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17 min readThe Jameson Files 103 – “Community” with Dr. Loeta Robles

Carrie Webber

Carrie Webber: [00:00:10] Thanks for joining us on the Jameson Files. I’m your host Carrie Webber and excited to be joined once again on this episode by Dr. Loeta Robles of Chico California. On this episode we’re going to talk about community and how pouring into her community has ultimately poured into the success of her practice. So thank you so much for being with me again.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:00:34] Oh thank you for having me I always love coming.

Carrie Webber: [00:00:36] And you know for those of you that listened to the previous episode with Dr. Robles you know a little bit about her incredible story toward becoming a dentist and a dental practice owner and the success that she’s experiencing at a very fast pace. But we’ve mentioned in those that she’s that you practice in Chico California which is not a very large community. How how many how big is Chico.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:01:02] Well Chico is about 100,000 people. And then after our campfire on November 8th we we increased about 20,000 people, overnight.

Carrie Webber: [00:01:13] And it’s a beautiful beautiful town in northern California. But you know I think when we talk and have conversations we talk about the last few years that you’ve been practicing and the growth you’ve experienced in the health you’ve had in the practice as a business. A lot of that is because of your connection to your community and there’s a lot of people that are probably going to be listening to this or watching this online that you’re practicing in a in a town of 100,000 or less. You know a town of 30,000 a town of 3,000. And how important. You know committing yourself to community can be for your own professional fulfillment if that, you know, is a driver for you but also for your business to be connected to community. I mean you do this so well. So how did you know you had connection even prior your family lived there while you were going to dental school. But when you finally went into practice ownership how did those dots connect for you and how did that community connection make a difference and how did you keep connected in that way.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:02:29] Well you know when I was in school it was that the community had helped me so much or helped us so much and it was from my daughter’s preschool to the elementary school to the teachers everybody stepped up to help my family. You know just picking up from school letting them know if they were sick somebody needs to take them home. I mean it was just really. And from then I said this I need to I have to give back to these people.

Carrie Webber: [00:02:55] Yes so those those that might maybe didn’t listen to the first episodeDr. Robles was a hygienist for 14 years before going back to dental school with two young children and her husband and was commuting several hours to go to school during the week staying there and a lot of that that it took a village literally to help you accomplish that very extraordinary goal of you know being able to go into practicing dentistry yourself. So that community tie was so important for your survival and your family has few years of school.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:03:31] But even before I went to school I mean there was that portion but before I went to school the relationship that I had as a hygienist with my patients was very important to me. So when I made that decision to go to dental school you know my plan was to come back to Chico. That that was the a plan whose practice or which practice that was a question mark. And then when it became obvious that I was going to be purchasing Dr. Beckett’s practice and I was going to assume the dentist role for these patients that I was their hygienist for 14 years. And that was important to me because the continuity of care was there. Yeah I mean I’ve known these people now for over 20 years and you know there are some patients I’m like So are you still eating a bag of M&M’s in front of the TV every night. Because we talked about this you know and that relationship that you build with the patients was really important to me but then it went on to the community. So I I don’t do a whole lot of marketing. Yeah I don’t. But I do contribute to community programs that are important to me so I contribute or I’m a sponsor to a program that’s run through Chico State and it’s it’s lifelong learning and it’s a learning program for retired people that they can take courses at Chico State and I’m all about lifelong learning. This is like right up my alley. And this program is wonderful for people who have retired and they want to just take some courses through the college without having to earn a degree.

Carrie Webber: [00:05:19] Do you feel like you know obviously you’re making decisions on what to support how to support based upon what you know what’s important to you what makes sense. You know.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:05:30] But do you see that a healthy side effect of that is it is bringing people to your practice. Yes. And wow what a different level of trust or relationship that must be when those new patients walk in the door. Coming from the contributions you’re making to your community. What’s that like. Right. Right. And it is you know I do. They say oh I saw that you’re a sponsor for OLLI at Chico State. And that’s why I’m here because you know that program is so important to me and I said Well it’s important to me. And that’s just kind of an opener fo, now this is what my mission is and these are my goals that I have for you and your mouth. You tell me about your goals about your mouth and what you would like and it just starts that conversation. And we have that bond right there. So I’m I am more in tune to contribute to programs that are important to the community. And if patients come through me come to me because of that. Great. Fantastic.

Carrie Webber: [00:06:37] And you know when we have talked over time and we just you know I pick your brain and I want to know how things are going and how these are happening. It sounds like you have a lot of peers that reach out to you and you know you are you’re you’re just a few years in as a practicing dentist of course that doesn’t include the span of time you’ve had in the career of dentistry. Right. They’re coming to you. Did you know how you’re doing this. What is your what’s this you know. Do you do it. Do they come to you for looking as a resource and I know you do a lot even for your dental community is right.

[00:07:12] Right. My dental community yeah. So I took over a study club as a Speer study club and and yes I am the I guess youngest maybe not in age but in dental years I’m the youngest dentist in the group and you know that’s humbling but see they do come to me for questions but I think also Jameson I mean I’ve been with you guys for two and a half years and I say that that’s they’ve taught me so much. Yeah. You know I have had a lot of people come to me as far as if they’re. How did you do this transition how did you do this. Can I meet with you for a little bit. Sure. Absolutely I’d love any questions that you have. I have some time and just call me whatever when the campfire happened I within 24 hours I told my front office. Let’s get Chico Paradise dentists together. Let’s find out how we’re going to treat these evacuees that have that have lost their homes and a lot of them evacuated without dentures partials and what are we going to do to help support our Paradise dentists you know do they do they want to continue practicing. Do they want to continue seeing their patients and help them with the transition whether they wanted to keep practicing or maybe not this is their way of transitioning out but we want to be there to support them. And within 24 hours we had 40 dentists at this meeting and I was so thankful that my Chico community doctors were there for the Paradise community doctors and we all got to be together to support each other. Yes. So you know I opened up my office to Paradise doctors and they were able to see patients until they were figured out what they were going to do.

Carrie Webber: [00:09:03] Yeah. And it’s just that really spreading a servant’s heart out to your community and it’s probably having this domino effect in terms of your colleagues in and this this understanding that we’re in this together in this for this community. And it takes maybe a little bit of those competitive walls out. And you know you all can grow and be healthy and support each other together and ultimately in a shared mission of helping that community.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:09:36] Well I always tell my team we always do what’s best for the patient. And when the evacuees started calling and saying they needed new dentures and their Paradise doctors were you know we don’t know how to get a hold of them I said well the best thing for this patient is to continue the relationship with their Paradise Doctor. Yes. So that’s what implemented. OK let’s get them. Let’s get them together let’s find out how we can help you know find how patients find their doctors and get them the help they need and if if doctors have decided to not go back into practice then. OK. Let’s find a home for these evacuees then. But always doing what’s best for the patient. Will the outcome is never negative.

Carrie Webber: [00:10:24] And you know it said it for you Community is a core value to the WHO that you are and how you want to practice and it’s just such a testament to if you’re true to your purpose and your mission it all makes sense and it makes those decisions easy. Probably me ask you all these questions like How do you do that. It’s just your authentic self. A lot of the time probably right. Yeah. Why do you mean how did I do it. I guess I just did it. Yeah. You know I love my town and I love the people in the town and I’ve known these people all my life but there’s a lot of people going back to their hometowns or a lot of people that are in small communities or or even larger communities that haven’t figured out how to make authentic connection. Do you feel like there’s a there’s something that you can encourage then. You know I think from my perspective it must be authentic. You can’t pretend to be what you really are. I appreciate like how you said you find the places in the spaces in your community that means something to you and you contribute there. And then and in return you know it comes back to you like a boomerang.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:11:38] I think that they’re I think younger dentists nowadays have. They have this struggle a financial struggle with some of the loans that they graduate with and and they they have an inner struggle of I need to pay these bills but I need to do this and I always say if you make the decision that’s best for the patient. The the money the bills all that that it’ll come yeah it’ll come if you focus so much on “well I need to do this to pay the bills”. Then you’re losing your sight on your purpose and your vision because the money will come.

Carrie Webber: [00:12:23] And you know when we talked about. It. We talked about your vision and how you accomplish your vision. And every time you recast it with your team. And and now we’re talking a lot about your core values and your mission and how your community is key for you and how you’ve incorporate community to be the driving growth of your practice. And with not with a negative intention it’s truly from your heart. And what drives you and what gets you up in the morning and you know I think you know in that building of trust and belief and motivation for your team for your patients to see the why behind the what. And it’s very real. Yes. And if you don’t know your why. How do you help people see the value of the what. And you obviously have that depth of understanding of why you chose to at this point in your life shift gears well and that that that’s reflecting in the extraordinary growth and of your practice and the continuous influx of people that believe in you and what you want to be a part of your patient family.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:13:42] Right. You know I think also I being a quote “older dentist” older new dentist I felt like when I graduated I have a good 20 years to practice dentistry that I got to have a good 20 years I am going to practice dentistry the way I want to practice dentistry. And I wasn’t going to deviate from that. And so you know when you get out of school there is a lot of insurance companies trying to get you to sign some contracts and I am like you know what I don’t agree with that philosophy and that’s going away from the type of dentistry that I want to practice. So no thank you. Yeah you know no thank you and they say well we can do your marketing we can do no thank you. Thank you. That’s it’s deterring me. It’s taking me off course. You know what I really need to do and that I think was a big deciding factor too is I have 20 years I’m going to practice the way I want to practice unapologetically. No exact and you can come and be my patient or not. Or not. And that’s what I’m all about. I am not you know I this is not right. I’m not putting up you know smoke and mirrors here right. This is me. This is what I’m gonna do. This is how I’m going to take care of you. This is what you can expect right. I’m I’m going to take care of you and your family to the best of my ability in what I consider the highest possible care right and you choose. Yeah you have a choice. And my prac I tell my team our practice isn’t for everyone. Yes people that you know they have a different mission for themselves they have different goals right. That I’m not willing to go there it’s not part of my mission and they can find another dental practice. I am totally fine with that. And there’s sometimes we have to write some goodbye letters like thank you so much. But we have to break up and that’s OK. Yeah because you know what. I also want to sleep at night. Yes. Sleep is very important to me. And if if I’m making decisions that doesn’t allow me to sleep well at night then that’s not worth it.

Carrie Webber: [00:15:54] So I was like my my father who practiced who’s retired dentist and practicing in real small rural town and decided the same thing. I’ve you know he’s deeply connected the community beloved in the community but not everybody went to him now because you know the ongoing theme was you know and you know he’s not cheap you know but if you want really great care and great dentistry you go to Dr. John but you’ve got to decide that for yourself and people walked in the door knowing he’s going to take the best care of me right. He’s going to do me do do this right and do what’s right for me. And I might be paying for it right.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:16:38] Right. Exactly.

Carrie Webber: [00:16:39] But you know that the depth of the community. He wasn’t upset when people didn’t choose him as a dentist and it didn’t stop him from from like you do contributing into the community and being connected and engaged in the community as as a person you know as a business in that community as a way a person that can support the community as a whole.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:17:02] Well there’s since my husband and I both grew up in Chico. There is such an emotional attachment to. To Chico. You know with the park I mean there’s just you know we raised our girls there. So it’s important to both of us that we help support our community.

Carrie Webber: [00:17:22] So if there’s somebody out there listening saying Man I’m really not I’m not connected or you know I want to connect more I want my business to be more integrated with the commune I want to be contributing in that way and in turn now it helps to feed my practice with people that that you know want to be seen by me. Do you have what would be a first step what would be something that you would recommend that they consider or that they do to help them make connection and make community involvement a part of their practice.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:17:53] So most of the organizations have come to me. The patients have known me so long it’s usually a patient that knows about me and then they’re involved in that organization and they say oh you know you’ve talked about would you be interested in becoming a sponsor and I’m like yes. Yeah I would. Thank you so much for asking. Yeah. I’m so glad you came to me about this. So I guess it’s It starts with the relationship you have with the patients and is they know what your mission is and helping contribute to the community then they will come to you a lot. So you know from school plays to you know field trips at the schools. It’s. I’m. Yes. Let me do it. Yeah. You know the school contacted us for homework folders absolutely all contribute to that. Yeah. Yes. That’s important for my child and you know her classmates.

Carrie Webber: [00:18:43] And when it means something to you it’s an easy yes.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:18:46] It’s an easy yes.

Carrie Webber: [00:18:47] So I’m thinking about you know if you don’t even know where to begin think about what’s what mean something to you if you’ve ever felt led or desired to help something in some way outside of your own bubble of yourself that I mean that’s a great place to start. Right. You know what. What stirs you what gets you fired up. What would be what may you have an interest in that you don’t want to see go away from your community. What would be an easy yes and start there.

Carrie Webber: [00:19:12] Well I thank you for for sharing from your heart and sharing how you practice with a heart and how your community embraces you and your practice and you do the same for them helping and sharing with the for this community how they can begin to engage in a deeper more meaningful way with their patients in their community to have a practice on purpose. Yes. Thanks Dr. Robles.

Dr Loeta Robles: [00:19:36] Oh thank you for having me.

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