“Going Green” Tips from our 2022 Green Leader
We are so excited to introduce you all to our 2022 Green Leader:
Jennifer Z. Vickery, Vice President of Operations at Ocean Dental in Edmond, Oklahoma!
Creating an environmentally-friendly culture and mindset within your dental practice has an impact that reaches far beyond the physical walls of the office. Made possible by a grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, AADOM created this award as part of its Green Leader Initiative, which aims to empower practice managers to reduce their practices’ environmental footprint and lead their teams in becoming part of dentistry’s green future.
Jennifer will be generously sharing actionable “going green” tips with the AADOM Tribe throughout the year.
Environmentally-friendly tips for your dental practice
Throughout the year, we’ll update this post with Jennifer’s top tips for your dental practice, with the newest at the top:
Go Green Tip #12:
Take notes electronically – try OneNote if you’re a Microsoft girl like me. It allows you to label and color code tabs for different teams or projects. If you love pen and paper, try a Rocketbook! The reusable pages can be scanned using the QR code to email copies of the notes with your handwriting, then a special cloth erases the pages clean.
Go Green Tip #11:
Be supportive of the wellbeing of your team members. Invest in their professional and emotional growth. Inspiring others to be better and do better can be more rewarding than your own efforts.
Go Green Tip #10:
Consider washable gowns and biodegradable detergent. Our Iowa team implemented this during the pandemic to follow strict CDC guidelines requiring changing gowns after every procedure. Nearly three years later, they still love their reusable gowns and have complained about doing laundry less than my husband!
Go Green Tip #9:
Create a digital newsletter – Our Ocean Dental company newsletter is themed The Foghorn and keeps us all connected monthly. We celebrate recognition, share clinical tips, HR reminders, work anniversaries, and feature an employee of the month. This is a critical part of our company culture.
Go Green Tip #8:
QR codes can be fun! Almost everyone has a cell phone in today’s world. QR codes can be created for free online and redirect your patients in a fun way to a multitude of websites and resources, from patient financing options like CareCredit, to current promos, or even making it into a fun scavenger hunt for patients of all ages.
Go Green Tip #7:
Ditch the lobby magazines! Not only are they cluttered, tattered, and unsanitary, they are also quickly outdated. Place items for children in your lobby that can be easily sanitized and consider showcasing your current promos and patient reviews on a lobby TV.
Go Green Tip #6:
Your impact is your legacy for future generations. Show your children and grandchildren that you care; they are looking up to you as a role model. Small changes are better than none!
Go Green Tip #5:
- Rectangle Health – electronic payments and paperless statements
- RevenueWell – paperless patient forms, appointment reminder texts, and email campaigns
- CareCredit – patient financing and payment plans
Go Green Tip #4:
Go digital! This can be an investment, but it reduces the radiation exposure to your patients, and chemical exposure to your staff. These conversions are becoming standard in the dental industry and allow for clinical teams to run more efficiently.
Go Green Tip #3:
Go paperless! Change can be intimidating for offices that have always held onto the security blanket of a paper chart. Make it fun by ordering color coded clipboards that can be easily sanitized between patients. Use a fun color for new patients to make sure they get the royal treatment. Keep your chart cheat sheet or routing slip to one piece of paper and scan it in when you’re done. We converted all 14 clinics in 2022 at Ocean Dental. I’m happy to be your cheerleader if you’re considering this change and need support!
Go Green Tip #2:
On your next gift giving occasion, choose gift ideas that practice a green mindset. Customized stainless-steel cups and tumblers are some of my favorite gifts to give, receive, and use. Ocean Dental provides custom water bottles to our employees every year as part of a wellness effort with employee appreciation, and Yeti cups for milestone anniversaries or contests.
Go Green Tip #1:
Be aware – notice patterns in things you do or use that are unnecessarily wasteful. These are different from things that might be necessary in the moment; and this is usually the easiest place to start with positive change.
Stay tuned for the rest of this year’s “going green” tips!
Meet our 2022 Green Leader!
What is your definition of Green Leader?
A green leader is someone who inspires others to be better versions of themselves, leaving the world a better place than when they found it. Leadership is not about glorious crowning acts; it’s about harnessing the strengths in your key leaders and pulling them together to accomplish a shared goal – whether it’s sustainability, integrity, or production.
Doing good in the world is contagious!
The more you can inspire others to make positive change, the greater legacy we can all leave behind.
How does your team support your efforts?
In every way possible! It has been so fulfilling to work with my team on these projects and encourage their ideas. We collaborate constantly to bring Ocean Dental’s vision to life. Some of my key leaders and projects this year have been:
- Training & Development (Erin) – working together to take 14 clinics paperless in 2022. We have been an unstoppable team this year and I am so thankful to have her support in executing our vision.
- Human Resources (Kelly) – reinventing an entire department together, from our HRIS system to employee wellness efforts and bringing “back to life” an electronic version of our company newsletter, The Foghorn.
- Materials (Terri) – reducing waste in our ordering processes, materials, and choosing environmentally friendly options when possible.
- Professional Relations (Heather) – utilizing secure services like DocuSign to go paperless with recruitment, our doctor agreements, and hospital credentialing. My first major milestone with Ocean Dental was working with Heather on streamlining our doctor payroll process in 2017. She has always been supportive of my innovative mindset and embraced my inventive ideas.
I could talk for hours about my team and how they are the key to what we can accomplish. I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to lead such a solid group – just the four mentioned above have a combined tenure with Ocean Dental of over FIFTY years! We are all very passionate about partnering with providers to deliver the best patient care possible in underserved communities.
What is your favorite green thing to do?
When I found out I was pregnant with my son, Kyle, I created him an email account. I regularly write him letters, share funny stories, and send special pictures documenting his milestones. His previous babysitters, teachers, and our extended family are all encouraged to email him every year on his birthday with well wishes, instead of sending a card. When he turns 18, I plan to give him the password. I kept it a secret for the first few years, but now at age 5 he will ask, “Will you email it to me, Mama?” This is without a doubt my favorite green thing to do!
How does your work/green mindset carry over to your own/home life?
My husband’s family lives in Maui, where sustainability is a lifestyle. My brother-in-law, Russell, was the truest form of a green leader and role model. While serving as the CFO for Maui Brewing company, they became the first brewery in the USA to be 100% off-grid and solar powered. He left behind a strong legacy of inspiring sustainability in our family. My son is constantly watching and looking up to us. He learned about the 3 R’s in kindergarten this year: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We strive to make Uncle Russell proud!
As the 2022 Green Leader, what would you like to share with practice owners about how their leadership can influence the environmental impact at their practices?
I am very fortunate to work for our owner, Dr. Chad Hoecker, and our President, Scott Cathey. They both fully embrace sustainability in our practices, which allows me to lead confidently with their support. They genuinely care about the future of our employees, doctors, and leadership team. Ocean Dental was founded in 1998 around a mission statement that begins with “Innovation – Always striving to improve, to find a better way to do the same old thing, to be the best at everything we do, embracing change.” Having a CEO and President who are influential about being innovative attracts and encourages their key leaders to do the same. Their influence is inspiring!
With a deeply rooted career in dentistry, Jennifer Z. Vickery combines her passion for patients with over a decade of dental management experience to serve as the Vice President of Operations for Ocean Dental, a dental service organization with 15 clinics across 6 states. As an inspiring cultivator of relationships, Jennifer uses transformational leadership to build confident leaders and tenacious teams. Jennifer actively supports Oklahoma and the dental community through service in several nonprofits. She is proud to be a founding board member for the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), active member of Women in DSO, proud member of Leadership Edmond Class XXXVII, and past Chairman of the Leadership Institute for the Junior League of Oklahoma City. Jennifer is married to her Texas A&M college sweetheart, Tyler, and they have a 5-year-old son named Kyle, after Kyle Field.
About the AADOM Green Leader Initiative:
The AADOM Green Leader Initiative empowers dental practice leaders to adopt greener practices in the dental office. The initiative aims to engage members to reduce the environmental impact of “business as usual” dentistry and to show how there are real bottom-line benefits to implementing specific changes that will result in reducing waste and using environmentally friendly products.
This initiative is made possible through a generous grant from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.
Are you our next Green Leader?
Criteria to nominate the 2023 Green Leader:
- Use of Green Products in the practice
- Use of Green Practices
- Current AADOM member and Office Manager
- Must be present at the 2023 AADOM Conference
- Environmental mindset around your dental practice
- Sets example for his/her dental team
Nominations for our 2023 Green Leader are now closed. Stay tuned for next year’s nominations!