Canadian Business Chicks sat down with Dr. Murray Knebel and Dr. Meggan Schiffner, partners in Sierra Dental and proud sponsors of Women of Inspiration 2017, to discover what being a woman of inspiration means to them! We look forward to welcoming Dr. Murray and Dr. Meggan to Breaky in 2018 as a Power Couple working together in business “On Purpose”.
Q: What drew you to participate with Canadian Business Chicks and Women of Inspiration?
Many years ago, I went to school and was taught by “an expert”. My professor said all I needed to do to be successful in the dental business was to hang my shingle and tell my patients how high I finished in my class standings.
I soon realized that patients do not make choices this way, and because 85% of all health appointments are scheduled by women, I need to surround my self with strong, powerful women to create a feeling of caring and empathy, and help create systems that could help patients move toward a higher level of wellness and health.
I also remembered back to when I was seven-years-old, had a tooth ache in a permanent tooth and my dad took me to the dentist. It cost less to pull the tooth than to save it and put in a dressing and filling, so my father wanted it pulled. We were poor, had no funds for the optimal service, but the dentist made it possible for my father to save the tooth. That day I decided I was going to be a dentist and help other people in the same way. It created a goal so clear that in a family with no siblings having any university education, I stayed focused and goal orientated for years with no financial help from my family.
This is this same focus on inspirational stories and possibilities that I saw in the organization Monica has put together. The story is everything and inspiration and motivation by being around others who are like-minded are so important to our sense of purpose. The female team I have surrounded myself with from doctors to managers to our support team of hygienists, assistants and administrative support has made Sierra who we are today.
Q: Why is recognition, support and being champions of women so important?
Why is being champions of woman so important? Oh, this is a hard one!
Women have a very hard role in our society. So many expectations they place on themselves from “stories” they have been told or seen by watching mom and grandma, and social influence from movies, television and advertising.
What makes a strong woman? Great mom? Great cook? Sexy? Single? Married? Strong at business, but at what expense? Do they need to be lesser at one to be better at another? Does the man who lives in the same house? Do men get judged the same? Yet without these disruptors and influencers, where would we be?
For me, I am a better person when I surround myself with confident strong women. My coaches and mentors include many strong women who “influence or disrupt” in a great way to help me be the best I can be.
I am a mother of two, a boy and a girl. I think it is important that they both grow up knowing that if they work hard enough they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to. As their mother, win or lose, it is my role to recognize them for doing their best. Cheering for them the whole way through, picking them up when they fall and celebrating them when they rise above the competition. As a parent, it is my responsibility to always be there for them and provide a positive platform that supports their growth and confidence building. I hope they will appreciate how lucky they are to live in a country where they have equal opportunity because there are so many that are not as fortunate. I also think it will be important to teach them that things have not always been this way.
Q: What is your definition of a Woman of Inspiration?
A woman who has purpose and goals. A woman who does not need to be perfect, but knows good is a great place to start. A woman who can forgive herself. A woman who can inspire not only herself, but others around her, by how she behaves and shows up.
She can just be herself, not pretending to have to be who she thinks others want to see her as. Never feeling she is not enough – not working enough, leading enough, cooking enough, sexy enough, doing enough. Be real, be you, you are all perfect when born and what did the world teach you as you grew up that has made you feel differently?
The following quote comes to mind, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader.” – Quincy Adams
Being a working professional and mother of two, to me a woman of inspiration is someone who may be an innovative leader in the workplace but also may be a selfless and caring woman who makes a difference in the community or in the home. She is someone that is passionate about what she does and finds joy and fulfillment in doing whatever that may be. She makes me want to be the best version of myself and I hope to always be that woman in my daughter’s eyes.
Q: How important is it to the success of your business to embrace partnerships between men and women in the workplace?
The importance of embracing partnerships between anyone in the workplace whether male or female is the ability to create something better than you could have on your own. A partner who asks tough questions, whom you can trust, who has similar values, who has similar goals will end up taking your organization to places you could not have on your own. Meggan knows our core values of joy, growth and health and when I send emails, talk to staff or management or start creating systems that are not in alignment with these results, she is always there to put me back on path and help me be a better leader.
Without a partner I can trust, this would not be possible. The fact she is female and sees and feels things differently than I do, makes this even more possible.
In business, partnerships don’t only need to be financial. They can be at many levels, but trust is important in the relationship. Meggan became “a partner” before their was any exchange of money or shares. Many men I deal with in business are very strong at the “what to do” or “how to do it” , but in my industry with so many of the appointments being scheduled by women, and relationships being developed with team members and those patients, female partners have helped me see why explaining “why we do what we do” is so important in helping the team and community better understand what differentiates us.
When I joined Sierra Dental over six years ago, I met Murray Knebel. He was a man of inspiration to me. He was an innovative leader in his field and someone that made me want to be better, learn more and do more. He set a higher standard for care than what I had witnessed before. I admired his knowledge and his skill. Six short years later, I became his partner. We think and communicate differently but we balance each other out and our patients and staff benefit from our collaboration and different points of view. It allows us to provide a workplace based on joy, health and growth.