DeW Retreat Thoughts

In DeWers by Ann-Marie DePalma, CDA, RDH, MEd

As I sit in the airport from my first DeW Retreat, I am awed by the amazing, powerful women I have been privileged to meet and get to know over the past few days. Having been in dentistry for years as a hygienist both clinically and beyond, and having attended many conferences and CE events, Anne and her DeW’ers create a safe space for all to learn and be vulnerable that has not existed in any event I have attended. 

     As a speaker and writer looking to expand beyond what I have been able to achieve on my own, the ability to share, educate and welcome a “newbie” is awe-inspiring. Everyone is willing to share their strengths and talents so that together we all rise as women and as professionals. Even though I have been in dentistry for years, the free exchange of ideas on where to go next in my journey has been amazing. Starting to grow can be frightening and challenging but stepping out of the comfort zone into the freely supported environment that DeW offers, is empowering. From learning about one’s core strengths and values, to setting boundaries, and growing through adversity, the information shared is powerful.

     Women in dentistry, in whatever role, hygienist, assistant, doctor, office manager, have their respective organizations or groups but have not had the “voice” that DeW provides. DeW’ers beyond supporting each other, help the community at large with the DeW fund raffle supporting good causes such as cancer or addiction. It is about the belief in yourself and in others that we all grow. In growing we share our values beyond our small circle. 

     Women who do not see themselves as powerful, are often jealous or envious of the powerful woman. Yet, the room was full of power and the jealousy or envy that is often exhibited by those who feel powerless was not evident. We may have products or services in the same space, but there is enough for all, that being together is empowering not creating jealousy or envy. The core principles on which DeW is founded were on display throughout the event.

  • Look for opportunities that build on our strengths. 
  • Just DeW it! 
  • Fake it until you believe it.
  • Good DeWs find good DeWs.
  • Be kind. Don’t be a Jerk.
  • Honor people in their absence. No gossiping.
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt. No judging.
  • “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Luke 12:48
  • Start and don’t stop. DeWs never retire.
  • Never give up on your dream

As I reflect on my experience during the retreat, I am excited to see where my reflections and connections take me on my journey to expand and grow.