Founders of the Dentist Career Conference
Laura Brenner, DDS graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2001 and practiced dentistry for 10 years before she left clinical dentistry behind for good.
After writing “10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too,” she began connecting with other dentists from around the world who also wanted more from their careers. She created a space on her Lolabees blog where dentists could have real conversations about life in dentistry.
In 2017 she became a Certified Professional Coach and opened Lolabees Career Coaching to help other dentists plan their own career development or career change.
Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA is a physician and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Physicians Helping Physicians. She runs multiple businesses and has spent over 15 years assisting physicians with career strategy. Dr. Mudge-Riley was called the “Doctor’s Doctor” in a 2010 book she co-authored because of her success in working with other doctors. The book is titled Physicians in Transition.
Dr. Mudge-Riley received her medical degree from Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical School and her Masters Degree in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Speakers in the 2021 Fall Dentist Career Conference
Alan Stern, DDS is a practicing dentist and runs a coaching business called Better Richer Stronger. He works with dentists who want to create a workplace that is productive & profitable and a life that is rewarding and meaningful. As a speaker, he conducts presentations for dental groups that redefine what it means to build a better team and rekindle their passion for what matters.
He wrote the book, Enjoy the Ride, for those who want to get out from the day to day grind and take charge of their roadmap to a better life.
As a result of his work, people often share they have more focus, more energy, more momentum and get the results they no longer thought were possible.
On a personal note, he and his wife Fran recommitted to living a healthy life and he even held a plank for 10.5 minutes on his 66th birthday!
Heather Schneider, DMD has been working in the field of dentistry for twenty plus years. Midway through her dental school career, Heather became aware that teaching was more appealing than the thought of private practice. Teaching made her aware that her true interest was centered around encouraging others along their life paths. But it didn’t stop there…
Dr. Schneider’s level of commitment to finding her greatest spark of interest and fulfillment within the industry resulted in the entertainment of seven different positions at one time. It was her part time consulting role that led to the invitation to step in as Dental Director for the Nation’s largest Dental Insurance provider in her sate, Delta Dental of Arizona.
Currently, Dr. Schneider is pulling the knowledge and multi angled experience from her twenty year history in the field to her position as Dental Director for DDAZ and loving it! She is also Instructing part-time in the simulation clinic at the Dental University.
Dr. Shivani Kamodia Barto currently lives in Okinawa, Japan. After attending dental school at the University of Michigan, Dr. Barto practiced for three years in San Antonio, Texas as a full time associate. She and her husband are currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan for a three year Naval assignment, during which time Shivani is building her side hustle focused on wellness for busy professionals into a full time business. Shivani has always been an active leader in organized dentistry, creating programs for environmentally sustainable dentistry, and educating other dentists on all things wellness. In addition, Shivani has been a yoga teacher since 2012, and is passionate about leading other health care professionals to integrate mind, body, and spirit. She believes that community engagement and vulnerable connection between other healthcare professionals is key to greater fulfillment and success for all. By sharing her journey through personal development, yoga, mindfulness, fitness, nutrition, sustainability, and more, Shivani hopes to lead health care professionals to the next level.
Natanya Brown received her DMD from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2005, followed by a GPR at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She received specialty training in endodontics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and is board certified by the American Board of Endodontics. Natanya has been in private practice in the SF Bay Area since 2009.
Natanya is also a certified life and weight loss coach with training from The Life Coach School. She is passionate about helping dentists manage urges to overeat after busy days seeing patients so that they can live their lives at their ideal weight. She is on a mission to help improve the lives of dentists by making mindfulness and wellness more accessible.
Having been raised in Spain and Puerto Rico, Natanya is fluent in Spanish, and looks forward to resuming international travel. She is an avid tennis player and spectator and can be found on the tennis court practicing her topspin forehand.
Sonia Chopra, DDS’s entire career has been characterized by pushing herself and empowering others to grow—as entrepreneurs, leaders, and patient advocates—all in the service of creating a more educated, balanced field.
On top of running her thriving practice, Sonia provides groundbreaking digital education and community support to general dentists and endodontists who want to uplevel their technical skills, patient experience, and overall business models. Through her thoughtfully designed online course, E-School, she is revolutionizing the reputation of endodontics through the simple, tangible lessons rooted in her own diverse experience. By empowering dentists to perform better root canals, empowering endodontists to run better practices, and empowering patients to make better health decisions, Sonia is paving a new way forward for the next generation of healthy, confident, empowered people—both in and out of the chair.
Paul Goodman, DDS is a practicing general dentist and the managing partner of a group practice with two locations along with his brother, Jeffrey, in Mercer County, NJ.
In 2017, Dr. Goodman founded Dental Nachos. Dental Nachos is dedicated to increasing the success and decreasing the stress of dentists and teams! Dr. Goodman is also a practice broker, speaker and coach for dentists.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 2002, Dr. Goodman pursued additional training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. During his general practice residency and hospital fellowship at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Dr. Goodman had the fortunate opportunity to learn how to place and restore dental implants. Dr. Goodman has a passion for teaching, speaking and giving back to the dental community.
Jessica E. Metcalfe, DDS is the founder of The Alchemist Dentist, an international speaker, a life coach, a mental health activist and a dentist to oncology patients. She works with professionals to help dismantle impostor phenomenon, perfection and prevent burnout. Dr. Jessica brings a unique perspective challenging your thoughts, emotions and behaviours about success, self-worth and mental well-being.
Rick Zullo, DDS received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Loyola University of Chicago in 1991. After practicing in the Orlando, Florida, area for 17 years, he sold his business in September of 2008 and promptly embarked on his post-dental (mis)adventures. His travels led him to Rome, Italy where he began to reinvent himself as a writer, travel blogger, and digital marketing savant. His path has since wandered in unexpected directions, and not always so smoothly. But even in the most challenging times, he has never regretted his decision to leave dentistry for a life more in line with his natural inclinations. You can read about his time in Italy at rickzullo.com.
Eric Block, DDS is a full time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts. He is also an author, speaker, influencer, podcaster, blogger, certified life coach, key opinion leader, husband, and father of two kids. He is on a mission to help dental professionals across the country overcome burnout and anxiety. He authored his first book titled “The Stress-Free Dentist: Overcome Burnout and Start Loving Dentistry Again.”
He is the founder and CEO of the marketplace website called DealsforDentists.com which helps dentists save time and money by helping them find new customer offers from companies across the industry.
Dr Laura Mach is a general dentist, a practice owner and a certified life coach. She coaches women who own their practices to learn to love where they are. She has a podcast called Love Your Practice on iTunes and Spotify. Her website is LoveYourPractice.net.
Sampada Deshpande, DDS is a general dentist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. A foreign trained dentist from India, Sampada earned her DDS from the University of Washington in 2018, where she also completed a LEND fellowship in 2021. Outside of clinical dentistry, she enjoys hosting the New Dentist Business Club, biking the rolling hills with her husband, and advocating for innovation in healthcare technology via her work at Samsotech. You can reach her directly at [email protected] for your health-tech needs or visit her website www.sampadadeshpandedds.com for more information.
Stephanie Gans, DDS graduated from the Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry in 2013 and advanced her training by completing a General Practice Residency at Saint Vincent Charity Hospital. She practiced dentistry in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio prior to joining Procter & Gamble in the Fall of 2018.
Dr. Gans is currently a Professional and Scientific Relations Manager for Crest + Oral-B. Her goal is to teach dental professionals about the recent advances in paste and power brush technology to help improve oral health.
In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She has five siblings including an identical twin who is also a dentist. She also enjoys swimming, running, scuba diving, and boating. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Laurel Gans, DDS is a general dentist and writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She practiced dentistry for six years before joining United Dental Brokers of America as their Director of Sales, Marketing and Business Development.
Dr. Gans studied Spanish as an undergraduate student and received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University. While attending graduate school, Gans published her first novel and she continues to write for several publications. Her writing has placed in the Austin Film Festival and the UCLA Television Spec Writing Competition.
In her spare time, she enjoys water sports, traveling and spending time with her family. Her identical twin, Stephanie, is also a dentist.