I wanted to share some thoughts on why I feel like having a women’s only group is relevant in 2018 and why I decided we should have our own meeting. There have been some grumblings online about our group and our meeting (and me personally) and I think for the most part these grievances come from a place of misunderstanding. Having our own group doesn’t mean that we are hiding anything from men and the group isn’t a forum for complaining about men. Yes, sometimes inequities are brought up and discussed, and I will never apologize for that.
WIO is a place of support for female orthodontists. Our experience is different. Not better or worse, just different. And as our perspective on life, family and career may be slightly different than our male colleagues, this forum has been a safe place to talk. We talk about business, clinical and personal more openly than I have seen anywhere else. This is a place of non-judgement and understanding with the female practitioner in mind. Where else are you going to talk about how to manage a team of all females who don’t respect you as much as your male partner? Where are you going to talk about how to incorporate pumping into your schedule? How do you manage your office if you get put on bedrest? How to market to a male general dentist as a female professional? Even the most sympathetic, supportive male might not have the ability to help us in these pursuits, even if they have witnessed women struggle, it’s still different when it’s you who is being discriminated against. We have trailblazers in our group that have paved the way for our success. Women who were the only female dental student in their class – and they built and incredible practice when sexism was the accepted norm. We have women who have given birth to multiples, special needs children and women who chose not to be mothers. We have women who have multiple large practices as a single practitioner and others who have small, boutique offices open a couple days a week. We have women who have practiced in multiple different settings and others who are still finding their way. These experiences are shared openly, honestly with no pretense and no arrogance.
So why a meeting? This was an opportunity to take this amazing atmosphere of support and create two days of connections in person. This was also a way to give opportunity to female speakers who might not otherwise be asked to present their experiences and expertise. I had no interest in making this meeting a “Best of the AAO” meeting, taking popular speakers that you can see anywhere and create a two-day program. I was more interested in fresh, raw material from people who have something amazing to say and have never had a chance to say it. So, you have all of these amazing private practice orthodontists who are wildly successful and they are going to share how they did it! Rest assured, this meeting will be filled with “meat” and very little “show”. But, the venue is beautiful and the food will be incredible. You can’t beat Phoenix in October in a hotel with a rooftop pool with views of Camelback Mountain.
I would never claim that you can get all of your information with the WIO group and the WIO meeting. It’s just a very special place to be and I think our meeting will be incredible.
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