We’re shining the spotlight on Jessica Owens, Practice Manager at Azarko Dental Group in Edmonton, Alberta. Jessica tells us about her love for the dental industry, the importance of a great patient experience, and her passion for continuously growing as a leader for her team.
How long have you been a Practice Manager with Azarko Dental Group?
I have been the Practice Manager at Azarko Dental for almost three years but have been with the practice in other roles since 2014.
Can you tell me about your career path, from what you wanted to be as a child to where you are now?
I wanted to be a criminal defence lawyer growing up. I completed work terms while in high school at a law office and enrolled in a post-secondary Criminal Justice program. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It wasn’t until I moved to Edmonton and started working at the Alberta Dental Service Corporation (ADSC) as an adjudicator that I fell in love with the dental industry. While working full-time, I returned to school and earned my diploma in Dental Administration. After more than five years with ADSC, it was time for a change, so I transitioned to working in a dental office.
What do you enjoy most about coming to work?
I love my team! We are very much a family, and seeing the passion within each other is so rewarding. Our patients are amazing, and I enjoy experiencing the transformation from when they first visit the practice nervous and not wanting to smile to leaving relaxed and happy, beaming from ear to ear. Moments like these remind us why we got into dental. I feel truly blessed to work with such a phenomenal team.
How has COVID-19 impacted you, your role, and the practices?
COVID-19 forced me to put life and priorities into perspective. My family is in Newfoundland and British Columbia, and not being able to see them was more challenging than anticipated. Life events like these make you stop to reflect on how quickly we can get caught up in our day-to-day routines. Within three months of becoming Practice Manager at Azarko Dental, the pandemic hit. It was very challenging to be the only dental office open during that time in Edmonton. We had to adapt to restrictions changing daily and went from a staff of 35 to nine during the first three months. We really missed being together, so it was such a joyful moment when everyone was able to return to the office.
What does a great patient experience mean to you?
No matter how a person is feeling coming through the office doors, they should leave happy knowing we treated them with the utmost care.
What’s next for you in your career?
That’s still to be determined, but short term, I want to continue to learn and grow as a leader for my team.
What advice do you have for dental professionals starting their careers?
No matter what challenges you face, always remember why you initially chose this career path – to help people.