Roma Patel, DMD, and Lindsay Stewart, RDH
Q: Can you talk about the career path that led you to Aspen Dental?
A: Roma Patel, DMD: After obtaining an undergraduate degree in biology, I started dental school and started working as an associate dentist for Aspen Dental in Columbus, Ga. I transferred shortly after to Pooler, Ga, where I’ve been since 2016.
Lindsay Stewart, RDH: I studied dental hygiene and graduated from Savannah Tech after finishing my bachelor’s degree in business management at Georgia Southern University. Before joining Aspen, I worked in private practice in downtown Savannah and was ready to expand my skills and really hone in on mastering my career. For just shy of 9 years of working at Aspen, I have been fortunate to grow as a hygienist in a multitude of ways. I have worked alongside Dr. Patel for the last 7 years at the Aspen Dental practice in Pooler, Ga. With similar personality traits, values, and work ethic, we were able to quickly transform a working relationship into a friendship.
Q: Often, women are the default or primary caregivers for other people in their lives, which can create a juggling act with work/life balance. Do you find it difficult to balance your work and home lives?
A: RP: Being that we are both full-time dental professionals and full-time mothers, we have had to learn to balance both career and home life. It was an important discussion to have with our spouses as we learned to encourage each other’s growth and development in our perspective careers.
Q: Do you think there are steps companies could take to better support women? How does Aspen Dental offer support?
A: RP: Just like how our partners at home are providing us support, our partners at Aspen Dental are, without a doubt, doing the same. I have been able to make my work hours flexible so that I never miss an opportunity to watch my child grow. This is an organization that provides an environment for women to truly flourish in their careers.
LS: Along with family support, Aspen Dental provides ample support beyond the office. With resources on hand to accelerate our career paths, grow within the organization, and maintain a sustainable work-life balance, we also have a management team and mentors that have been very supportive and flexible with us to ensure we maintain our priorities and values. The Aspen Dental network is 80% women, which means that the organization has given women the ability to create a healthy work/life balance without sacrificing leadership and growth opportunities. In our office, most of us have children, and making space for the flexibility we need to still care for our families without holding it against us has been game changing.
Q: What are the most important things you have learned from other women in dentistry?
A: RP: Over the course of my dental career, I have been impressed with the sheer amount of support I have seen and experienced amongst women. This is a profession thriving with successful women, who seamlessly balance being mothers, sisters, daughters, caretakers, and healthcare providers. As the American Association of Women Dentists says, “Empowered women empower women.” I have learned that the success of women relies heavily on the encouragement and assurance of fellow women.
LS: I love my job. I love my patients. I love my team. Unfortunately, few people can say that. I believe that investing in quality relationships with my patients and with people who have your best interest at heart is key to a fulfilling career that reflects on my success and assurance that I will continue to flourish in this field. Many of the relationships built throughout my time as a hygienist are not only impactful, but also genuine, and have each helped mold me into the person I am today. I have met some great people in this industry and worked alongside some of the strongest women I know, including Dr. Patel. She has truly been an inspiration and role model for me. Not only have I received endless support throughout my professional career, but also during the highs and lows of life. She has given me confidence as a hygienist, pushed me to be my best, and has never held me back. There is nothing better than working for someone or a company that genuinely wants you to be successful. That sort of quality relationship is the bedrock of a great organization. The advice, mentorship, and support I’ve received has pushed me to keep going and aim even higher than I thought possible. Look at us now—we’re at the top of our field, have great work/life balances, and have even found the time to orchestrate a non-profit to serve our community—Secret Saints Corporation.
Dr. Patel graduated from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in 2015 before joining Aspen Dental. She is now a partner in 2 Georgia offices, where mutual respect for patients and staff keeps everything running smoothly. She works hard to empower all team members to reach their full potential so that they can provide the highest quality patient care.
Ms. Stewart is the lead dental hygienist at the Aspen Dental practice in Pooler, Ga. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in business management, Ms. Stewart realized she would rather work hands-on with people to make a difference and an impact in ways that change lives, and therefore shifted her career to the dental field. She’s been a practicing hygienist for 10 years and loves helping her patients find their best smiles.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Sincerely Media on Unsplash.