Across the United States, August 26 serves as reminder that change is possible. In 1920, that change meant that women’s voices could be heard in the votes they cast. Women’s Equality Day celebrates the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the guarantee that every citizen of the U.S. cannot be denied the right to vote on the basis of their sex.
On Women’s Equality Day, it’s business as usual at Benco Dental, a workplace where associates say they feel empowered to unlock their “Wonder Woman” skill set daily due to a flexible working environment provided by their employer. Associates at the nation’s largest independently-owned dental distributor reflect on a workplace where they feel their voices are always heard. They describe the company’s “flexibility, support when you need it” and “strong female mentors”.
Product Data Specialist, mom of three, says she doesn’t have to sacrifice her career thanks to Benco Dental’s work-from-home option
Katie Willis, a Product Data Specialist with the company’s Consumables Merchandising team, describes how Benco’s work-from-home opportunity enabled her to continue on her career path.
“The option of working from home has saved me. I have two kids and one on the way, and the average cost for three kids full time in daycare monthly is more than I make and just not feasible. But, working from home, I’ve been able to unlock my ‘Wonder Woman’ skill set and learn to successfully handle everything without having to sacrifice the career I’ve had for close to a decade.
But, if I couldn’t work from home, I wouldn’t be able to afford to work at all, which is the sad reality for most mothers nowadays.”Katie Willis, Benco Dental Product Data Specialist
‘Benco supports family first and understands life happens.’
Accounting Manager Jenn Kintz said she left Benco for a short while and quickly came back.
“I realized what an supportive, employee- and family-first company I had left,” said Kintz. “Benco provides strong female mentors who you can be open and honest with and who challenge you to reach your career and personal goals.”
Kintz said she has always felt respected and supported in the workplace.
“Benco supports family first and understands life happens. You aren’t made to feel bad for having a life outside of work that sometimes interferes with your day… sick kids, husband has the flu, baseball games, school events, doctor appointments, vet appointments. … You truly go above and beyond for your employer when they do the same for you and provide flexibility and support when you need it.”
‘The entire handling of Covid was so caring’
A Business Solutions Architect at Benco Dental, Nicole Krape said she feels the family-owned dental distributor is doing many things right for women in the workplace.
“The flexibility of being able to work from home is number one for me with the kids’ schedules and all the virtual days we’ve had this past (school) year. Second, my leadership team is very understanding of the flexibility needs and knows I will get the work done when it’s needed. That mutual trust is the best feeling, we have each other’s back and everyone is clear on that,” Krape said.
“Lastly, the entire handling of Covid was so caring. As a furloughed associate, I was still checked in on, received help with unemployment, brought back as soon I could be, and understood all the reasons for each step to keep the business going. The transparency and update calls were great.”
Eliminating ‘burnout’ by ensuring opportunities for time off.
Holly Swingle, Benco Senior Accountant, said that during the pandemic, she felt as though she and Benco were “in it together”.
“I love how Benco refers to remote working as “At Home Work” to emphasize home comes first. Benco’s flex time and AHW policies enable women to be able to keep all that matters in focus at all times. …While at home, I never felt judged if my child was visible during a team meeting, or if I had to step away to assist my children with school from home. The company was also very supportive and ensured individuals had the opportunity (to use) vacation time to eliminate burnout and keep everyone’s spirits up.”
She discussed the feeling of empowerment she derives from the network of women in leadership positions.
“These women provide a realistic model, reflecting how success can be achieved while maintaining the work- life balance at Benco.”
‘Understanding’ is direct reflection of leadership views at Benco
Anna Brode, District Sales Operations Coordinator for the company’s Northeast region views flexibility to work from home as a huge benefit.
“Everyone at Benco is so understanding of having families at home and the interruptions that can cause. At the same time, they recognize that our work is still being done efficiently and effectively. I feel like that is a direct reflection of our leadership and their views rolling down the chain to all employees,” Brode said.
“Working from home has given me the ability to get my work done and still be able to care for my family, get them to and from school and activities and not have to rely on anyone else to do so. I also now get an hour back daily because I don’t have to travel to and from the office, which is a huge relief. “
Business Insights Analyst III Lyndsey Dalton echoed that sentiment.
“It’s not just working from home. It’s the ability to not stress over needing unexpected time off, stepping away for appointments… that is beyond appreciated. I never have any doubt that a request for time off, whether planned or not, will ever be questioned or responded to with frustration,” said Dalton.
“I think (my daughter) Lily was sick 7 or 8 times her first year and that required a ton of flexibility for me as a mom. I’m grateful that Benco was flexible to allow me to deal with that.”
‘I never felt like I was letting anyone down of failing.’
As a single working mother, Director of Accounting and Tax Diane Spears said she never felt she had to put work before her children.
“The schedule flexibility to go to school events, take care of a sick child, and attend every sporting event I ever wanted was what made it a blessing to raise my children here. I never felt like I was letting anyone down or felt the pressure of ‘I can’t because of work’ or that I had to put work before my children. I was always given the flexibility and support to put them first. My leader was supportive and I understood my responsibilities. It was a combination of that support and flexibility that let me feel successful at work and retained me long term here. I am forever grateful for that gift and to my leader for providing it! Deadlines moved, priorities shifted, but I got to the swim meets and never felt like I was letting anyone down or failing. “
During her tenure with the company, that same flexibility and support provided her with strength in a time of crisis.
“That support became more evident and widespread as I became sick a couple of years back. I was blessed by support from people and departments I never expected at Benco. That … provided me strength when I needed it,” shared Spears.
“That family feeling is irreplaceable. It has never been forgotten or lost its impact on me. The blend of both of those created a loyalty that is unwavering.”Director of Accounting and Tax Diane Spears, on the widespread support from the Benco team during a time of personal crisis.
Benco Dental’s Lucy Hobbs Project empowers women in dentistry
Powered by Benco Dental and 10,000 members strong, The Lucy Hobbs Project® encourages dental professionals to unite as a force for change through networking, innovation and giving back. Free to join, the Project includes women from all facets of the profession – dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, sales representatives.
Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor earned her dental degree in 1866, advancing equality for her gender. She defied nearly a decade of resistance, leading with clinical proficiency and innovative thinking; then she mentored others to do the same. Benco Dental’s Lucy Hobbs Project® annually honors women in dentistry who personify that same spirit.
“Each year I am awestruck by the women being considered for this honor. Benco Dental unites women from every sector of the profession through The Lucy Hobbs Project, and creates a network that recognizes, fosters and celebrates that excellence,” said Lindsay Pross, Events and Marketing Operations Manager for Benco Dental.
To learn more or become a member, visit: https://www.thelucyhobbsproject.com/
Looking for ways to celebrate Women’s Equality Day yearound?
Felicia Shaw, who leads the San Diego-based Women’s Museum of California, presents an opportunity to “tell the untold stories of women’s achievements” and share their message that “a single day of celebrating important milestones in women’s history is hardly enough.” Learn more about women’s history you didn’t learn in the classroom — but should have, according to Shaw, HERE.
Find out how Lucy Hobbs Project ‘Woman Who Inspires’ Dr. Cathy Hung advocates for Diversity and Inclusion in dentistry and how she has been channeling her expert perspective into her next book, “Behind Her Scalpel: Practical Guide and Stories by Women Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons,” HERE.