Marie Tartibi, O.D.
Optometry Divas Member Since 2018
In our quest to fulfill our mission to Empower, Connect and Promote the success of women ODs, we have created this weekly feature to promote our amazing members across the country. Their stories will inspire you to dream big and reach higher!
The featured Diva for this week is Dr. Marie Tartibi. Read the full feature below to learn her secret to staying married for 33 years, raise a family while juggling 2 private practices!
1. Tell us a little bit about you?
I was born in Cuba, but my father is Italian and my mother is from Spain. I spent most of my childhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico. That is why I speak, Spanish, Italian and English! My family moved to Orlando in 1978 and I spent my last 2 years of High School there and graduated from Winter Park High School.
After High School, I attended the University of Florida – UF. GO GATORS!!! While there, I majored in microbiology. After I graduated, I went to The New England College of Optometry, where I got my O.D. degree. I loved the school and Boston but the wonderful Florida weather and the southern hospitality fortunately brought me back home.
I’ve been married for 33 years with the love of my life and we have two wonderful boys together. In the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I decided to wait before we had children. We had spent so much time in school studying thus we wanted to spend some time together as a couple before starting a family.
As a result, we waited 9 years before we had our first son. I am so glad we did that because it allowed us to travel and really hang out with each other as a couple before kids were added into the picture.
One of my favorite things to do is travel. I am always ready for another trip. I love exploring other cultures and visiting beautiful landmarks. Traveling makes me feel alive, not to mention the scrumptious food and exquisite wine that come along with it. I have been to many countries such as, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Mexico, Canada, Chile and Abu Dhabi. My dream is to travel the world!
2. What made you decide to become in Optometrist?
I never intended to go to Optometry school. My plan was to go to Italy to finish my studies in microbiology. However, an advisor at the University of Florida – UF suggested that I apply for a scholarship opportunity. She told me that the New England College of Optometry was offering scholarships to Latin American students to increase the diversity of the school.
At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, as Optometry was not in my radar. But the opportunity sounded too good to pass. So, I decided to look into it. As I looked into it, I realized Optometry sounded like a good career for me. I always wanted to have a career that would allow me to use my skills to serve others while giving me the flexibility to have a family. Optometry was a perfect fit! Plus, Boston sounded like a great city.
In my career, I’ve had the privilege to serve many different people, even those that no one else wanted to serve. Many years ago, I use to care for the children from the local juvenile facility. I’ve also had the privilege to care for people with mental challenges, special needs and so many other disabilities.
I always wanted to serve as many people as I can and to treat each human being with the respect that they deserve. I feel privilege to be in a profession that allows me to do that. In my practice we have one rule – Every person counts! That is why my practice welcomes everybody!
3. What Optometry school did you go to?
4. Where do you currently practice?
I feel fortunate to have a private practice with 2 locations:
5. Do you offer any specialty services in your practice?
I love Primary Care Optometry
6. Name 1 to 3 hurdles you personally faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle I have always struggled with is finding a good balance between my work and private life. When you own a private practice, it’s like having another child. The practice has a life of its own and can occupy so much of your life. If you are not careful it can consume all your time and thus leave very little time for family and other important pieces of your life.
The way I dealt with this challenge was to enlist the help of others. I am go glad to say that I had a lot of help. I had a wonderful nanny who really helped me when my kids were young. She was a student at the local university and she assisted in pick ups and drops offs at all after school activities.
I also learned to prioritized my activities daily. Sometimes, it felt as if there wasn’t enough hours in the day to do everything that I felt I needed to do. So, I would pick the top 3 to 5 most important tasks and focused on those for that day. What ever else I couldn’t do, I left it in the list for the next day. This simple habit really helped me keep my sanity, especially when my kids were younger.
There were times when I felt tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. Sometimes, I even considered quitting my job and leaving my practices. However, whenever I’d feel that way, I would remember what my mother used to say – “Quitting is not an options!” When I was a child and felt like quitting, my mom used to always encourage me and sometime even ordered me not to give up. I respect my mom so much, that those words still speak to me every time I feel tested.
If I were asked, what is the secret to my success for staying married for 33 years, raising a family while juggling 2 private practices? I’d stay it’s my resolve to never give up no matter what, which is a trait I learned from my mother.
7. If you could go back to when you were a student, what advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back, I’d tell myself to do the following:
Take more time to enjoy the adventure of being a student and to participate in other activities like enjoying the city of Boston and going to a museum or a play. At the end everything will work out fine and you are going to be happier.
Thank you for reading my feature. I hope it inspired you. When you run into me, be it at a meeting, in an airplane or on social media, let me know that you read my feature by sharing this Italian greeting with me as we part ways:
Ci vediamo dopo! Which means, see you later in Italian!
To contact Marie you can click on her social media profile links below or visit her practice website – DrTartibi.com