Dr. Carl M. Shamburger, Jr, DMD and Dr. Dominique Askew Shamburger, DDS are the owners of Montgomery Dental Arts, a dental practice located in Montgomery, Alabama.
Between the rave reviews they’ve received on Facebook and the fact that Dr. Dominique is a fellow HU grad, it wasn’t hard for us to decide that you should hear what they have to say about “entrepreneuring” while married.
SB: How did you both meet?
Dr. Dominique: We met at the mall. It is interesting because people often assume that our meeting was somehow connected to dentistry, but it was just coincidence that we were both dentists. We attended two different dental schools.
I was shopping in my hometown with one of my friends and Carl was shopping with his sister. His sister is friends with my friend so we all ended up together. Dr. Carl and I started talking, and quickly discovered a common interest. He was in his last year of dental school and I had just graduated.
SB: What influenced your decision to pursue a career in dentistry?
Dr. Carl: While in high school, I helped manage care for my grandmother before she departed and was instilled with a desire to help and serve others. After being exposed to different medical professions, I decided that dentistry was my passion and thus began my journey to becoming a dentist.
Dr. Dominique: Dentistry has always been personal to me. As a child, I suffered from very misaligned teeth. As a result I was often teased and became self-conscious about my smile. As a defense mechanism I just tried my best not to smile. Which internally limited the amount of happiness I felt.
After I had orthodontic treatment I realized that dentistry doesn’t just change smiles it changes lives. I became a much more outgoing person and for the first time I realized that I deserved to smile. At that moment I knew I wanted to help others to feel the same joy of loving their smiles.
SB: What is the most important thing to remember when you are married to your business partner?
Dr. Dominique: The most important factor is my union to my husband. Our relationship is always the priority. It is of paramount importance for me to protect our union at all costs. We have to remember that we are partners in life first. That helps to guide our interactions as partners in business.
Dr. Carl: You have to sort of live as two people and be able to switch them on and off based on the scenario. During work hours and meetings, you have to be the best business partner you can be and think with the mind set of clinician and business owner. Outside of work, you must switch to fully dedicating yourself to being a husband and father.
SB: In what ways do you have similar entrepreneurial traits and in what ways are you different as entrepreneurs?
Dr. Dominique: We are both visionaries. We have the ability to envision a dream and work diligently to accomplish it. We both place patient care at the center of our focus. We work well at utilizing the strengths of each other to complete tasks. We are constantly keeping each other sharp and on our toes in regards to patient care.
We are different as entrepreneurs in our skills. One of us may be stronger in finances where the other is stronger in public relations. We constantly have to evaluate our strengths and make sure we are both operating in a manner that utilizes those strengths to their fullest potential.
SB: What are your 5 year goals for the practice?
Dr. Carl: We hope to become a staple in the community. We want our name to be synonymous with quality and compassionate care. We want to continue to help people achieve optimal dental health first and continue to cultivate a staff that is committed to provide our vision. We believe the practice will grow to new heights if we continue to put the patients first in our goals.
SB: What advice do you have for recent graduates that are interested in starting their own practice?
Dr. Dominique: Try to find a mentor. There are so many steps that are involved in building a practice from the ground up and it is very helpful to have someone who has done it to coach you along the way. Looking back, there are many things that we could have done differently to make things go smoother. I would also say make sure you do your research. A good well thought out business plan will help you along the way.
Dr. Carl: It would be advantageous to do as much research as possible in practice management courses and books. Stay active in communicating and networking with dentists who are already practice owners.
It will also benefit to get some experience working in private practice to learn the ins and outs of operating a private practice. Invest in yourself by honing your dental skills with continuing education and completing cases. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey.
Visit Montgomery Dental Arts online or at 10650 Chantilly Parkway, Montgomery, Alabama 36117.
-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson aka @thebusyafrican