Is there anything a community of smart, passionate, inspired women couldn’t accomplish if we supported one another, shared resources and talents, and created a platform from which we could launch all of our dreams? Based on my past experience of 37 years in this incredible industry, my resounding answer is “NO … not one single thing!”
There has never been a better time to be in dentistry. And there has never been a better time to be a professional woman. Glass ceilings continue to shatter all around us and we are more connected both personally and professionally, even spiritually, than ever before. This concept of a publication for and community of Dental Entrepreneurial Women (the brilliant brainchild of the beautiful Anne Duffy) is an idea whose time has come at just the right time.
I’ve grown up professionally in the field of dentistry. I began my career as a chairside clinical assistant, eventually transitioning to the administrative area and ultimately into practice management. After spending several decades as a dental practice coach and professional speaker, I engaged in a course of study about adult learning and how to create true individual and team transformation. This knowledge about transformational leadership led to not only better personal results for my clients and my own business, but it also eventually sparked a whole new track of business for me.
Today, I’m the founder and CEO of LionSpeak, a communication coaching company, which delivers training and coaching resources for professionals in dentistry, healthcare and corporate business environments. Thirty years ago, if you would have told me that this young, insecure, undeveloped dental assistant would blossom into a business owner, keynote speaker, writer, international traveler and industry leader, I would have laughed out loud and called you crazy! But blossom, I did, but I never could have done it on my own. I owe almost all of my success to a host of generous, smart, powerful who women opened doors, took me under their wing, encouraged and educated me, and cheered me on. That is what this publication and this community is all about: Women helping other women to thrive and succeed in this industry and to create an amazing whole and balanced life where their work is a supporting part.
I’m honored and proud to be an advisor to the editorial board along with my mentor and dear friend, Linda Miles. As a newbie dental assistant, I remember sitting in the fifth row of a convention room filled to capacity where Linda was speaking and thinking, “How does someone get to do this? Could I do this someday?” Linda was and is a true dental champion and celebrity. She seemed completely beyond reach and out of my league at the time. But I was soon to discover that she and many others like her believed that anyone willing to learn, share, grow and work hard could and should contribute the success of our industry. Years later, she would become one of my biggest advocates and one of my dearest friends.
That’s how this works. We learn from those who’ve paved the way. And then we do our part. We invest in our learning. We take brave risks and bold steps. We work hard. We step up, participate, volunteer, support and contribute to this industry we love … and our careers explode. And then we remember we need to turn around, reach out our hands and help to lift the next generation of smart, capable women who will grab the baton, take on this work and shape it a whole new exciting way.
When it comes to women in dentistry, there are three things I know for certain:
There is never a lack of resources … only a lack of resourcefulness. We can’t possibly know it all and luckily, we don’t have to but we do have to know where the resources are and be willing to share ours. Separately we are islands, but collectively, we are one brilliant whole. Our diversity of ideas, experience, interests, knowledge, and talents is what creates innovation and speeds growth. Our willingness to share is what creates progress and strength. This community will help us leverage all of our resources.
We need each other. We are dental professionals, writers, researchers, clinicians, coaches, business owners, educators, product reps and speakers. But we are also mothers, partners, pet lovers, travelers, caregivers, community leaders, spiritual beings, book readers, wine drinkers, movie-goers, fitness fanatics, siblings and friends. And we only have 24 hours every day to do and be all of that. As a community, we can offer support to one another to help balance the highs and lows, the demands and disappointments, the joys and the juggling that we all face from one moment to the next. It helps to know you’re not alone. It helps to have colleagues that understand and who’ve got your back.
We’ve only just begun. We’ve only scratched the surface of the impact that women will have on this industry in the years ahead. This publication and the community it represents will help to pave and lead the way and keep us at the forefront of that charge.
If you are women in dentistry, in any capacity, at any age, or at any stage of your career … Welcome. You’re in the right place at the exact right time.