Tanya Riddle: Be kind. Work hard. Laugh. Repeat. | 40 Under Forty

Billings Gazette

Company and Title: Owner of Billings Dermatology and Aesthetics

Education and/or background: Board Certified Dermatologist, Dermatopathologist, and Mohs surgeon

If you couldn’t do this, what would you do instead? I always appreciated my science teachers, and most especially my middle school teachers. I would have a lot of fun trying to make pre-teens enthusiastic about basic science. I would create elaborate experiments and take a lot of pride in my laboratory. I can imagine that being a very rewarding career.

What other passions/callings are part of your life? I love ultralight backpacking with my husband. We try to spend as many weekends in the mountains as possible every summer. Since we only carry 10 pounds of gear each, it takes quite a bit of planning and preparation to have a successful backpacking trip. I find tremendous joy in geeking out while scrutinizing every ounce of toothpaste, food, etc. Our favorite adventures are those that we can bring our dog, Penny, along with us. She’s our 3-year-old Labradoodle and she is a complete joy to everyone she meets. Training her from her the past few years has been a very rewarding challenge and passion. She is now mature enough to be an honoree staff member in my clinic. Having her sweet energy from her at work makes everybody’s day better.

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What advice would you give a teenager about success? “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

What’s your guilty pleasure? I like mayonnaise more than the average person, substantially more. Additionally, I will never decline a side of French fries and would likely dip them in May.

How do you measure your own success? Through my ability to positively affect the lives around me, including my patients, staff, and family.

What is the hardest part of your job? Improving the quality of my patients’ lives is my primary goal. So, when treatment failures occur, it is hard not to feel defeated. In these moments, when I take it personally and get discouraged, I find it best to be honest with my patient and promise to work even harder to help them find relief.

What was the last show you binge-watched? “Squid Game.”

What is your favorite book? “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett.

What is the most rewarding/important aspect of your occupation? I am passionate about providing healing and health to patients while simultaneously developing meaningful relationships. Though some conditions are acute and do not require long-term management, so much of what I do as a dermatologist allows me to invest in getting to know my patients over different periods of their lives. Whether it is helping a patient clear their acne before their wedding or helping them recover from radiation dermatitis after cancer treatment, I often initially meet my patients during pivotal moments. I feel very fortunate for that opportunity.

Who is your greatest mentor/inspiration? There are several key figures that helped shaped my trajectory. My mother was a remarkable woman whose constant support and encouragement gave me the confidence to reach for my dreams. I owe everything to her. Additionally, Dr. Madeline Duvic was my research supervisor and an ardent advocate at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She helped me advance and succeed through multiple phases of my training. Lastly, Dr. Philip Tallman has been an outstanding mentor to me for dermatology, business, and life in general. His advice and guidance from him have helped mold me to a successful and rewarding career.

Do you have a motto that you live by? Be kind. Work hard. Laugh. Repeat.

How do you view failure and success? I try to let go of regret. Instead, I try to take each perceived failure and transform it into a learning experience.

What do you do for fun/relax/hobby? For fun, I love dancing, especially to live music. My husband and I are hoping to resume dance classes in 2022 and hope to meet members of Billings’ West Coast swing dance community soon. To relax, I enjoy taking my dog ​​on long walks. Even when it is 15 degrees out, I still like getting fresh air and either letting my thoughts work themselves out or listening to an audio book. I also find traditional reading relaxing. Patients often bring books to doctor offices in case there is a wait, so it is a fantastic way to discover new book trends and recommendations from my patients. My favorite winter hobby is puzzling. We glue our puzzles together with the hope that someday we will have enough to decorate our entire garage (one at a time).

What’s the greatest gift you ever received? why? My college education. it was the launching pad for my career.


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