the best of both worlds...
…a conversation with Arbenita Zymeri, Talent Acquisition Specialist with dentalcorp
Arbenita shares her story with us, from her becoming a Dental Assistant at the tender age of 17 to her fascinating transition from the Practice Network to our Support Centre.
Tell us about your background – how long have you been with dentalcorp and what were you doing before you joined?
I started on September 23, so I’ve been here at the Support Centre just about two months. Prior to that, I was the Office Manager at Toothworks – a larger group of practices within dentalcorp.
How did you get your start in dentistry?
My high school offered a concurrent Dental Assistant program that starts in grade 10, which is equivalent to earning a George Brown certificate. So, I graduated from high school, earned my Dental Assistant certification, and started my first job as a dental assistant – all at age 17.
What inspired you to pursue a career in dentistry?
Back in Kosovo, where I come from originally, there was no health insurance. My aunt was a dentist, and I used to follow her to work to get my oral care. I always wanted to do something in healthcare, in a capacity that would allow me to help people.
What was it like, moving here from Kosovo?
I was nine years old when my father decided to leave everything behind and move to Canada due to circumstances in Kosovo. I am the second oldest of 5 girls and it was challenging in several different ways for us. We didn’t speak any English, and I also had to adapt to a different education system where, based on my age, I skipped two grades! As hard as it was for me and my sisters, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for my parents.
Tell me a bit about how you made the move from Toothworks to the Support Centre. How did that come about?
I had a real interest in incorporating HR into my career in dentistry, and pursued studies at George Brown part-time while at Toothworks. My workday would finish at 6pm, and I would be in class from 6:15-9:00pm in the evenings. I was with Toothworks before it partnered with dentalcorp and got to experience and participate in the process of integration. I saw a great opportunity to combine two functional areas – HR and dentistry – which would not have been possible if I’d stayed where I was. Joining the Support Centre team was like my two worlds coming together. I knew firsthand that dentalcorp provided great support and would be an environment where I could learn and grow as an individual and as a professional.
Can you tell me a bit about your role on the Talent team? What does a typical day look like?
I manage the recruitment for two fairly large groups within dentalcorp– and each has its own characteristics. I recruit for all positions other than Associates, everything from Dental Assistants to Reginal Managers across more than 50 practices. For me, no two days are the same, every role you are recruiting for is different and every potential candidate is unique in their own way. You can find me constantly speaking to potential candidates anywhere in the office (in any room I find empty). I love helping the right people find the right job. Having a meaningful career that you enjoy makes a huge impact on your life.
Tell me something funny that’s happened to you.
In May, I went to Antigua and got sunburned. I came across what I thought was an aloe vera plant so snapped off a leaf and rubbed it on my skin, for some relief. It turns out, it was a very large cactus plant that looked like an aloe vera plant! So not only did I have sunburn, I also had redness, itchiness, and bumps all over.
Tell me about an experience that's really left an impact.
At 17, I travelled around Europe by myself, navigating the rail system to visit different countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Kosovo. It’s definitely an experience, especially when your train breaks down and you don’t know where to go or what’s happening, and you’re all by yourself. Next on my list: Bali and Indonesia.
What are your aspirations for personal and professional growth? Do you have a 5 year plan?
I want to continue to hire top talent, and top performers. I want to help ensure dentalcorp maintains its competitive edge with respect to talent. Coming from a management background, I’d like to work towards a future leadership role. My vision is to get us to a point where top talent is reaching out to dentalcorp, rather than the other way around.
What advice do you have for new team members joining dentalcorp’s Support Centre?
It might seem overwhelming at first, but there is a lot of support available from your teammates to help you with everything. Take it day by day, is what I would suggest and that is what I did.