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June 1st, 2022

Episode 152 – Building a Dental Legacy with Dr. Rebekah Browder

“I want to leave behind something positive. It’s my job to take the days I have and improve the lives of those around me.” -Dr. Rebekah Browder

When you look back at your life, what do you want people to say about you? 

So many dentists go into the industry wanting to make a difference, wanting to help people.

Then the day-to-day stress and reality of running a business sets in and it can wear you down. The sad truth is so many doctors lose their passion, lose their focus, lose what brought them into dentistry in the first place. 

Which is why we are so pleased to have today’s guest, Dr. Rebekah Brower, joining us. Dr. Rebekah has a deep desire to have a positive impact on the lives of others. She is living her passion and making a difference and she’s crafting a legacy-grade dental practice as she fulfills her desire to do good. 

As Dr. Chad says about her in today’s episode, she is “pushing the envelope of what excellence is.” 

We invite you to join us today as we sit down with Dr. Rebekah for a powerful conversation about living your passion and leaving a lasting legacy, including:

  • Finding your passion and turning it into a force for good
  • How to channel your passion into a viable, sustainable business
  • The impact doing good has on your team and practice

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes & Spotify. Visit us at http://www.everydaypracticespodcast.com

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Regan
Welcome to the everyday practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson and my co-host Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary. Buckle up and listen in.

Regan
Welcome to another episode of Everyday Practices Podcast. I am your host, Regan Robertson joined by my faithful co-host, Dr. Chad Johnson. Chad, how’re you doing today?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Good! I’ve left you high and dry in the last couple of months a couple of times. So my apologies but today I’m here and today. We’re also here with a special guest Rebecca Browder. Rebekah, how are you doing Doc?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
I’m doing fantastic. Very wonderful yourself.

Dr. Chad Johnson
I’m doing well, too. Yes, thank you. Well, Dr. Rebekah and I met at the February workshop and regen Have you done any work you know with Dr. Browder yet or you know, like interacted with her in person?

Regan
I have not, but I do understand that we probably will be getting to work together in the very near future. So I’m excited. I’ve done some website crawling. I’ve taken a look and tried to virtually get to know Dr. Browder. That’s right. Yeah. So today, I’m really excited for this conversation with our listeners, Rebekah, because we are gathering together to talk about legacy and doing good in the world. To topics that are I think if you’re in healthcare in general, those two are very important things but for you even more so I think than others. So I’m wondering, Rebecca, you are a dentist practicing out of Connecticut. Is that right? Correct. Yes. Talk to me about legacy and what is the legacy? What does that mean to you? What does that word mean to you?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Um, I think legacy is a lot is a big word. For me. It just, I simplified I Dumb it down. It just means leaving behind some sort of positive energy. So you know, it might not be tangible to everybody. It might not be lingering but I have come and I have left you to know, a little lingering positivity behind me.

Regan
That’s really that feels good. You know, what does it mean to kind of let’s talk about your positivity element of that and leaving that, why is it important for you to be leaving a positive impact on others.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
So for me, I think it’s just really, really, I think it dates back to when I was in college, and Chad’s heard this before, but um, when I was in college, I went to NYU, and it was during 911 and so that was a big part of my formative years, just being there for that and it affected everybody, obviously, worldwide, and in different ways and I continue to live down in the southern tip of Manhattan in the financial district. So through the cleanup process, through the building of the memorial, it was always just part of my life and would affect me in different ways, and one of the things that I found kind of long term was that, as I would cross through the memorial, just to do something as simple as grocery shopping,

I would always walk by the names of all of the people that had passed away, and at the World Trade Centers and a lot of there are 11 different women, but there are someone’s names where it says so and so and their unborn child, and at the time, I was trying to get pregnant, and it just went all the way to my soul and so it was something that I thought like, you know, what, enough is enough, I can’t just sit around with a mediocre life, I have this gift I have days, as simple as that I have days I have time, I have something to do. So every day for me, just transformed into a gift and I all of a sudden became this super idealist striving for not perfection, but just improvement and fulfillment and so on a daily basis, you know, I was working in advertising didn’t like it.

So I had an epiphany and went to dental school, and you know, everything that I do has to be just no compromise to a certain degree, like, I’m realistic, you know, I’m not a perfectionist but if somebody says, Oh, this is as good as it’s gonna get, I don’t, I don’t take that’s not good enough for me and for every day that I’m here, it’s my job, I feel to take this time that I’ve had it somehow live it up for everybody that can’t, and then improve the lives of everybody that’s around me. So my job every day is to each person I need just in some tiny little way, even if it’s just a smile, or holding the door open or just a thank you, when you know, they do something for me try to make it a little bit better for everybody and it makes me feel good. So you know, that’s, it’s totally selfish in nature, you know, gives me a really deep sense of fulfillment and happiness and that’s, that’s, I guess why I do it, which is selfish, I guess,

Dr. Chad Johnson
there was a lot there, I want to back up, use that epiphany and I think that’s a good spot. Because I think of that being like the pinnacle, or the rooftop peak or something like that, where it’s like, wait for a second, it’s good to teeter there and not take for granted that I understand what you meant. So when you said that you noticed that you wanted excellence and that you wanted to push yourself to strive for better and then you had an epiphany and then dental school. It’s like, wait for a second, what, what was the epiphany?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Yeah, well, I just, I was, as I said, I was working in advertising and so I was putting in some pretty hefty hours and a lot of time away from my family and not a lot of personal time and I was just feeling toxic and I thought I have to make a change, I need something that is going to be good for me good for the world, something that’s going to matter and make my days matter and I had a gotten engaged and I was going to be leaving my job and transferring back to Manhattan and so I was using up my insurance, my health insurance. So I was going down the list doing the doctor thing during the optometrist and doing the dentist and so I went into a dental appointment and something about that particular day struck me and I had this thought while we were working together because I’d always had a background in science and really love science but never thought about dentistry, despite the extreme amount of time I spent in the dentist chair as a kid and I just looked up at this guy who was probably about my age and had clearly been out the night before and was not in great shape and you know, just seemed to be kind of coasting along and I thought I could do that. I could do better.

Yeah, I could do that. Yeah, you know, he’s just chilling, I could do that. I could do it better and so I called my husband’s fiance at the time when I left and I said I’ve had an epiphany to which she replied is common, like, Oh, God, what is it, you know? and so I said, I think I’m gonna go into healthcare, I think You’re gonna go out and become a dentist and so then I did I quit my job, I think the next week, applied for Postback and went back to closed-back two months later and then luckily, after Postback and four years of dental school on a residency, I really love it. So I’m happy with the decision.

Regan
Wow, you’ve got this competitive achiever? Drive home.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Yeah. So I’m the youngest of four kids. I have three older brothers who are very, very, very. They’re always protecting me. She can’t go to New York, she can’t do this. She can’t and not that they don’t have confidence in me, but they’re very protective and so are you. Sorry, I am the baby. Yes. So yeah. Yeah,

Regan
I can picture the dimple. So, listeners, you can’t see Rebekah she is I wouldn’t say she’s an adorable professional. She is a hardcore professional but I see the dimple and I can just picture three older brothers being around you and surrounding him being like, you know, protective in nature, for sure.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Very much, though. Yeah. So definitely the moment somebody says you can’t is when my inner nature kicks in. Watch me know, I

Dr. Chad Johnson
like you can’t send me $100,000 as a gift. Oh,

Dr. Rebekah Browder
yeah. You found it was out there somewhere.

Regan
I find, you know, in working with, I should say, being surrounded with fellow competitive achievers, and I love the rebel spirit and drive in that I can definitely personally relate to that. Oh, you say that? I can’t Well, let me show you that I can. We get to a point, especially as leaders where we can’t do everything we can, it really is impossible to be an A-plus, with everything, and as a dentist, you wear multiple hats. So you get to be the clinician, and you get to be a business owner. Was there anything that surprised you? You know, in getting the degree becoming a dentist that surprised you about going into business ownership?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Everything? Okay but um, I think one of the things that I had to come to grips with was that I am not a great multitasker and that’s okay. Because I think you know, we are in this day and age constantly feeling like we have to be doing six things at once. We’ve got to be, you know, on social media, we’ve got to be tending to our patients, we’ve got to be growing our business, we’ve got to be doing our finances, we have to be tending to our children, all of these things and we have to be doing it all at the same time and I, I can’t do that. I don’t know if it’s after my kids. I don’t know if I once could but at this point in my life,

I can’t and so what I have figured out is my talent is that I may not be able to multitask but when I’m doing something, I’m doing it with a laser focus. So now my team knows that if they come in, and they tell me something if I’m not there in 30 seconds, it’s because I’ve totally forgotten about it because I am in it and my patients know that when I’m with them, I’m with them. 100%. So if they have to wait five minutes more, and we try not to keep anybody waiting, but if they have to wait five minutes more they know it’s okay. Because once I get in there, I’m 100%. There’s, and my kids have figured it out, too, that when Mommy’s gone, she’s gone but when she’s home, everything else is on the back burner and I’m 100% of mom, and that works a little bit better for me than trying to multitask that was really helpful and then for everything else, Q PDA.

Regan
Let’s talk about that. That cue PDA part. Are what? What roadblocks were you hitting where you realize the multi like being singularly focused, which by the way, I’m a huge advocate for I agree completely as a mother, as someone who’s deeply involved in business, you can’t do everything at once. Were there some areas in your practice where you hit that roadblock, and said, I need to have some support? I can’t even if I dedicate full focus. Maybe this isn’t the best use of my time, or I don’t have the answers.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Exactly. I think it was not the best use of my time. Because in the past, I bought my practice and took closed on it the month before we closed for COVID and so it was tough and scary at first, but I took those two months and I was like, awesome. I’ve got two months of no patience, I am going to do it. I’m going to get finance in order, I’m going to do all of these things and at the end of two months, when we started seeing patients again, I realized that I had done a very small number of things on that big to-do list because, like many of us, I’m a perfectionist, I overanalyze, I research everything and so if I was going to do it, I needed to do it well and I needed to do it from the ground up and that’s where it started to become problematic because you know when you’re in it and you’re seeing patients so you don’t have all of this excess time as much as we would like to you have everything else that you’re doing and so for two years, a year and a half,

I did the best that I could and I stayed above water and you know I made it through and I put out the fires and that was really great but as it seemed like it was time for COVID Just start to fingers crossed wind down. I thought this is my year where I’m going to stop being so reactive and start being a little bit more proactive and was starting to get some systems in place and starting to get some things and I thought, You know what, instead of me suffering through this and doing trial by error and learning from my own mistakes, let me just bring in the professionals and so you know, I had that, that epiphany on a Tuesday and by Friday, I had a console and I had signed the following day, I think,

Dr. Chad Johnson
Look at you getting things done. That’s awesome.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Takes me a while to get there but once I’ve made the decision, right.

Regan
So you Rebecca have done something that only I believe three other prenup practices, and dental practices have done in the United States. So speaking of competitive achiever, combining that with your true deep heart of doing good and leaving a positive impact, I found out that you have been your business is set up as a B Bravo, right, B Corp. Is that correct? I’ve never heard of this before. Can you tell if you’re one of four dental practices in the United States? What does this mean?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Yeah. So the other third, the two of the others, I need to be specific about this. Two of the others have multiple locations. So I just need to put that little asterisk on there. So now that you’ve heard of B Corp, you’re going to start seeing it everywhere. It’s a lot of packaging. So like Tom’s of Maine is a B Corp Corp. Patagonia is a B Corp Corp that a corporation Athleta Ben and Jerry’s. So I had heard of it and one of my patients and I were having a discussion one day and I said, Oh, what’s your new job? and she said, I’m a consultant for companies that want to become B Corp and I said, get out of town. I’ve been thinking about that and so we started a conversation and started looking at it and I thought, You know what, this is a really good exercise. I know it’s going to be long, I know it’s going to be arduous and I know I don’t necessarily I’m not necessarily going to be successful at it, because a lot of people that go through this program aren’t but I thought let me as a new business owner, go down this journey, and it’s gonna help me look at the different aspects of my practice and figure out am I really walking the walk talking to talk?

Am I really, you know, performing in the way that I want to? and after looking at it, it turns out, no, just because I was a nice person didn’t mean that I qualified for being a B Corp and so it really, it was a great challenge to look through and say, Okay, we need to commit 2% of our revenue is going to go to charities, and that’s not like, I thought, okay, we could do 2% of profits, but they were like, no, no now, percent 2% that? Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So that’s a lot, but it’s great. So what we start to do is, like, it works with the whole company, because now not only do my employees get paid well, and have a good, you know, working living wage and good work-life balance and everything, but also, each month, one of them gets to pick a charity of their choice and then we donate to that and so it gets everybody on that fulfillment train that I was talking about before, and our patients really love it and you know, we’re able to be as eco friendly as we can being a dental practice but it’s not just about being a green practice. It’s about you know, kind of looking at everything. Are you making an improvement in the lives of your patients and the lives of your co-workers in your community, local and worldwide? and in the environment? Are you just kind of being a force for good doing something that’s, you know, not only profitable but beneficial to the world? and so that’s, that’s a nice thing.

Dr. Chad Johnson
How often is this audited? I mean, you know, like, is this an annual thing that they do? Or every three years? Okay. Yeah. Wow.

Regan
So were there any sort of stumbling blocks or roadblocks that you hit along the way to becoming a B Corp? For anybody else? Who’s hearing that and going? Well, maybe that’s what I want to do?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Yeah. So there were a couple of things, a lot of it. We are at a disadvantage in the medical field because so much of our stuff has to be single-use or, you know, we don’t have we can’t cut down on a lot of things. They have to be FDA-approved. They have to, have to be meeting certain guidelines. So we can’t and there’s just not a lot of green-focused dental companies, dental product companies out there. So because we couldn’t really focus as much as we would want to on the environment. Yes, we have a recycling program. We partnered with TerraCycle to recycle, you know, toothbrushes, we do our internal recycling, but we couldn’t be as eco-focused as we wanted to. So that had to transition to seeing how we really impacted our community patients and the world in other ways and so a lot of that became our worker’s quality of life, and our charity and so in small practices, we’re kind of used to and I think people are used to getting an hourly rate and maybe not having as many benefits as you would at a corporation. So maybe they don’t have a 401k. Maybe they don’t have health benefits and so that was something where we had to look at what we were paying everybody and everybody got raises. They were excited about that.

Regan
Did you? Did you use like a, like a cost of living calculator? Okay. Yeah.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
So MIT has a living wage calculator where you can look up based on them if they’re married, single children, or no children, and the zip code, where County, you can look it up and see what the appropriate living wage would be. So I’m happy to say that we all not only met that, but surpass that with everybody met and so that was really that that feels good to know that they’re doing well, especially now too, because when everybody else was having difficulty with employees, kind of looking for other opportunities, and going other places, ours were all quite happy because they were making a good wage already and in addition to that, they have these other aspects of fulfillment. So going and looking at that stuff is a little difficult, because we didn’t have health, we don’t have health insurance benefits. So instead, I do a contribution to them, because it’s difficult to get a great health plan as a small business. So that was a bit of a hiccup and then finding the, I guess, becoming at peace and okay with the fact that my salary was going to be a bit lower, because I was going to be more charitable, and my employees were going to be making more. So instead of really squeezing blood from the stone, I was having to lower my salary a little bit and know that I was working hard towards something and I wasn’t necessarily seeing the financial benefit initially but knowing that I was, I was growing towards something and now that we’ve settled into it, I’m happy to say I’m living comfortably.

Regan
Yeah, that’s great. Have you have you noticed? Has your team retention been well hasn’t made an impact that way for you?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Yeah, yeah. We don’t lose. We don’t lose anybody. We only, in fact, we have, you know, our latest hires brought friends. So that says a lot. Yeah, you know, we have a lot of personalities and a lot of love here. Wow.

Regan
So what does the future hold? You’ve inspired me, I think you’ve been I can tell you already have inspired our listens, or listeners for this. What? What does the future hold for you in the next five years or 10 years?

Dr. Rebekah Browder
I don’t know. I’m sure I’ll have another epiphany. I’m doing a leadership program. Now through Glidewell, which has been amazing. I’ve only had one weekend but there are 24 other women in it and I get to see them a weekend a month for the next four months, five months and we get to get executive coaches to develop our leadership skills and things like that, which is going to be really valuable but I can tell you just going in the first weekend and listening to everybody else’s stories, it’s been crazy amounts of inspiration. So I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of like partnerships and ideas are generated there and just all the new stuff that we’ll learn but hopefully, yeah, five years from now, I will have spread the joy of B Corp practice ownership, and everybody else will be feeling as good and happy at the end of the day as I do most days.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Well, cool. You know, yeah, we kind of went full term, talking about, you know, how you got involved into dentistry and I mean, shoot 20 years ago, even 20 Plus talking about how 911 impacted you and how that led you to, to dentistry, and then how you have been taking charge of your office and really setting the bar for best practices and I hope that the audience that listens to this, and what’s cool is not everyone’s going to listen to this week, a good amount of people might but there’s going to be you know, a few that might listen to this a couple of years from now, and that they’ll hear excellence and whatever that standard of excellence is even three years from now, the point won’t be obsolete, that you’re still pressing to that we have you back on and you’re three years from now going to be pressing the envelope for what excellence is and for that, just like Pascal Manya that’s what I appreciate about him is he sees the beauty of excellence. So you get the Chad Johnson Pascal many awards of the day for showing and demonstrating excellence. So thank you on behalf of dentistry and all things that are PDA.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
My day was good now it’s great. I appreciate that.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Gold star.

Regan
Well, thank you, Rebecca. Go for being on the show with us and sharing all of your knowledge with Chad. I give testament to you. Let’s have Rebekah on again in another two years, play catch up and see, and see how far you’ve come.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
I’m very excited and she was on.

Dr. Chad Johnson
To all the listeners. Thank you very much for coming on and we appreciate you listening to Dr. Rebekah Browder from near New York City in Connecticut. Dr. Browder Thank you.

Dr. Rebekah Browder
Thank you so much.

Regan
Thank you for listening to another episode of the Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every weeks. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you, and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share? Or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome? Drop us an email at podcast@productivedentist.com and don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from Productive Dentist Academy at productivedentist.com/podcasts See you next week.

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