Founding Partner of Practice Dynamics. Public Speaker. Cowgirl from New Mexico, devoted mother. This is her story …
“If you could wake up every morning and do whatever you wanted, with no boundaries and no obstacles, what would you do?”
That was the question I asked my dental co-workers on our four-hour trip to the Las Vegas Institute from Phoenix. They went around in a circle and answering my question. Suddenly, someone said to me, “Hey Laci! You didn’t go!” I was dead silent. The whole time my co-workers were sharing their responses, I was sitting there in my seat … thinking.
I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing!? Whatever happened to my dream of having my own talk show!?”
At the time, I was working for a cosmetic dental office. Our doctor loved education and he sent us down as a team to the Las Vegas Institute. I was in my early 30s, married to my high school sweetheart, and already had two kids. All I could think of after that car ride was that I am a speaker. I need to be speaking.
I came out of the womb talking. I was that child. I remember in the 4th grade my parents and I were at a parent-teacher conference. The teacher said, “You know, Laci is wonderful. We absolutely love her. She gets good grades, she’s willing to help others, but I can never get her to stop talking! I mean she just talks all the time!”
I studied Broadcast Communications at New Mexico State University and had every intent on moving to New York and one day having my own talk show. I loved speech, I was particularly good at public and extemporaneous speaking. I competed on both of those levels in high school. I was a cowgirl and an Aggie. I grew up on a family farm in New Mexico and was very involved in 4-H and FFA.
It was while I was studying in college that I was introduced to the dental world. I had applied for a part-time position as a medical receptionist. While I didn’t get the position, oddly enough my resumé was passed on to a dentist. So one day I get this call from him. He said to me as I answered the phone, “Hey I got your resumé from a buddy of mine. I need a chairside assistant in my dental office.” I didn’t want to be a chairside dental assistant, let alone work in a dental office, so I told him no. He was very persistent, however, and would not take no for an answer. He promised he’d teach me all that I’d need to know and that he’d even give me a raise if I got my certifications. I couldn’t say no to that, so I ended up working for him part-time. Eventually, I was promoted to work on the business side of his office.
For years I worked for many dental offices and had the opportunity to grow in the dental field, learning from top-industry professionals, but a little voice in my head kept telling me to pursue public speaking. I started getting on stage and participated in speaking events, but I was still working for someone else. At one point I had enough people telling me the same thing, “Why are you working for someone else? You should be running your own company and doing something for yourself.”
Life happens. For many of us women we have children, we settle in, sometimes things don’t always go as planned, we face different paths and detours, but I believe that doesn’t necessarily mean that our original path was ever completely lost. I believe with my whole heart that we can have it all.
I first met Bonnie Pugh in the early 90’s. She was working for a corporate software company and I was in a Phoenix dental office. We became fast friends. Years down the road we were finally able to work together in the same consulting company. After a bit of time, we were moving in different directions to each open our own business when this amazing opportunity presented itself for us to continue work together in our own company. Five and a half years later and our business, Practice Dynamics is going strong.
Bonnie has this amazing business / corporate mindset. She’s 100% the reason as to how Practice Dynamics kicked off. She’s taught me so much about the business side of dentistry and in return, I have been able to use my skill set and industry training in the dental field to coach and inspire dental teams all over the nation.
Our tagline for Practice Dynamics is, “Balance Driven Success.” It’s amazing how many times we have talked to dentists and they have brought up or mentioned the word balance. Balance is a real struggle. If you are going to remain passionate about what you do it’s critical that you find the right balance.
The coolest thing that Bonnie and I are doing right now is truly teaching dentists and business owners about their business. The dental field talks about a lot of things, but the fact that dentistry is also a business is often a forgotten conversation. A lot of dental team members don’t even know what overhead is and how it impacts their own life, so that’s where we start. We teach the team about overhead and continue to build the education. Eventually, teams are well rounded with systems, verbal skills, and business knowledge, it’s what we try to establish as the ownership mentality.
Educating our doctors, business owners, and their team members is the most exciting and rewarding thing that we do. It is rewarding to see the team dynamics change with our coaching and their acceptance to our approach. Enabling dentists and teams to find Balance Driven Success through Systems Teams and Technology truly gives our lives inspiration. And to think this all started in the summer of 2012 with 2 friends who have always worked for someone else. No dreams are completely lost, I now have my talk show every time I walk onto the stage.
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View one of Laci’s presentations!
Ian works as the Content Marketing Manager for YAPI. He is originally from the Central Coast of California but has lived abroad in both Germany and Russia. He has been working at YAPI for nearly three years. He also oversees and produces the Behind the Smiles Podcast, which is hosted by Dr. Gina Dorfman. If you are interested in being a featured guest on our podcast, you can reach Ian directly at email@example.com.