My story is a little different from other Women in Dentistry! I actually was a hair stylist for 25 years before I became part of the Women in Dentistry corporate world. To me, I’m just a normal person trying to live my life like anybody else. I don’t share this story because I think I have something wonderful to share; I share it because I hope it will help you take a good look at who you are and what strengths you already have within yourself to do great things.
I knew at a young age that my favorite thing in the whole world was doing hair. I had every hair doll imaginable. I started doing my own hair when I turned 12, and pretty soon I was doing hair for all my friends and siblings. This made my mother extremely happy since I was the oldest of 9 children. As I grew older I knew I wanted to do hair, but decided to go to college first and enrolled at Utah State University. My roommates soon found out that I cut my own hair and they started asking me to cut their hair as well. Before long I was cutting more than I was studying. After 2 years of taking business classes, I decided to attend cosmetology school. I subsequently met my sweetheart, got married and worked for a large insurance agency as their main receptionist. Meanwhile, my husband finished his education in business finance. All this time, I continued to do hair and nails on the side for the women I met at the insurance agency.
Our first children were boy and girl twins, which helped me quickly decide to stay at home as a young mom. I began doing hair out of my home and helped my husband with his Carwash and Chemical Supply business. Eventually, we were blessed with a total of 4 children.
In 2010, when our youngest child was 15, our health Insurance went up to over $1,000 per month. Being self-employed, my husband and I had a discussion about me going to work outside of the home for health benefits.
I knew a gentleman who worked at a dental software company called Smile Reminder. I asked him if they were hiring, and if they might hire someone like me who had worked from home. He said, “Yes, get me your resume by tomorrow and I will get you an interview.” That was the beginning of many sleepless nights, and that moment took me on a journey I had never imagined. This was on a Sunday. I delivered my resume the next day, interviewed the day after that, and started my new job 2 days later. It was a whirlwind of a week! It became a whirlwind of a month and even the month after that because there was so much for me to learn to become a client success representative at Smile Reminder.
I absolutely fell in love with what Smile Reminder offered dental practices. It all began in 2000 when Smile Reminder, a patient relationship management company, began doing email & text confirmations as well as providing other communication tools for care practitioners and their patients. I quickly became very passionate about this new job in my life. There was definitely a connection because I knew what it felt like to play phone tag with an individual to confirm whether or not they were going to show up for their hair appointment. I would have given anything to be able to send an automated text asking them to reply with the word “yes” to confirm their appointment or follow up with instructions on “what to do or what not to do” in hair care.
What was it that gave me the courage to jump from being a stay at home mom hair stylist into working for a dental software company?I had thought about going back to school. I felt I could start working for a company and maybe work my way up in the same amount of time it would take for me to get my degree, but we needed our health insurance now.
When my neighbor said to me, “Get me your resume by tomorrow?” The first thing I thought was “What resume?” I had not put together a resume since before I had children. I worked for an insurance agency before the twins were born, but had not even thought about applying for a job for over 20 years.
So what did I do? I Googled different types of resumes and how to put one together. Was I scared? “Absolutely!” “I was scared to death.” I did not have the qualifications to work for a software company!
Did you know there is such a thing as a “Character Strengths Resume?” Well, I found one, and I duplicated it. I had to take a really deep look at who I was and what I already had within myself in order for me to work toward this opportunity.
Some of the skillsets I listed on that resume were:
Detail-Oriented Is it really being detail oriented? Or just double-checking everything before you hit send or print?
Confident Is it really confidence… or just plain GUTS!
Strong Leadership Skill Is it really leadership? . . . Or just figuring out that it’s not all about me!
Organized Is it really organization? . . . Or just a matter of planning ahead.
One thing I did know for sure about myself was, if I said I would do something, then by darn, I would make sure I did it. It’s that simple!
Each of us has been given different skill sets. I would call this our own little toolbox full of stuff. Sometimes these skills are not visible but they are our gifts, talents and abilities. Even our temperament plays a part. We need to look at all of those good things inside of us and see how we can use them to bring out the best in not only ourselves but the best in others around us. These are our tools! Sometimes it’s hard to see some of the tools that have dropped to the bottom of the toolbox because they come from life circumstances and experiences.
Because life is a process of growing and figuring out our potential, the first thing to do is to open our toolbox to see what great things we’ve been blessed with.
Have you ever looked at others around you and wished you could be like them? If we can look deeply into our own toolbox then this will help us appreciate our own tools more and we will no longer envy the tools others have in their box. Being happy with who we are is not only a great feeling but a great blessing as well!
As I joined Women in Dentistry and began being a customer service representative, it didn’t take me long to realize that my favorite part of that job was people. I loved the relationships I had developed with different OMs across the nation. Helping them became a passion of mine. So after the first couple of years, I applied for a role on the Business Development team. There were so many things for me to learn and so many questions to ask. Just because I tapped into my strengths to get the job, didn’t mean I wouldn’t continue to learn and expand my knowledge base.
I have now been on our Business Development team for the past 6 years in the dental market. This was about the same time we changed our name from Smile Reminder to Solutionreach. We kept the same acronym, SR, but changed the name to expand our business concept into other verticals such as Vision, Dermatology, Aesthetics and most recently Medical.
If we have the desire to continue learning, we are capable of things we never thought possible. There is so much hidden talent and untapped potential in all of us.
There are 2 obstacles that we may find hindering the tools in our box.
1) Being blind to the potential that is within us
2) Fear – which may overcome our level of confidence
I believe in the “Fake it till you make it theory.” One of my favorite quotes by Venus Williams is “Believe in YOURSELF, and even if you don’t, pretend that you do, and at some point, you will.
When I joined Women in Dentistry the one thing I didn’t know was what really went on behind the scenes in a dental office. My new director asked me to hang out in a dental office as an externship experience. One of my neighbors was a dentist and I knew her quite well, so I asked her if she cared if I came and observed for a day. I have to say you Women in Dentistry are busy, busy. This practice had a system where everyone in the office pretty much learned every position and everyone did everything from answering phones to taking people back to their operatory, to even assisting. Everyone filled in the slack. I was told they earned bonuses on a percentage of the gross income of the practice. They had chosen to fill in the slack for each other instead of hiring another team member, so they were paid a better bonus. I watched and observed and I noticed the gal at the front desk kept calling and calling and more calling. It was a Thursday and she had received some cancellations for the following Tuesday and was trying to fill the holes in the schedule. I knew this office used Solutionreach so I asked Julie at the front desk if she had ever pulled up a group of “Quick Call” patients from her Solutionreach account? She said, “No.” I walked over and showed her how to pull up the group of patients she was spending time calling. We formulated a message that said. “We have an opening in our schedule next Tuesday at 10:00 am. The first person to call back will receive the appointment.” Within 5 minutes the phones started ringing and she had not only filled that appointment, but also several other openings in the schedule over the next couple of weeks. She loved how much time it saved her. And she was so glad I had decided to join their team that day! It turned out to be a wonderful day while I observed these “Women in Dentistry”.
We identify ourselves by titles, right? One day when I was registering for an event I had been asked to attend, it asked for my title. It was a mandatory field on the form and I thought to myself… “I don’t have a title.” I work in Business Development, does that give me a title? No. I chose in my young life to be a cosmetologist.
Adding a title to my bio and goal questionnaire was weighing heavily on my mind one evening as I discussed it with one of my hair clients. She said to me, “Of course you have a title”. You just need to add PHD at the end of your name. I looked at her in wonder and said, “Where did that come from?” She said, “Yes PHD” (Personal Hair Dresser). “YOU are my Personal Hair Dresser.” When I told my husband this story he laughed and laughed and said, “Well, I think you should put SSW for your title.” I asked him what in the world that meant and he said “Super Sexy Wife”. I laughed and said there is no way I will put that down, but came to the realization that sometimes having a sense of humor is what gets us through those times that seem so difficult.
I have been super fortunate in each career I have chosen to love whatever it is that I’m doing at the time, whether it be Women in Dentistry or cosmetology. So what do I do if I find myself a little bit out of my comfort zone? I just look a little deeper in my toolbox to see if I can find something that hasn’t surfaced yet. What are my favorite tools? I’m a Business Development Professional Woman in Dentistry, including a PHD!