There aren’t many people who go through life with the same confident compassion as Mona Wautelet. You see, Mona is a giver – she always has been and she always will be. And while that comes as no surprise to those of us who know her, Mona’s love for others comes as a warm reminder of the good in the world, even when it seems hard to find.
We had the pleasure of surprising Mona with our March 2020 Employee of the Month award to celebrate all of the good she does both in and outside of our offices. Mona recently celebrated her 20th year with Dental Depot in December 2019 and brings the same positive attitude and friendliness as she has since day one. Most of you know Mona as Dr. Glenn Ashmore’s lead assistant and it’s true – if Dr. Glenn is practicing dentistry, Mona is right there beside him. But as schedules have changed and as Dental Depot has grown, Mona was made our Manager of Clinical Training & Development and we’ll explore what that means here.
Admittedly, there’s a lot happening in the world today that can seem scary or uncertain. But no matter what, our patients and communities can count on Dental Depot to always to be here for their dental needs – even if it’s only for emergency and essential treatment. So, who better to share an inside look at how our offices are coping with COVID-19 than Mona? And as you read, we hope you’ll get to know and love her just as much as we do.
DD: Are you at the Broken Arrow location today?
MW: I am!
DD: How’s that treating you?
MW: You know what, we’re making all kinds of leaps and bounds when it comes to progress up here, so it’s a good thing. This crew is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen so far as attitudes go. They’re doing a great job. Everybody is so positive! It’s times like these that bring out the best and the worst in people. You figure out who people really are.
DD: What is this like in the offices right now? Having to adjust to all of the updates?
MW: I’ve got to say – we already have high standards, but this has just taken it to the next level. For the most part our patients are very agreeable and they understand that we’re doing our best to take care of everybody. I have not seen a more positive, optimistic team than I have here at Broken Arrow. The doctor and everybody included – they’re all on board. It’s almost like a family – that’s how well they treat each other.
Dr. Quan [Hoang] is amazing. He’s really stepped up to the plate to make sure that his team is taken care and that as long as they are willing to work – he’s willing to work. It speaks volume to both sides and really shows the character of what we’re trying to do.
We’re trying to help this community by stepping up to the plate and staying open. We had a guy tell us on Friday, “Thank you guys so, so much. I’ve called nine other dental offices and you guys are the only ones who would see me today.” That’s real. It’s really real. There are a lot of places that are closed right now and our whole mission right now is to ease up the flow going into the hospitals so we can lessen their workload. We haven’t really had any flak from patients as far as our extra precautionary measures, it’s really pretty good all the way around.
DD: That’s so good to hear that.
MW: You always hear about all these worst-case scenarios – we’re having the best turnout for the worst-case scenario that could ever possibly be. You wouldn’t believe how it’s drawn our teams together. We refuse to have the idle gossip, the fearmongering; we’re not going to let people bring that in here. We’re doing every single thing we can to make it even safer for the people here who aren’t in full PPE (personal protective equipment) like our front staff members or patients.
DD: What have our front offices been doing to stay safe?
MW: They have gloves and masks, and whenever our patient care coordinators go in the rooms they wear safety goggles – even though they aren’t exposed to aerosols in the same way that we are – it’s for the off chance that somebody coughs. We’re taking patient’s temperatures before they ever come in – all of that is outside the office. All of our teams are wiping down every surface with CaviWipes. We bring patients in one door and lead them out another so that there’s very, very minimal contact for them at any point. It’s been one of the proudest times in my career with Dental Depot, is to work with this fabulous group of people here and Dr. Quan is doing amazing.
DD: And you have everything you need, all of the PPE resources that you need?
MW: Karissa [Bowers] has done an awesome job to procure everything we need to take care of us. We have face shields and masks. We don’t wear our uniforms in or out, we’re changing at the office. We’ve stepped up our game on everything so that we’re in complete compliance with the ADA and the ODA. We have everything we need. And we have the best team of leaders possible – Jack [Waldo], Tara [Hill], Brian [Ward], Dr. Glenn [Ashmore], all of them have just been extraordinary in taking care of everybody.
It’s humbling to be a part of such a great team. We really do have the best of everything as far as we can. People have been really understanding about us keeping to emergency and essential appointments only. I feel like we’re growing our patient base because we are here for them in this time of need. People are so thankful.
DD: That’s all so wonderful to hear. But let’s jump in and talk about you. So, why dentistry?
MW: My sister was in dentistry first and I always looked up to her. She started back in the 70s in a program through her high school and worked for the Teamster Union up there in Anchorage, Alaska. I always thought that was a worthy profession, she always loved what she did. You get to talk to people and socialize – I tell people I don’t really work for a living but I get paid to socialize. I love what I do. My sister was my inspiration and now my daughter has gone into dental assisting because I was her inspiration. It’s a family thing!
DD: What is it about Dental Depot that got you in the door 20 years ago and has kept you here?
MW: Back in the day, I knew what I could bring to the table and I wanted to know what Dental Depot could bring. I asked around about what Dr. Glenn was like, what was the turnover like, was he good to his employees? And I liked the answers. He’s good with people, very low turn-over rate (at that point, Pam [Foster] had already been with him for 20 years), very personable, friendly guy. I love Dr. Glenn. I wouldn’t dream of working for anybody else. He and his family are amazing.
DD: What is it you do now with the training?
MW: I touch base on every aspect of the offices. I work with the managers, the doctors, the assistants – and groom them into our Dental Depot Way. And that is our way of treating the patient first and foremost like family. And I help them hone their skills to raise them up to that next level. I want to get them in tune with our patients and cultivate an attitude of excellence.
DD: Do you get to see that with a lot of the people you work with?
MW: We’re one of the few companies that will grow someone through the ranks to become more and we embrace growing like that. The only barrier people will encounter here are the ones they put on themselves. We have managers that come out of dental assisting. The front desk allows people to become patient care coordinators or even management or even more at the executive office. I think the Dental Depot is America proper. You can be anything you want to be, provided you have the right stuff.
DD: What does a normal week look like for you?
MW: If Dr. Glenn is working I work with him, we have our own clientele that’s been with him for 40 years. Otherwise, I go out to the offices and offer them support. If we have brand new doctors I go out and show them how we do things so we can make life easier for them. Pretty much every week can be different. I go where I’m needed and I help them grow into people that we would love to have stay at the Depot for years to come.
DD: Tell me about what it’s like to work with Dr. Glenn.
MW: Oh man, if you could imagine being with the most personable person. He can take somebody who’s so irritated they’re spitting mad and he just melts them with his personality. He’s so congenial and patient focused. He’s a good businessman but there is no amount of money you can put on that personality because it is award-winning and he’s so genuine.
DD: With 20 years behind you, what are you looking most forward to in the years to come?
MW: I love what I do so much. I really do. In times like this, getting to see how we’re prevailing and how [our leadership] is taking care of their whole staff and the goodness they’re putting out there into the community – I don’t see it getting any better than this. I just want to grow up the team to be able to do more of what I do so we can help more people.
DD: Have you volunteered at events like Dentistry from the Heart?
MW: I haven’t missed any of the Dentistry From the Heart events that we’ve done. I also love doing the OK Kids Korral. I even go and donate stuff when I’m able.
DD: How does it feel to have giving back to our communities as such an integral part of our culture here?
MW: I liken it to the biblical sense, “to whom much is given, much is expected.” So, we always try to give more than we’ve been given. It’s humbling to be around people who have such a need and are really just grateful for anything you can do. I really believe that, that God wants us to be good and give back, not just to take. That’s my mantra, I’ve always lived that way: to whom much is given, much is expected. Always give more than you take. I love what we do, I love who we are. I’d like to say, it’s just like the service, but we’re Depot Strong. That’s who we are.
DD: What do you like to do in your free time?
MW: Gardening. My spouse and I are constantly doing things with the OK Kids Korral and the Jesus House. I never drive anywhere without food in my car for the homeless. Sometimes on Sundays we’ll go downtown – and this is real – this is what I do and who I am. I always have the big packets of cheese and crackers or peanut butter and crackers and water and we’ll hand that out instead of money because this way they’ll get some calories in them. But that’s what I do. We love to lift people up.
DD: How did you get started doing that? Is that the way you were raised?
MW: My dad was in the service, he was in the army, he always took care of the soldiers who couldn’t go home for the holidays by bringing them to our house. We always had every race, color and creed at our house. Whether it was Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving, we always had everybody at our house. My family has always taken care of our people and treated them as our own. We don’t see color, we’re all one, and that’s how it’s always been. My mom has always been a giver, I’ll always be a giver. That’s something that we were raised in – treat everybody like family. And it was fun! And that’s what I get to do here and I love it.
It’s because of people like Mona that Dental Depot has not only grown in the number of locations or in people we’re able to employ, but grown in the quality and compassion of which we practice dentistry. It’s because of people like Mona that we have generations of families being seen in our offices. And, of course, it’s because of people like Mona that keeping our doors open to help our community in times of need never took a second thought.
Because no matter what happens, we’ll be here. As Mona put it: Depot Strong.
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 March, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Mona Wautelet.