BACD celebrates its inspirational female leaders
The number of women pursuing a career in dentistry continues to rise, and the BACD’s commitment to the betterment of all dental team members is a key reason why it retains inspirational female leaders within its diverse community of members.
Having led back-office operations since its inception, Suzy Rowlands understands more than most why dental professionals are drawn to the Academy. “What makes the BACD stand out from other organisations is that it’s friendly and welcoming.
“We encourage all age groups and genders to join the Academy and regularly ask members what they would like from us in terms of education, additional membership benefits and everything else in between. The networking opportunities at BACD events – especially the Annual Conference – are second-to-none.”
Dr Arti Singh has spent the past few years on the BACD Communications Committee and believes the dental landscape has changed significantly since she graduated as a dentist.
She explained: “There are certainly more prominent women in leadership, educational and speaking positions across the profession. I’ve found the BACD to be an inclusive, supportive and positive motivating force. As a member, I have access to courses, webinars, mentoring and other benefits. I’m most grateful to have gained a network of friends and colleagues, who act as a sounding board if I need clinical support or advice.
“Membership offers women in dentistry all of these benefits and over the past three years, the Academy has curated a dedicated Ladies Who Do Dentistry (LWDD) event, which has created a space for women to feel supported and empowered. I’ve always been encouraged to share my ideas – most recently, I was delighted to be able to bring the innovative digital communication tool, Chairsyde, to the BACD as a member benefit.”
Dr Maysoon Abdelmajeed has also been heavily involved with the BACD’s progression since she joined the Academy several years ago, before moving to Dubai. She now supports its Young Membership Committee in the appointment of new student representatives each year.
She observes: “As a dentist I’ve never felt disadvantaged because I’m a woman, but I have seen more men than women in positions of responsibility in dentistry. For me, it’s important that anyone appointed to these roles is chosen based on what they can bring to the table, rather than their gender. If you’re a woman and interested in taking on such responsibilities, then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and showcase what you have to offer.
“Joining the BACD Board of Directors or committees, for example, requires a great deal of time and commitment beyond your clinical responsibilities. But the opportunity is there if you want to get involved and support is available to help you excel.
“The BACD is certainly pro-active in its support of women in dentistry, its LWDD group provides a useful support network. It’s encouraging to see female dentists take leadership roles at the Academy, but I would love to see even more women take up the mantle.”
Dr Sheila Nguyen has been involved with the BACD since she was a student eight years ago. Now a committee member, she continues to appreciate the support the Academy offers its members. “Dentistry can be isolating, so being able to turn to someone for advice and guidance, and to feel connected to others, is crucial.
“The BACD is a family and whether you need support in clinical or other more personal work-related issues, there is always someone with similar experiences who can give you the confidence to make the right decision. It’s a safe space and a completely inclusive family – you are welcome regardless of gender, age, background, personal preferences or clinical achievement.
“There are opportunities for all members to fulfil committee or board roles if they want to. I am not a woman in the BACD – I am a member, a dentist and part of the family.”
As Membership Director on the BACD Board, Dr Carol Somerville Roberts (top) advocates strongly for women to join the Academy and take advantage of the opportunities that membership offers, particularly through the LWDD group.
She says: “Membership has provided me with access to some of the best dentists in the UK, whom I now count as friends and colleagues. I have been inspired to push myself to be better and believe that I can achieve what I set out to do.
“Being a member provides access to great education as well as trade benefits but, above all, I can network and share my passion for cosmetic dentistry with peers who have the same goals. The LWDD group brings together younger and more experienced female dentists who support each other in a collaborative way.
“I would absolutely encourage women to join us, as they will find many other women who are excelling within the profession. It is a very friendly, welcoming institution that puts education, passion and integrity at the heart of everything it does. It has shaped my career and I can definitely say that I would not be the dentist I am now, nor would I have the practice I do, without the BACD.”
Young dentist and Chair of the Young Membership Committee, Dr Lydia Sharples, agrees. She says: “I’m very proud to be part of the BACD Board of Directors. I became a member after attending a lecture on minimally invasive dentistry, which opened my eyes to a whole new standard of practice.
“I met nearly all of my mentors through the BACD. My professional development plan has been inspired by what I’ve seen at educational events and what I’ve learned from other members. The support from the network of friends and colleagues I’ve gained through membership has been absolutely invaluable, and I’m so grateful for it.
“The LWDD event is a perfect example of how it supports women in dentistry, which, to me, is such an important part of the Academy and really unique. Of course, the event is educational but it’s also fun and inspiring. Along with the BACD Annual Conference and Young Dentist Day, it is one of the highlights of my dental calendar.”
Discover your place at one of dentistry’s most inclusive organisations – visit the BACD website, www.bacd.com.