Carmen Sanchez

Faces of Latino Success

  • Company Name: Comfort Dental
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Industry: Health & Beauty
  • Location: Providence, RI

Company Overview:
Comfort Dental provides a state-of-the-art facility for the high quality dental care. It is one of their top priorities to protect the well-being of their patients.

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I grew up in a very traditional family, where the importance of faith and education was clearly defined. I remember when my dad used to say to me as he touched my shoulder, “You can.” That, for me, was a tremendous representation of confidence and encouragement. I am who I am because of the faith my parent had in me. I came here eighteen years ago, to Boston University, and my language skills were very poor. I started here from zero; I didn’t have credit- I didn’t know anyone. I came to this region, Boston, alone; with lots of dreams, driven and a lot of passion. That’s all that I had, that was my recipe.

People grow up in poor countries but that gives you strong tools, so that when you come here, you can navigate your way much easier. So I say, no matter what situation you are in, you gain something positive. When you feel that you can, although you might be going through hardships, the key is to stay consistent. With focused clarity i what you want to accomplish, you attain your goal quicker. I absolutely love what I do, I knew, ever since I was young, That my profession had to be one that allowed me to work with people. When you do what you love, things are different and the results are excellent. If you focus on money, it’s a different situation. If you focus on the value you are bringing to the patients or the people around you, the money will flow.

The challenge form me is when someone come into the office, fearful. Immediately, once that person starts to have a relationship with you, they start to trust you. With the confidence level – the fear is gone. It’s known that a a lot of people are fearful of visiting the dentist and when I am here, although I have nitrogen oxide and all the means of sedating the patients, but I don’t need it because the most important thing is when the patient trusts you; when you have a relationship with the patient. I think compassion is most important when someone comes in with a past issue anywhere from not wanting to smile because their smile limits them. Or when they are fearful of visiting the dentist and you change the patients perspective on what it means to visit the dentist or you change their smile, it;s an incredible feeling. It;s a feeling of immense personal satisfaction and it is one of the things that fulfills me.

The Challenge

Moving to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, overcoming the language barrier, and navigating the business landscape of New England has been my greatest challenge. When I first arrived in the country to study at Boston University, I spoke very little English. Studying dental medicine in an unfamiliar language is an arduous undertaking. Ultimately, though, being bilingual has only made my impact greater, because it has allowed me to serve multiple communities and communicate effectively with all of my patients.

The business and legal features of the U.S. states are different from one another and from the business environment of the Dominican Republic. Learning how to navigate the process of opening and sustaining a business in Rhode Island was very demanding, but also very gratifying. Opening a business in a new country requires resilience, patience, and passion. Moving to the U.S. wasn’t easy, but the challenges I’ve endured have made me a stronger, more creative, and more compassionate person.

Uncovering Best Practices

Entrepreneurs should strive to create an environment that feels like home for their staff and their patients or customers. A successful business is not just a job or a building. A successful business is like a family where everyone involved is valued and supported. When you focus on the needs and preferences of the people who depend on your business, and not just on the company’s bottom line, success becomes so much more satisfying.

It is also imperative that entrepreneurs develop systems and routines that foster clarity and consistency within their companies. For example, every morning, my team and I have a morning huddle. The purpose of the huddle is twofold: First, it allows us to establish daily goals and identify our individual responsibilities. Secondly, and of equal importance, we use the huddle to remind ourselves of our company vision. Your company vision shouldn’t just be a slogan on your website. It should be a force that motivates your team everyday to achieve great things for your company and community.

Company Achievements

Every patient deserves the best new technologies and treatments. Every patient deserves red carpet treatment. And, ultimately, every patient deserves a beautiful smile. I am most proud of the fact that my team and I work hard everyday to ensure that anyone who walks into our offices can access the absolute best dental care. I am especially proud of my work in the Latino community. I understand the challenges we face and I am so honored to bring top-notch, cutting edge dentistry into the heart of our community.

What opportunity did you perceive in the marketplace that motivated you to start your business?

When I came to Rhode Island, there were very few Latino dentists and no women working as dentists in Providence. There was a gaping void in the city for Latina business owners and community leaders and I was eager to help fill that void.

What realities did you face in the marketplace?

Comfort Dental is a multiservice practice where patients can come for a wide variety of dental services. When I first opened the company, it became immediately clear that there was a huge demand for this kind of one-stop shop, especially in the Latino community. The demand was so great that we had to develop new operational systems to keep up with the enormous workload. We had to hit the ground, not just running, but sprinting.

What are your sources of inspiration on a daily, frequent basis?

Connecting with patients and mentoring young people is an endless source of inspiration. Every time a patient expresses appreciation for the work we do, it puts a smile on my face. My daughter, Laura, and my sons, Nicholas and Christopher, also provide me with constant inspiration and joy. And, finally, my faith in God brings me never-ending motivation and reminds me that all things are possible.

What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs is to develop a specific vision and, then, pursue that vision with passion and intensity. It is important to dream, but it is equally important to design a clear roadmap to your goals and dreams. Dreams in the absence of strategy are frivolous, but dreams coupled with a clear action plan are limitless in their power. When an entrepreneur pursues her dream and starts to see results based on the strategies she has put in place, she won’t be able to sit still. It’s such a wonderful feeling.

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