The Evolution of Maria Tu
My name is Maria Tu. I am a mother, wife, pharmacy student and co-founder of Black Finch with my husband, Tom. My journey in the field of medicine began long before I even intended it to. Maybe I should have known then that this is the path I would end up taking, but I’ve found that paving my own road has led me to some of my greatest accomplishments thus far.
My hope for anyone reading this is that you find the inspiration and drive you need to achieve your dreams. Nothing worth having comes easy but knowing that you already have the tools to do whatever it is your set your mind to is half the battle. The days are long, but the years are short. It’s never too late to start a new endeavor. My husband and biggest supporter has taught me that taking the time to figure out what you love will produce far more happiness than doing something because you feel like you have to and for that I will forever be grateful.
My parents moved to the United States from Ecuador when my mom was 22-years old. They were just married and wanted to find a way to live a more fulfilled life together. Upon moving to the States, my dad enrolled in college. He knew that having his education was the best way to start their life in America. While my dad was in school, my mother, who is the hardest working woman that I know, started cleaning houses to make some extra money. Being the woman that she is, she was not satisfied with a one-woman show. Over time she turned her services into a successful business that is still operating today. She is now the CEO and Founder of her own business.
My mom set a great example for my three younger sisters and me. While she was very strict, she knew just when a little fun needed to be thrown into the mix. My mom taught us that we can have it all and that running into obstacles isn’t something that should hold you back. She showed us that if we wanted something, the only way to get it, was to earn it. Her self-motivation is unlike anything I’ve seen. She is by far the biggest influence in my life.
When I went to college, my mother told me that I needed to be a doctor or a lawyer. I, obviously, did not want to do either of those things. So, I decided that I would major in English. It only took one year for me to realize that writing was not my forte. My sophomore year of college I decided to listen to my mother and changed my major to chemistry and finished in three years.
After I graduated, my mom wanted me to go straight into medical school and I said no. She suggested pharmacy school and again, I said no. I decided that I needed to take a year off to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. My mom was certainly not happy about this, but she was okay with it because medical school wasn’t completely off the table. However, when I told her I was planning to move to LA and move in with Tom, that was the end of the line and she cut me off. She didn’t disown me by any means, but she said, “Okay, you’re moving out and you’re not going to be in school, so I’m no longer going to pay your bills.”
When I moved into the extremely tiny studio apartment with Tom in LA, I began tutoring. I became obsessed with it. For me I felt such a connection to helping these high school kids learn and understand the concepts they were being taught in the classrooms. Their “aha” moments brought me so much joy and a sense of accomplishment.
The love I felt for tutoring inspired me and sparked a new path. I was going to go back to school to get my teaching credential. While I was in school, I was still tutoring for work and just before finishing, one of my classmates, who ended up being one of my good friends throughout school, suggested that we get our master’s in education. We seemed to be on a role, so I said, “Okay, let’s do it!”
So, we got our master’s in education and I began teaching at a high school in East LA and I absolutely hated it. It was not nearly the same as tutoring and it certainly did not bring me the same kind of joy. I am not an authoritative person so to be in front sixty high school students, who looked older than me, pretending to be that person, was not what I had in mind.
After Tom finished dental school, we got married and moved back to Orange County. I had gone back to tutoring by this time and was commuting from Orange County to West Hollywood every day. I became pregnant with our daughter, Tommie and I still commuted from Orange County to LA every day until two weeks before she was born.
After we had her, we quickly realized that the commute was not going to work out. Tom suggested finding a tutoring job in Orange County but that meant working independently or starting my own tutoring company and I didn’t want either of those things. Collectively, Tom and I decided that I needed to take some time to figure out what my next steps were going to be.
I stayed home for two years with Tommie. At first, I felt like I was going to be okay with that, but I quickly realized that it wouldn’t be enough. Growing up with my mom being the hard-working woman that she is, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I grew up watching my mom hustle. She never stopped and I wasn’t okay with not doing the same thing. I wanted to do something that Tommie could be proud of. I wanted to be challenged. I wanted to grow, and I want Tommie to grow up knowing that she can do it all because that is what her mom is doing. It is so important to me that we teach her the benefits of hard work. I want her to fully understand that if she chooses to work hard, then she can be whatever she wants to be. I don’t want this to have to be something we tell her. I want her to see both Tom and I living in this.
The last year has been a whirlwind to say the least. A little over a year ago I decided to go to pharmacy school, and you can only imagine the joy this brought my mother. She was elated! I was excited too, but of course, my first thought was, “I should have listened to my mom when I was in college!”
Finding ways to balance all of our schedules has been challenging. Managing my schoolwork with being a mom, wife and entrepreneur is not the easiest, but we know the end result will be worth it. We have a system and it works for us. Sure, it means less sleep than I would prefer, but when it comes to working for what you want, you just find a way to do it. Deep down you know you’ll get everything done on time and it will be done at the highest level.
After all, that is what Black Finch is built upon, right? Being committed to the driven isn’t just a statement. Our grit and determination to provide the best life we can for ourselves and our daughter not only fuels us personally, but it fuels our business, as well. We love to help people grow, which is why we have ended up on the path we’re on. Black Finch is for people on the go. It’s for people who have a reason and purpose for what they’re doing.
Stop wearing scrubs. Wear Black Finch.