…I take time to chat with friends — it’s a brain break — you can’t work 24/7, at some point you stop being productive. Those non-work moments are just as important as the work moments.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ingrid Murra.
Dr. Ingrid Murra is the Founder and CEO of Two Front, a breakthrough new health tech brand bringing next-generation orthodontics to the market. Two Front is democratizing clear aligner treatment for generation Z through a marketplace model for orthodontists with a hospitality-first mentality.
Upon graduating from New York University’s College of Dentistry and subsequently completing her three-year orthodontic residency at Harvard Medical School in 2018, Dr. Ingrid realized the industry needed to radically transform and propel itself forward from the antiquated practices, appliances, and conventions orthodontics had become accustomed to, and thus, Two Front was born.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I decided to become an orthodontist after my own experience back in New Orleans, when I was 12 years-old and suffering from low self-esteem because I didn’t like my smile. Getting braces was totally life changing for me — having the confidence to smile more opened up a world of opportunities. That’s when I decided that I wanted to dedicate my life to giving people the gift of confidence.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
In truth, I’ve had two different careers at this point. When I decided to become an orthodontist, I had no idea what the commitment of 11 years of higher education really meant, or that it would take a cutthroat journey to get there. Starting Two Front was an entirely different learning curve. My main lesson though, which I want to impart to others, is that you don’t have to go to business school to learn how to run a venture-backed business. Google is my #1 employee.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was being too trusting, and just “going with my gut,” on certain things. Business is not about friendship — you must do your due diligence and get reference checks (several of them) for anyone that you are considering going into business with. Once you learn this lesson, you don’t need reminding.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Derek Flanzraich — I walked up to him at a healthtech event while he was on his way to the restroom. Long story short, he introduced me to my lead investor. Never be afraid to start those conversations, or go up to that person at that networking event. You never know where it may lead.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
With Invisalign and DTC clear aligner companies pouring millions of dollars into the ecosystem, the market for people looking to enhance their smile using clear aligners has expanded drastically. The catch is, treatment options aren’t great. Invisalign is expensive, and 95% of potential providers are general dentists. Most DTC clear aligner companies have a flawed business model in which off-shore technicians move teeth based on an impression you take yourself (these will almost always be inaccurate). At the same time, orthodontists, the specialists in moving teeth with braces and clear aligners, are an average of 419,000 dollars in student debt and some have over 900,000 dollars in student debt, so many aren’t in a place to open a practice and provide care.
We’re creating an Uber model of orthodontic practices, to empower orthodontists to run asset-less practices while providing high-quality clear aligner care to Generation Z, under an umbrella brand that moms can trust.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
My lifestyle tweaks are just that, tweaks. They aren’t anything drastic, but they do make a difference for me in my day to day, whether it be providing that moment of ‘me time’ to reset and recharge, or that bolt of energy I need.
-I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep. This is proven to increase productivity.
-I drink coffee every morning, for the caffeine, but also to have that quiet moment for myself before I dive into the day.
-I read at minimum for 30 minutes a day. I find that during especially stressful times, nothing is better than diving into a different world.
-I take time to chat with friends — it’s a brain break — you can’t work 24/7, at some point you stop being productive. Those non-work moments are just as important as the work moments.
-I go for a daily bike ride. Apart from the obvious cardiovascular benefits, this lifts my mood and gives me that little endorphin boost. It goes a long way.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My movement would focus on mental health — making it more accessible and less stigmatized. It affects every single aspect of your life, whether you realize it or not. If more of us stopped to acknowledge this, and then took steps to improve it, I think the world would be a better place.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Here’s my hot take: there’s nothing I wish I’d known before. I believe you learn by doing, and no amount of preparation will ever truly make you invincible to what life, business, partners, etc., can throw at you. The hard truth is you don’t know until you know. So my advice is: “Go for it!”
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental Health. I’m first-generation from El Salvador, and while there is a big shift toward improving mental health in the United States, it’s still shamed and widely ignored in immigrant culture. There’s a lot we can do to help people whose cultures don’t accept mental health as part of our overall health.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@Ingridmurra, @mytwofront, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text me! 713–264–2008
Thank you for these fantastic insights!