After almost a decade of being a stay-at-home mom, Desirae Shaw joined the Dental Depot team in September 2016. Desirae said her marriage was falling apart, and she knew that she’d need a job lined up for when they eventually separated.
“I spent three months filling out job applications, eight hours a day, every day until finally, I got a call back from Dental Depot,” Desirae said. “They took a chance on me, someone who hadn’t had any real job history in almost a decade.”
And for Desirae, joining the team at Dental Depot was about more than having a job. She wanted to be able to have and maintain financial independence once she became a single parent of two boys.
“Before I got a job I was getting social security and I knew that when I left my husband I did not want my kids to grow up and see me live off the state,” Desirae said. “So I’ve been able to transition completely away from that. I don’t get social security anymore, we don’t get any state benefits. I am a completely self-funded parent. So my goal is really to just maintain that.”
“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
So she started as a business office associate (BOA), helping patients up front and learning the ins and outs of dentistry and patient care. Soon enough, Desirae was training her fellow BOAs and learning how to work as a patient care coordinator (PCC).
“Whenever I first started, Desirae was my trainer,” said Brandon Cagle, a PCC at our Norman office. “Coming into a profession knowing nothing about dental and having limited office experience, she made everything easy and simple. She explained everything in such a way that it all just clicked. On top of that she is always in a good mood and smiling and that made my experience that much better.”
Desirae is still settling into her new position, and with it comes her own unique challenges. She has cerebral palsy and that means thinking outside of the box to work around her body’s limitations.
“I can’t conventionally type because my left hand doesn’t work as well as my right hand,” Desirae said. “Destiney is lightning fast and I am not, but that’s okay, I’m getting faster. It’s a learning curve. I’m figuring out how to adapt and function with the software and the buttons I need to be able to push.”
In addition to her hard work in the office, Desirae is also a part of Dental Depot’s Cultural Committee. As the representative from her office, she has the opportunity to help her team get involved with serving their community outside of the office.
From food drives to awareness months, the Cultural Committee explores causes that benefit the areas where our teams are located. For Desirae, the cause that’s near and dear to her heart is literacy.
“I think you can’t do anything if you can’t read. You have to be able to read everywhere,” Desirae said. “I homeschooled my oldest for two years and I had him reading Dr. Seuss by the time we were done with kindergarten, by himself. I feel like the younger you start, the better, always. Literacy is big in my heart.”
Naturally, the combination resulting from a love of reading and a desire to help others manifests in what Desirae hopes to eventually bring to Dental Depot: the Little Free Library program.
“Take a book, leave a book,” Desirae explained. “There’s a train at every Depot and I feel like if we stuck a little box of books out there – because everyone visits the train, even if they don’t have an appointment – that would increase the availability of books.”
As for what’s in Desirae’s library? You’d find everything from young adult, like Twilight and The Mortal Instruments, to what Desirae describes as, “truly strange fiction.”
“I like Fight Club and White Oleander, and a bunch of other authors that no one’s really heard of,” Desirae said. “I read Carrie for my tenth birthday and that got me reading Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, whatever weird fiction I could get my hands on.”
And of course, she shares her love of reading with her sons. Currently, the trio is reading The Indian in the Cupboard. Desirae’s sons are excited that they’ll finish the book over winter break, just in time to watch the movie before they return to school, she said.
“I try to make sure that whatever I’m reading if my son sits down next to me and asks what I’m reading I can pick up wherever I am and read it to him and it’s going to be appropriate,” Desirae said.
In lieu of toys, Desirae opts to gift her boys books for birthdays, holidays and special occasions. All of it is to build up their own little libraries. Together, they’ve read and reread Harry Potter and dozens of other stories to broaden not only their young imaginations but to deepen their relationships with each other.
But there’s only so much reading someone can do before they get the urge to put pen to paper themselves. Desirae says she’d like to write her own novel one day, perhaps during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which takes place during November.
“[My story] hinges on a what-if this had happened politically instead, so it’s not like you get smashed back to the stone-age, but you get knocked back to the early ’80s,” Desirae said. “It has running water and electricity, but no internet or cell phones, no constant, instant gratification.”
Are books important in her novel? Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out.
Desirae enjoys spending time with her boys and her boyfriend, doing family activities together. She donates frequently to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation and works diligently to find engaging ways for her Dental Depot team to give back to their community.
Desirae was nominated for Employee of the Month by her coworkers at Dental Depot Moore.
“Thank you so much for being a great leader. You are amazing and I am happy to call you my friend. Keep being the leader that you are.” Sandra Reynolds, PASR
“Your smile and giggle are contagious. You encourage me each day no matter what I go through I can get through it! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your team!” Crystal Mitchell, office manager.
“You are a hard worker and you do not complain much when we have our crazy days. You are willing to learn everything that you can and retain it all. I am glad to be able to call you a friend outside of work and that we get along so well.” Destiney Bennett, PCC
“I just wanted to say that I don’t know if I would be where I am in the company without her. Thank you for everything that she taught me and for giving me guidance and having my back when I didn’t believe in myself she pushed me to keep at. She’s a great person and welcomes everyone with open arms.” Brandon Cagle, PCC, Dental Depot Norman
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 November, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Desirae Shaw.