Dr. Erinne Kennedy and Dr. Amisha Singh
Amisha Singh: On Meeting
Meeting each other was a little bit of serendipity and a little bit of strategic insight from the founder of IgniteDDS, Dr. David Rice. In the middle of a hot summer in Las Vegas at the Ideal Practices Blueprint Symposium, I scoured the ornate reception hall to spot my fellow Igniter, a girl named Erinne who I’d never met. We both attended this conference on behalf of IgniteDDS. I left my son, then three months old, gurgling and cooing in my husband’s arms in the hotel room; they came with us because I didn’t want to sacrifice breastfeeding for my career goals. I was destined to have it all (with a little help from my ever-patient husband, of course). This scene was the embodiment of my heart at the time: new chapters and endless potential, a burning desire to find a rocket ship and board it, to find a place to apply my passions and change the world. After giving birth, I was finally ready, both physically and emotionally, to get back in the game. I was stock full of gumption and acceleration, and I was ready for a change. And at this very moment is when I had the pleasure of meeting Erinne Kennedy. It was an instant click, a feeling of finding my tribe and a partnership that would change my life.
Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, gave Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook some stellar advice that I take to heart: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.” That rocket is indeed what this friendship became.
Erinne Kennedy: On Accelerating
Soon after we met, we hopped on that rocket ship of friendship, mentorship, and most of all change. We had no idea what we were getting into, but we went for it. We recorded our first vlog on the plush red velvet chairs in the basement of the Cosmopolitan. One take. One take is all it took for us to be glued at the hip for the next year or so. The next year we traveled twice a month speaking to students across the country, co-blogged weekly, and started to grow as speakers, leaders, and dentists. It was truly, pedal to the metal.
What I didn’t realize when Amisha and I first became friends and co-igniters was that we were going to need each other for the next year more than we realized. As soon as you start speaking, writing and traveling you need someone to help you make decisions, to deal with tough feedback and to grow. The blessing in disguise was that we weren’t just friends, but we’re going to help each other grow and move through (often painful) change. I can’t tell you how many late nights we spent discussing painful growth spurts in leadership in our pajamas in a hotel room. Sipping on tea and hashing out our next presentation or great idea. Honestly, I can’t imagine starting to speak and write without a friend there to build me up. I had no idea I needed support during the acceleration process the way that I did, and I am truly thankful for Dr. David Rice for having the vision of putting us together.
In September, we spoke at our first IgniteDDS event together. We went to the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) District 2 Conference in New York City. Thankfully we co-spoke. If you know me at all, I have no problem filling the silence, but speaking in front of hundreds of students was more daunting than I imagined. Having Amisha on stage with me was like speaking holding your mommy’s hand. I was comforted and challenged at the same time. I remember getting feedback that day that I didn’t move around stage enough, and I thought, “I know, my feet were glued to the ﬂoor. But I’m happy I didn’t faint.” When I told Amisha, she gave me the greatest words of encouragement: “We will move more next time.”
Any time life accelerates, you’re quickly thrown out of your comfort zone, and will most definitely run into obstacles. When we face these challenges alone, we are quick to give up or feel defeated. With Amisha there, I have been able to tackle every mountain. To all new dentists and women in the dental field, I think this is a testament to our careers and life. If you find yourself starting to accelerate, make sure that you have a support system and team in place to guide you along the way. It may be one person, or it may be many, but if you are planning to go far, don’t go alone.
Amisha and Erinne: On How Friendship Made It All Possible
Peer to Peer Mentorship
Who says that mentors have to be people who are older and wiser and more experience than you? Mentors are sources of inspiration. They guide your life’s trajectory through every peak and valley. We are this for each other and have been since the day we met. A good peer-to-peer mentor relationship involves having the insight to see each others’ potential and harness it. We offset each other’s strength and weaknesses like any other good partnership, but our mentorship takes it a step further. We work to help make the other better, stronger, faster.
Peer-to-peer mentorship is a fresh take on the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. First, you are constantly reversing roles. One month, one person might need some mentorship and guidance, the next week it’s the other’s turn. Sometimes, when life is crazy and opportunity is booming, you’re both giving and taking advice and inspiration. Because the roles are not traditional, we believe the relationship has be to based on mutual trust, respect and honesty. Peer mentorship won’t work if you are trying to “oneup” or “use” the person you’re mentoring. The same goes if you’re the mentee. It’s the ultimate symbiotic relationship. When you put your partner first and the other person does the same, the result is a thriving of both parties. One of the biggest challenges this creates is when you are selﬂess and honest, you really have to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability is what breeds and grows deep roots in true friendship, but also stems from humility. A mantra we both repeat is: “Life is all about progress. Progress is all about change. And change … change is hard.” Be sure that you have a mentor willing to be a part of your life through the mountaintops, and most importantly, in the valleys.
We were blessed one of our mutual mentors paired us and gave us the opportunity to work with one another. But if you are looking
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for a peer mentor, look for someone who is selﬂessness, honest and has the same values that you do. When you have a mentor, you will confide in them, and they’ll help you make some tough decisions in life. You want to make sure your core values are aligned. If your peer mentor is anything like we are for one another, you’ll just know, and the relationship will just click.
You might be asking: “Where do these relationships work well?” We believe that these relationships work well in all aspects of life. From relationships, to business, to speaking and career goals.
The Power Behind “Yes”
We both firmly believe a huge key to any success is the strength and faith required to say “yes” when opportunity knocks. Sometimes you can’t predict where the yes is going to take you. You may not be able to visualize the entire road ahead, but that leap of faith tends to pay offand so we both tend to say yes. But one thing we both noticed is that after partnering up, we both said yes more often and to more things.
Before partnering together, we individually weren’t able to say yes to as many projects. Mainly, it’s because if you’re working alone, you can only go so far. We both realized that when we started blogging together, teaching together and traveling together, we were able to capitalize on each other strengths and cover twice the distance in the same amount of time. We were able to have more time because we both had someone we could count to complete their end of the task. Many times when you are working in groups, you might be working with someone who frequently drops the ball. When you find someone you trust, and they say “I got it,” and you know they do, you can cross it offyour list. For many leaders, when you know you don’t need to follow-up, it not only saves time, but it reduces stress and clears your mind to focus on what’s next. It aligns your energy and your pursuit to the goal at hand instead of menial tasks that can hold you up. As the leadership guru Craig Groeschel says, it allows you to focus on the “important” instead of the “urgent.”
As much as we love to say yes, as familyoriented females, we have had to practice hard to say “no.” Sometimes when our guilt kicks in, we have a pact to say no for one another. We also help each other vet opportunities to make sure that our affirmations are actively contributing to our ultimate goals and aspirations. Being peer mentors and friends, we help each other vet opportunities so we can say yes to the right events and opportunities, ones aligning with our values and ideals.
One meeting can change your life. You hear it all the time. But the two of us, we’re living examples of just how fiercely one moment can change the trajectory of your path. In the early hours of the night, we often found ourselves in deep conversation about the idea of the universe conspiring to give you the resources you need when you’re dedicated to a goal. We both believe this and we both have lived it. Finding the right ally can win an army the war. And finding the right friend will prepare you for the ride of a lifetime.
Dr. Erinne Kennedy is an Ohio State University graduate and comes from Middleport, Ohio. She graduated from the Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine in 2015. Dr. Kennedy loved everything about dental school, especially being involved in organized dentistry. While in dental school she was involved with ASDA (American Student Dental Association) as a local vice president and national contributing editor. After dental school Erinne attend a one-year general practice residency at the VA Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Erinne has a passion for giving back, and is currently working toward a dental public health specialty and a masters in dental education at Harvard University in Boston, MA. Her love for writing and communicating continued after dental school when she became a blogger for IgniteDDS, and alumnus writer for ASDA. Currently she services as a contributing editor for Dental Product review and on the Junior Editorial board for DeW. In her free time Dr. Kennedy enjoys exercise in all forms: yoga, weight lifting, group exercise classes, and running. Dr. Kennedy‘s professional affiliations include: e American Dental Association, e Massachusetts’s Dental Association, and e Academy of General Dentistry. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Amisha Singh is a Denver native and loves living in beautiful Colorado. She was the founder of the first diversity oriented national organization in her dental school and she currently serves the CU Department of Diversity and Inclusion as an alumni contributor. She is a member of the ADA, CDA, and MSCD and serves on the CDA New Dentist Committee. She also writes and speaks for IgniteDDS to inspire other dental professionals to be the best clinicians possible. She is a founder for Colorado’s first South Asian Chamber of Commerce. Her passion is encouraging entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring others and she wants to dedicate her life to helping make dentists be better, healthier, more empowered people. You can find her blog at http://singhsmiles.weebly.com/