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Episode #601: The Triple Threat: Unmasking the Struggles and Successes of Being a Mom, Entrepreneur, and Dentist!, with Dr. Katie Satula & Dr. Casey Dorsch

It’s incredibly tough being a mother, but when you add the extra challenges of being a dentist and an entrepreneur on top of that, it becomes even more complex. Leadership can be lonely, but to show you that you’re not alone, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Katie Satula and Dr. Casey Dorsch, two members of the Dental Entrepreneur Program, who share their experiences of being mothers, entrepreneurs, and dentists. To learn from their struggles and success, listen to Episode 601 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Learn more about the Wisconsin Dental Entrepreneur Program

Read Traction by Gino Wickman

Main Takeaways:

You need your village.

Find your balance.

Leadership is a lifelong learning process.

Get your values in place and help your team buy into them.

Belonging to a community will help you learn and overcome obstacles. 


“One of the things that scared me [about ownership] was the finances, obviously. You have a huge student loan debt, a huge debt now from the practice, so that was really nerve-wracking, but something that helped me get over that was the thought of like, “Okay, someday I’m going to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’m the owner, my kids have soccer at 4:00 today and I’m leaving.’” I really wanted that flexibility not to feel guilty, not to feel bad, not to feel like a bad employee if I decided to leave early or take vacation with my husband or whatever. So the ability to be flexible. And my dad had that; he was an owner and he was at every one of our soccer games and he tried to be there for everything and he still owned a business. So I thought that’s what I want—I want to be able to have everything, have it all.”  (06:56—07:41) Dr. Dorsch

“I was the complete opposite. I knew from early on in dental school that that was a big draw for dental school is that I could be in healthcare and treat patients and be a dentist and have a fulfilling career, but also be my own boss and own a practice and do all that. So for me that was always my end game mostly because of what Casey’s second point was, is I wanted the ability to have that work-life balance. Be there for my kids, my family, be there for the patients that are in the office and have that. There’s obviously pros and cons to it—yes, I can be there for my family, but you also get a call on Saturday afternoon and sometimes have to go in and things like that, but the goal was always to at some point be a practice owner.” (07:48—08:39) Dr. Satula 

“I’m fortunate on the other side that my husband is in business and finance. That’s his whole background, so we kind of make up a team, and the two of us sat down and started looking at the numbers and that’s where, again, to kind of speak to what Casey was saying about the debt, I learned the hard lesson of good debt versus bad debt and really being able to analyze cash flow.” (08:54—-09:18) Dr. Satula

“I think nowadays we definitely—not to sound biased or sexist or anything like that—but I think men are more involved than they were years ago. I think dads are certainly more hands-on, which is helpful. But I still think the emotional load and the mental load really still falls on the mom. Making sure all the bags are set out for daycare the next day and that your hair is done and this and that, where dad’s like, ‘Hey, they’re fed, let’s get them out the door’ kind of thing, which is great. I’m happy they’re fed. And so but being able to be a mom, you know, as we kind of alluded to earlier, it’s the fact, you know, and perfect example, last week I got the phone call that our daughter had been really sick for about a week and she a couple days in took like another turn for the worse. And they called my front desk and was like, ‘Hey, we need to get her back to the doctor immediately.’ And I looked at my schedule and I said, ‘Hey, can you call these two patients and ask if they can come right now and let me get this taken care of?’ And then I walked out of the rest of my day and my team handled it and moved what needed to be done.” (14:40—15:51) Dr. Satula

“That does not happen very often, but in the heat of the moment when it needed to happen, I had that ability to be there for my child when she needed it, and I had that ability to have an awesome team that I knew I could walk out and do what I needed to do and they would handle the rest of the day and what needed to go will go on with that. And so I think really the big thing about being a dentist and a mom is creating your village and you know, you have your people around you in the practice that help you succeed, but you also need your village at home, whether that’s in grandparents or your spouse or whoever it may be.” (15:52—16:32) Dr. Satula

“I had an awesome rock star of a mom who showed me that there really wasn’t a glass ceiling, that you could go as far as you wanted to go. And now having two daughters and looking at them, they obviously have absolutely no idea what any of this means or what Mommy’s doing now. But I hope one day they’ll look back and see that like I can be anything I want to be. I can have it all. I can be a mom, I can have a family, I can have a very fulfilling career. I can be involved in my community.” (16:55—17:25) Dr. Satula 

“You can have it all in the having the ability to have an education and a career and own a business and not only that, but have a meaningful and purposeful career that I’m showing my daughters that they can do this, too. Or if you have sons, to show them that like what it takes to have a spouse and support them as well as then creating a village around me that’s going to support me in both my career and at home is huge. It’s phenomenal. And it definitely can be a lot at times. I think Casey and I are in a bit of the thick of it with young ones, but at the same time, it’s going back to life. There’s no regrets. It all can be done at the end of the day.” (17:31—18:12) Dr. Satula

“So when I joined my current practice as an associate, I was very intentional about saying, Listen, I have a young, young baby at the time, like three months old, four months old. I said, I want to work three days a week, and that’s all I’m going to do is three days a week. And then I became owner and that was still the conversation. I’m really lucky. I have a really great partner. So we were partners in this business and he’s great. He has kids, so he gets that too and I told him I’m going to work three days a week, that’s it. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, we get it.’” (18:17—18:50) Dr. Dorsch

“I think one of the hard parts about being a mom dentist is the CE, right? Like you want to keep up with your male counterparts. You want to be going to CE, you want to be doing all that stuff. And I think that’s the best thing that came out of COVID, to be honest, is that all this, like amazing CE across the country is virtual. You can do most CE virtually now, and that has been a game changer because I feel like I’m able to take all these CE that before you had to travel. And that’s a big deal when you have young kids and you have to find someone to help watch them or you know, you have to coordinate all that stuff, it’s a huge deal to be traveling and stuff all the time.” (19:42—20:17) Dr. Dorsch

“I think overall, like the day to day, it’s the balance. It’s like you’re at work, you’re feeling guilty a little bit. You know, ‘I have to work, I’m going to the sea this week and it’s a nice week out and I want to have them outside the day doing stuff.’ And then you’re at home and you’re thinking, ‘Am I keeping up enough? Am I doing enough CE? Should I be working on the business? I have a stack of magazines on my desk right now. Should I be reading those right now instead of, you know, going to the farm today with them?’ So I think it’s just like that constant struggle in your mind, kind of always like back and forth, trying to find the balance.” (20:22—20:55) Dr. Dorsch

“I think having kids makes you more patient and compassionate for your patients . . . I just feel like it’s changed me as a dentist. So when I have young kid patients, you know, you don’t look at them like, ‘Oh, they’re screaming and crying and trying to be bad.’ You’re like, ‘Oh, they’re just scared.’ Like, you got to take time with them. Or you do the tricks that work for your kids on your kid patients. And you’re just more patient and have more grace for people. I think when you’re a mom, it changes you.” (22:24—22:53) Dr. Dorsch

“This profession, you can, especially as an owner, you can make it what you want. And one of the things that I wanted out of this profession and being an owner is this feeling that I am truly a family dentist. I live in the community that my practice is in, I run into people at the grocery store and, you know, my kids go to daycare with some patients and, you know, things like that. And I have really strived and taken pride in cultivating this family practice atmosphere. So my practice does have pictures of my kids all over. And when I had my first daughter, the amount of gifts and handmade blankets and just beautiful things that patients got was overwhelming.” (23:05—23:54) Dr. Satula

“My personal preference in this has been that we are truly a family. So if you walk into my practice on any given day, you may see my husband sitting at the front desk and you may see my daughter playing, reading a book in the waiting room. Sometimes even my dog is in the office. And so it’s just kind of going back to that to like, ‘I’m the owner. It can be what I make of it.’ And then the patients that I gear towards who come into my practice are the ones then who value that family aspect and that cultivating of that culture and knowing that I’m going to treat you the same way that I have my own family because we’re all a part of this practice.” (24:19—24:58) Dr. Satula

“I think the other thing is like having a vision for where you want things to go and following it. Like we’re busy, we’re with patients all day, we don’t have time to sit there and work on the practice when you’re working in the practice and then you go home and you have the kids and you know you’re not spending the night like at your computer typing away ideas or anything. So I think having a vision and then finding time to execute it and follow through with it.” (27:56—28:22) Dr. Dorsch

“I came into [leadership] with this mindset that I need to do everything as well as this mindset of like, ‘I am young, I am a female, I need to make sure that they know who’s boss and who is going on,’ and quickly realizing, though, that A, that’s not the best approach. And I still struggle with that. I mean, I think a huge part of leadership is delegation—being able to delegate things properly, knowing when to lead, when to follow.” (29:15—29:45) Dr. Satula

“I think one thing that has really helped at my practice that we did through ACT was setting up those core values, and as Casey alluded to, getting a vision and a mission and just knowing what your purpose is, because then as you do come up with new ideas or run into new situations or things like that, I’m finding my team now is starting to realize like, ‘Well, this is what our practice is centered around, so how can I make a decision on that that reflects that of the practice without having to come to her with every little thing?’ And sometimes it works out. Other times I’m like, ‘You should still come to me,’ and other times then I take things on. I think the hardest part about leadership is really just finding that balance. But I think exactly as Casey said, having a clear vision and core values and goals helps to shape that in your leadership into what direction you’re going to go, whether it’s delegating tasks, knowing when to lead and when to follow, when to implement new things.” (30:47—31:43) Dr. Satula

“That was one of the biggest things that the DEP brought to me was that you can own a business all you want, but if you have no vision, no goals, no mindset of where you want this to go and what’s going to shape it, how can you expect all your team to get on board? So once we did that, once we went through our new review process, what I learned through this, that got amazing feedback from my team. Things really like shifted in our office a lot.” (35:51—36:19) Dr. Satula

“I’ve learned to be able to really look at certain key things and pull reports and see where we need to improve and kind of know that it doesn’t all have to be done, but sit down with the person who does the ordering and say, ‘Hey, let’s try and let’s try and cut this back by 2% over the next month’ and just start to get small, measurable goals that brings in other members of the team. So I’m starting to delegate more, learn more; they understand what the value is they’re cultivating that I’m trying to grow leaders, and that is stemmed from like each and every session of the DEP. I’ve pulled something out that we’ve been able to implement immediately into our practice to then continue to kind of hopefully start to shift things and change things a bit.” (36:26—37:12) Dr. Satula

“The couple interviews I’ve done of new employees, first thing they get at the interview is ‘These are the core values of our practice.’ And I explain what each one of them means to both our personal and our professional lives of the practice.” (37:51—38:05) Dr. Satula

“I think it just overall creates an environment that they want to be there and kind of take pride in ownership of the practice. And at the end of the day, we’re there to treat patients and then that’s reflected on to our patients. (38:46—39:00) Dr. Satula

“Part of my favorite part about this program is when we get to do office hours or have lunch or something like that because you get to talk to all these other dentists. And that’s where I think you start really learning stuff. You talk to them about their practices, what they do that works, and little ideas they had or things they tried. And I think that’s a huge benefit too, just have this like, little community.” (40:55—41:15) Dr. Dorsch


0:00 Introduction.

02:06 Dr. Satula’s background.

03:02 Dr. Dorsch’s background.

05:29 The journey to becoming entrepreneurs.

13:35 Being a mother and an entrepreneur.

22:22 Impact of having a family on being a dentist.

26:33 The challenges of leadership

33:58 Learning from the DEP

37:12 The importance of core values

39:47 Learning from the dental community

42:54 Last thoughts


Dr. Katie Satula Bio:


Dr. Katie A. Satula has deep roots in the local community. She graduated from Muskego High School, then attended Carthage College in Kenosha, earning bachelor’s degrees in biology and neuroscience. While attending college, she volunteered in dental clinics in Nicaragua, Jamaica, and the local community. That volunteer work confirmed her desire to pursue a career in dentistry, using her talents and passions to help others. Dr. Satula earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the Marquette University School of Dentistry.

Dr. Satula began her career practicing dentistry in Greenfield and in June 2017 purchased the practice of Dr. Thomas Raimann. In January 2021, she then purchased the practice of Dr. Richard Mueller. She looks forward to continuing the tradition of high-quality dental care that Dr. Raimann and Dr. Mueller began over 30 years ago. Dr. Satula loves working with patients of all ages and prides herself on providing caring, comfortable, and comprehensive dental care to all of her patients.

Dr. Satula enjoys spending free time with her husband, Steve, and their friends and family. She also enjoys cooking, reading, and cheering on all of the great Wisconsin sports teams.

Dr. Casey Dorsch Bio:


Dr. Casey Dorsch is a native of Muskego, WI but has called Green Bay home for the last 6 years. She attended University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and majored in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Pre-Professional Health Sciences. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she followed in her father’s footsteps, attending Marquette University School of Dentistry, where she completed her Dental Training and graduated with honors in 2017.Dr. Dorsch resides in De Pere with her husband Alex, their two small children, and yellow lab. She believes in treating all patients as if they were her own family and is passionate about delivering individualized quality care.



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