Dr. Marnie Nussbaum is my trusted cosmetic dermatologist and now friend! I met Dr. Marnie through a marketing event with La Prairie that I worked on with the brand on behalf of a PDV Advisory Client back in the spring of 2019. (You can read La Prairie’s own Current D’Ignazio’s Friends to Learn From interview here) The event featured Modern Mothers photographed for a social campaign, so I had the lovely experience of meeting Dr. Marnie with her two beautiful children on set! When I was ready to start my pre-wedding skincare, I turned to her and her team at her beautiful Upper East Side office in New York City. She created a custom approach for me that included cosmetic treatments and the Clear & Brilliant laser which I absolutely loved. I am so thrilled to share her story in Friends to Learn From as our first entrepreneur in the medical space!
How did you become interested in medicine? Why skin?
“When I was a little girl, I only had one living grandparent who passed away from melanoma. It had a significant impact on me at the time and I thought that helping people in sickness and in health is the greatest gift to be able to give. I always loved science, math and talking to every person around me; in essence becoming a physician seemed like the perfect fit for me. I was always attracted to the skin as it truly is a window into the body. Many internal conditions manifest with rashes, nodules or moles. I also loved that I could see children to adults and no two patients were alike. As I got more mature into my career, I began to focus on aesthetic dermatology as I loved making people feel more confident. It fused my love of science and beauty in order to make my patients feel like themselves but refreshed.”
What was your educational journey like?
“I grew up in a small town on Long Island and went to a large public school. I always adored school and was a complete nerd who loved reading books for fun. Science and math fascinated me as there was always an exact answer and problem to be solved. As I became older and went to Cornell University, my interests broadened to trying to learn everything I could outside my major of Biology including art history, child psychology and even an entrepreneurial class my senior year that inspired me to take control of my own journey. My parents instilled in me that education is a gift not to be squandered and I therefore tried to be a sponge. Medical school was definitely hard but as difficult as some nights were it changed me as a person, mother, daughter and friend. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
What do you do for fun?
“I absolutely love pajama dance parties with my kids, dancing anywhere really (the car, the supermarket, wherever) and singing at the top of my lungs (even though I am completely tone deaf). I truly love spending time with my parents, kids and friends. I absolutely love reading and I read every night to put myself to bed. Lastly, baking any dessert with my children and watching a movie is my dream day or night.”
How do you manage your family / work life? Any tips for prioritizing your schedule?
“It is never easy to manage everything. I always say, some balls will drop but let’s hope they are not important ones. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. The only thing you can do is be your best in the moment wherever you are. Regarding my kids, it is not quantity but quality. I always make the time we have together matter. I put aside my phone and make sure they know I am listening and there for them. I also set aside time for each child to have one special activity with me so they each get alone time. Sunday night is family night where we go to the same Italian restaurant and eat our face off. We talk about the week ahead and just connect.”
Tell us about your NYC practice. Your team is so magnetic, passionate, and vivacious. What is your secret to recruiting such a talented team?
“My practice has been my living, breathing dream and it has taken a long time, blood, sweat and tears to get here. I have learned so many valuable lessons that unfortunately have to be learned on the job and experiences that have to be learned from with how to manage a business. We don’t learn these things in medical school, however, I am very lucky to have a good support system around me to ask questions and advice. Regarding recruiting, I never hire based on past experience or resume alone. Most of my hiring is done based on the individual’s answers to questions upon meeting. I am looking for someone willing to learn, willing to go the extra mile, willing to ask questions and most of all with a pleasant disposition. Anything is teachable…except for ambition, kindness and a ‘capture the flag’ mentality.”
Capture the flag, I love that! How did you pick your office location?
“I have always lived on the Upper East Side (even in medical school and residency as it was Cornell New York Hospital). I loved that it was on the Upper East Side and close to my kids school but convenient for my patients to take the train up from downtown or cross the park from the Upper West Side. I also loved that it was surrounded by beauty; the park, the shops on Madison and the beautiful art galleries.”
What has been your greatest surprise about entrepreneurship?
“My greatest surprise is that while there are always going to new challenges and problems to solve, it is extremely satisfying knowing I can adapt, learn and change in real time and be super proud of both my mistakes and accomplishments. It is all about the journey and not the destination.”
What would your advice be to anyone struggling with skin issues and self-confidence?
“My advice would be to first focus on what you love about yourself; because everyone has things they don’t particularly like about themselves but we all also have things that we should be grateful for. Next, know that skin issues are completely treatable! It may take time and trial/error with medications and routines but it will clear. Always make an appointment with a dermatologist first to skip wasting time and money on routines/products that may not be right for your skin.”