Empowering Women in Dentistry with the Lucy Hobbs Project
Previous honoree notes a memorable pursuit of her dental career
Amanda Seay, DDS
Named for the first woman in dentistry, the Lucy Hobbs Project empowers women in the dental field to drive change and deliver success through networking, innovation, and giving back. Each year, the initiative honors six women for the distinction of Exemplary Women in the Dental Community. This initiative compels women in the dental field to pursue change, constantly evolve, and be successful.
As someone who wasn’t really that focused in high school and had a difficult childhood, it’s humbling for me to have been chosen as an honoree by the Lucy Hobbs Project. I applied to dental school because I looked up to my best friend and her family as being my stable figures and she applied to dental school. It was something that I thought I would like because I liked the medical profession and science, and I learned from my previous mistakes in school and kept trying to do my best. Part of why this award is meaningful is because I can’t believe that someone believed in me and what I do—pursuing what I love and trying to be better at it.
I fell in love with the artistry of esthetics after dental school. I went to a meeting where the lecture and presentation were beautiful. It was the first time I saw how to use creativity in dentistry and teaching in its truest essence and form, which is also how I began teaching. I never made it a goal to teach, but loving the art form of it and how to make it beautiful makes you appreciate all forms of art. Of course we are learning the fundamentals as well, but having people sit through your presentation and feel something is so rewarding. The science part is essential and you have to know it, but I think to involve the emotional side is also key.
Receiving the Women to Watch award made me realize that I have impacted or been recognized by some people, whether they think dentistry is about level of skill, artistry, or teaching. I can’t say exactly why I received the award, but I feel like it encompasses all of it. My vision for my chosen path was always clear in the sense that I just wanted to be really good at what I do. I will do whatever it takes to be good at dentistry, so I have a commitment to being a student for life and always learning.
The reason I keep pushing to be better is my family. I’m showing my kids what it means to work hard, pursue your dreams, and believe in yourself. If you do that, you can accomplish anything. At the same time, you can do these things that you enjoy and build a really good lifestyle. I was brought up in a very typical Asian household, where you have to be a doctor. For me, my family, and my kids, I want them to pursue whatever it is they want to do, but I think you have to pursue it with tenacity and focus, knowing that you are going to fail and learn from your mistakes.
As a woman in dentistry, it is challenging when people make assumptions. While I’m not the youngest person in the dental field, when I first started lecturing, there were times when I was setting up in a room and people looked at me as being too young, female, and not possibly having enough experience to contribute anything to their learning. The majority of dental educators are male and older. Showing that I had something to contribute to this industry was a challenge that I had to overcome.
The Lucy Hobbs Project is a sign of change in this industry. A lot of women have great intentions when they come out of dental school and they want to be great at what they do. Then they have babies and their own practices, so they must learn to balance the two. The Lucy Hobbs award is so great because it celebrates these women—they have families, they have careers, and their passionate about both, showing that it can be done and we can step into power and greatness.
About the Author
Amanda Seay, DDS, AAACD, maintains a private practice in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Since graduating from New York University College of Dentistry in 2002, Dr. Seay has continued to expand her base of dental knowledge and skills through continuing education and advanced training. Dr. Seay shares her knowledge as a Kois clinical instructor in Seattle. Additionally, she has published articles covering the art and techniques of esthetic dentistry and serves on the boards of several peer-reviewed journals. She is a key opinion leader for multiple dental companies and was nominated as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry in 2012. Dr. Seay is also an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a volunteer for the Give Back a Smile Program for victims of domestic violence.