I can’t even remember when I first started attending the Northeast Florida AADOM… This text opens a new tab to the Northeast Florida AADOM chapter website… chapter meetings. I remember being invited and then suddenly becoming family with the other women there.
The biggest aspect of the group was how special everyone is treated from the first meeting. Our chapter goes above and beyond to make sure the experience you gain exceeds all expectations.
I am an introvert-extrovert. I am extremely shy until I get to know you. These ladies (especially Teresa and Audrey) got me out of my shell and showed me what AADOM was all about.
What does AADOM mean to me?
For me, AADOM is about never being alone again. There’s always someone to reach out to for advice, structure, leadership, friendship, laughter, and sometimes just to vent to.
I was invited to attend the dental manager conference for the first time in 2017, but due to a hurricane, I had to reschedule and attended my first meeting in Texas the next year.
I’m not sure I can describe my first meeting in words. It was amazing, huge, and maybe even overwhelming for my introverted self. But the love and support from EVERY person at this meeting was the best thing I have ever felt in dentistry.
One of my doctors, Dr. Alisha Stanford, came with me that year. My doctors believe in me and could see the way AADOM started guiding me toward my goals.
That year, my doctor also wrote the most amazing letter of recommendation to nominate me for the Practice Administrator of the Year. I appreciate them, and they appreciate me, but that was an amazing feeling to stand with the other nominees.
That conference took my love for AADOM to a whole new level.
I immediately researched how to become a Fellow and began my journey. I gained my fellowship in 2019 in Orlando, along with Audrey, who was one of the original friends that encouraged me to join AADOM.
My AADOM tribe has helped me grow and learn in the past years. And the best has yet to come!
Within the past year, I became part of our NEFL AADOM board. This step allowed me to help bring others to our local and national tribes through membership.
I have grown so close with our founding sponsor, Lydia with Patterson, and our board members, Teresa, Audrey, and Claudia. Our laughs and crazy girls’ days, nights, and weekends are some of the best memories I could ever hope for.
How I found the AADOM tribe
To understand how something as small as an invitation to an AADOM meeting can grow, let me share a little about my career.
I came to dentistry in 2004 with a customer service background and from a claim position at Aetna Dental. I was interested in dentistry but wanted to help people personally, so I decided to go back to school. I earned my CDA to start assisting.
Because of my knowledge in the insurance field, I was always given more experience in a front office position and moved to the front office over the years.
Anyone that knows me knows that I really don’t like the title office manager. Even though I do the duties and love my team, I feel the title isn’t needed.
In October 2017, I was given an opportunity to start sharing ideas about insurance and marketing by coaching offices around the Northeast Florida area.
By being invited into the AADOM NEFL chapter, not only did I open up the many opportunities to continue my education, but I also get to help other offices on a regular basis. My overall goal is to help dental practices become educated on insurance, marketing, management, and involvement in the community.
Let’s face it, one dentist or office cannot see every patient, but by helping each other in our field, we can help the overall dental community so that we can help every patient together.
My AADOM journey only took one person to invite me to one meeting. By accepting their invitation, I found my tribe. I was accepted, and they helped me realize I am in the right position in the right field.
I am a dental office manager, and I am not alone!
Meet the Author
Sandy McGrew, FAADOM, is a busy dental practice manager, wife, and mom.
She serves as the office manager at Podvia and Stanford Family Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to the Podvia and Stanford Family Dentistry website… in Florida. She began her career working for Aetna Dental Insurance and is also a Certified Dental Assistant.
Today, Sandy works with 40+ practices throughout Florida and Georgia, helping staff through education related to insurance, marketing, and more.
In her free time, she stays busy by shuffling kids to soccer, dance, and swim meets. Otherwise, you’ll be sure to find her at the pool or beach!