Meet Mari Pantoja-Smith


Hello, I’m Mari.  I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a Filipina, I was drawn to its mission of  “improve the quality of life of orphaned, impoverished, and special-needs children on a global scale.” I recently joined Maya’s Hope to volunteer as a Tagalog/English translator and to help with interviewing candidates. So far the experience has been very, very rewarding for me.  I am thankful to Maya’s Hope for helping children with special needs in the Philippines.

Aside from Maya’s Hope, I also volunteer for the American College of Healthcare Executive (ACHE) of South Florida as a Student Services Chair – Board Member.  After spending 15 years in bedside nursing within various South Florida hospitals and various nursing specialties, I understand what drives the healthcare industry. I am passionate about healthcare and higher education. I have a strong affinity towards clinician shortage as a crisis today and tomorrow for this creates a domino effect towards the future of healthcare and patient care.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Nursing.  I am also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt as well as a Champion Six Sigma. However, my biggest accomplishment in life is being a MOM to my three children.  Among many things in life, I overcame obstacles as a teenage mother, I enforced the importance of higher education to my three children as well as encouraged them to pursue their passion.