Paola Gaspar is a leader in the making, quite literally. This plucky 20-year-old is part of Dental Depot’s Leadership-in-Training (LIT) program at the North OKC office. She’s been with Dental Depot since March 2019 and in a short amount of time, has accomplished much.
Originally referred to Depot by a friend, Paola joined the team as a business office assistant (BOA). And, like many who have come before her, craved more. Soon enough, she’d been promoted to patient care coordinator (PCC) and after that, to LIT.
“I’ve done a lot of growing. I always thought I’d just come in and be a receptionist and eventually find something else, but I really like Depot,” Paola said. “I like my doctors and all of the opportunities I’ve been given to grow.”
Her success at Depot has been influenced by a number of factors; her strong work ethic, her ability to multi-task in a fast-paced office setting, and her curious mind, to name a few. But perhaps Paola’s biggest asset is her positive attitude.
“I’d say the most important traits for a leader should be responsibility, multitasking, and a positive attitude. Sometimes we get patients that get a bill and they’re yelling on the phone – you just have to understand that something else is probably going on in their lives and yes, they’re taking it out on us, but we can step back and acknowledge it,” Paola said. “As a leader, you never know what you’re going to go through or what situations you’ll be put in, so positivity, responsibility, and multitasking are important.”
You see, Paola has an understated kind of confidence. She’s still figuring out what she wants to do with her career, but she doesn’t let uncertainty hold her back from making the most of every moment. Between working full-time and going to school, she’s keeping her momentum to set herself up for success.
“I’m pretty indecisive about where I want my career to go. I really like dental but I’ve also always had an interest in medicine, so I’m just really trying to figure it out,” Paola explained. “Everything on the clinical side – like the procedures themselves – I like watching. I don’t know if I would want to be a dentist, but watching the way they go in and out with the drill and do root canals – I don’t know, it’s just mesmerizing.”
“We have these papers up front that explains how a lot of diseases start with the mouth, like heart disease or infections,” Paola explained. “To see how much the mouth has to do with overall health is something I didn’t know before.”
Right now, she’s still working on her basics at Rose State College, but she’s got some ideas for where she’d like to take her education.
“I’m considering becoming a dental hygienist or maybe a nurse practitioner. I did want to do pediatrics – whether that be dental or medical – but that’s too much schooling. That’s 10 years – that’s dedication. So right now, I just see myself going for four or five years,” Paola said. “My degree sheet right now is dental hygiene. I know that pediatric hygienists are a thing, so I kind of want to explore that option.”
You may have noticed that Paola really likes kids. Before she got into dentistry, she worked at a drop-in daycare near her office. When you look at her role models, they share a common thread – they’re all working moms. In her own family, Paola looks up to her mom, aunt, and cousin.
“I do want a family eventually,” Paola said. “Right now though, school is my priority.”
At Depot, she’s found role models in the office managers she’s worked with – Amanda Lagunas, now Dental Depot’s OKC regional manager, and Rebecca Bailey, the North OKC office manager.
“Amanda would always talk to me about her kids and how she handled [the work-life balance], and she was very inspirational,” Paola said. “So is Rebecca. The way they work for their families makes me really look up to them.”
It’s from these two women that Paola is learning how to lead and discovering her leadership style.
“I like to encourage people most of all because I personally don’t like it when somebody just tells me to do something. It’s important to be nice rather than be demanding,” Paola explained. “I know how to be a leader, but I also know when I’m supposed to follow. If I don’t know much about a subject and somebody else does, I’m going to follow their lead. If I know more about a subject, then obviously I’ll step up to be a leader.”
All of us here at Depot are excited to see how far this young woman will go as she continues to grow. For now, we’re pleased to celebrate Paola Gaspar as our July 2020 Employee of the Month. Congratulations!