Last year I wrote a “goals” letter to myself. It contained a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish in my career. Being the Type-A person I am, I wrote out these goals in a timeline. While I am always hopeful, I knew that certain things like “speak for Dentsply Sirona World” would be a long ways off, and something I hoped to attain maybe in the next 5-10 years.
Imagine my surprise when a few months after writing my “goals” letter, I received an email cordially inviting me to speak as a faculty member for Dentsply Sirona World. While Joe Goldstone and Allison Zora with Dentsply Sirona absolutely knew they wanted me to speak for this event, I seriously still think that was an accident email… nevertheless, I immediately accepted and they must have felt obligated at that point, as they didn’t retract the offer, so here we are!
With an incredibly humbled heart and immense gratitude, I began meeting with the amazing team from Dentsply Sirona to learn about their vision for this event. As with most corporate-sponsored events, I assumed their ultimate goal was to push the sale of products and that my presentation would need to include a variety of “approved” slides from their compliance department. I could not have been more wrong.
“We want this to be YOUR authentic voice and creation” they shared. Their initiative was simple: to support the provider. They understand the incredible role dental professionals play in serving their patients but who serves the dental professional?
My mission was to collaborate with a witty boss babe and world-renowned periodontist, Dr Mia Geisinger to build a course that amplifies the role clinicians play in preventing, identifying, diagnosing, treating and addressing disease. After countless Zoom sessions, a few text messages and one grand idea, Dr Mia and I were ready to unpack this conversation for Dentsply Sirona World 2019.
I packed my bags for my 72 hours in Las Vegas (which, in my opinion, is 48 hours too many for ANYONE to spend in Las Vegas) and arrived at the gorgeous Mandalay Bay for what many consider to be THE dental meeting. Within minutes, I was reunited with an old college classmate and just as all the best of friends are, we picked up right where we left off.
What’s that saying: what happens in Vegas…?
Although details are unclear, just know that I woke up the next morning with the knowledge that my phone had been stolen out of my wristlet the night before. Let me tell you: the hung-over, Starbucks-induced 2-mile walk in the Vegas sun from the Mandalay Bay to the closest Apple store whilst wishing Uber could be accessed via a pay phone is a walk-of-shame in Las Vegas that I’m cool with never taking again.
Let’s just say I spent the better part of my second day in the sobering reality of purchasing myself the newest iPhone. Some people lose money in Vegas, I lose my phone… and all of my contacts… and passwords…and my voice (literally)…
“GET IT TOGETHER GINGER” I chanted to myself as I got myself ready to meet the Dentsply Sirona Preventive crew for a gorgeous evening reception before Zac Brown Band. There is something so warm and welcoming about seeing my DS crew; its the same kind of feeling I get when I’m back home and with family. It’s comfortable, it’s inviting and it’s safe. Sharing ideas with them inspires the heck out of me, connecting with them fills my heart with joy and hugging them makes everything right in the world.
With cowboy boots on and a bottle of water in hand, I danced the night away to Zac Brown Band with some of my favorite Dentsply Sirona babes! The words “GET IT TOGETHER GINGER” rattled in my head as I dismissed myself at the end of the concert to do the right thing (where’s the fun in that?) and get to bed early. After consuming about a gallon of hot water, lemon and honey, I was tucked into my bed clutching my new phone and in hopes that my voice would return for a superb co-presentation the next morning.
I awoke before my alarm, sinuses cleared and mind sharp. I was ready! Although we had met over ZOOM sessions many times, it was nice to be in the same room with Dr Mia, the woman I was about to present this fresh, vibrant and unique course with.
In matching hot pink heels, Dr Mia and I unpacked course content on “The Chronic Disease No one is Talking About”, a provocatively fresh approach to identifying, recognizing and acknowledging the all-too-common dis-ease that doesn’t cause pain but is chronically destroying the foundation of what we do. Sounds like periodontitis, doesn’t it? You’ll have to catch Dr Mia and I delivering this course in a future meeting to find out more!
Through laughter, tears and several raised eyebrows, Dr Mia and I concluded our talk with enthusiastic applause and kind handshakes. To those of you who attended this incredible event: thank you for coming on that journey with us that day: it meant the absolute world to both of us. It is through sharing these types of ideas that we, as an industry, will continue to elevate and advance the work we do and the way we are able to serve our patients.
After a lesson on nose-filtration thanks to Michelle Strange, I was off to speak on Ms Jasmin Haley’s panel of influencers and bright minds in dental hygiene. I danced down the aisle with Emily Boge, Dr Joy Holmes and Claire Jeong, then spent the better part of my afternoon sharing personal moments about my professional journey with a roomful of my esteemed colleagues. As I sat on that stage next to those incredible women, it hit me: I am SO incredibly lucky… like, seriously lucky. THIS is my tribe, these are my colleagues and together, we are not only making a difference for dentistry but also for ourselves and each other. I choked back tears as I listened to each of these incredibly talented and beautiful women share their unique and special journeys which landed them on this stage and ultimately, landed all of us together, collaborating and communicating as one.
The future of dentistry is SO incredibly bright because of the people I spent my Las Vegas weekend with (with the exception of the heartless monster who stole my phone) and I couldn’t be more proud of where we are, where we are going and who we are going there with.
Thank you ENDLESSLY to the incredible team at Dentsply Sirona for putting on a spectacular event; one that embodies excellence, innovation, collaboration and connection. This truly was THE dental meeting of the year, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been part of it.