For many eight-year-olds, the smell of the clinic is enough to cause a lifelong aversion to dentistry.
But not for this week’s guest, Gina Vega. Gina dreamed of becoming a dentist after falling in love with the smell of clove oil as a young girl growing up in Mexico City.
A second love brought her to London in 2001 when she met her future husband while backpacking.
Gina talks us through going from dental nursing through the challenging International Qualifying Exam and into practice and ownership in the capital.
Along the way, she talks about family, work ethic, giving back through charity and much more.
“When I was eight years old, I decided that I wanted to be a dentist. Don’t ask me why – I’m almost sure it was the smell of the dental practice that my mom used to take me to when we were children. I just liked that smell.” – Gina Vega
In This Episode
00.46 – Backstory
04.29 – University life
06.38 – Mexico City Vs London
12.14 – Nurse, dentist, owner
15.30 – Dentistry in Mexico
17.47 – Bishopsgate
23.01 – Roadblocks and backbones
28.16 – Tips, mistakes, incentives
31.37 – Top treatments
34.42 – Finding patients, keeping patients
40.38 – Future plans
43.31 – Family
46.21 – Work ethic
47.16 – Black box thinking
50.19 – Women in dentistry
53.48 – Giving back
56.42 – Award-winning dentistry
58.49 – Staffing and happy teams
01.05.16 – Exit
01.07.34 – Last days and legacy
About Gina Vega
Gina Vega qualified from Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC) and went into private practice in Polanco, Mexico City.
Gina moved to London in 2001 and took the International Qualifying Exam in 2004.
She is now the principal dentist and owner of Bishopsgate Dental Practice in London.
Gina is a member of the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in the UK and the Mexican Talent Network.
[00:00:00] And when I realise people like me and they are happy to be my patients and I’ve been a dentist for 22 years, why not? I can to Klondyke. So why don’t I just find people that are like me, you know, like me, have things in common. So that has been my secret until now.
[00:00:28] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging Leaders Dental Street. Your highest Payman Langroudi, I’m Prav Solanki.
[00:00:46] It’s an absolute pleasure to have you go through the multi award winning Bishopsgate Dental. It’s lovely to have the chance at this podcast all about kind of the back story, trying to get the journey along the way, how you got to where you got to to start us off like that. Where were you born? How did you grow up? Why did you become a dentist? All of that.
[00:01:10] Ok, well, thank you very much for the invite, guys. I’m really, really excited to be talking to you today. Well, as you may have guessed from my accent, I am not an English speaking country. I’m from Mexico, so my mother tongue is Spanish. I was born in Mexico City and my childhood was a very happy one. And when I was eight years old, I decided that I wanted to be a dentist. Don’t ask me why I think it was. I’m almost sure it was the smell of the dental practise that my mom used to take, because when we were children and I just like that that smell that now I know is oil. So I fall in love with that. And I decided that I was going to be a dentist. There was something that changed my mind. So in nineteen ninety eight, I was very fortunate to to become qualified dentist in Mexico City from university. That’s got to make it difficult.
[00:02:16] Is it difficult to become a dentist in Mexico, like to get in?
[00:02:19] No, not really. The biggest difference between university here and in Mexico is that the majority of the universities have private universities, so you have to pay for it. They are obviously they are universities that are state universities, but they don’t necessarily have the taxes or the of the Baker commission. So normally you if you can afford it, you will have private education all the way through university. So the reality is that if you can pay, you can get so. So, of course you do have to pass an exam is not that everybody can go through. And then the thing is, of course, if you’re not good enough, I’m going to stop talking. Oh, so so I think that getting into your knee is not the thing is keeping in and finishing the degree, raising
[00:03:24] Your parents feel that they do.
[00:03:26] Well, my mom when my my mom was very, very, very young, she was only when she got married to my dad that was ten years older than her and that is ten years older than her. My dad worked as a self-employed salesman, selling many, many things through his life. But at the moment he’s basically doing selling of lighting systems and things like that. So, yeah, a businessman, a salesman, really. And my mom had a degree to be a secretary when she was in college. And later on in her life, maybe in her early 40s, he decided to go back to work. And she was also saleswoman what she was doing, advertising and things like that. So, yeah, the two of them. Very good work ethics now, I think involved in the need to be on me. So so, yeah. Trying to follow the steps
[00:04:29] Of what was what was university life like, the balance of academic, social, all that sort of stuff.
[00:04:36] Yeah. Well I, I love it. I absolutely love every minute of it. We cut. This is quite bizarre because from from the first semester you actually start with two patients. We have we will go through medical history with them. I think in the first year you start doing the prophylaxis scale and polishes. So it was a very good practical academic and practical, was very much together. And we used to finish uni probably about. Three or four pm, and then after that, and we will go out and have big parties, I love parties, people that nobody will know that very well. So since I was a teenager, obviously I will go and socialise and go to big parties. We used to go to uni even on Saturday as well. So we were all very tired in the morning. It was the hangover. Sometimes I feel like I have to agree to it. So now what? It was really good. The balance was great. And in Mexico, we don’t tend to leave our homes to go to uni. So I was still living with my parents through all my university and my my colleagues, my friends the same. So, you know, many of you are let’s say if you live in London, you go to London at uni. So it’s very different in Mexico. If you’re in Mexico City, you go to Mexico City or in the other place. So that also helps by keeping good relationships with your parents? I think so. We are very family oriented country. So. So, yeah, it was great.
[00:06:38] I’ve never been to Mexico City. I’ve been to Mexico, but never been to Mexico City. But you hear the stories of it being one of the busiest cities in the world, but super fast moving, high population and over. What would you say that you’re working right in the middle of London now as a vibe, as the city would say? The biggest differences? I mean, is it a fun place is a dangerous place? What’s it like?
[00:07:04] Well, Mexico City, when I was growing up and when I lived there because actually I’ve been here in the UK for 20 years, so I have lived longer in London and in Mexico when I was growing up. And it was always B.C., it was always dangerous. He has always been dangerous. I think one of the biggest shames in Mexico is the corruption. And unfortunately, corruption brings a lot of crime with it. So 80s at the moment, a very dangerous city, but it’s a great place to go and have fun. You know, I have loads and loads of my patients going to Mexico and they always come and ask me for advice. I actually even have text that I copy and paste because I’ve been asked so many times about which restaurants to go to try. I have it already. So when anybody asks me, I just copy and paste what I always said to them, do not do anything that the hotel people tell you not to do. You know, like always use certified taxi. Don’t be walking in silly places by yourself. You know, all these things that we probably do here in London as well, taking a lead to be more more care on that. But I love the vibe in London. I love London is so it’s very sexy. Mexico City is also so huge that you only really get to know the place that you meet at the place that you that you work. You don’t really know too many of the places because it’s so big. So. Yeah, but London is great. I love it.
[00:08:52] General, what was the what was the transition like. When did what when did you decide I’m going to go to London. What sort of motivated that decision and what was the difference in culture. Was was there a culture shock or did you celebrate instead? What were the biggest differences that you noticed?
[00:09:10] Well, and I moved over here because actually my husband, I met him when I was travelling in Europe, backpacking in Europe, and so we basically we fall in love. And he came to visit us to Mexico. And then I came to visit him and I never left after that. So he was he was fine with me here in London. So what one thing that was very clear for me is that because I always wanted to be a dentist since I was a little girl, that was something that was never going to stop me from doing. I was going to come to London and I was going to be here on my own merit. That was something that we always focus on from the very beginning, because he said, well, stay stay with me. And I say, well, I will stay. If I find myself a job and a visa, I’m not going to get into a marriage just to stay in this country. So I was very, very fortunate because at the moment, well, maybe we’re coming to the same. But it was a shortage of nurses at the time and some nurses and dentists. So I basically find a job very straight away. The first interview I went, they offered me the job as a Dental. Then they offered to sortable my visa on all my paperwork.
[00:10:37] So at that point, I had already I was very fortunate that in Mexico I learnt English as I was privately educated. They wanted to do English. I was not fluent. I would defend myself. I wasn’t fluent, but allow me to work. So. So that was very good. And I don’t think I found a shock culturally at all because I have always been the only thing I will say was different things that I didn’t realise or not different. I didn’t realise that the Mexicans and the British people had a very similar sense of humour. You know, that was something that I absolutely loved from the very beginning. We like to say things sometimes. We give it a second sense. We we joke about things. We we do know that banter that that’s that kind of relationship between friends and sometimes people, colleagues and things like that is great. And I absolutely love that. So, no, for me, I don’t think that was a shock at all. I fall into it quite happily and I have always been very fortunate to have friends around me that like me the way I am. And sometimes I can be very Mexican in my way of thinking or saying things. But yeah, I have always been accepted the way I am one because some Mexican as well.
[00:12:14] So you would Dental nursing while you were studying to do this? Conversion exams.
[00:12:20] Exactly, yes.
[00:12:22] Exams. Right.
[00:12:23] The ones that were very hard at the more of the time that it was the international qualifying exam, which is I worked as a Dental for two and a half years. Well, that that if you ask me now, I think it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to me, because is the way that I get to understand how dentistry was done here in the UK. I and then many times that I didn’t know because obviously I studied in Spanish and actually I think it makes me the better now that I have my practise because I understand where the nurses are coming from. I, I know the jobs they have to do. I sympathise with that. So yeah, for me was one of the first things that we have ever done.
[00:13:25] And so you went from nurse posture exams, qualified as a as a dentist. And then what happened next? Did you carry on working in the same place or find your first job? And then I guess you migrated the story of becoming a business owner of the what was that journey?
[00:13:42] Well, I when I qualified, I worked for a year in an NHS private practise with a lot more, and it was probably about 80 percent NHS and 10 percent private school, because at that point where I decided to move over here, I then requalified two and a half years later. I was already so ready to be a mom, to have a family. So after the first year, I had my first child and after my maternity leave, I didn’t go back to that job again because I I wasn’t very happy with the practise, to be honest. So then after that, this practise was and in. And then after that I went to work all the time, which was in the south. East. Exactly. And I worked there for three years. And for just as for curiosity, I because I was doing more private work there in Tunbridge Wells one day I just became curious and started looking around to see if there was something else it closer to home because I was obviously a Mormon and having to drive to Italy. So it wasn’t that bad. But I was still trying to find something closer. And I was very, very fortunate that I found a lovely private practise just two, three minutes from my house where I worked for two years before buying Bishopsgate.
[00:15:30] So you live as a dentist in Mexico. Was it more like the NHS practise or more like the private practise? Is it all private in Mexico?
[00:15:41] The majority of dentistry is private, so it is. Regarding your previous plans, do they send you shock? The only shock I found is that when I start seeing a lot of NHS dentistry and of course, please don’t take I don’t want to be rude or anything. I haven’t seen any dentistry for many, many years now. But when I arrived to the country, I used to say, wow, I thought I was going to give a step forward and two or three steps backwards. Know all my dentistry in Mexico. I only practise in Mexico for three years. And that was privately.
[00:16:20] But was it similar to private practise here in so much of materials, you were taking time with patients and all of them?
[00:16:29] Yes, yes, yes. The advantage that Mexico has with the country is that we are neighbours with America, with the United States. So therefore, the majority of my lecturers, for example, had postgraduate degree from the materials were all readily available. We always had excellent materials. For example, since I started, I had a very good brand everywhere in the world. I have never, ever worked within the company that hasn’t been applied in Mexico, for example. So the materials were always very good that the quality of dentistry very good. And the great thing about dentistry is in many other degrees too. But they are so obviously very difficult for you to understand, to do dentistry in the in in London. And I will say of course not, because the teeth are the same, that the treatments are the same. So no, it was just basically learning the names in aviation and then they get the name of the instrument that is the same dentistry suit.
[00:17:47] Get on to Bishopsgate. Was it a squat? Did you open it or did you buy it?
[00:17:54] No, I bought Bishopsgate dental care in 2010, but I bought it and it was done in practise. The previous owner’s heart was not in it until it was a very neglected practise in every sense of the word. So, yeah, about the practise
[00:18:21] That appeal to you. What’s the potential for turn around? Was that something that you wanted specifically?
[00:18:29] No, not at all. When I started working the the practise that was June. It was May or June 2010. I didn’t know that the practise was bankrupt. And Dow probably about. A month before I signed the contract, it was, wow, I was basically lied all the way. So, no, it was a big shock for me was the biggest shock because I could see potential when you were in there. And I would agree area. Right is a beautiful area is amazing on the ground floor. So people walk around and we are there. So that was
[00:19:22] What about what about you? Were you even qualified to understand the spreadsheets and the profit and loss? Was that part of the problem?
[00:19:32] Well, the part of the problem, yes, of course. I didn’t know anything about numbers and profits and then profit. So anything I was it I was I was very naive at the time. So I think it was the very handy work of my husband because he was always saying no, not because this guy was signing the sign. The contract signed the contract. My husband was not all. We have to see what the solicitor says and we have to say what the accountant says, you know, so he was always the more sensible part of the equation, because my heart immediately I fall in love with the practise. I fall in love with every area, everything about the practise. And my husband was the sensible person. We have to look at the numbers
[00:20:26] To see do what does your husband.
[00:20:28] And if was in with I.T. consultant, but actually I know when this is going to change because I have never understood what he does for a living. I know he’s very good at it.
[00:20:49] So so he was more of a detail orientated person. So then you signed up and you bought the thing. I mean, I went I’ve been there quite recently. There’s been a pandemic, but it’s a huge practise now. It couldn’t have started like that. You didn’t know what was it? How many surgeries was it?
[00:21:11] What we only had to surgery. It was it was basically at some point it was the myself was a dentist, two part time hygienist, receptionist and a nurse. That seems that was only the four of us were actually only three of us. The nurse, the receptionist. The night there all the time and two part time I do this. So knowing was very different from what is now. The good thing is that I think when when you are determined to make something a success, when you have a Dental dreams and say, well, I want to do this, I want to achieve these, I it took me a long time to do to achieve what I have achieved. And fortunately, I inherited a terrible receptionist manager that they almost made it doubly hard for me to succeed it because she was in her old ways, she was not open to do anything that was not typical of the telephone booking appointments. So so that was really, really hard. But within a couple of years, we managed to settle another surgery, also build a room on by two thousand. On 14, I managed to find what is my my well, my back. She holds my back. That is my manager. She’s amazing. And she’s one of the reasons that we have achieved so much, so much in the last few years.
[00:23:01] Geeta, what was your process of trying to find the person that your backbone, as you described, of the practises of your manager? She had someone who was a roadblock that was getting in the way. And I think you probably identified early on that, look, if I want to progress and build this the way I do, the person needs to go, I’m assuming, and be replaced by someone better. And so what was your process about finding that the individual, because of me being involved with a few practises your practise manager can make or break the success of the practise that they they are literally the backbone. And the way I see it that the delay between you. The rest of the problems in the practise and having that layer allows you to focus on what your vision is and they can help solve the problem. That’s my experience anyway. So just talk me through the process. If you went on this mission to find this person, did you interview lots of people? Did you know straight away when you found this person? This is the one?
[00:24:02] Well, I think I did actually know after interviewing many, many, many people. My main objective was to find somebody that was going to be open to do two new things that at that time in 2013, 2014, there was the pain advertising starting to happen. There was D social media starting to be a little bit more portable dentistry. So that was it was something that I wanted to go into. So I knew that they had to be it has to be somebody that will be happy and open for new ideas, because my receptionist that was the manager previously was so poorly motivated and was like she wasn’t the right person for me. When I was interviewing and practise managers, I actually realised what actually a practise manager does in a job. So I learnt from those interviews what type of person I wanted to go for and what type of questions I needed to ask was for me was also a learning process when I met Amanda. She was always very, very accommodating of my ideas and we had a really good chemistry between the two of us in that interview that I didn’t wanted to let her go. So I offered the job and I’m so very happy that she said yes. So she’s been with me for close to seven years now and we are a great team. Together we call each other. We are almost like sisters. You know that. We had a really lovely relationship. So, you know, I’m very happy with you.
[00:26:00] When you visit your practise, that seems to be a real vibe about the team. The know everyone seems so happy to be at work. And I know I know you’ve won a bunch of awards on the subject as well. But so would you put that down to, you know, you were saying before your experience as a Dental nurse yourself. Oh, what else? I mean, the way I see it when I come back, Gina, it feels like you’re the host of a party, the hostess. It just feels like it’s a good time being had in general. What is the comfort you?
[00:26:37] Well, I think it comes from a lot of work on finding the right people to work. For me, my biggest advice to anybody starting or buying a new practise is get surrounded with people that think like you. And we are all very similar. We we like to do a job well done. We are also very social people. So we we chat about many things. We go out for drinks. We are very, very nice team. So but also is exactly as you said, because I was already I worked as a Dental for two and a half years. I didn’t want to have people working with me just to suction that thing. It needs to be a to be more more opportunities for these people to to to to get better in their jobs. So I have always pushed my staff to to do what they like the most. And if they want to go in courses, we have to pay for the courses and we are happy for them to get more from the job they do. And I think that also makes them happy, because obviously, if you are growing, if you if you if you are not, you know, if you are not, let’s do what I want to use it. Exactly. You need to keep moving and but also people that they need to be recognised for their worth.
[00:28:16] So so then give us some top tips. You know, you said one, they try and get them, get some career development, some some tips, things to do and things not to do. Mistakes you’ve made on team.
[00:28:29] Mistakes, I made those mistakes myself and forgive me, I have already thankfully those mistakes are not with me anymore, but it was I think it was those hiring too quickly. I think for me, the main thing to do is to have a good interview with that person and also have a trial day and see actually whether they are they walk the walk. They sometimes talk and talk and they have to talk and walk. They have to do it properly. And I think that is the main thing that you need to have them see what they’re doing, how they’re doing, how they relate to the people. I have always asked advice for my most trusted staff. How do you see her? Do you think she will be part of our team? You know, I always ask because at the end of the day, they’re also going to be working with them. So I want them also to be happy. And they are very good judge of character. So they will say, yeah, actually I think it’s fine.
[00:29:50] You talked about keeping them happy with education. All I could do to incentivise the team financially as well.
[00:29:58] I do. I think I paid very good wages. But just we don’t do bonuses or anything like that. No, no, I what I do is I give them the good lessons. I take them out for dinners, dreams. I have to leave. If I have to go to having a drink or something, I’m happy to leave my card number with the restaurant. They come, I’m doing whatever they want. So no, I think. No, we have, according to witnesses or anything like that, any more incentives apart from partisan games and having a good salary? I think sometimes I’ve mentioned this other stuff to all the colleagues of this. Oh, my gosh, you’re paying too much. But I don’t think so. I think you pay for what you get. I want to make sure that my staff is happy. At the moment. We’re approaching a very difficult situation with so many nurses or staff available to hire. So, of course, you want to keep your doors happy.
[00:31:15] Now, Gina, tell us a little bit about your practise, the type of practise type of treatment, so, you know, for certain types of treatments, like, for example, you know, you Invisalign, diamond provider, the platinum or whatever that is, do you do a lot of whitening? Is it mainly cosmetic or you just give me a brief overview of some of the stuff
[00:31:37] Does a lot of whitening
[00:31:41] Whitening? I, I was I always had that. I practise. We do absolutely have a little bit of everything. Yes. But what we also do is every single dentist that has a special interest. OK, so for example, in general, especially in the one so I’m now I’m why that point is the line. I have the cases, I am on the line. So I have a good reputation for the. Then with that type of treatment, the results of the after that. Why do you say Payman we do it in Lightsey who like all the time. So it is something that we are approaching from the patient’s going to be the one to have poisoning treatment. Then I have another dentist that she is also a general and she does a lot of cosmetic as well. But she also knows that she is only having an extended day. So she does a load of patients that so therefore for the campaign and especially interest. And then I have another dentist called Nicole. She’s also good, very good dental dentist who has special interest. So she does that. And I have a dentist, Brianna, I know you know, has well, Payman. And she is basically my do to help rely on this saline, but she’s also Dental. So she also to stop between the four of us. We kind of cater for the patients, the patients, and they have to leave the practise and to have different treatments. Our hygiene is that excellent hygiene. They do a very good Aryal treatments as well. So we have to be fair. We have a very good practise. Very close to where we find your speciality is
[00:34:03] To take you to take me through your Invisalign process. I know. For lots of dentists to speak to, they do it in so many different ways from that patient having a video consultation, seeing the treatment coordinator, having a scan, then seeing the dentist, and then things like Dental monitoring, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, in thing at the moment is how many Invisalign cases do you do a year and trying to trying to match that Oprah, you see that all over social and everyone has their own sort of approach to it. What’s the typical patient journey for you if a if a patient wants Invisalign?
[00:34:42] How do you find the patient in the first place? Let’s start with
[00:34:46] Where we are very fortunate that we have a very good reputation in the area. So there is a lot of warmth of mouth so they can be fed by friends or family or I do pay for the Google advertising on the moment. We just about to launch a Facebook campaign as well. Oh, yes, I’ve Google. A lot of the patients find us through Google and then have the option to have a video consultation or they have the option to go to face to face. At the moment, we are seeing the video consultations numbers go down. Will more people be happy to come for a face to face consultation for something that is very, very interesting? Is that because our website is very clear on how much money you would charge? What is my expertise? The cases I have done, the majority of the patients that come to us is because they are going to be paying the deposit on that appointment when they come for the consultation. So what we normally do, they if I have a special day that is only for consultations. No, all the treatment can be booked in that in that day.
[00:36:10] And basically, I welcome the patient. I like to be present. I am a very selfish person and I like patients to know, to get to know me and to comfort me, to get to know them. So I will say hello. Explain the procedure. And then I leave the room on my forty nine to the minute. She will then get on, take photos, take a stand and then answer any questions that the patient has. Then I come in and basically close the deal and then after that my if they don’t need approval going that they go ahead with a treatment, they basically go through my physician co-ordinator and she will do follow ups and e-mails and calls, you know, the normal thing. But one thing that is really, really good is that actually my present co-ordinator, she she takes pride on her numbers. And every month she goes, we have done lots of these numbers or that number. So she’s also a very enthusiastic part of the process. So that’s quite a lot.
[00:37:19] We do us very, very similar, actually. We have these are almost called like a pilot, co-pilot. The easiest way of post consultation consultations will be dentists. The nurse hand over to nurse, nurse takes over. So every nurse is like a mini TCO, right. Rather than there being just a specific tyko. So each nurse has the ability to be able to graduate, like you said before, that not just doing the suction. Right. They’re involved in the whole process in terms of that process. So when you leave the room and it’s just the nurse and the patient, what are you doing at that point? Do you see another patient with another nurse?
[00:37:57] So, you know, I don’t really have the availability to do that because are fully involved. You know, I get on and do my notes or my work with my ex. Oh, yes, definitely. I utilise that time to get on with things.
[00:38:18] Yeah. So when you say close the deal. I know what you mean by that, but how do you differentiate yourself from the next Invisalign user? Because for me, the stronger the brand is, the harder it is for the dentists to differentiate themselves. And you said you’ve got a great reputation. I know just by being in that building with you guys once once someone’s been in there and all that, they get that magic. I get that. But what do you say to your patients about the difference between having Invisalign at your practise or having it somewhere else? I mean, for instance, what’s the deal in the first place? Is it a budget net? Thing is the quality level. How do you think it
[00:39:02] Is going to do it? You know, I have patients coming and saying, oh, are you going to give me whitening with it? And I said, no, I’ll give you a discount. Like we give them 20 percent discount to white to me. And I said, what? We don’t need to give you any extra because we know the quality of service. We will provide you as simple as that.
[00:39:25] People thinking Invisalign is Invisalign. It doesn’t matter that we know me and you get me. The dentist makes a massive difference, right? The plan makes a difference. Everything makes sense. But but you must get patients coming in saying, well, it’s Invisalign.
[00:39:40] It’s all. Yes, of course. They come and said, oh, well, but you only have to press that button on, send it to know five hours for an hour and a half an hour. And I think I’m very fortunate. I count my blessings because when people come to see us, they know who we are. They have already Google. They have already seen our reviews. They have. Right. We don’t need to sell them anything at that point. And that’s why I feel so fortunate that we have done all these job work beforehand. You know, that is I mean, I’m going to be there for a long time, probably since 2000, only six years. And we’re very fortunate.
[00:40:38] So let’s let’s get onto your plans for the future. I mean, for me, you’re a very driven leader, right. Business leader in so much as you’re one of the top Invisalign users in the country, you’re you’re I can see from my enlightened members, you’re one of the enlightened users. You said you do a little bit of everything. Seems like you do a lot of everything, but just a little bit. What are the plans for the future? Are you thinking, look, this is it. I’m happy with the way it is. And I can see you’ve expanded the practise to to the two floors and, you know, it feels maxed out now. Is that it? Or do you feel like you’re going to try and do a few more of these or how are you going to go?
[00:41:23] And no, I am very happy with the way things are. I have achieved a lot. I have no plans to open another practise. I do still have a little bit of room for growth within the practise. Now I’m going to try to to execute them. They’re trying to expand that part of the business. But I, I have always something on the minds of, you know, I have a moment on my speakerphone. So I now I have done a few webinars. I’m going to do another webinar and soon I’m also at the moment and working with as part of the educational committee, obviously the goal for me that that is something that I want to explore a little bit more. So personally, I think the moment I only work three days a week of the practise, I don’t have any more intentions to work for days until the fourth day. Is my hands doing my thing today? I’m doing my paperwork. I mean, I’m actually July is my first month that I’m not working on Fridays. I’m not even answering emails finance anymore. So I have decided to do that because of the pandemic. We were working 12 hour days and it is killing us. So we have change. And that’s why I think at the moment I want to be more of a work life balance. I want to spend a little more time with my family. I want to spend more time in my house because I enjoyed it when we were in the lockdown. So so now for me definitely is growing a few to maximise the space of depravities. So growing my my name as a speaker, as you know, and things like that,
[00:43:31] Tell us about the family.
[00:43:34] Well, I have two children, as I mentioned before. They are amazing. You know, my son just sees me. I’m very, very proud of him because we tell him that he had to find that he was going to have a summer job and he’s embracing it with both arms. He is doing some gardening two to three days a week and he’s loving it. So he has his first job. I mean, he’s amazing. And my daughter, Sophia, she just finished senior school, junior school. She just that was the last day of school. She had her party and now she’s going to seniors black. The big time has gone.
[00:44:26] So she’s 12
[00:44:28] Yet, but she will be 12 in September. She’s one of the oldest. Yes.
[00:44:33] Yes. I like what you said about your son and him getting the the job because of his parents, especially parents who can give their children who have got the means to give their children everything they want, not necessarily everything I need. I’ve often find myself having conversations with people of how do you keep them grounded and how do you teach them the value of money? Because often you can say, and I’ve had these conversations, go and get a job. Well, and then this book, if I can just ask you for everything. The thought process done through your head and is that part of the motivation around this is just to sort of give him the the I guess to learn about the value? Right.
[00:45:27] Yes, no, definitely false has been it, I didn’t want him to be all, so I’m just sitting there doing nothing I wanted him to on the stand work ethics. You know, one of the most important things that somebody can do, and I find it myself when, you know, when you find a nurse or a member of staff that they don’t know how to work hard because they have never done it. I want him to be able to to to to work hard and recognise he’s worth of money because money is everything what it used to be. And you have where it takes you most likely going to succeed.
[00:46:21] Where did your work ethic come from, Gino?
[00:46:24] Oh, definitely from my parents for sure, because they were the ones that that they that, you know, my dad, he wasn’t able to finish his studies until he had to go to work when she was old. And and he never will. Now, he has not stopped working. He is seventy eight years old, but he still works fine. And when we were little, I remember he used to come away with sacks of sweets on a little table outside the house and what people will buy sweets from us. So we have a lot of that also happening in our house. So yeah, I think even with this will not take anything for granted.
[00:47:16] So when we ask, we ask everyone this question and it’s a question around failure, around errors, clinical errors. Can you can you think of some clinical errors, some things that stand out in your head that you can share with us and something, you know, what did you learn from them? Because you a lot of times in medicine, we don’t we don’t discuss our errors.
[00:47:41] And he is one of my biggest errors when I started this, the line was to expect the human body to behave as. You know, you’re working on your phone, your paintings and your videos and you press a button on the computer. So easy to manipulate. So predictable. And then you go into the patient. I’m just thinking, why is this not moving? Why is this not happening? And it comes a lot of frustration with them. Then when you go back to the X-ray, you see go back to these close. And I didn’t notice that. So some time for me, some of my errors have been ignored when I started taking X-rays in a big tensing, that everything was going to be moved because they said they were going to be moved. So now something that I’ve always said to the patients, is that your plan, your treatment, when you are not a complete predictable is easy to manipulate. Your body is not. So we are going to have to, you know, not not bring the expectations down with not building them too high. I think, for me has been the biggest thing that I have learnt from my failures, because I always say, oh yes, I’m twenty five and we finish and then twenty five animals from my, you know, weight close to finish at all. So I think it’s managing the spectators. For me that has been the most my biggest learning
[00:49:23] Anything like, you know, drilled the wrong to so called the wrong to anything like that at all.
[00:49:31] It’s just not so far. Well yes. Yes I know what I have put anaesthetic on the wrong side. Yes. Yes. You know, what you do know is to seek to find if you are feeling want to see. And then I got turned around you to talk to the patient. OK, pay attention. Then I suddenly put the anaesthetic technological impetigo. Oh, my God. That happened once and I couldn’t believe it. I was so ashamed of myself that the patient was OK. And he said, Oh, well, at least you didn’t do the feeling given how long that has been. Yeah.
[00:50:19] Gina, what about what about being a woman in a juggling family life? Is it a coincidence that every single person who works in your practise is a woman? Is that on purpose or by mistake? I mean, you’ve got some wonderful women. I know Ali. I know Rihanna, your manager, as you said, Amanda, just special. But is it something you’ve done on purpose or.
[00:50:42] No, it just happened. You know, I always said to people we couldn’t do it. Sometimes it just happened. I personally think that I’m here is that we had made a big a big hit. If the patients like me the way I am, the way I treat them, I want them to experience that with every single member of my team. Yes. So therefore, I try to find people that are caring that are so Shuba are going to give them that experience and that it turns out to be women, you know, and. We haven’t done anything, we actually we were so close to hire a male, this didn’t work out for him, but we were going to break all female team because it was amazing. Dental less well, but he hasn’t happened yet. So I’m not saying he’s going to be forever. But we you know, we love being a women’s team. I’m very proud of who we are. Together, we empower each other. We can change in the changing room without any male coming to the room. We can talk about periods, menopause, so many things without any reservations. Guess we are very, very happy as we are at the moment.
[00:52:21] Have you ever had a man?
[00:52:23] Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, good. I had one dentist that worked with me for I that if you work with me for about four or five years and then after that, I have had you few male dentist, but he just it just didn’t work out. You know, when you try to I’m sure you have heard she came to train my team a few times to hospitals. I think through the year we went a year programme on actually many things I learnt from her kind of pointed to make big changes of the practise and is when I one day I said, you’re going, you’re going, you’re going. You know, it was just like, I’m going to change this and I’m going to make the most of this advice. And when I realise if people like me and they are happy to see my patients and I’ve been a dentist for 20 years, why not? I can apply myself. Why don’t I just find people that are like me, you know, like me, have things in common? And yes, that has been my secret until now,
[00:53:48] Gina, during the pandemic, we were donating to space to hospitals and all that. And you did a delpit. And I particularly remember thinking someone is as busy as you in the situation that you are with a family and all that, and you got in your car and drove and found the right place and all that. You get involved in charities or giving or volunteering or anything like that.
[00:54:15] Yes, yes. Many, many years we have had our charity of the year and we have donated a lot of money. And I’m a little bit biased here because I have done a lot of charity for Mexico. We have been to help children in poverty. Also, we help to rebuild some shelters after the earthquake in 2019. And now the one the charity that I really, really like very, very much is well on wheels. And that, I think, is one of the most amazing charities that I have I have spoken to with just about and we are getting involved with. So, again, that we like to do a little bit.
[00:55:10] That doesn’t come from if you get up and go, is that like in Mexico where everyone has to come and come together to solve a problem?
[00:55:19] I don’t know where it comes from. To be honest, because I never done any charity in Mexico. I never did when I when I was living in Mexico, I never thought. But I don’t know. I think when when I started in official state, I also started getting very involved with the Mexican Chamber of Commerce, the Mexican embassy and councilmen. So through them is what I have seen the need to support all this on. So I have done that. I have.
[00:55:59] What does that mean? Involved with the Chamber of Commerce, other business owners in the UK from Mexican origins?
[00:56:08] Exactly. That is this is basically Mexicans in the UK that are promoting Mexico in some ways and also people from the UK that support businesses in Mexico. So Mexican Chamber of Commerce is very equal number of British Mexican people coming together. And, you know, I’m very proud to say that I want the Mexican Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2017. And it was great and it was all because of the charity work that we’ve done through Bishopsgate. That’s OK.
[00:56:49] Oh, is that right?
[00:56:51] Yeah. Amazing.
[00:56:53] You’ve won a lot of awards in the past. You know, if you like, figured out how to do the entries. How does that work? You want to know how many of you won? Loads and loads, right?
[00:57:03] We have won. We have won best practise in London. Best patient care, best team London, best in National Wide. I have we have been finalist in many awards. I, I don’t know, we’ve been knocking
[00:57:24] Just the winning. Did you do you find that the process of getting entering.
[00:57:29] Oh. Is very hard work.
[00:57:31] But does it somehow. Somehow it can’t just be. Is it just for the, for the, for the prise or is it. The process itself is useful to the team
[00:57:40] I think and well this is the thing we were very because we are a team of its own and do things, you know, we do the McMillan-Scott thing morning and they the some that they all that and I always take photos of it. So when, when, when we decided we were going to apply for these work, we have done all the work already. You know, I was just putting things together and the same happens when I do the static Dental awards. I’ve been very fortunate to be a finalist for a few. I’m hoping this year something nice will happen in September. But I never, ever said a case, for example, thinking I’m going to win an award winning not until I finish a case. And I think, wow, that was a really good case to talk to was an award or because of that, I always, always document everything. I take photos. I’m kind of prepared without knowing I prepared myself. So, I mean,
[00:58:49] The clinical sites, the clinical side there. But I hope that it’s somewhere in your education career that sort of seems to be starting and you’re lecturing. I hope you do include something on managing teams because it sounds like it comes naturally to you. And in a way, you sort of you don’t know you’re doing it the way you think about it. But, you know, when I come, there is something special there. Yeah. From the dentist to the receptionist to the to the manager. Everyone’s super happy moving in the same direction. And that itself is a massive skill that’s lacking in our industry, in our profession. You know, I mean, Prav and I talk to hundreds of dentists and it’s missing in most practises, most practises it’s say. So I would if I were you, I would include that in you in the education piece. Don’t just talk about moving about the other side of it, too.
[00:59:49] Sometimes it’s it’s hard to. But Little Junior, because I speak to a lot of practises who has perhaps the follow me though. The code is the place where you’ve got a super happy team. You know, it’s running like a well oiled machine. And when you ask them to break it down, what is it? Yeah, the majority of people say just be nice to people. Right. Just to treat people the way you expect to be treated, et cetera, et cetera. And I think. Times it’s just inherent, it’s in your DNA, right, and it’s coming from your upbringing or your family or the way you’ve been treated or the fact that you, a nurse, if you could bottle that oil and distribute it in a way that was it could be replicated. I think that would be the most valuable thing any practitioner could could get above and beyond is where you stick your attachments. And this is how you see your line is
[01:00:46] Definitely one of the things that we’re always talking about. One thing that I wanted to mention is that at the moment I am in that we I would you know, we would discover or reinvent ourselves a few times like this as a business is no fun whatsoever. And after winning so many awards, we still have a very nice core team together. But unfortunately, after the pandemic and I was I was saying before having made bad decisions, at the moment we are struggling to find two good lessons to come and join us and put us in a lot of stress on the other team members because they have to be working doubly hard because we are working with temps and they don’t care about protocols or how to, you know, that they come and go without any regard or consequences the next day, know whether or not they don’t care. So at the moment, we are we are suffering that kind of situation where I talk to the team a few months ago and said, OK, I’m going to be a very hard ride because we need to find the right people what we have done before we can do it again. And I’m sure we will do it again, but is not rushing to find somebody just for finding it needs to be the right person.
[01:02:31] I’m seeing this nationally, yet every practise, most practises, I’m speaking to the same getting hold of a nurse and there’s less availability right at the moment. And the biggest problem, if I speak to any practitioner that I’m coaching or helping with business development, the one thing that they’re struggling with is the most common problem is at this moment in time, getting a nurse, let alone a good one, is difficult, really, really difficult.
[01:03:07] It’s it’s a double whammy, not only the pandemic and I mean, it’s it’s a lot more difficult being in this post pandemic than prevent panic. Right. Not only that, Brexit as well. I mean, we’re hiring and this is nowhere near the same number and quality of people. I’m not looking nursing. I’m thinking about the customer care that I’m hiring for. There’s just the number. And the quality has gone down since Brexit. I think there’s a bunch of people who’ve decided either not to come or will leave. And one of the Jena.
[01:03:44] Yes, I think one of the important things we have heard, such as Prav said, is not only the suffering, the bodies and many, many passages from the same, the same, but one I’m actually one of my nurses that she only started with me in July last year after the pandemic. We lost because one of her friends decided to do temp nursing until is a lot less work is easy money, so on to temping. So that’s why they doing. But it is a shame because I know that that’s what’s going to be excellent if she being young, I’m just qualified. What had that quality is in the right place to go to next week. But then I think what if I’m going to have to use this stupid mask and I’m going to have to do all the paperwork and I have to I find myself a job that I don’t have to do that or work. If I’m going to have to do it, they’re going to pay me three or four pounds more than pay now. And so fortunately, they but it’s happening at the moment.
[01:05:11] We like to. And this costs the same question
[01:05:16] That I’ve got. One final question before we before we move to the the big question, which is a conversation around exit. Gina, I’m speaking to a lot of business owners who are sort of transitioning to that stage of their career where they’re looking to exit so that practise selling to millions whatever and disappear into the sunset or stay in the practise and reduce their that time. There is something that you consider to be thought about what what is the big dream, the big exit strategy. If you could wave the magic wand and say, if I was living my perfect life and maybe were already doing it, what would you be doing? Like working one day a week and spending four days with family? What have you thought about exit strategy?
[01:06:05] I have thought about what type of exit? No exit. Yes. What I want to leave often. Yes. And I have always worked since I was in uni. I had a job and I don’t think I will be a happy housewife only I think I will be very happy working two or three days a week talking for a company or doing some volunteering or things like that. Because I am that type of person, I’m always wanted to be involved in things. You know, as you said, I’m a very busy woman, but how I did it, I don’t know what I organise my thoughts as he was fighting for yesterday. And, you know, I still find time to do so when I decide to sail the practise. I think I would like to have a similar number of days working to me. But then that means that I will not have to do that for me to feel like weight off my shoulders. And no, I think I will always be busy anyway. Working.
[01:07:26] Your dad’s working into his seventies, right? And it doesn’t sound like there’s any signs of stopping, so I’m sure you’re taking inspiration from there.
[01:07:34] Anyway, it’s been a lovely story, Gina. Love you. Story, your passion, the excellence part of it, the joy you get out of it and put it into it. It’s it’s just palpable. Have you that it’s a privilege to know you. Prav has his final questions. Dental happy questions.
[01:07:59] Oh, am I in trouble?
[01:08:02] No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Just just some questions for reflection and, you know, imagine, imagine. It was your last day on the planet. And you had your loved ones around you, the people that matter the most, and you were going to leave them with three pieces of advice. What would those pieces of advice be?
[01:08:30] Well, I think the first one will be, no matter what job you do, do it properly. That would be my first one. My second one will be. No matter how much money you get paid or do what you want to do. I’m so fortunate to be a dentist and love what I do, what I couldn’t imagine doing something I don’t know. So for them, I would like that to be happy with what they do. And the third one will be. Enjoy. Enjoy life with friends, with family. Say yes to going out and say yes to staying at home if that is what you want to do.
[01:09:25] Lovely, lovely, Jane. Thank you for that. And how would you like to be remembered? So Gina was.
[01:09:34] I want to see a crazy Mexican dentist if they
[01:09:42] Really, really and just one final question for fun. Let’s say you had one month left. How would you how would you spend that month? What what would you be doing in those last 30 days?
[01:09:58] I will probably recreate one of my best holidays with my family that when we went to Cyprus, we didn’t leave the hotel in 14 days and we have the same routine every day. I think it was 12 o’clock at sangrias time and maybe now will be 12 o’clock and we will be our time or something like that. But I will spend it with my my two children, my husband, my mom, my dad, with just doing that, you know, like enjoying some music. Food brings happy memories. Yes, definitely.
[01:10:48] How often do you get back to Mexico? You know,
[01:10:52] Normally about every year and a half to two years when the kids were little younger. I used to want to be there every year, but then you realise they. So that’s nice destinations to go. So again, every year and a half to two is a good balance for us.
[01:11:11] It’s been so lovely having you. Thank you so
[01:11:13] Much for keeping it, and I might ask you to copy and paste that text message to me for when we make our trip to Mexico.
[01:11:20] Oh, I know. Thank you guys for having me. I really enjoyed talking to you.
[01:11:27] Thank you.
[01:11:30] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging Leaders Dental Street. Your house, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[01:11:46] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you’ve got some value out of it
[01:12:00] If you did get some value out of it. Think about subscribing and if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.
[01:12:11] And don’t forget our six star rating.