Dr. Wendy Lewis is well known for her growing business and outstanding dental practice. We decided to sit down with Dr. Lewis and talk about how she excels professionally, improves the lives of her patients, manages a family – all while making things look seemingly effortless.
Tell us a little bit about your background, what you do, and how you got there.
WL: I grew up in Puckett, MS where I graduated from Puckett Attendance Center and then headed off to college at Mississippi College, and then The University of MS School of Dentistry to obtain my Doctorate of Medicine in Dentistry. I became a partner/owner in The Winning Smile Dental Group in 2008 shortly after graduating from dental school. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to become a dentist. As a senior in high school in 1999, I began working at The Winning Smile doing everything from sterilizing instruments, answering phones, filing charts, etc. Fast forward to today, and my business partners and myself are proud to say that we now have three locations in Flowood, Brandon and Jackson, with five practicing dentists doing everything from check-ups and cleanings to orthodontics and high-tech cosmetic restorations.
What obstacles or challenges do you face being a female dentist or female business owner?
WL: Oh this is easy… Definitely, “Mom Guilt”. As a mother of three small children, I often find myself in a position of trying to balance their activities, all the while being a business owner and dentist. I always say that I am a Mom first and foremost, but I treat my patients and staff like family as well, so they are a high priority too. Otherwise, I feel that many of the challenges that I face are the same that my male business partners are facing as well. Females are now making up half of most graduating dental schools, so I feel that we may not face some of the same challenges as the women who paved the way in the profession before us.
You are very accomplished professionally and are also a busy wife and mother. Do you have any tips for keeping it all going and keeping your sanity?
WL: Ha. Funny. I never have it all together… perception is in the eye of the beholder. First and foremost, I’m thankful to have a loving and supportive partner in life – my husband, Jay. I couldn’t do it all without him! I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a wonderful therapist that I don’t miss seeing on a monthly basis. He has been a constant source of keeping me grounded and maintaining a healthy mental space. Surrounding myself with a supportive husband, family, and friends is also pivotal. I try to find some form of physical exercise at least twice per week. My husband and I try to have at least one date each month, and I also find that serving as one of my daughter’s room moms of her class at school, as well as monthly serving in another one’s Sunday school class at church helps me to feel more of a balanced work/mom/wife life. A wise female dental professional who I look up to once told me that “balance” is not something you find but rather something you strive to achieve day to day. So I use it as a verb rather than a noun. Each day I wake up and try to incorporate some of each into my daily routine: work, family, self. I’m far from perfect and some days one of those gets the short stick, but I continue to strive for a healthy balance of the three. And above all, I pray. God has been faithful and blessed me beyond measure.
With such a crazy schedule, what are some time management tricks you implement? How do you prevent burn out?
WL: The best way I have found to make use of my time is to schedule, schedule, and schedule. My daily planner is broken into hourly time slots, so I have things penned down hour to hour each day. Being intentional definitely helps things get accomplished. I need to learn to say “No” more often and slow down, so this is something that remains a work in progress. Traveling around the country to do dental Continuing Education where I am able to network and share with like-minded people while learning new things and ideas helps to keep me excited and passionate about what I’m doing which prevents burnout. I also take time away from the office to enjoy my family and my favorite ‘home away from home’ at the beach multiple times throughout the year. I make it a priority to never work on my wedding anniversary or any of my children’s birthdays, so we always know we have these days to remember and reflect on what’s important. I also attend all of my children’s holiday parties, school plays, etc. It is such a blessing that this profession and having amazing business partners and team members allow me to do these things, which also prevents burnout.
Dr. Lewis and her growing practice are a testament to what inspiration, grit, and sheer determination can accomplish. We can’t wait to see what’s next for her!