Have a plan — Every plan begins with clear objectives. The objectives during any crisis is to protect any individual (employee or public) who may be endangered by the crisis, ensure the key audiences are kept informed, and the organization survives. This written plan should include specific actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Nicholas Toscano.
Dr. Nicholas Toscano is a Dentist and Street artist living in New York City. With over 13 years of experience in the military as a Navy Surgeon, he uses his expertise to carefully curate a successful career as a Dentist and Street artist known as 1Penemy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?
I am from a New York Italian family. As a child, I attended St. Mary’s School on Long Island. I come from a military family; my dad was a Navy Seal, I was a US Navy surgeon for 13 years, and my brother is currently a Lawyer in the US Navy at the Pentagon. After high school, I went to the University of Scranton in PA, Followed by Columbia University School of Dental Medicine, where I went in the United States Navy having received a Navy Scholarship. After I graduated, I went to Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, RH.
And what are you doing today? Can you share a story that exemplifies the unique work that you are doing?
After the Navy, I came back home to NYC, where I started my dental surgical practice on Central Park South. Today Dr. Toscano is currently the official dentist for roughly 20 modeling agencies in NYC including Lions, Wilhelmina, One Model Management, Marilyn, Storm, Major models, Fusion, IMG, Heroes, Lipps, and others. His clients include Victoria’s Secret models, Candice Swanepoel, Helena Christensen, Jasmine Tookes, Romee Strijd, Josephine Skriver, Georgia Fowler, Frida Aasen, Vittoria Ceretti, Megan Williams, Lais Ribeiro, Daniela Braga, and Blanca. Padilla. I am responsible for many of the most beautiful smiles you see in fashion magazines and on the movie screen. I also treat many world-famous artist’s which lead me to become a successful street artist myself. I’m know as 1Penemy which stands for #1 public enemy
I balance what I do every day in my dental practice applying science with countless client-tailored artistic smile reconstructions, makeovers, and recreations, so it was all to nature for me dive deeper into his creative side I was heavily influenced and inspired by his famous artist patients he treats such as Bradley Theodore, Jeremy Penn, Layer Cake, Tripp Derrick Barnes, BY Flore, Producer BDB, and many others. Through their influence, I began creating my model-based street and graffiti art in April of 2016. Originally Dr. Toscano’s street graffiti revolved around well-known models that he grew up following, like Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Stephani Seymour. He has now rendered his work to showcase modern models like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Helena Christensen, and Adriana Lima. I named my artwork the Soho Model Line up since it was Mugshots of famous models that I would put all over the streets of NYC but mainly SOHO NYC.
Initially, I kept my artistic street graffiti under the radar, but people started to take notice of his artwork on the streets of SoHo and began reposting pictures of his art via social media. His art Instagram @1penemy grew, and models all over are posing in front of the notable “Model Mayhem” street work.
I dedicated my life to helping others, whether by improving health or merely living more confidently. I am humanitarian who has discovered yet another way to reform others; lives. I’m no stranger to charitable work over the years, so I utilize my artwork to benefit more philanthropic causes. I plant to collaborate with some of his artist clients, previously mentioned, for a gallery show. I intend to donate a portion of my profits to organizations that assist in diminishing women struggles such as Model Alliance and the Me Too Movement
Can you tell us a bit about your military background?
I spent 13-years with the United States Navy, where he completed a 4-year surgical residency at the prestigious Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, “The President’s Hospital” in Bethesda, MD. During My time in the Navy, he received two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Medal. He acquired one of his navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for definitive life-saving treatment of a patient. I went on to obtain his Periodontal Certification from the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in Bethesda, MD, and his M.S. degree from George Washington University. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and the International Congress of Implantologists.
He has written over 30 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals on surgical therapy, cosmetics, and reconstruction of the mouth. In 2006, I Co-founded The Journal of Implant and Advanced Clinical Dentistry (jiacd.com) is a peer-reviewed surgical scientific Journal with my Best Friend in the Navy Dr. Danny Holtzclaw. We grew it to Five hundred thousand readers worldwide wide and sold it in 2011. Dr. Holtzclaw stayed on as Editor and Chief and I stepped down to pursue my street art and started a fashion publication Provocative Society (provocativesociety.com)
Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?
I had this patient in the military who was suffering from jaw pain. He saw all kinds of doctors in the military and private practice, and no one could figure out was what was wrong with him. He was passed on to specialist after specialist and everyone threw their hands up. I stuck with it, I went down all my pathways, leaving no stone unturned, I remembered my training and all the exceptional mentors who guided me through my career and gave me insights from their experiences. I finally came up with the right diagnosis after a lot of dead ends, and he ended up having adenoid cystic carcinoma, and the early diagnosis was able to save his life. The take away I learned was never to give up as you are never out of the fight.
We are interested in fleshing out what a hero is. Did you experience or hear about a story of heroism, during your military experience? Can you share that story with us? Feel free to be as elaborate as you’d like.
I have seen so many things during my military career. I was in during the war on terrorism and remembered watching those planes hit the tower. I saw so many acts of heroism, too many to talk about. The thing that always struck me the most was treating all those casualties of war.
When I was doing, my anesthesia rotation I saw so many brave United States Marines barely 18, blinded, burned, loss of limbs and things I hate to talk about, but the thing that struck me the most was one after another, they would always say the same thing, “fix me up doc so I can get back to my brothers in the field.” These brave men and women had an amazing bond. It didn’t matter what color, race, religion they were.
They cared about each other and bled for this nations freedom. Each and every person I met in the military, whether a Navy Seal or a Cook on a ship they were all heroes. They all put their lives on the line for very little pay in this fine nation’s service.
Based on that story, how would you define what a “hero” is? Can you explain?
A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, noble qualities, a person who in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, courage or strength. I think my story above should explain that.
Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business or leadership? Can you explain?
Did my military career help prepare me for leadership? Well as an officer in the US Navy, you are a leader who exemplifies that Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. Did it prepare me for business in NYC,
No. I have been screwed over more times in business that I care to talk about.
Things like honor go out the window in business, and it’s definitely a dog eat dog world. But despite that I never sacrificed my values and just worked even harder in order to run a successful surgical practice today.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have so many people to thank for where I am today. My parents for the sacrifices they made to push me to believe in myself and help educate me to achieve my goals. Secondly the US Navy, I would not be the surgeon I am today if it wasn’t for the Navy. I had so many mentors in the military, other doctors who took the time to push me and train me to be the best I could and to teach me skills that I would of never learned other wise. It was also the little things like taking care of Seal team 4 and Seal team six and learning from those guys that no matter what happens to never give up as you’re never out of the fight.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out how to survive and thrive in crisis. How would you define a crisis?
A Crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. It is a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
Before a crisis strikes, what should business owners and leaders think about and how should they plan?
There are opportunities to make the best of every situation, and it’s usually based on how you frame it.
In your opinion or experience, what’s the first thing people should do when they first realize they are in a crisis? What should they do next?
1. Have a plan — Every plan begins with clear objectives. The objectives during any crisis is to protect any individual (employee or public) who may be endangered by the crisis, ensure the key audiences are kept informed, and the organization survives. This written plan should include specific actions that will be taken in the event of a crisis.
2. Identify a spokesperson — If the crisis could potentially impact the health or well-being of customers, the general public or employees, it may attract media attention. To ensure your company speaks with one voice and delivers a clear, consistent message, a spokesperson must be identified as well as prepared to answer media questions and participate in interviews.
3. Be honest and open — Nothing generates more negative media coverage than a lack of honesty and transparency. Therefore, being as open and transparent as possible can help stop rumors and defuse a potential media frenzy. This transparency must be projected through all communications channels: news interviews, social media, internal announcements, etc.
4. Keep employees informed — Maintaining an informed workforce helps ensure that business continues to flow as smoothly as possible. It also minimizes the internal rumor mill that may lead to employees posting false reports on social media.
5. Communicate with customers and suppliers — You do not want customers and suppliers to learn about your crisis through the media.
Information on any crisis pertaining to your organization should come from you first. Part of the crisis communications plan must include customers and suppliers and how they will be regularly updated during the event.
6. Update early and often — It is better to over-communicate than to allow rumors to fill the void. Issue summary statements, updated action plans and new developments as early and as often as possible. Remember that with today’s social media and cable news outlets, we live in a time of the 24/7 news cycle. Your crisis plan must do the same.
7. Don’t forget social media — The Ebola crisis and other recent major news events have all confirmed that social media is one of the most important channels of communications. Be sure to establish a social media team to monitor, post and react to social media activity throughout the crisis.
A crisis that is not managed well can wipe out decades of hard work and company value in a matter of hours. A well-managed crisis confirms that your company has the processes and procedures in place to address almost any issue that may develop.
Another critical component of crisis management planning is the establishment of a succession plan. You should clearly outline the necessary steps to follow if you suddenly become unable to perform your duties. This plan may include selling the company, or transferring ownership to family members or key employees.
What is most important is that you create the crisis management plan when everything is running smoothly and everyone involved can think clearly. By planning, all parties will have time to seriously consider the ideal ways to manage different types of crises.
As you develop your crisis management plan, seek advice from the experts that include your leadership team, employees, customers, communications experts, investment bankers, exit planners, lawyers and financial managers.
Each of these individuals can provide you valuable insight that could be critical should a crisis strike your company.
What do you believe are the characteristics or traits needed to survive a crisis?
You need to be a leader, and you need to be honest, you need to be able to manage stress and keep your eyes on the goal line
When you think of those traits, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address in the midst of the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.” He followed that by pointing to the nation’s strengths in meeting the crisis: “This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously.
There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.”
A decade later as the United Kingdom stared down t Nazi onslaught in the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill encouraged his people to keep the faith: “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire.
Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us he tools, and we will finish the job.” I chose them because they were great leaders that lead in a time of unprecedented crisis and steered their countries to Victory.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
Throughout my life, I had ups and downs and plenty of setbacks, but when I faced adversity, I dug down, remembered my training and all my hard work, and worked even harder to get through those difficult times and came out more robust on the other end.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Crises not only have the potential to jeopardize and infiltrate your work, but they also threaten your emotional stability and relationships. Based on your military experience, what are 5 steps that someone can take to survive and thrive in these situations? Please share a story or an example for each.
Here’s what I’ve found to be helpful during crisis planning:
1. Stop and think. You need to pause and analyze data at hand and then consider the impact for the next 30 days, six months, and year.
2. Write down your worst-case scenario. Layout your doomsday scenario, once you understand what you’re facing you can come up with the best plan to navigate through the crisis and come out on top on the other side.
3. Build on the scenario. By doing this, you can overcome anything that comes at you.
4. Strategize how to get out. Once you have your worst-case plan established and can ensure your business and family is protected at the fundamental levels, begin to take small chances to prepare for getting out from under the crisis.
5. Always lead and remain positive. Things always have a way of turning around. Always remember your never out of the fight.
Ok. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We are currently in a war on racism in this country. I see a lot of rhetoric and politics going on. We need a leader to step up and remind people we are all humans who should love each other and help each other no matter their race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.
In the military we all cared about each other and watched each other’s back, we did this because we were all family in the service of the United States of America protecting the freedom for which it stands. There is a saying in the military there are no colors when you’re all in a fox hole. We as a nation need to come together, work together and overcome our differences so that everyone has a chance to live the American dream.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them
There are three. 2 alive and one dead.
First Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha who is one of the most successful investors and philanthropists of our time.
Jeff Bezos who had a dream took a chance and overcame adversity to have one of the most successful companies of our time.
Jean Michel Basquiat, as a street artist myself and an admirer of his work, when you sit and in front of it as I have at the Brant foundation you realize that her was a genius whose mind worked in such a wonderful way.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow my Instagram either my dental page @drtoscanodds or my art Instagram @1PENEMY
Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was truly uplifting.