Spotlight Series 28  Thasarat Vajaranant

Spotlight Series 28
Thasarat Vajaranant

Another edition of Maria Pinto’s Spotlight Series: In Her Own Words is here. Each month, we feature the dynamic, stylish, and powerful women who inspire us daily. This month’s spotlight features – Thasarat Vajaranant; eye surgeon, researcher, and educator.

Thasarat is currently the Professor of Ophthalmology and Vice Chair for Strategic Initiatives at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently serves as the Director of Glaucoma Service and the AI-Ophthalmology Center, Data Sourcing and Strategy.

“I appreciate the Maria Pinto collection's blend of elegance and practicality. I recall when I first walked by the store on Green Street; it was already closed. I stopped to admire the clothes in the display window. Each piece is like a work of art, so structured with beautiful details. I slowly started collecting pieces and received so many compliments whenever I wore her clothes. The pieces are beautifully designed, with attention to detail and high-quality fabrics that feel luxurious yet are easy to care for.” -Thasarat


Best piece of advice you've ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is actually from my mentee, who was a professional ice skater. She told me how she learned to normalize failure from practicing skating. Each failed jump and fall taught her a valuable lesson. 


What was your path to getting where you are today?

Bangkok, Thailand, is my hometown. Since immigrating to Chicago over two decades ago, I have spent my entire career at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary where I completed my ophthalmology residency, a fellowship in clinical glaucoma, and research training. Early in my career, I received several career development awards and research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Eye Institute, and the American Glaucoma Society, which significantly supported my academic pursuits. I have always been an avid learner, constantly seeking to expand my knowledge and skills. During this time, I also completed a master’s degree in healthcare administration and transitioned into administrative roles.

 Thasarat is wearing the Lisette mini tunic in Supermoon with the Python belt, Louanne top in Fatigue with the Eugenie skirt in Biarritz, and the Liliana 2 dress in Fluorite with the Loop belt.


What do you love about being a woman? What brings you joy?

I appreciate the resilience and strength that comes with being a woman. My mother played the most prominent role in modeling the balance of kindness, strength, and resilience. She could be the smartest and toughest person in the room, yet always kind and humble. Additionally, I was so lucky to have excellent female mentors early in my career. Now, I am committed to paying it forward by mentoring others. I serve as a mentor in various programs, guiding students, residents, fellows, and young colleagues. Their success brings me immense joy and fulfillment.


What are you watching, reading, and listening to right now?

Recently, I discovered an app that allows me to listen to synopses of books in different genres. I love learning the key messages from each book and have enjoyed that tremendously.

How do you create a work-life balance for yourself?

I start by caring for myself and staying true to my values. Prioritizing my family and personal well-being is essential. I set clear boundaries between work and personal life, ensuring that I dedicate quality time to my loved ones. Regular self-care practices, such as meditation, help me manage stress and maintain focus. Additionally, I make it a point to connect with family and friends here and back home regularly, as these relationships provide invaluable support and joy.

Connecting with my patients and trainees is crucial in maintaining balance. Helping them and seeing their progress gives me a strong sense of purpose, making even the most difficult days worthwhile. By staying connected with my loved ones and the people I serve, I am able to maintain a sense of balance and fulfillment in both my professional and personal life.

Best gift you've ever received?

The best gift I’ve ever received is the support and encouragement from my family, friends, and mentors. Their belief in me has been invaluable. 

What wisdom would you tell your younger self? 

Believe in yourself, embrace challenges, and don’t be afraid to take chances, but most importantly, don’t forget to “pause” to care for your mind, your body, and the people you love.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is a blend of simple elegance and modern practicality. I prefer clothing that is professional yet comfortable, with an emphasis on quality and ease of care. That’s why I love the Maria Pinto collection.

Thasarat is wearing the Virginie jacket in Bougainvillea and Redmane top in Supermoon with the Sybille pants in Bougainvillea and the Liliana 2 dress in Fluorite with the Loop belt. 


What is important to you when it comes to buying clothing?

When buying clothing, I prioritize quality and thoughtful designs. I look for versatile pieces that can seamlessly transition from day to night.

Who are some of your style or fashion icons?

My mother is my style icon. Her style embodies simple elegance.

What are your favorite Maria Pinto pieces? 

There are so many favorites from the Maria Pinto collection. If I had to pick one, it would be the Ricci dress for its simplicity and fit. I have the Ricci dress in three colors, and I love how versatile it is—I can dress it up or down for different occasions.

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