapy at each location. It’s my go to for a red-carpet event for beauty, fitness and energy. When I’m feeling run down and need a boost, it delivers every time and helps me overcome jet lag or a general lack of energy.
ICONIC LIFE: Your incredible foundation keeps going strong after ten years. That is something that requires so much of your time as well. What are your tips for our readers for time management and being able to juggle multiple responsibilities?
Deborah Alessi: My charity will always be my baby. I feel traveling so much to different countries has helped me grow Face Forward International on a more global level. I try to meet at least four non-profits on each trip. It definitely builds trust when they can have a face-to-face meeting with me. I won’t say it has been comfortable juggling both this past year, but I am in daily touch with my team in Los Angeles. I am probably tougher with them as I expect more when I am traveling. When I am in LA, I dedicate my mornings to my non-profit and my day and evening to my business. My phone is ringing non-stop after 7 pm Pacific time, as it’s then morning in Asia. I am sometimes sitting on ten different messages to be returned to ten different countries on WhatsApp.
ICONIC LIFE: Your Face Forward International foundation has changed so many people’s lives in the past ten years. Are there any regions in the world where you are focusing your charitable efforts as a successful woman entrepreneur on the go?
Deborah Alessi: I would love to help patients from Iran, Syria and Thailand. The coronavirus has made the visa process a bit difficult for us right now, but we are trying to navigate through it.
ICONIC LIFE: The annual Face Forward International gala is one of the biggest and best in LA—loaded with glitz, glamour and a palpable energy in the room from the star-studded crowd and incredible entertainment. What does changing the venue from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to the new Fairmont in Century City mean for the event?
Deborah Alessi: I loved the Beverly Wilshire, but we need to try something new and fresh this year. The new Fairmont hotel is a very sexy new space that will definitely create a buzz for our guests. Our gala is about celebrating life and having a ball (literally). I want every guest to leave and know that they absolutely must return the following year. I don’t want to host another boring gala on a Saturday night. We can get the message across on how important our work is, and still have a great time.
I don't want to host another boring gala on a Saturday night. We can get the message across on how important our work is, and still have a great time.
ICONIC LIFE: What can people that are reading this feature do if they want to help with Face Forward International?
Deborah Alessi: We are always looking for new sponsors, donors, live auction items as well as board and committee members. I need to continue to have a strong board to help me get to the top of the mountain. I cannot get there alone., and love working with other successful woman and men entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
ICONIC LIFE: Your travel destinations are incredible… can you list the places you’ve been the past six months and plan on going to in 2020?
Deborah Alessi: I have been to the Maldives four times in the past year. It has a very special place in my heart. I have also been to Thailand, Bali, Dubai, Scotland, London and Sri Lanka. I am hoping to expand the brand in new locations throughout Europe in 2020 with my UK business partner.
ICONIC LIFE: I describe your life as a fascinating dichotomy. You find yourself seeing the worst of human conditions around the world as you rescue people from horrible cruelty, and for your business, you travel to the most incredibly affluent areas of the world. What have you learned from seeing the best and worst of humanity?
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I am not fortunate. I work hard and take risks every day to make magic happen for myself and my charity.
Deborah Alessi: I feel having Face Forward keeps me real and grounded. I am a very straight shooter, which comes from my Scottish genes. I like to be told how it is, not what you may think I want to hear. I see incredible luxury at the five-star hotels and horrific poverty the next day. I want to do something big when I see this. As a successful woman entrepreneur, people tell me how lucky I am. I hate that expression.
I am not fortunate. I work hard and take risks every day to make magic happen for myself and my charity. We all can all give back and do something great. I believe fear is the biggest obstacle for so many people. I feel scared at times, but I tell myself it’s not real. Life is so precious, and the most significant gift you can do for yourself is to help someone that needs you, no matter how big or small.
Tom Zenner is a regular guest columnist for ICONIC LIFE as he interviews fascinating people from his glamorous, celebrity-filled world from his vantage point living in Los Angeles. We’ll profile those style makers and trendsetters right here.
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