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Necker Island: Giving Back, Doing Good

Posted January 22, 2015

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

I can hardly believe I went back to Necker Island! I was more excited this time than last time, because I knew how amazing the trip will be!

We traveled from Atlanta to San Juan, Puerto Rico to Tortola, then to Necker by boat. A cooler fullFullSizeRender (2) of refreshments was waiting for us at the boat. A little taste of paradise, and a sign of the wonderful hospitality to come! We all jumped in and off we went to Necker. We watched the islands as the boat zoomed toward Necker. We passed one that Larry Page (one of the founders of Google) just bought. And we saw Mosquito Island where our host, Sir Richard Branson, is developing another great destination. He is selling lots for $15 million. We just heard Bono now owns one of the lots.

We finally see Necker’s bright red, beautiful dock. It’s like a red carpet rolled out, just for us. The water is shades of vibrant blue. The Necker team greets us and whisks us to the big house where the rest of the team meets us with champagne and refreshments, and helps us get settled in our rooms. We know we are in for a fantastic time…there’s not a bad spot on Necker Island.

The second day, we meet Sir Richard at Temple of Elders in middle of the island. In everything he does, especially in every interaction with us, he makes it obvious that he believes in using his businesses as a force for good. I agree that we can make choices in life to use our abilities and gifts for good.

In fact, that seemed to be the theme for our time on Necker. I believe in helping others become successful. I think we as a society are always competing…on the playground, in the classroom or the playing field, grades, where we go to college, our careers and overall achievements. We are wired to compete, and that often leads to a mindset of “one-upping.” But smart leaders and overachievers help others win. They do so by directly impacting the rate at which they experience the results. In my business, I want my job seekers to be hired and thrive and the employers to find the right person to help their team excel. Helping others is how I developed my business. It’s the biggest value in life. It is my purpose!

A few months back I attended Entrepreneurs’ Organization‘s Thrive event in Cleveland, where I met some amazing people. One of them was Dave Moore. I told him about my life-changing trip to Necker last April. He said he would love to go and meet Richard. I knew another trip was being planned. I looked him in the eyes and asked, “Are you serious about wanting to meet him?” He said YES firmly. And I made a few calls so that Dave from Cleveland joined us on this trip! He has a dream to develop a groundbreaking concept for the elderly, youth and animals that will just knock your socks off. All it took was encouragement and brainstorming with his fellow EOers, supportive new friends and Richard Branson to bring an idea to life.

I also invited a big-hearted hometown girl, Ashley Curington. She’s a good friend and one of the best dentists in the universe. Ashley practices in Buford, Georgia. I love her pragmatic attitude, tremendous work ethic and the values she surrounds herself with. Her values drive her culture at work. Everything about her propels her to success. However, she has not taken a week’s vacation in years. She definitely deserved this special trip! Ashley has worked herself silly! In fact, she had a party for 250 of her patients and friends the night before we left and she made the 8am flight that morning! She’s amazing! She does NOT sleep.

A few weeks ago Lauren, who works for a company that helps us at DentalPost, told me she had a great client whose ultimate dream was to go to Necker Island and meet Sir Richard Branson. I asked her to have him call me because my EO friend April Cleek, who was organizing the trip, mentioned there were two spots open. Bryan and Shannon Miles, founders of eaHELP, LLC (virtual assistant services) and MAG Bookkeeping, Inc. (virtual bookkeeping services), called me and we signed them up for the amazing journey, too.

This trip was much different for me because I’ve been able to receive joy by watching others experience the magic of Necker Island.

I run DentalPost 24/7/365 and I still practice one day a week as a Dental Hygienist. People always ask me: WHY are you still working as a Registered Dental Hygienist? I am loyal to my patients and employer. Money cannot buy the happiness (a true gift) you get from helping others, whether they’re patients or job seekers. I have built my whole life around helping others get what they want. When you help someone win, you create positive energy and a fan for life.

On Necker Island the next day, we as business leaders had a round table meeting where we decided to use our businesses to create ways to give back and make a difference. We set rules, vowed to hold each other accountable and set tasks to reach our goals. We also took up a collection to give to Virgin Unite that does just this. It’s a nonprofit branch of Sir Richard’s Virgin Group that works to support entrepreneurs who are growing businesses, creating jobs and opportunities, and prioritizing people and the planet. Whether we are making a difference for the whole planet or just our little corner of it, we are committed to giving back.

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