Leading, Learning and Doing
Sometimes a career finds you. I started with the objective I still work to achieve every day: to help people. And, as it turns out, in helping people, I have built a business.
When I was a child, I had a dental emergency and was cared for by a warm, compassionate team of people who worked to calm my fears, heal my wounds and inspire me. I knew early on I wanted to help people the way they had helped me.
In my first job, I learned quickly that the better team you have, the better care you can provide. At Dr. Carter’s practice in Stone Mountain, Georgia, I saw firsthand how to give high-quality care in a demanding schedule without compromising. Dr. Carter had a profit sharing plan for full-time employees. It encouraged a system of excellence as everyone shared in the reward. If a new hire turned out to be lazy, he or she did not last long. The culture would remove anyone who created a disruption or brought down the efficiency of the team. Money is not always the main motivator for employees. There are many factors that play a role in workplace happiness, especially in dentistry. Helping patients is one big motivator. Taking care of patients is a big motivator, one that gives me great joy to this day.
As my life changed, I needed greater flexibility. I was going to be the mother of twins, so I began looking at different opportunities. It was extremely difficult. At the time, there was really only one job board. It was very broad, and I would get lost using it. I was constantly frustrated!
I challenged myself and questioned the status quo and examined issues through many lenses. I focus on the root cause of problems rather than symptoms. So, in looking at that job board, I thought, why can’t this be better and more efficient? I zoomed in on the details that made it great, and what made it not so great. Then I looked at the big picture. What was missing that I needed in order to find a dental job? I decided to ask my husband, a programmer working for a start-up, whether he could write a platform to help me connect dental professionals. He wrote one and tested it. I told him what I wanted it to do and look like. The first version was difficult to use, so we simplified it.
I built a grassroots marketing campaign. I called everyone I knew in Dentistry and even people I did not know. I put together a massive list in my kitchen in every spare moment I had. Then I wrote a simple letter: Hi, my name is Tonya Lanthier. I’m a dental professional like you, and the mother of twin girls. I started a website to help us find jobs, and I invite you to register. It’s free. I would love your opinion on how to make it better for us.
Everyone jumped on the website and it grew. We now have more than 450,000 people registered and 30,000 employers posting jobs.
Working full time, raising twin girls and working with my spouse has not always been easy. But I was determined-and I still am-to give people an easier and better way to find jobs and build great teams that excel. Along the way in building DentalPost.net, I have learned to anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and gain as much knowledge as I can. I put all that into practice to help people find the best fit for them in Dentistry, with the ultimate goal of excellent patient care.
Categories: DentalPost Blog