Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career
I am a Nebraska native, wife to a kind man, and mother to two special kiddos. I am one of those extroverted introvert types and I seek after the humor in life. I am a firm believer that there is far more that connects us all than divides us, and I enjoy trying to discover those connections. Music speaks to my soul and I love a good McDonald’s cheeseburger now and then.
I am also an orthodontist and small-business owner and I really love my job. I am so fortunate to get to work with a lot of adolescents and teenagers. They renew my hope in so many things.
How does your community of women you surround yourself with support you?
I have a great circle of female friends who inspire and support me. They listen to me, give advice, and are quick to share a laugh. They are “there”. We celebrate each other’s successes and are able to speak candidly about anything and everything. They are my sounding board and my beta-testers, and they are truly amazing.
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in a male-dominated field?
My first thought is that I am so thankful for the women in the generation(s) before me whose challenges were far beyond anything I have seen. I recently heard a quote from Malcolm Gladwell saying: “It’s the second generation that gets to stand up for itself.” It will take many generations for these challenges to (hopefully) go away but even the ability to defend myself was earned for me by other women. I feel so grateful for them. I thought so much about this question. There are daily challenges that can be so frustrating and disheartening.
My business partner (who is also a woman) and I have had salesmen hand us cards and tell us that they “would love to meet with the doctors” in hopes of getting these doctors to buy something from them. This last happened two months ago and happens in different ways several times per year. There are two ways to deal with challenges: find a way to change the circumstance that is challenging (usually meaning other people) or control your own reaction to it and future actions based upon it (within yourself). I prefer the latter.
I think a great difficulty that faces women is trying to meet expectations that are made for you by other people. People in general have so many external demands and expectations placed upon them—how they “ought” to be. You do not have to be who “they” want you to be. I do think I have largely overcome this challenge with time. It is a real challenge to decrease (or eliminate) any credence given to external evaluations of an individual’s self-worth; however, it is so important not to view yourself through the eyes of anyone who doesn’t have your interest in mind. Decide whose opinions matter and forget all the other ones.
What do you wish you could go back and tell your younger self re: your career aspirations?
I wish I could tell my younger self to relax and enjoy the times in my life when I had less responsibility. One downside to being goal-oriented fairly young is I was always thinking of the next step instead of enjoying what was great about my current stage. I try to be better about that now.
What is your career-related mantra?
Do good for others and the rest will follow.