October marked the seventh anniversary of Brandi Hatley’s service at Dental Depot and with it, a well deserved surprise – Brandi was named Employee of the Month. As Dental Depot’s regional manager, Brandi has grown through multiple roles within the company and celebrated many successes.
We sat down to discuss her time here, including how she found her passion in dentistry, the lessons she’s learned, and the leadership style she’s developed out of her own personal growth.
DD: So, seven years. Tell me what that’s been like?
BH: It’s been a roller coaster, but not a bad one.
DD: How did you get started with dentistry and Dental Depot?
BH: I had moved to the city and already had completed a dental assisting course, so I came on as a DA. I worked at the Yukon office as a hygiene assistant. I was not in that position for long as I had an accident and broke my wrist and I was unable to wear a glove with my cast.
They put me in the front verifying insurance – this was when we had dedicated people verifying insurance at each location. I was there probably eight weeks before I got my cast off and Brian Bowling approached me about a working interview for a position as a patient account service rep (PASR). We did the interview and within 20 minutes he wanted me to be a PASR at Yukon.
So as a PASR – I loved it. I did it for a while and moved to Northwest OKC and cleaned up that office. Brian asked me to work with him and help train other PASRs. Eventually it turned into training the entire front office.
In August of 2017 they asked me to take over Northwest OKC as the manager. I came back to ELO as regional manager in May of 2019. I’ve had a lot of roles and a lot of training, both in the offices and at ELO. So having both sides of it definitely helps. My time as a PASR is probably the root of my success at Dental Depot.
DD: Tell me more about that.
BH: Having an understanding of how insurance works and how claims works means you can explain thoroughly to patients about why they have a balance. I’m the type of person who doesn’t take a simple answer; I have to understand why. I will dig until I find an answer.
DD: What about dentistry made you want to pursue it as a career?
BH: I had an under-bite – so I was in ortho for a little over three years. I had a little more extensive of a case than most do, but from that, I learned how taking care of your teeth is so important. So when you get to that certain age that you’re like, what am I going to do with my life? Well, I loved teeth! So I got into dental assisting and was going to go into dental hygiene [before I broke my wrist] and found that love for accounting and for Dental Depot.
DD: That’s so incredible that you were not only able to find a career, but to find a culture where you could flourish and be very successful here.
BH: It does feel good to know that I’m the person anybody can rely on. People ask me, ‘What does being regional manager entail?’ and… it’s all of it. It’s anything that I’m asked to do. That’s my answer, jokingly, that it’s whatever they need me to do. But I do take this company very seriously and I’m very dedicated and committed to it, so if they need me to do recruiting events or help with marketing, I’ll do it.
DD: What about Dental Depot makes you this passionate about it?
BH: Dr. Glenn [Ashmore]. Dr. Glenn is just inspirational. Meeting with him when he goes over treatment plans and seeing how he works with patients – it inspires me, honestly. Because he has really mastered dentistry and everything that goes with it. When I say that, I mean he takes such care in making sure that we are doing right by our patients – all of that is what made me fall in love with Dental Depot.
DD: As a regional manager, what are the topics you typically run into in an average week?
BH: I’m answering a lot of questions and taking care of situations for managers or employees. I’m usually trying to help mend relationships between patients and Dental Depot. I help with the accounts and monies. I train people every day. I’m talking to managers and employees about accounts and/or patient concerns.
DD: Seven years is a long time and many things have changed since then. Tell me a little about what you’ve seen have the most impact.
BH: I was the first official trainer. Before I actually started doing that, we had what we called the ‘training location,’ which was Northwest OKC. Me being the first official trainer for Dental Depot who travels and trains for specific positions, that was a big change.
Another thing I got to see change was the onboarding process. We started training our front office staff on key things they need to be able to do, like scheduling and how to use EagleSoft, from day one. Something newer that comes to mind is the Dental Depot Academy [of Dental Assisting]. Being a manager in this company, I’ve seen how important it is to have good candidates coming in.
DD: What is the most difficult part of your job?
BH: I love a challenge. I’m learning how to manage from a very broad position. None of the managers are with me on a daily basis, so I have to make sure that I am organized enough to follow through because they’re not right there to remind me. You can train and guide someone to success, but if you don’t follow through you’re not giving them the attention they deserve.
DD: Do you have any special memories of your team or patients that you’ve helped?
BH: As far as with my team, I started something my first year as manager and we did it again my second year, but we did an Easter egg hunt. Being able to see everybody from 20-year-olds to 50-somethings laughing and running around trying to find Easter eggs in the office – I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
As for patients, there was an older woman who had a very old denture. She wasn’t working, she didn’t have insurance, and she was just at a loss. Even at a cash price – which we do a significant discount for our patients – it was still a lot for someone on Social Security.
I talked to Dr. Al-Zubi about her and we wanted to help her because she needed us. I used that opportunity of her need for Dr. Al-Zubi to learn because she had an implant-supported denture. With that, I was able to give her more of a discount and everybody won. He got to learn something new, and she got the denture she needed at a better price.
DD: Who has had the most impact on you here?
BH: I’ve had a few managers and they’ve each had an impact on me. They each had traits and strengths that the other lacked, so I was able to experience the full spectrum of management styles. I felt like I got the best of both worlds. To me, not micromanaging someone and trusting them only allows them to flourish more.
DD: So what are your professional goals?
BH: I think about how my managers grew and groomed me, and I saw what it did for me, so I want to do that for other people as well. I had an employee who I saw a spark in, and all I had to do was give her a little nudge and she blossomed.
DD: What is the best piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
BH: Come in and give 100%, learn to say no, use your time wisely, and always be looking for people to help grow.
DD: What’s your home life like?
BH: My highlight of last weekend was that I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Transformation Church. There’s a pastor that I really love watching online and he’s kind of blossomed on the internet itself and I just told myself that I needed to see him in person. So it’s church, gym, and my own little family that I’ve created here for myself. Obviously I have friends that I’ll go out with for birthday parties and things like that, but I’m happy with my work/life balance.
DD: How does your faith play into your every day life?
BH: It’s everything. Honestly, about the time that I took over Northwest OKC as a manager was when I really focused. I started self-analyzing. I had some things I needed to work on as a person at home and at work. Once I started getting back into the groove and committing to Jesus, I realized my purpose and that’s when my career really blossomed. I realized that I am supposed to be a light. I did a ton of morale for my office; I always tried to speak light into them. It’s played a huge part in my success and I would talk for days if I got into that.
DD: So you’re very fulfilled?
BH: Very fulfilled. I’ve found my purpose – I’m supposed to lead people and be their light.
DD: Tell me about your kiddo.
BH: He’s awesome. He’s nine-going-on-nineteen. He’s the most responsible and mature nine-year-old you’ve ever met. He does laundry and vacuuming and is very helpful. He takes care of me as much as I take care of him. He’s very different from me; he’s very friendly and bubbly and can walk into a room and make friends with anybody. He’s laughing all the time and he’s so joyful. I have had zero issues with him. He’s wonderful.
DD: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself?
BH: I used to kick myself growing up because I believed I didn’t have a talent and that there wasn’t anything I was good at. As I’m getting older, I’ve found my purpose in my career and I realized that I do have a talent – it’s leadership.
When Brandi isn’t at work she enjoys shopping and spending time with her son and boyfriend. Recently, she undertook the challenge of customizing her Jeep Renegade and is excited for that process. Between work, home, gym and church, Brandi keeps herself busy and enjoys tackling whatever challenges come her way.
Brandi was nominated by her coworkers at Dental Depot. Here’s what they had to say:
“I have worked with Brandi over the past couple of years. She has taught me many things inside Dental Depot and out. When she was my manager she always made sure her employees had everything they needed and became a very close friend to me and many others. When she got her new position I knew she would strive, even though I was sad to lose her. I could not think of a better employee of the month. Love you to pieces BHAT. I would not be the woman I am today (and awesome employee ) if it was not for you!” Lauren C.
“Brandi has been with Dental Depot for seven years and in that time, has made the most of every position she’s been in. She is a reliable team member, an exceptional communicator, and a true leader among her peers. She stays humble and always makes the best of any situation. There hasn’t been a challenge I’ve seen her unable to meet and I look forward to working with her for years to come.” Shelby W.
Dental Depot is a locally owned and operated family company. As such, we believe that the incredible group of doctors, hygienists, assistants and staff that make up Dental Depot are more than their job titles; they’re members of our extended family. In our family, we like to recognize when someone goes above and beyond, living the Dental Depot values. This October, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Brandi Hatley.