Since 2005, the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM) has served as an important organization committed to helping dental office managers learn, grow, and connect.
That drive to empower these hard-working pros is a commitment from the national office, but comes to life on the local levels when dental office managers living and working in the same metropolitan area or region can support and serve each other.
The Charlotte Metro Area (NC/SC) AADOM Chapter is pleased to announce a special opportunity to learn and connect – their next chapter meeting on March, 9, 2021. Read all about it here.
In the meantime, meet the Charlotte Chapter President, Sherry May who is the Business Manager at India Hook Dental Care, and learn more about her experience with AADOM and why the world (or, the Charlotte metro area) needs the chapter meeting’s theme now more than ever.
Biteline Team (BT): Why did you get started in dentistry?
Sherry May (SM): Prior to dentistry, most of my career was spent bouncing from one industry to another, always in an administrative professional/office management role. I found dentistry by accident while we were relocating for my husband’s career, and I needed a job, quickly. I had discovered a love of working in healthcare while working as the right hand of the chief nursing officer of a hospital system in the low country of South Carolina. I was eager to keep doing something about which I was passionate. When I started my job search, I stumbled upon a husband and wife team where he was the MD and she was the DDS of a dual specialty practice recruiting for an office manager. I was intrigued and excited! I went to my first interview and sold myself as hard as I could, and they quickly warmed to the idea of bringing me on board. It was a great match for a few brief years while we lived there!
BT: BEST part of your job?
SM: Making a difference. Daily. For staff, patients, doctors. Dentistry is so intimate. Management can be life-shaping for staff. Dentists are people, too. Yes, they’re almost always the boss but they’re on the same team! What’s that line in the Mockingjay series: “Remember who the enemy is”? It’s the reverse of that: Remember whose team you’re on! We serve as a liaison between all three groups and can single-handedly propel or destroy the entire practice. It’s not about the power; it’s about the integrity of our own agenda: help compassionately.
BT: Give us the 411 on AADOM – how did you get involved, what do you love about it, why is it a great opportunity for dental office managers?
SM: I think my first exposure to AADOM was a flyer in the mail at the office. It caught my attention, and I proceeded to research it online. I explored the AADOM website then I went scouring social media to see what dental managers really thought of it. I was almost instantly hooked! Reading all the gushing praise online about AADOM made me realize I was missing out on something significant. So, I started following on the fringe and not-so-gradually got sucked all the way in where I wanted to get to know the women who are a part of the organization, especially on the local level; I wanted to read and learn everything AADOM national published; I wanted to attend every event offered (live and virtual). It’s so much more than “just” an educational resource; it really is a tribe! No one understands what we do better than these women. And there are no resources out there that offer as much education and guidance for us in our positions and field! AADOM offers support for every aspect from treatment acceptance to personnel issues to navigating dental insurance and so much more. It’s astonishing!
BT: The theme for this year’s event is ‘Remain Calm – You’re the Leader.’ Why is this theme/idea more important than ever for dental office managers and dental office teams?
SM: COVID. I mean, I know everything is being blamed on COVID and has been for the last year but, my goodness, it’s true. Because dental managers especially are in that middle-man position where we feel like we’re holding our practices together, our stress and anxiety are at the max!
We carry the weight of our staff’s fears, frustrations, and even inability to work. We carry the weight of our doctors’ fears regarding production and have to support their vigor or indifference to COVID changes. We carry the weight of our patient’s fears and frustrations, too, helping them comply with new protocols and resetting expectations. All of this is amplified by our own personal lives and our own personal convictions about each of these sensitive issues. When we are the ones who everyone in the practice is looking to day in and day out for encouragement and stability, who do we turn to? Can we vent and process all of our own emotions and expectations in a healthy manner? We must remain calm, positive, stable, forward-thinking, and forward-moving and BE the leaders we’re called to be!
BT: What’s your best piece of leadership advice, or favorite leadership lesson you learned this year?
SM: Every day is a new day. It starts with me. I set the tone for myself. I set the pace for myself. I am in control of how I respond to my daily stressors and responsibilities. If I am at peace, as hard or evading as that can be sometimes, those around me will respond to my peace and be able to start to find their own peace, too.
There is a placard on my desk that reads “it is well”. It serves as a constant reminder that these fleeting moments can collectively define my life. I want to be able to reflect each evening knowing that I did my best, lead my team, supported my docs, listened to my patients, and took care of my personal life as best I could. There’s grace to be had. We need to be gentle with ourselves so we can lead those around us with grace and compassion. Peace be with you.
‘Listen’ to Sherry May, too! We interviewed her on our Behind the Bite podcast last year. Listen here.
Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.
And don’t forget to share with your dental friends!