I remember it like it yesterday. It was Thanksgiving break my first year of undergrad, and I had the opportunity to spend the day at a friend’s father’s business. I showed up just as lunch was wrapping up and watched Denny, my friend’s dad, hand out turkeys to all 100 people who worked for him. It was something to witness. Some of Denny’s people were laughing, some were smiling and some were crying tears of joy. Whatever their emotion, two things were apparent: The turkey-getters were grateful, while the turkey-giver … even more.
As everyone went back to work, I watched Denny pull one employee into his office. I wasn’t sure why, but it looked pretty serious. A few minutes later, the young lady emerged. Tears in her eyes, she smiled as she passed by and went back to work. All I could imagine is that for some reason, she’d lost her job. Before I knew it, Denny rushed by, late for a meeting and handed me off to his assistant, Adele. The look on my face must have said it all, because Adele wasted no time to share what I needed to know.
How did we go from 100 happy people enjoying lunch and Thanksgiving Turkeys to secret meetings and tears?
What I learned next ignited my passion forever more.
Adele said, and 27 years later I quote, “David, that is one of the greatest men I have ever known. Do you have any idea what he does for his people?”
In my head I thought, “Yeah, he feeds his people turkeys and then fires them at Thanksgiving.”
Turns out, the woman he met with was a single mom, had a son in college and a tuition bill she couldn’t manage. Turns out, Denny gave her a check, a gift for the entire semester. And turns out, although every one of those 100 people who worked for him had different needs, at one point or another, he had stepped up to the plate and done something extraordinary.
People often ask me what igniteDDS is and why we do what we do. They want to know why a guy with a highly successful private practice in Upstate, N.Y., would travel the country week in and out to give back. They want to know what’s in it for me.
I am honored to share those answers with you today.
What is igniteDDS?
First, please understand, there is no answer to what is igniteDDS. I can however answer, who we are. WE are you. We are a community of dental students and dentists from all over the country at different stages of our careers. We know dentistry is at a crossroads. Student debt is at an all-time high; the traditional associateship opportunities seemingly at an all-time low; corporate dental practices are hungry; tertiary providers and hygienists want a piece of our pie. I could go on, but you, more than most, know the story well.
Our core mission is to give you a 10-year jumpstart on your success. We’ll come to you live. We’ll meet via the web. We’ll do whatever we need to do to arm you with the tools of success and what matters most to you!
Why do we do it?
I learned two great lessons from Denny that day. The first is this: There are two types of people in this world. Those who look out for No. 1, and those who truly believe we are all in this together. Denny gave me that gift that day. And he gave it to me with his actions, not his words. So for me, the why is quite simple. I believe in you. I believe the future of our great profession lies in your hands. You have the power to take dentistry to amazing places! And I believe my story and the story of all the incredible dentists igniteDDS networks with can help you get there. Imagine mentors who not only guide you along your path, but step up with their own practices and give you the opportunity of a lifetime. Sounds good doesn’t it? I’m glad.
And lastly, what’s in it for me?
I graduated in 1994 from SUNY at Buffalo’s Dental School. Since then I’ve been blessed to complete a GPR, be an associate, an owner and a partner in a practice with a team of people I adore. But the truth is every moment I spend with you and igniteDDS, I get to live my dream. You see, Adele wasn’t the only one who thought Denny was one of the greatest men out there. I did too.
Thank you for allowing me into your life and the opportunity to share in your success. It is the greatest honor you could ever afford me.
Together We Rise,