I tend to start slow & finish hard.
Although I started my dental career in 1978, my passion for the dental profession did not really start until 2001 (hence the “slow start”). Following graduation from Southern Methodist University in 1974, I entered the University of Illinois Dental College and graduated with BS and DDS degrees. Graduating from Dental School in 1978 (and getting married to Nancy!) we served 2 years in the Indian Health Service delivering dental care for Native Americans in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Returning to my native Texas in 1982, Nancy & I established a general dentistry practice in a small town just south of Austin, Texas.
The practice prospered. We raised two kids and generally led a rich & full life in those years. A lifelong learner, the continuous pursuit of professional growth came to be a Core Value. With over 1700 hours of Continuing Education, I earned the Academy of General Dentistry Fellowship Award. I also became a graduate and mentor at the Kois Center for Excellence, a continuing education learning center dedicated to understanding complex dental problems.
Professional leadership also became a passion as I strove to give back to the profession that had given me so much. In 2011 and 2015, I was nominated for “AGD Texas Dentist of the Year”, was inducted into the International College of Dentists, and served as the 2014-2015 President of the Capital Area Dental Society in Austin.
But through this quite full life there was a lingering within that I could not identify. It was a confusing time in my life-successful but unfulfilled.
Then in 2001 I attended a seminar by Dr. Bob Frazer, The New Patient Experience that changed everything. It was through this portal that I began to form the future I had dreamed of but had never acted upon. In 2003, at age 50, we built an office based on that Vision of the future & eventually “retired” in 2017 after mentoring two young Doctors to take the helm of the greatly expanded health centered, relationship based fee for service practice.
The word retired is in quotes because that Vision of the Future included something very personal. I was born to make a difference. For 39 years I made a difference in the lives of our patients & Team. But even in the early 2000’s I knew there was a future past clinical dentistry. So now I have the privilege & honor of walking alongside others in their quest to realize their dreams. In my Vision of the Future I saw myself as a Teacher. And in Inspero I have found a diverse group of people with common values dedicated to the same premise-helping others to imagine their future if it was the best it could be & walk alongside them on that journey.
Another part of my Vision of the Future was Service. In January of 2017 I accepted the role as Executive Director for Hope Smiles (www.hopesmiles.org), an organization dedicated to providing access to dental care for the underserved in the United States, Haiti and Uganda. In many ways it feels as if I have come full circle back to the days in the Indian Health Service where I began my dental career.
Through all this Faith & Family emerged as omnipotent. Teaching & a life in Service are important. But even more important is our family-especially our four grandchildren. The chance to affect the life trajectory of the ones you Love is sacred ground and something we will always cherish.
Finishing hard has come naturally. When one is aligned with a Vision the passion that comes from that creates the energy the work ahead. The work is a chance to become, discovering the promise of the future that is uniquely you.