Teresa Martinez-Baker was born to serve her community as a mother, wife, chiropractor, businesswoman and volunteer. Her greatest challenge: balancing it all.
“Today, I missed my kindergartner’s first field trip, but I’m glad I can be present every night for them, help them with homework, get them to bed. Friday office hours are by appointment only, so I’m always off then to pick them up from school and we have the whole weekend together,” she said.
The owner of Dr. Teresa Martinez-Baker Family Chiropractic is a familiar face in Lompoc, where she was born and raised and still plays adult co-ed softball while coaching girls softball.
Dr. T, as she is known to her patients, graduated Lompoc High School in 1996. Her softball skills garnered her a full-ride scholarship to Indiana University where she earned her bachelor of science in kinesiology and exercise science. She earned her doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences - Los Angeles College of Chiropractic then served as associate doctor with Dr. Bill Pierce of Pierce Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center in Santa Maria.
“The business side of this is hard and in chiropractic school, we don’t get any business training. Dr. Pearce was really a mentor to me. He’s super successful, so I tried to bring his model here,” Martinez-Baker said.
She had married her sweetheart, Dave Baker, in November 2005 and they were expecting their first child. It was time to stop the commute, work closer to home, and prepare for the work-family balance they aspired to achieve.
In August 2006, the practice doors opened.
“Any big decisions we make we work together on to determine what will really benefit everyone. (Dave) may not be physically in my office doing my work, but his ideas, his support are what keep me going. He gives me all the space I need to be able to concentrate on my patients and what they need,” Martinez-Baker said.
Their family has grown to include three active children: 13-year-old Cameron, 8-year-old Aubrianna, and 6-year-old Raymond. The family calendar is full of Boy Scouting activities for Cameron, multiple sports for he and his sister Aubrianna, and at some point in just about any weekend, any number of family members may be found pedaling at River Bend Bike Park, which they helped establish.
“It is hard trying to balance all the hats of being a wife, mom and doctor because I have such caring feeling that my patients are my family. I’m just trying to do what I can to help our town be better and to help people feel better. I live from my heart and try to be a good person,” Martinez-Baker said.
She also serves the community through myriad efforts: organizing a Relay for Life Team benefiting the American Cancer Society; sponsoring Lompoc Park and Recreation programs including adult co-ed softball; providing free spinal screenings at Lompoc Valley Flower Festival; serving as official team chiropractor on the sidelines for Lompoc High School football games, and as a member of the Lompoc High School Alumni Association board of directors.
In 2015, she and her husband were named Lompoc Valley’s 2015 Man and Woman of the Year, respectively, by the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce. They were the first married couple in the awards’ six-decade history — the man of the year has been awarded since 1962; woman of the year since 1968 — to win the two accolades in the same year.
“I’ve been really blessed with the support from the community. I’m glad what I do helps and that word of mouth, doing good in the community, has helped the practice grow. This community gave so much to me growing up, it’s so important to give back,” Martinez-Baker said.
She said networking is key to any business, and she’s gained a lot of connections through her memberships in Lompoc Valley Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals Network, Lompoc Valley Business Women’s Network, Lompoc Business Connection, and Lompoc Hispanic Business Committee.
If she could start all over again, the only big change she would make would be to pick a better paperwork system.
“I think any woman can be successful in business. Just start out with good plans, good systems. Know when your bills are due. Keep up with your bank statements. All of that is a learning curve when you have to do it business style, and it’s not the fun part of my job, but it’s necessary,” Martinez-Baker said.
She also advised women to believe they can find support in their business endeavors.
“It’s about networking and getting out. You’ve got to be a good person, be kind, talk kind about everyone. That flows back to you no matter what you’re doing,” she said.
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