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An Interview With Kathy Larson, Co-Founder of

April 1, 2004
We created SheDentistry to assist in the professional development of women in dentistry with training and support services.

Why did your company decide to become a corporate benefactor member of AAWD?

We created SheDentistry to assist in the professional development of women in dentistry with training and support services. We began by creating educational programs, a Web site, and then a discussion forum to assist the woman dentist to become as great as she deserves to be. How thrilling that your organization has the same goal!

What is the most important/ interesting part of being involved with AAWD?

My work in leadership development and coaching has demonstrated repeatedly the different work style of women practitioners. Women are the greatest collaborators on the planet. I think we defined the word "synergy"! We are excited about the prospect of women reinventing their profession and maximizing their best qualities. AAWD has its hand on the pulse of expanding numbers of women entering the profession.

Look down the road 10 years. Which way is this industry heading regarding women dentists?

That is an interesting question. Of course, the most obvious change is in the numbers. There will be more female graduates than ever before. Author Judy Rosener observed in "America's Competitive Secret: Women Managers": "Women communicate to create relationships, encourage interaction, and exchange feelings." These female prerequisites for communication ensure that women dentists become great team builders, ably attract other female patients, and create mutually beneficial associations. Combine the numbers of women entering dentistry with the power of relationship building and you can begin to imagine a dental world redesigned to accommodate women!

From left: AAWD President Dr. Jean Furuyama with Mary O'Neill and Kathy Larson of
Click here to enlarge image

And the first one to get that wins! The woman dentist wins because she gets the patients. She understands today's purse, and its contents are held by a woman just like her. Women, after all, make 80 percent of the health-care decisions and control two-thirds of the spending. The woman dentist's practice grows more easily by referral because women refer more frequently than men do.

The new patient wins. She joins your practice because it is her information center for everything from child oral health care to smile makeovers. The practice environment will change by offering more services that appeal to women and their families.

The financial institutions win because women dentists will be investing more as each practice grows. As it is, women open 89 percent of all the bank accounts today.

The R&D folks win because they will redesign and sell equipment, supplies, and furnishings to satisfy feminine ergonomics.

Moreover, the male dentist wins, too, because there is a talented, capable woman ready to buy his practice so he can retire. On the other hand, maybe not. According to Tom Peters in his new book "Re-Imagine," between 1970 and 1998, men's median income rose by 0.6 percent, while women's rose 63 percent. Maybe she'd rather start from scratch after all ...

What are the important trends that will have an impact on the AAWD community from your company's perspective?

I think the last point I mentioned is very important. Fewer women graduates are going to join practices and instead start their own. The female associate with the short professional life expectancy is no longer going to be the norm. Women dentists will continue to work before, during, and after raising their families. Additionally, a growing segment will choose to remain childless and even unmarried.

Women are going to need help with their decision-making. I see mentoring and coaching becoming a necessary part of the maturation of women in dentistry. Organized teleseminars; online communities accessible all times of the day; and programs that are fun, educational, and feed the soul are all going to be very important tools for progress.

What would you like AAWD members to know about your company?

We are eager to see women coming together in a new learning environment that maximizes their natural abilities to collaborate, communicate, and succeed. Our Rejuvenation Weekend Seminar brings the doctor and her team together to learn, role-play, and develop a vision for the practice.

This fall, we will add the S.P.A., or the Strategic Planning Academy, connecting skill mastery to your bottom line with the help of coaching and monthly support.

Our On-line Discussion Forum is available for women to discuss everyday issues online.

SheDentistry was born of our desire to share, inspire and incubate new ways of being for women in dentistry. To that end, we hold to the words of Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."