Meet Ryan Corte, OD, Founder of IntroWellness, Charlotte, NC.
Where did you grow up?
I am born and raised in metro Detroit. My mom just retired; she was a librarian at an all-girls Catholic high school. She was a stay-at-home mom until my sisters and I were in our teenage years. My dad was a computer consultant for Hewlett-Packard for about 35 years. I have three older sisters. One lives here in Charlotte, one in Chicago, one in Michigan.
How did you get from nutritional science to optometry?
I was originally a business major with premed tracking, but I found out that I would have to do an additional year to complete my business degree and premed. I have always been interested in the science behind what you consume on a daily basis and how it impacts your body. Originally, I wanted to be a dermatologist. I’m a man of faith, and the dermatologist I was shadowing was down about his profession—he was lackluster to recommend it but also depressed about the number of years he put in to get where he was. So, I started looking at all the healthcare professions. There was a pre-optometry group meeting that Mark Colip was the featured speaker; he’s now the dean of Illinois College of Optometry (ICO). He inspired me beyond measure.
How did you benefit from a residency?
I enjoyed residency. I went into it because I wanted to maximize my clinical knowledge and experience coming out of school and keep the door open to go to a VA. If you don’t do a residency, it’s hard to get into a VA or academic or research setting. So, it keeps that network open, and I’m a better practicing optometrist because of it. I came out with much more comfort with taking care of people, managing challenging circumstance not only in the exam room but also helping people from check-in to check-out.
What's something your colleagues don't know about you?
I like to joke around that I live on Estrogen Island. I have three older sisters, two sisters-in-law, my wife, my daughter, nine female employees, and a female business partner. It’s a unique role that I live in. As my wife and I continue to build our family, we joke that we will probably have all girls. [Laughs]
What's your guilty pleasure food?
I love chips and salsa. I’m a salt guy. I’m not as much a sweets guy. I could eat any kind of chips and any kind of dip.
What attracted you to entrepreneurship?
Just getting involved. I was elected president of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) during my third year. Getting a little taste of leadership over time and knowing there’s more to just being a primary eyecare doctor or even specialized optometrist. I like to diversify my life. Entrepreneurial endeavors keep things interesting for me. I try not to bite off more than I can chew.