Our March Nufabrx Neighborhood features the talented Monique McEachern with Smile Pediatric Dentistry. Located in the Charlotte, NC, area. Monique has been in the pediatric dentistry industry for 20 years, during which she opened her own practice.
Monique’s passion for working with children was evident at an early age. She spent time as a camp counselor and loved being a babysitter. She also knew that she wanted to be in the medical field, which eventually inspired her to pursue her dental degree from UNC Chapel Hill. Initially, Monique was on track to go to medical school and pursue a career as a pediatrician. However, a discussion with her Aunt, a pediatric dentist, persuaded Monique to take a leap of faith and change her career path to Pediatric Dentistry.
Monique has built her brand in this industry by creating a unique culture for every child that walks through her door. We had the fortunate opportunity to experience this firsthand. Walking through the doors of Smile Pediatric Dentistry, you are greeted by friendly pink logos, fun accent walls, and bright murals. Light-hearted Disney music and age-themed dental cleaning rooms make for a fully immersive and fun experience. The uniqueness of her brand has helped Monique build a clientele that, even during COVID-19, has remained loyal. Due to the pandemic and its closures, her business went through a two-month shutdown and limited patient scheduling throughout the remainder of the 2020 year. Though the year proved to be challenging, Monique maintains a positive attitude and bright disposition through it all. Today, Smile Pediatrics is operating at 75-80% capacity and has created new safety protocalls as well as videos to assure clients of safe practices within their office. Monique’s biggest focus is reassuring clients “when you’re ready, we’re ready”. After the whirlwind that was 2020, she and her team are focused on staying up to date, relevant, competitive, and flexible with the recent changes in the industry.
When considering starting your own business, regardless of industry, Monique recommends “finding your mentor and finding your tribe”. The “mentor” she references is someone who can guide from a professional and business standpoint. The “tribe” she references is peers for collaboration purposes and a team to support you. Monique has two significant role models in her life that have helped her get her business to where it is today and whom she relies heavily on for guidance. Her Aunt, who inspired Monique’s path to pediatric dentistry, helps her with patient relations and owning her practice. The other is her business partner, who has helped her get up and running as well aided her in professional connections.
Monique gets her incredible drive from her love and passion for working with kids. She mentions, “I love coming to work because of the kids, every situation is different, and every kid is different”. She enjoys building long-lasting relationships with her patients by seeing them from their first dental appointment until their mid-20s. Getting to see each of her patients grow year by year is what keeps her going. Monique professionally wants to be known for being “that lady dentist” that has made getting a cleaning an enjoyable and fun experience. In addition to creating a fun environment for her clients, she also has created an environment for her staff to be themselves and let their personalities shine every day. Monique is motivated, has a positive outlook, values honesty and integrity, and ensures that she hires employees with a similar mentality to create this culture.
With March being International Women’s Month, we had the opportunity to ask Monique what this means to her. She mentions that recognizing women should be more than just one month of the year. Attending dental school at UNC Chapel Hill, she quickly realized the magnitude of women's limited presence in the industry. The school made it a point to call out that their 2001 class was the first 50% female dentistry graduating class in the school’s history. Monique states that “the fact that we still have a month dedicated to this and isn’t ongoing shows that there is still work to be done”. Monique hopes to inspire her patients as well as her own children to understand the magnitude of women’s rights.
It was a pleasure getting an inside look at Monique’s daily life working with kids. Her drive to make going to the dentist a fun experience was truly inspiring to witness.
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