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Episode #499: The Art of Bringing Community Together, with Dr. Grace Yum

the best practices show podcast Nov 16, 2022

We all need community and support. And as dentists — especially dentists who are moms — that may not be easy to find. But one dentist decided to change that, and Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Grace Yum, founder of Mommy Dentists in Business, to share her insights and what she’s learned as the creator of this thriving community. To learn more about MDIB and how to get involved, listen to Episode 499 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

The Best Practices Show Episode 447 with Dr. Grace Yum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaGty6m-Pv4

Mommy Dentists in Business Podcast: https://mommydibs.com/podcast/

Mommy Dentists in Business: Juggling Family and Life While Running a Business by Dr. Grace Yum: https://bookshop.org/p/books/mommy-dentists-in-business-juggling-family-and-life-while-running-a-business-grace-yum/15681053?ean=9781942707943

Mommy Dentists in Business: Advice to My Former Self by Dr. Grace Yum: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=1950370038&cm_sp=mbc-_-1950370038-_-all

Happiness 101 by Dr. Tim Bono: https://bookshop.org/p/books/happiness-101-previously-published-as-when-likes-aren-t-enough-simple-secrets-to-smart-living-well-being-tim-bono/7395689?ean=9781538743423

Operation Smile: https://www.operationsmile.org/

Main Takeaways:

Whatever it is, find something to get involved in.

Community is a big part of one’s happiness.

If you don't have a community, create one!

Listen to your community for feedback.

We all need human connection.


“My world changed when I became a mother. There is no school that you can go to to become “the perfect mom” or “the greatest mom”. You have your own mom, as an example, and maybe other mothers and parents as examples, but there really isn't a way. You just do it. And I'm only saying this because when you're a dentist, you learn how to be a dentist. You can learn how to be a practice owner. You can learn a lot of things. But when you throw in parenthood, especially if you're the primary caregiver, whether you're female or male, there is a lot more responsibility on your shoulders.” (5:24—6:06)

“I was already a practice owner first. And then, I had my first child four years later. My world just changed, and I really wanted to talk with other moms that were dentists that were doing the same things I was doing. And sure, my local community in Chicago, I could go to the dental meetings, I could do all that. But nobody ever talked about parenting. We only talked about dentistry, and we only talked about our businesses. Nobody talked about what it’s like to be the primary caregiver and do all of the things, and plus.” (6:07—6:49)

“Our male colleagues — gotta love them — their responses are usually like, ‘My wife handles it,’ or, ‘My partner,’ or whatnot. But typically — typically, and I'm not saying all — the dads are not the primary caregivers. And so, they can live their life, and take care of just themselves, and somebody else is doing all the other. And so, there's that dimension that they can't relate to some of the moms that are doing all of the above.” (6:50—7:22)

“The reason I had to start networking with other moms is because, one, I felt lost. Two, I had some mentors that were older than me, some moms that could give me pointers. And that, I found really helpful. But really, it was more like, ‘Hey, how do we teach each other how to do things?’ because I know I'm not the first mommy dentist. And where are the other mommy dentists that could help teach me or navigate and mentor me in how to do things better? Why reinvent the wheel? And what's the shame in asking? There's no shame in asking, ‘How do you do this?’ sharing best practices.” (7:35—8:15)

“You need human connection. You need human feedback. You need human face-to-face. You need all that, even if it’s not about dentistry. You need friends. And who better to be friends with than other dentists that understand and “get” you?” (14:45—15:07)

“We’re really here to help women be the best version of themselves. And that community-building, it takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of time. And the people that are wanting to put in the time, they get a lot of benefit.” (18:43—19:00)

“It’s really hard to set up rules and boundaries, but you have to. Because otherwise, all hell breaks loose. The main purpose is to create unison, not discord. You can't please everybody. And so, this group might not be for everybody. There are some that join, and then bounce off. That's okay. It’s not for you. It’s not for everybody. However, with community rules, we set guidelines which you think might make sense. And it’s to, generally, make sure that everybody is staying in harmony.” (19:44—20:25)

“I have learned a lot the hard way and that sometimes, people don't like the rules. And some people feel that they're above the law. And I have learned — and I'm just throwing it out, not all, but some — as dentists, when we’re practicing, we hardly hear the word no. Everyone around us is like, ‘Yes, doctor. Yes, doctor. Yes, doctor.’ So, when someone says no, sometimes people get bent out of shape because they don't ever hear the word no.” (21:05—21:35)

“I think if you're a leader of [a community], if you don't take feedback, then you're going to have a hard time.” (24:18—24:26)

“I really think that you have to listen to the community and ask them, periodically, what they want. And, within reason, if it’s something you can pull off, then you should do it because it makes everybody more comfortable. And I think one of the important aspects of running a community is to listen.” (25:42—26:06)

“In my meetings, sometimes, moms have to be a little bit more brave or courageous when traveling alone, especially if they're not coming with their team. So, some of these bigger meetings, you bring your office manager, and hygienist, or whatever. But to these meetings, we don't bring teams. So, sometimes, these women have to travel by themselves. So, I have to take that into consideration. Like, how am I going to make it a safe environment? How am I going to make sure that everyone’s comfortable, especially at a larger-sized meeting? How can we arrange that? So, we ask for participation from the doctors, like volunteer leaders.” (27:01—27:38)

“Of course, there are outliers. Every meeting, there are outliers, and some people are going to complain, and some people are going to be like, ‘Everything was perfect.’ But within reason, I think, when you're an event person or you're in the events business, you have to think of the end user and how to make it doable and think about the majority, how they're going to feel about it, and make them want to come back.” (28:34—29:01)

“A lot of times, moms come up to me crying at the meetings, not out of sadness but because they're like, ‘I needed this.’ They're like, ‘I didn't know that I needed this so much. I needed a break. I needed to get away from my duties as a doctor, as a mother. I need just two days to be with friends and do fun things for myself and fill my cup.’ And moms don't do that often enough. I mean, there are moms that hardly go and get their manicures done. We’re like, ‘We’re too busy,’ and their focus is everywhere else but themselves. So, this gives them an opportunity to, ‘Hey, relax. Have two days to just be with friends, relax, and be with people that understand you and aren't going to judge you.” (29:27—30:17)

“We had a guest lecturer in Dallas last year at our Dallas meeting, Professor Timothy Bono, who’s from Washington University who studies the science of happiness. And he gave this amazing lecture. And he has authored many books, and he talks about what makes people happy. And community is one of them, having a safe space amongst friends.” (33:42—34:04)

“When you are in dental school, you need support to get through dental school. It’s not a walk in the park. And for dental students who are listening, find good mentors that want to see you succeed, that want to help you. That is really key. And yes, for some of you who are wizards, and you can get through dental school just fine, and ace everything and do everything great, you still need people to connect with, someone that's going to give you a high-five, someone who’s going to say, ‘Job well done!’ someone who’s going to say, ‘I see you struggling. Let's me help you.’ That is just as important, emotionally. You're not a robot. And yes, you'll be just fine if you went through dental school without support. But having another buddy to rely on is really important for your health too, your mental health, even.” (37:01—37:56)

“The first thing that I learned when I was a student on the first day of class was the importance of giving back. And you can give back as a dentist in so many different ways. And you choose your charity. Don't let charity choose you. You choose your charity, because you only have 24 hours. So, spend it wisely and give back.” (40:14—40:38)

“It’s really important for you to get involved, whatever it is. Whether it’s ADA, whether it’s your local chapter. Don't just stay in your office, and don't just be a dentist. And I'm not saying that in a negative way. Find something. Find something to be a part of, whether it’s doing dentistry on missions. And maybe something that you're a part of isn't anything to do with dentistry. But I think whether it’s your church, or synagogue, or wherever you worship, have a community and have that support. And it could just be your school too, your kids’ friends’ parents. I think it changes your life. So, don't be a hermit.” (41:06—41:51)


0:00 Introduction.

2:22 Dr. Yum’s background.

4:04 About Mommy Dentist in Business.

5:08 Why MDIB was born.

11:55 Biggest learnings about community and events.

16:10 More about MDIB events.

19:22 Learnings about setting rules in a community.

22:04 Learnings about having MDIB on social media.

23:26 What dentists get wrong about community.

26:10 Making events a better experience.

29:04 Give yourself permission to relax.

30:20 How to get involved with MDIB.

33:40 The science of happiness.

36:10 Find support and mentors.

38:36 The future of MDIB.

40:58 Last thoughts on community and events in dentistry.

Dr. Grace Yum Bio:

Dr. Grace Yum is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, where she grew up in Glenview. She is a mother and a certified pediatric dentist — a certification achieved by only 5% of all dentists in the U.S. Dr. Yum is the former founder and practice owner of Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids, and she is also the founder and CEO of Mommy Dentists in Business.

In addition to managing the MDIB community, Dr. Yum hosts her own podcast, Mommy Dentists in Business Podcast. With 11 complete seasons, Dr. Yum’s podcast has been in the iTunes top 100, was ranked number 3 of 15 of the top dental podcasts by Patterson Dental’s Off the Cusp publication, and has been downloaded nearly 80,000 times.

Dr. Yum has quietly become nationally recognized in her field. She has appeared and was featured on the TODAY Show on NBC, NBC Chicago as a repeat guest, Parents magazine, Parenting magazine, and Chicago Parent magazine. She has also appeared on many podcasts, with topics covering dentistry, work/life balance, and business tips for the working mom.


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