August 2018
Volume 9, Issue 8

Women of Distinction in Dental Technology

At meetings and tradeshows, in classrooms and research laboratories, competing in world-class events to fundraise for a cause, at the helm of businesses and educational institutions, women are increasingly influencing and shaping the business world. With quiet determination and always looking ahead to conquer the next challenge, these industry professionals are standing up and making their voices heard and their presence known. Look around you. Their numbers may be fewer than the majority, but the women you do see are making a difference in the dental technology industry.

They are the women who shrugged off the whispers of "can't," "shouldn't," and "impossible" and refused to wait to be granted a seat at the table. Instead, they embraced the risk, demanded a voice, and broke through the glass ceiling to lead, creating an indelible mark—of their vision, their drive, and their dedication to succeed—on the industry.

It hasn't been easy. It never has been for women who aspire to challenge the status quo and break down barriers of the norm. Nor will it be easy in foreseeable future. It requires incredible strength to juggle the responsibilities of home, family, and community while forging ahead in business to overcome the hurdles that stand in the way. These women are among the leaders in this industry who have successfully pushed through and paved the way, becoming the role models and mentors for others who follow.

Recognizing the achievements and contributions of women working in the dental technology industry in this issue is an honor. We celebrate their successes; we appreciate their perseverance and dedication; we applaud the unique perspectives and values that they and other women bring to the business of dental technology. Diversity and inclusiveness will always offer the opportunity to build a stronger, more competitive, innovative, and productive business environment and to ensure a sustainable future.

To identify the most influential women in dental technology, IDT solicited nominations from the public and then used that list to survey our editorial advisory board. Eight women stood out from the rest.

Jessica Birrell, CDT, MUA

Birrell owns Capture Dental Arts in West Jordan, Utah, and specializes in conservative restorations and esthetics. Her portfolio includes educational books, courses and lectures, photography, makeup artistry, and product research. A mother of three, she serves on Inside Dental Technology's Editorial Advisory Board.

Ricki Braswell, CAE

Braswell is CEO of The Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education, a post she has occupied since 2011. Prior to that, she served for 10 years as Co-Executive Director of the National Association of Dental Laboratories, the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology, and the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology.

Renata Budny, MBA, MDT, CDT

Budny is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Restorative Dentistry program at the New York City College of Technology. She is a member of the American Society of Master Dental Technologists and a fellow in the Northeastern Gnathological Society. She serves on Inside Dental Technology's Editorial Advisory Board.

Denise Burris, CDT

Burris is the co-owner of By Design Dental Studio in Atlanta, Georgia, which she opened last year after 27 years in the profession. She is Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology. She also serves on various committees for the National Association of Dental Laboratories.

Rella Christensen, RDH, PhD

Christensen is team leader of the nonprofit Technologies in Restoratives and Caries Research (TRAC Research), part of the Clinicians Report Foundation, which she co-founded and directed for 27 years. She has taught at several levels, authored many research abstracts and reports, and received numerous honors.

Elizabeth Curran, CDT (US), RDT (UK)

Curran recently retired after a distinguished career as a board-certified ceramic technician, laboratory owner, and Associate Professor, Director of Dental Technology at A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, Arizona. She also served on Inside Dental Technology's Editorial Advisory Board.

Tay Harvey

Harvey is co-founder and COO of anaxdent North America, a post she has occupied since 2011. Prior to that, she specialized in dental implants for 3M IMTEC Corporation for 8 years. She is known for bringing new concepts and materials to the US market. Her YouTube channel, popular for self-produced rap videos, has more than 1,000 subscribers.

Barbara Wojdan, CDT, AAACD

Wojdan is the President of Knight Dental Group, Inc. She is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She serves as Treasurer for the National Association of Dental Laboratories and Vice Chair of the Cal Lab Group among other association roles, and she co-hosts the "Voices from the Bench" podcast.

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