I had the pleasure of interviewing Krysta Manning, DMD, MBA; Solstice Dental & Aesthetics, Owner & Dentist. Dr. Manning is a dentist, an entrepreneur, a former Captain in the U.S Air Force, the mother of triplets, and a dedicated volunteer to non-profits that serve the community’s most at-risk and vulnerable citizens — poor families, distressed mothers & their children, and the medically fragile. Based in Louisville, KY, Dr. Manning opened Solstice Dental & Aesthetics in November 2017. The unique dental and aesthetics concept combines social responsibility, sustainability and innovation to provide a comfortable dental experience to make guests feel good all over
I grew up in the small town of Russellville, KY. After studying a pre-med curriculum in college at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY I headed to dental school at the University of Louisville in the fall of 2006.
Shortly after beginning the program, I received my first loan bill for dental school. I was fortunate to be debt-free after undergraduate school, so I was shocked to see not only the size of the first bill, but the amount of interest that had accrued in only a few months time. I started researching options for paying off my debt. Being a young, single woman with a love for travel, the military seemed like the perfect fit. I applied for and received a three-year scholarship through the Air Force’s Health Professions Scholarship Program. This program covered both tuition and living expenses for three out of four years of dental school.
Upon graduation, I completed a one-year fellowship in Developmental Dentistry that focused on the treatment of adults with developmental disabilities. After the fellowship was over, I began my active duty military service. My first assignment was Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. After the first year of service, I was moved across town to the Air Force Academy where I completed my active duty service commitment.
Throughout the duration of my Air Force service, I was offered the opportunity to work with specialists from all areas of dentistry. I also completed more than triple the number of continuing education hours required to maintain my dental license. As an officer, I was also responsible for maintaining programs focusing on patient safety, record maintenance, and deployability of active duty service members.
During the third and final year of my service commitment, I became a mother of triplets. I made the decision to leave the Air Force and return with my husband to Louisville, KY to be near our families.
When I moved back to Kentucky, I began and MBA program at the University of Louisville using the benefit of the GI Bill. Upon completion of my MBA, I had the confidence and knowledge to open my own practice, Solstice Dental and Aesthetics, in January of 2018. The practice reflects my values as well as my experiences.
The single most important thing I learned in the military was how to be a team player. If you think about it, the military is like the largest dental group practice in the world. And making sure that active duty members were able to complete their duties without the risk of distraction from dental problems was critical to the larger mission of the military.
Collaborative. Every single person on my team is smart and capable. It’s why I hired them in the first place. They are also very different from me — I’m the only introvert in the room. That means they are full of experiences and ideas that I could never offer on my own. I do my best to make sure they feel empowered and they are rising to the challenge. My team surprises me every single day.
I think one of the advantages to working with millennials and gen-z is that they are rapidly adaptable and furiously creative. My dental office embraces technology. From CAD/CAM digital dentistry to Instagram and Facebook marketing, we’re doing the best we can to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. We also value individuality and collaboration. I’m open to brainstorming with anyone who has something to offer. I recognize that I don’t know everything and I’m willing to learn from my team. I think this autonomy creates an intrinsic motivation that goes far beyond the paycheck.
I would love to sit down with Simon Sinek. I first learned about him during my MBA program when we watched his TED Talk for one of my classes. Since then, I’ve read his books and seen him speak live. His thoughts on leadership and finding your “why” have been fundamental in developing my personal business philosophies.
Originally published at medium.com