My road to dental entrepreneurship, like many of us out there, has had many twists and turns but as the driver of our own destiny, we must continue to keep moving forward. One of the first turns in my journey started with a chance encounter with a handsome dark-haired gentleman. Our first conversation was basically hello, “How do you DeW?”, followed by nice meeting you and then goodbye. Fast forward a few months later and I was finishing hygiene school and had just passed my national boards. One of my best friends in college, Karine and I had made plans to go out and celebrate. As I am sitting at the bar with my friend, I see him walking towards us and I say to my friend, “It’s that guy I told you about!” He came over and said hello and for the rest of the night had me in stitches. I have told many people who have asked me “what first attracted you to your husband?” it was his smile and his sense of humor – he always keeps me laughing and as they say laughter is the best medicine.
After 3 years of dating and some of the best years of our lives, we got married. We were married less than a year when he got the word he was accepted into the FBI and would be heading off to training at the FBI academy in Quantico, VA. For what seemed like forever to a young married wife, I stayed in Florida and continued to practice hygiene for that long stretch of time until we got our first assignment in Baltimore, MD. I had been in the dental field for over 10 years in different positions as an assistant, an Office Manager and of course Dental Hygienist so I decided it was a great opportunity to find a new path.
I was lucky enough to live close to one of the largest dental consulting companies in the world and accepted a position as a consultant with the Levin Group. I learned a lot from that experience and still consider Roger Levin and Angela Pickett mentors. After 4 years working at the Levin Group, we were blessed with our first daughter. I had all intentions of going back to my consulting career but the motherly instinct in me was stronger than I had anticipated and I chose to stay home with my daughter and it was quite possibly one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did I have the joy of raising my daughter, it opened the door to the opportunity to meet my best friend for life and my greatest mentor ever, Laura Hatch.
At this point in my life, I was a young sleep deprived mom who, like many of us, had no clue what I was doing and with my husband’s new assignment, I felt alone. Luckily, a good friend in my neighborhood invited me to a mom’s play group so I could have the opportunity to meet other moms and kids. As chance would have it, I sat down and said “How do you DeW?” next to the woman who would inspire me not only as a mom but eventually as a dental entrepreneur.
Laura and I hit it off immediately and an added bonus was our daughters, who were only 2 months old at the time, were only 3 weeks apart in age and they still remain best friends today even though we live on two different coasts.
I eventually went back to clinical hygiene and had the pleasure of working alongside my new best friend’s husband in their dental practice in Maryland. I learned a lot from Dr. Hatch as he is an exceptional dentist and thinks outside the box (much like his wife!) when it comes to conventional dentistry. As the practice grew, so did our families and eventually my husband’s career took a very dramatic turn when he was selected to be part of an elite team within the FBI. This turn of events also occurred at the same time as the most tragic event of our lives with the loss of our 2-year-old and first son, Jacob. We somehow continue to thrive with the love and support of our family and friends and without question, our faith. I do know that without the support of one very important person, Laura, I would not be where I am today. Laura has seen me at my best and in my darkest hour and suffered the loss alongside us. I was asked recently by a friend to use one word to describe myself and my immediate reaction was the word HOPE. The word hope is described as “an optimistic attitude of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life.” It is also described as “a feeling of trust.” My faith in God, and trust in my best friend Laura, helped me find my HOPE again after a tragedy no parent should face and they along with family and friends continue to be the pillars in our lives that support our family.
Our move to Virginia was a great opportunity for my husband’s career and we had the pleasure of making many friends who are still like family. I continued to practice hygiene part time while being a full-time mom and found solace in lots of volunteer work. Eventually, Laura asked me to be her partner with Front Office Rocks in 2013 and I jumped at the chance to work alongside her in this new adventure. Working with Laura through the years as a dental hygienist in their practice in Maryland, and now as her Chief Operating Officer with Front Office Rocks, has given me the opportunity to grow in ways I never thought possible. When we first started with Front Office Rocks, it was a dream to do many of the things we are doing now and we have been able to accomplish so much in a few short years. Laura is an exceptional leader and has put together a team of women (and a few men) who are exceptional at what they do. Laura was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry and is definitely at the top of my list not only as a Dental Entrepreneur, best friend, and mom but as a woman who knows exactly what she wants and is driven to make things happen. Our greatest joy in this career is seeing and hearing the dental practice team members and doctors say “Thank You! for creating Front Office Rocks!” And it continues to drive us to create more and better resources for dental office teams to continue to learn and grow.
Our most recent move back to my roots in Florida has given me the chance to continue working at a career I love in a place I love most! So, I say thank you to my husband for being my partner in love and in life, for supporting me in my career and for bringing me to Maryland so I had the opportunity to meet my business partner. And I say thank you to Laura for trusting me to be by her side as her best friend and her right-hand Woman in Dentistry.