Career Corner: Consultant discusses her success secrets

July 10, 2012
Linda Steeves, RDH, BS, is a HygieneFusion dental hygiene consultant, coach, and mentor. She talks about her career with RDH eVillage.

Linda Steeves, RDH

Linda Steeves, RDH, BS, is a HygieneFusion dental hygiene consultant, coach, and mentor. She is also a clinical dental hygienist for Integrated Dental Aesthetics, a published author, and a certified trainer for Drake P3 by Predictive Performance International. Assisting dental offices and dental hygienists to achieve a higher potential, while encouraging and mentoring them to fulfill their individual goals, is the cornerstone of her work.

Linda has 30-plus years of experience, knowledge, and expertise as a dental hygienist, facilitator, and consultant. She graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., with a degree in dental hygiene and biology, and has participated in extensive post-graduate clinical and practice management education.

Linda’s passion and commitment for dentistry spans clinical dentistry, public health, and practice and business management. Linda has a proven track record of effectively instilling this passion in others. This contributes to her success in establishing and implementing periodontal protocols and therapies, and merging her talents in clinical dentistry and the behavioral sciences.

Linda can be contacted at [email protected], or visit or for more information.

What is your success secret?

Throughout my career, I have tried not to only see what is, but keep asking what if. I have been challenged to continually improve my clinical and business knowledge by taking courses and learning new skills to that end. Encouraging myself to be the best I can be and successful has been a journey. This journey does not have an end, and isn’t that exciting?

What strengths have helped you excel?

Dentistry is truly a relationship business, and once you discover and embrace that concept, you will excel. Many years ago I began to study emotional intelligence, communication skills, and listening skills. Emotional intelligence entails a wide range of abilities such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. These skills are not innate, but learned. I continue to this day to work on them so that I can produce an outstanding performance.

The communication and listening skills that I have nurtured also play a major role in my development. When my ability to communicate more effectively emerged, I discovered my patients were able to quickly find their way to become healthier, complete treatment, and maintain their dental appointments. With my consulting clients, I am able to readily discover how I may be of assistance and teach them listening/communication and verbal skills. Fortunately, over the years, I have been mentored by many people that helped me improve my ability to communicate. There are also many books and classes on the topic.

What is the biggest issue hygienists face today?

The economy has affected dentistry, as well as other industries. The job market is currently saturated with dental hygienists. Rather than giving into defeat in finding employment or maintaining employment, I submit the challenge for dental hygienists should be to set yourself apart from other dental hygienists. Make yourself unique and indispensable. Be knowledgeable and network. Surround yourself with others of like minds. As the country is emerging from the financial challenges of the recent past, these suggestions I offer will still be valid.

What is the best business/career advice you have ever received?

Many people I admire in dentistry and out of dentistry have given me advice that all have a common thread: Never stop learning, never give up, and give outstanding service. Quite frankly, I think this is a time-honored suggestion in any profession.

How or when did you get the entrepreneur itch?

The first part of my career as a dental hygienist began by accumulating as much clinical knowledge, experience, and expertise as I could possibly embrace. I traveled many parts of the country to participate in extensive periodontal and clinical education. After some time, I realized that I needed to acquire business knowledge regarding the dental office, as well as behavioral skills to be able to process it all. Along the journey, I have been fortunate enough to be mentored, and continue to be mentored, by fabulous, intelligent, caring people. Once realizing the impact of the gift of my mentors, I decided to pay it forward by mentoring others to achieve a higher potential. That was the moment of my need to be an entrepreneur was revealed to me.

In service to the profession, please tell us about your products and services.

Currently, I am a HygieneFusion dental hygiene consultant, coach, and mentor. HygieneFusion is a comprehensive practice consulting program specifically geared for the enhancement of the dental hygiene department and dental hygienists. The program’s goals and objectives are determined after a comprehensive practice assessment and evaluation and then matching with the individual practice’s vision. I became a certified Drake P3 trainer to complement the coaching services. The Drake P3 is a web-based communication survey yielding a 10-page Communication Profile report to assist businesses in hiring, building team support, and understanding yourself more clearly. It only seemed natural that my services should include both.

Additionally, I still maintain some amount of practice in clinical dentistry for Integrated Dental Aesthetics. Aligning my passion in clinical dentistry and dental hygiene consulting is a great source of joy. Communicating this passion through written articles definitely gets the message out to other dental professionals.

What are your best life/work balance tips?

Learning and achieving a balance between work and personal life is a challenging task, but one that needs to be accomplished. Being passionate about your work and work life is necessary to catapult to a higher potential. You need to also be passionate about yourself, family, and friends. Being overwhelmed by either direction could quite possibly lead to burnout.

Nurturing all these aspects will allow you freedom and happiness. I suggest that individuals need to separate work from family/individual life. While both are important, you need to allow yourself to be in the moment. For example, when you close one door you need to allow yourself to open another. There will always be deadlines and challenges in all areas of your life, but allow yourself the joy of the moment of each. Over time I have thought long and hard about my personal life and work and subsequently I am in a very positive, comfortable balance. I would recommend anyone to follow their heart and evaluate the balance that is correct for them.

What is one thing most people do not know about you?

I truly enjoy my work and home life. As I am actively engaged in both, I realize that I am perceived as an outgoing extroverted, dominant individual, which I need to be in my work environment. The quiet times I spend with family and friends re-energizes me for again to perform the engaging tasks that I also enjoy. This is one aspect of me that people cannot recognize. When I am temporarily finished with my energizing work environment, I love to relax at home.

What do you do to relax and feel rejuvenated?

Learning to make time for yourself is a skill that needs to be developed. Accepting and implementing that in my life took determination. I love to be with my family, read, fishing, and boating. At many levels, I do enjoy my own company.

Do you have a favorite quote/book and or movie?

My all-time favorite quote is by Thomas Jefferson: “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.”

How do you define success?

As time has marched on, my feelings of success have been altered. Years ago, I felt success would have an end point or some finality of a job well done. Currently, I feel being successful is being comfortable and happy in my abilities, which allows me to determine my life, my schedule, my time and my finances. This is a continual journey and these thoughts on success do not have an end point. It is such a positive approach in life to continually feel successful.