I like to say that I came into dental marketing by accident, but that’s not quite true. It was 2005, I had a BA in Marketing, and like many new college graduates, I had no idea what I truly wanted to do. I took the methodical approach and interviewed with all types of companies to get a feel for which would be the best fit for me.
My world changed when I got a call from a dental laboratory.
My interest was piqued; this was so different from anything I had imagined, something few people knew about, and in the medical industry. Suddenly, I wanted the job more than anything I had wanted before. The trick was figuring how to stand out.
I happened to know some people who worked for a dental practice, so I asked them for something I could bring to my interview with me: impression trays, a lab box and script. Before my interview, I etched, “I hope I made a lasting impression on you” on the lab script and wrote my name on each arch of the impression trays, tucked it away in a lab box, and left to meet my destiny.
I arrived at the lab and learned that I would be interviewing with a panel of five males. As a young woman, fresh out of college, I could not allow myself to be intimidated. As they asked questions and tried to get a feel for what kind of employee I’d be, the lab box sat in front of me — and I never mentioned it. At the conclusion of my interview, I stood and thanked them, then slid the box across the table and left. They offered me the job a few days later. It wasn’t until after I was hired that they told me how impressed that they were with the lab box. They felt that my interview went well, but it was the creativity of the box that genuinely sold them on me. The story of my “gift” was shared at multiple national events and with new hires as an example of how one can set themselves apart from the rest – just like I do today with my dental clients.
I truly enjoyed my work with the dental lab and was eager to advance in my career. I began working locally in Tampa, then moved on to a director position that allowed me to work nationally. What I learned from the experience was invaluable, but after almost a decade of working in the corporate setting, I was jaded and wanted nothing to do with the politics. Since I was a very little girl, I had always wanted to strike out on my own. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to run my own company; when the corporation went through a restructuring in 2014, I decided it was finally time to realize my dream and start my own marketing agency.
After being in the dental industry for so long, I really wanted to do marketing for other companies. It didn’t take long for me to realize, however, that dental was where I needed to be. After spending a few months working with a slew of different businesses in all sorts of industries, I decided to cut the cord and move back into dental for good.
The transition from having an all-encompassing agency to one that caters specifically to dentists was nerve-wracking, but I knew it was the right thing to do; with dentistry, I had found my niche. I also made a conscious choice to only do comprehensive marketing. As difficult as it was to stick to my guns, I knew that it was in the best interest of my clients to simultaneously manage social media, email campaigns, ad campaigns, websites, blogs, and reputations. Now, I don’t have to settle for just any client — I get to work with clients who appreciate the all-encompassing approach I take to marketing their practices.
I was luckier than some women in that I was raised by a wonderful role model. Before I was born, my mother owned her own ice cream parlor. Because I grew up under the influence of my entrepreneur mother and understood the value of a work ethic, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t own my own business; it was just a given. Even when I decided to leave corporate marketing to start my own company, I had the support of my mother. She knew that, just like her, I had what it took to thrive in any industry — even one that is predominantly male.
Despite movements towards equality in the workplace, I know that young women today may not have the support and courage that I had when I was their age. I strive to be a role model for these women and show them that they can do anything in the workplace that their male counterparts can. At this very moment, I am eight months pregnant; this has in no way affected my ability to perform my job or efficiently run my company. It may be 2018, but women in powerful positions are still told that they can’t enjoy professional success and have a family at the same time. One of my biggest goals right now is to prove them wrong; with a little bit of moxie and a lot of hard work, my success just might help other young women realize that we can have it all.
When it comes down to it, I love my career. I get to work in an industry that I know and love, build and grow a company like I dreamed of as a young child, and lead a team of amazing people. Sure, I’m still working in a field that is dominated by males and with mostly male clients, but that little girl who wanted to run her own business didn’t show fear or hesitation, so neither will her grown-up version.