Posted on February 11 2020
In honor of Black History Month we’d love to feature an integral part of the team, Dr. Roxann Clarke. Dr. Roxann is a key member in the design process of ALLY shoes and works alongside our founder, Samantha Dong to create the perfect pump built on comfort and style. Roxann is a successful Podiatrist and Podiatric Surgeon and she assisted ALLY in innovating a product that works for women all over the world. Let’s find out more about Roxann and all of her successes!
ALLY: Tell us about yourself? When did you decide you wanted to be a Podiatrist?
Dr. Roxann: I grew up in New York City and attended Hampton University in Virginia, where I received my Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Medical Science and Research. At the time I wasn’t sure what specialty of medicine I wanted to do, but I had read about podiatry and decided to look into it further and it immediately clicked. For me, it connected with everything that I loved, which was treating children, sports medicine, dermatology, and surgery to fix deformities. I took the route of podiatry and studied Podiatric medicine and continued with extensive training in Podiatric Medicine and Reconstructive Foot and Ankle surgery.
Now I work in private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn where I treat individuals who struggle with foot deformities. Women make up 65% of my patient population.
ALLY: What do shoes mean to you and the experience of working on the ALLY collection?
Dr. Roxann: I ruptured my achilles my first year of podiatry school and it affected what shoes I was able to wear after my recovery. So for me, shoes definitely mean something given what I personally went through. Of course when this opportunity came to me it was something I almost felt I had manifested because it was a passion project for me to design comfortable heels for women. Samantha, Sara and I had a common goal and we were able to create a beautiful shoe that solved a problem that high heels in general cause. We are very proud of that.
ALLY: How important is it for women to take care of their feet and what advice do you give?
Dr. Roxann: Wear shoes that fit is the most important thing I tell my patients. I always say don’t rush surgery unless it’s warranted. But if surgery is the way to go, it’s important for me to tell my patients what to do after surgery, so they don’t find themselves in the same situation.
I always say there is a happy median between flats and heels, flats should have some arch support and high heels should always be true to size. Many women have size shame and don’t want to buy shoes that are their actual size if they are larger than a size 9. Make sure the size of the heel fits.
ALLY: Bringing it back to Black History Month, what do you think of when you hear ‘Black History Month’?
Dr. Roxann: During Black History Month I get really excited when it comes around. I grew up in NYC public schools and three days out of the month they talked about Black History Month. I also attended Hampton University, which is a Historically Black College, this definitely enriched my knowledge of Black history. The month of February is an opportunity to honor the people that have set the path for people like me in science, beauty and innovation and to let other people know that this is a part of American history. It's an important time period to remember the innovations that black women and men have created
ALLY: Would you like to name inspiring black women (from now or the past) who broke barriers, made huge achievements, etc but they continue to be an ally to other women?
Dr. Roxann: I admire Madame C.J. walker and her hair growth products. They were innovative products for women of color. Her innovative products combine beauty and hair care plus the science behind it. It’s an expression of who I am bringing science and beauty together to do good for women everywhere.
Katherine Johnson is another woman that I admire, she was a mathematician for NASA and Hidden Figures was a movie based on her life. In short, I get excited about black history month and the people who laid the foundation to allow me to do what I am able to do today.
ALLY: What would you say to your younger self about confidence?
Dr. Roxann: I would tell my younger self to always remain confident in your intellect. Outside beauty fades with time, but your knowledge, education and passion, will take you farther than you can imagine.