Sharon Dolak graduated from Montgomery County College Dental Hygiene program and has been registered dental hygienist since 1981. She received her Mediation Certificate in 2006 from Texas Woman’s University and advanced her skills and certifications to include mediation, arbitration, and workplace mediation, earning her the credential of MDR from Mediators Without Borders.
In 2013, Sharon completed training through Mediation Dynamics that satisfied the standards of the Texas Mediation Trainers Roundtable (and also the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association) for family mediation training. Sharon is trained in the fields of family dynamics, child development, and "family law” as specified by Texas law (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 154.052). She is qualified as a court-appointed mediator able to perform mediation of disputes relating to the parent-child relationship (most frequently in divorce and post-divorce cases).
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RDH eVillage asked her some questions about her role in workplace mediations, as well as her career in general.
RDH eVillage: What is your success secret?
Dolak: I’m not sure I could boil it down to one thing. But if I really, really had to I would say this: If one plan to reach your goal doesn’t work, keep trying and trying until you reach your desired outcome. We want to see instant results. We want it now, but life usually doesn’t work this way. For me, it has not been a straight path but mediation is where I want to be.
RDH eVillage: What strengths or qualities have helped you excel?
Dolak: I am determined. I don’t take no for an answer for myself so this has taught me to become a problem solver. If I come upon an obstacle, I find ways around it either by finding the solution myself or by reaching out to others for help. I find most people want to help. We all need help from time to time.
RDH eVillage: What’s the biggest issue hygienists face today?
Dolak: The field is saturated and jobs are scarce.
This has forced some hygienists to leave the profession altogether to seek other careers or remain in a work environment that is unhealthy. It motivates me to want to help my colleagues improve their working environment so they can do what they do best.
RDH eVillage: What is the best business/career advice you have ever received?
Dolak: I can’t remember who said this but “You have to work with your co-workers but you do not have to be best friends.”
To me, this means two things. First, learn how to effectively communicate with your co-workers in a way that fosters hearing what is being said and also express yourself in a way that allows you to be heard. Secondly, dental offices are small places, which easily lends to a blending of personal issues with work issues that can cause some problems. I am not saying we should not be compassionate and caring but there is a time and place for everything.
RDH eVillage: How and or when did you get the entrepreneur itch?
Dolak: For as long as I can remember I wanted to have my own business. I have tried handmade crafts, grocery shopping service for the homebound, career direction workshops, and now mediation. With mediation, I pair my two favorite things, working with dental career professionals and helping them work through disputes to reach agreements through mediation.
RDH eVillage: In service to the profession, please tell us about your products and or services.
Dolak: I have worked as a dental hygienist for over 20 years and as a workplace mediator and family mediator since 2006 when I received my first mediation certificate from TWU. Combining my knowledge of the dental workplace and mediating workplace/family disputes is a natural fit for me.
Basically, when an office is having unresolved conflict effecting morale and production, I bring the parties together, helping them come to a working agreement to resolve the conflict. Through the mediation process, I teach communication skills that prevent future disputes. Reaching solutions that are self-determined are more lasting than those others determine for you. Mediation in any dispute really does work.
RDH eVillage: What are your best life/work balance tips?
Dolak: Learn to listen to your body, mind, and spirit. When it’s time to rest, do it! When it is time to work, do it!
RDH eVillage: What is one thing most people do not know about you?
Dolak: I am very introverted and need alone time to feel refreshed. So after working with people all day long I need to step back when the day is done and just do nothing to recharge.
RDH eVillage: How do you define success?
Dolak: Success to me would be doing anything that you love and doing it well.
Ways to follow Dolak: