The world needs all of you, the real you, not just some version of yourself that you want them to see.
Unfortunately, I did not gain full clarity of this seemingly obvious fact until recently. Let’s start at the beginning, as it seems like the right place to start. I was born as number nine of eleven children into a farm family. My parents did not have a lot of money to share, but we were raised in an emotionally altruistic family. What I mean by this statement is my mother and father were charitable with their time and gave with benevolent hearts to every friend of every child they had. My friends loved coming over to the Reinert house because there was always fun and laughter and plenty of good food. We also were provided a solid thirteen years of private education in the Catholic school system and taught to maintain the core values of a strong work ethic, honesty, and respect.
Career Inventory Survey
Following high school, I attended the University of Iowa School of Pharmacy on a full academic scholarship. As I began my coursework, I realized that my choice in major was not what I wanted long-term. My college advisor encouraged me to take a career inventory survey to assist in finding a new major. The survey indicated that I would fit well in a dental career field. I researched each dental career option and chose to focus on the preventive aspects of oral care. While waiting to attend dental hygiene school, I took the necessary coursework to become certified as a dental assistant in Iowa, graduating in July 2000. I continued additional education immediately, receiving my Associates in Applied Sciences degree at Hawkeye Community College in dental hygiene in May 2003.
The following September I moved closer to home, purchasing my grandmother’s house. I married my high school sweetheart, who is a fifth-generation family farmer and machinist, and we had two sons; Lukas (2005) and Erik (2007). I was employed as a clinical dental hygienist at Dental Associates of Manchester in Manchester, Iowa for my first 12 years of licensure. I enjoyed providing care to patients while serving my colleagues on the Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association (IDHA) Board of Trustees, holding offices of varying degrees both on the state and national levels. We eventually purchased a portion of his family’s farm outside of town. Daily life in Iowa with the changes in season, surrounded by my family and friends brought me happiness, but I still felt there was something missing in my professional life.
More Growth, More Education
I soon joined the Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association and became an active member. As time went on, I became more interested in the legislative efforts of dental hygienists in the state of Iowa. I networked in and out of the association and started participating in some corporate advisory committees for product innovation and change. These involvements prompted my return to college, resulting in a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Upper Iowa University in May 2012. Following this achievement, I began to increase my lecturing, writing, and consulting involvement with various dental companies, and went on to complete my Masters in Public Administration Health Sciences in May 2015.
Following my MPA achievement, the Dental Administrative Chair at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa stepped down. His exit opened an opportunity for me to enter the world of education. Traditionally, individuals step into a role at a college as a faculty member rather than as an administrator. However, I was a former student of both programs I would oversee, and had already received extensive leadership training, lectured to many crowds of licensed dental professionals and provided education to individual patients chairside. The College believed in me and took a chance by hiring me to oversee the programs as Dental Administrative Chair. I was fortunate to enter into the position where faculty knew me, and accepted my sense of direction, just in time to complete both programs’ seven-year on-site accreditations with the Commission on Dental Accreditation the following October.
The lifelong pursuit of education
Four years later, I continue to serve the dental assisting and dental hygiene program students, faculty, staff, administration and Hawkeye Dental Clinic. My work at the College allows me to continue an active career completing research, consulting, writing, and speaking for several major dental companies, fellow professionals, and dental product consumers. I pride myself on thinking outside the box when it comes to dental innovation and practice standards; especially when I see opportunities for dental professionals to apply new ideas to complete clinical techniques and devise processes that improve the current standard of care. My lifelong pursuit of education continues today as I seek my doctoral degree in higher education at Franklin University, anticipating graduation in 2021.
My most recent introduction to the podium reads:
Wife, mother, farmer, student, college administrator, educator, inventor, public health advocate, businesswoman, researcher, writer, speaker–yet always a dental hygienist—this speaker has worn many hats over the course of her 20+ years in the dental industry. She takes pride in utilizing her inquisitive mind and honest attitude to lead faculty at her college, influence manufacturers to listen to dental professionals in product innovation, and transform students into entry-level professionals, promoting the use of inner accountability, tenacity, and empowerment.
This biography leaves out details that I designed and marketed, globally, the Boge513™ scaler, sold by American Eagle Instruments/Young Innovations; a dental hand-scaling instrument won the 2017 Dental Excellence Award: Best New Instrument/Device. This bio also fails to mention that I designed the Centennial Scaler, manufactured by Hu-Friedy Instruments. In addition, it leaves out the state and national awards I have won as time passed, the articles that I wrote, and the research projects on which I participated. The reason these achievements are deliberately omitted is while acknowledgment from
fellow colleagues really is the highest honor, I was simply out there being the real me, rather than some version of myself that I thought the dental world needed. And for that, and many other reasons, I am grateful to say I am a Dental Entrepreneur Woman.