Pandemics do not last forever: Historically, all the pandemics have come to an end.
We live in a world full of technology, medical and scientific advances: there is evidence that the scientific community is working tirelessly on developing a vaccine and getting the pandemic situation under control.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Catalina Botero. She was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, where she first became interested in oral health as a teenager. Interested in the dental field from an early age, Dr. Botero completed dental school at Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia before moving to the United States, where she also got a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Colorado. Not only does Dr. Botero have two degrees from two different countries, she is also a certified dental hygienist, a wife, and mom.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
As a teenager, I volunteered at a health center that specialized in oral health for the underserved and less fortunate. It was there that I was first exposed to dentistry and fell in love with giving back to others, especially children. I became interested in the dental field after this, and that is how my story began.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
When I had just opened, I had the pleasure of placing tooth colored crowns on the front teeth of this 4 year old boy. That same evening, upon picking up my son from daycare, he mentioned to me this boy in his class that was bragging about his brand new front teeth. The next morning, after dropping my son off, I heard this little voice calling me by name, surprisingly, it was my patient from the day before. The expression of pride on my son’ face was priceless and it made my day.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am currently working on getting my office certified for IV sedation. It has been a very long process but I am very confident that, once completed, I will be able to do treatment on young children with disabilities or with extensive dental needs in a more comfortable way, not only for them as patients but also for their parents.
As the beginning of the school year comes near, I am also seeking to support the local elementary, middle and high schools, with the main purpose of supporting education and sports while empowering students in my community to think about the importance of taking good care of their teeth.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a certain person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My person was my husband, Leroy. He has been actively present since I decided to start working towards this dream of having my own practice, from the big project of construction (we carefully chose our logo, our colors, and all the custom details) until today, when he became my office manager. He has completed numerous courses on office management and is currently working on his degree for certified dental assistant. I would not have been able to do it without his help.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
My biggest family related challenges were the homeschooling for the remaining of this last school year. I loved educating my children but it was a challenge to keep their attention and to dedicate the necessary time for each subject. It was also hard to balance school work with free time, when the options for their entertainment were so few. At the same time, we faced financial hardship, with the closing of dental offices, in my case, the closing of my brand-new office.
Can you share what you have done to address those challenges?
I put some effort into researching about methods of home learning and was able to get fully involved with my children’s education and with the help and virtual guidance of their teachers, they completed all the requirements, passed with flying colors and are ready to go into the next grade of their education. We also worked as a family to find new ways of entertainment at home, in our backyard and with our new puppy, Lucky.
Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic? The biggest work-related challenge has been the state mandated closure of my brand-new office, it has been a true challenge to attract and retain patients in a world full of fear and anxiety.
Can you share what you have done to address those challenges?
I have reassured my patients about how serious I am about strictly following disinfection protocols, I have put together an extraordinary team that works hard at demonstrating to each and every one of our patients how important they are to our practice. I have also made sure to let my potential patients know about how strict we are in following CDC guidelines to prevent spread and infection.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
Due to the nature of my profession, I do not have the possibility of working from home. However, I had to stay home for quite some time and I learned that the crucial elements are discipline (some flexibility is allowed) and creativity. The first helps to find the time needed for both learning and recreating and the second one helps to find new ways of doing things and new activities.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
Mystrategies for sanity and serenity have been to always find the time for meditation and connection with God, for scheduling a weekly videoconference with immediate family members which has helped the kids stay close to their grandparents, aunts and uncles. Playing children’s workout videos has helped us stay in shape and exploring my kid’s world has allowed me to find new activities and responsibilities for them to learn.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons to Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Pandemics do not last forever: Historically, all the pandemics have come to an end.
- We live in a world full of technology, medical and scientific advances: there is evidence that the scientific community is working tirelessly on developing a vaccine and getting the pandemic situation under control.
- The fact that my children have been out of traditional school system for a long period of time and are still learning new things every day and are still eager to start their new school year.
- One of my biggest reasons to be hopeful is that I was blessed to have my parents, parents in law and other loved ones completely healthy during these difficult times.
- As a new business owner, I am hopeful because after closing the doors of my office for such a long time, I am starting to see new people every day interested in becoming my patients.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Staying connected with them, whether on a phone call or video call, it is a good idea to stay connected with family and loved ones and reassure them that everything is going to be ok, that we are in this together and that we should not be afraid because God is always by our side.
Also finding ways of sharing moments with them such as virtual family get-togethers will help your loved ones feel your company and your love.
Last but not least, helping them out with errands that they can no longer do because of the risk of being outside (picking up their groceries or meds) makes them feel better because regardless of the situation, it shows them that there is always somebody there for them.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance “
I have lived by this quote for as long as I can remember. As an immigrant , I have to start everything, including my career from ground zero. It seemed impossible until I did it. Having the dream of owning my practice also seemed extremely difficult, almost impossible until I did it. If you want something just do not quit, you will get there.
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