The interview below is part of an ongoing effort by McGuireWoods to profile key leaders in the dental industry. To recommend a dental key leader for a future interview, email Bart Walker at [email protected] or Kayla McCann Marty at [email protected].
Dr. Grace Yum is a board-certified pediatric dentist and the founder and practice owner of Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids, a pediatric dental practice with two locations in the Chicago area. Dr. Yum is also the founder and CEO of Mommy Dentists in Business, a network of more than 7,500 dentists who, like herself, are mothers and business owners. In addition to managing the Mommy Dentists in Business community, Dr. Yum hosts the Mommy Dentists in Business Podcast. With 11 complete seasons, Dr. Yum’s podcast has been in the iTunes top 100, was ranked No. 3 of 15 of the top dental podcasts by Patterson Dental’s Off the Cusp publication and has been downloaded nearly 80,000 times. Also as part of Mommy Dentists in Business, Dr. Yum has published two books: Mommy Dentists in Business: Juggling Family and Life While Running a Business and Advice to My Younger Self.
Dr. Yum has become nationally recognized in her field and has been featured on the TODAY Show on NBC nationally, NBC Chicago as a repeat guest, Parents magazine, Parenting magazine and Chicago Parent magazine. She has also participated in various podcasts, with topics covering dentistry, work/life balance and business tips for the working mom. During her spare time, Dr. Yum enjoys spending time with her two kids and husband in Chicago.
Question: What attracted you to the dental industry?
Dr. Yum: I started working in the dental industry as a dental assistant for a family friend who was an orthodontist, practicing in multiple offices as an associate. As a college student, I continued working as a dental assistant on a part-time basis and I loved interacting with patients and working with them. I loved the impact I had on patients and developing relationships. I was also attracted by the fact that doctors could adjust their schedules and work as much or as little as they wanted to and had flexibility in developing their careers.
Q: What is a lesson that you have learned concerning what’s required for success in the dental industry?
Dr. Yum: The lessons I learned for success — which include commitment, integrity and hard work — generally apply to all industries. However, specific to the dental industry, I learned that it is very important to develop the use of your hands and strong technical skills.
Q: Who is an example of someone who inspired you in the dental industry and why?
Dr. Yum: An exemplary doctor in the dental industry whom I respect and admire is Dr. Maxine Feinberg. Dr. Feinberg is a member of the Mommy Dentists in Business community, and she was the third woman president of the American Dental Society. She is a mom and a practicing dentist in New Jersey. Dr. Feinberg became a dentist when very few women were in dental school. I tell her she is the Ruth Bader Ginsburg of dentistry.
Q: How has your business been impacted by (and responded to) COVID-19?
Dr. Yum: When COVID-19 started, we did not know what to expect. However, as more information came to light and the government imposed a mandatory shelter-in-place, I left the office and told my team, “See you in two weeks.” The Mommy Dentists in Business community got our heads together and really stayed on top of our businesses. We made sure to get up-to-date information on all fronts: human resources, banking, OSHA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. We were able to secure personal protective equipment, air purifiers and other tools that we needed to open safely when the time was right. When my two practices were able to open, our patients trusted me and my team to bring our pediatric patients in safely.
Q: What is the best opportunity for revenue growth in dental right now?
Dr. Yum: The best opportunity for revenue growth in the dental industry right now is to become a fee-for-service practice or offer an in-house dental plan. With the limited number of patients dentists are able to see currently due to COVID-19, it is important for the practice to maximize production. This is a great time to drop insurance plans and keep every cent in your office. Another way to grow revenue is to become a niche practice. I always say there are “riches in niches,” whether it is a specialty practice or developing a niche service that is competitive in the area.
McGuireWoods has published additional thought leadership analyzing how companies across industries can address crucial business and legal issues related to COVID-19.