Mary Jane Martin was born and raised in Savannah, GA. She attended Country Day from pre-kindergarten until graduation in 2002. In 2006, she graduated from the University of Georgia and then received her Masters Degree of Medical Science in 2009. For the last eight years, she has practiced medicine as an anesthesiologist assistant in hospitals and surgery centers around Savannah.
In 2016, she started a company, ORREN, that is dedicated to rejuvenating and modernizing hospital scrubs. This is achieved by incorporating activewear fabric technology to create a comfortable, performance-enhancing and stylish product. She plans to stay in Savannah where she will continue to work as an anesthesiologist assistant while she grows her business.
1. Looking back on your time at Country Day, what do you value as being the most important life lesson you acquired?
Country Day taught me the art of time management and efficiency. When you have a lot going on, you are forced to be efficient in the small windows of time that present themselves. Ironically, I find that I am least productive on days when I don’t have a lot to do! I remember spending 30 minutes here or there, studying a few pages or doing homework before going to basketball practice. It challenged me to stay ahead. This translates to my personal motto of, “Work hard, play hard.”
It is all about juggling and, no matter where you go in life or what you do, you will have to juggle and figure out how to prioritize. I have worked as an anesthesiologist assistant for the last 8 years and, recently, I started my own business. When I am not practicing anesthesia, I take advantage of those windows of time to work on my new endeavor which has helped me succeed in laying a strong foundation for my brand, ORREN.
2. Discuss your preparedness for college and how this has translated into your current career path?
Country Day made college a very pleasant academic environment. I was equipped with a skill set for studying that allowed me to do well and still have fun. One of the most difficult things in studies and in life is discerning what is important and weeding out the information that is superfluous. This translates into my medical profession as well. When there is an emergency, it is absolutely vital to decipher a lot of information and get to the source of the problem.
3. What Country Day teacher had the greatest impact on your academic and professional career and why?
Hands down, Catherine Gussler. During my junior year, I found out that I loved biology. It may have been the way Mrs. Gussler taught, but I enjoyed learning about biology…unlike calculus. Even when I went off to the University of Georgia, I started taking business classes, but something told me to try out a few science classes. I remember discussing this with Mrs. Gussler and telling her, “Yes, I love biology…but then I will have to take chemistry!” I will never forget what she said: “I worry that you will regret it if you do not try.” Long story short, I ended up majoring in pre-med, and went on to get my Masters of Medical Science in Anesthesia.
4. What would be your advice to our current seniors as they begin their college and professional career adventure?
Dream big and do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. I still reflect on one of my favorite idioms: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Do not live scared to fail, because it is the only way you have a chance to succeed. We all faceplant at some point or another, but those who choose to get up are the ones that make a difference.