What Am I Doing in Dentistry?
I moved from London to San Francisco, via a year in NYC where I worked for JWT, then the largest advertising company in the world. How in the world did I find myself in dentistry! I did not seek out dentistry: it found me.
I decided to move to San Francisco and two years later married Edmond de St. Georges two weeks after his graduation from P & S, now UOP. With no background in dentistry, I was thrown into managing our practice from day one. A totally empty schedule, a ton of bills, bank loans and no foreseeable income. It was sink or swim time! I chose to survive!
Eight years later, with a growing practice under my belt, I signed up for my first healthcare management course, in San Francisco on “How to ask Patients for Money.” I was excited, then very disappointed. I felt the speaker had undelivered – and I’m being kind. I asked for a refund.
The owner, genuinely surprised asked “why?” I told him I felt his speaker’s information was inaccurate & poorly delivered. Had I ever spoken? “No,” I replied. Could I do better? “Yes,” I said. He told me he’d call.
After 4 months of silence, I was so incensed that I took $10,000 from my savings, booked the Hyatt at San Francisco Airport, and mailed out my own seminar flyer. Eight weeks later, 127 fee-paying attendees walked into my meeting room. I never looked back.
For the next 15 years, I ran my own public seminars across the country. Along the way, I met Dr. Jim Pride, the co-founder – with Dr. Phil Whitener – of The Pacific Institute of Management and Design, now known as the Pacific Institute (PI). We connected immediately and I became one of the four founding members of the PI team. Moving on from PI, I entered the Dental Association conventions and dental meetings market.
In 1989, I met David Tom, a dentist from Honolulu who made the mistake of sitting in one of my Honolulu seminars. Three months later, we were married. David sold his practice and moved to California to help run my company. In time, we grew our corporate staff to seven and our consulting division under our Director Christene Bernhard, to eight.
In 1997, I sold my speaking/product company to Sullivan Dental & later when Henry Schein purchased Sullivan, I became part of the Schein group. With David’s passing, I took my company back, and now I am back to being me!