East Huntingdon dentist shares views on career success
By Linda Harkcom
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
As a little girl growing up in Cali, Colombia, Beatriz De La Roche dreamed of becoming a pediatric dentist.
Today she is the proprietor of a financially successful and unique dental practice and she uses her success and experience to help other women.
De La Roche, owner of Tender Care Pediatric Dentistry along state Route 819 in East Huntingdon, has come a long way since her arrival in the United States in 1984.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Dentistry and completing her residency in pediatric dentistry at the Children's Hospital and The Medical Center of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she spent three years working for dentists in the Pittsburgh area.
“When I was a kid, my dad said to me, the best boss you can have is yourself, and as I got older and decided to become a pediatric dentist, I decided that I wanted to do something special,” De La Roche said.
She said there are very few women own dental practices and that she found many men in the field were not eager to have a female partner.
“One head of a big dental practice said there is no way he would ever be able to partner with me. You tell me I can't, I will show you that I can,” she said.
In 2000, she opened her first dental practice in Mt. Pleasant by renting space from other dentists.
Her practice quickly outgrew the space and she moved to Chatawhochee Square along state Route 119 in Bullskin.
In 2011, she reached her dream of owning a unique practice that keeps her young patients in mind.
Her 4,600-square-foot practice features colorful, 3-D art murals designed by De La Roche.
Janet M. Heyl, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh District office of the U.S. Business Administration, said she meets many entrepreneurs.
Heyl recently interviewed De La Roche for an article she wrote that featured the doctor and her unique practice.
“I was impressed that she grew her business slowly and carefully while catering to a niche audience. She then utilized her artistic background to create the perfect environment that appeals to young clientele and their parents,” Heyl said.
De La Roche's next endeavor is sharing her experience with other female business owners.
She is a member of the Greensburg Chapter of the Women Presidents' Organization.
The chapters consist of female business leaders who run firms that bring in at least $1 million in revenue.
The group provides a forum for female CEOs and presidents to talk with peers about issues that arise from owning a business, said Jayne H. Huston, the Greensburg group's chairwoman and the director of E-Magnify at Seton Hill University.
The women help each other by sharing their experiences with one another in business as well as dealing with personal issues that might arise while owning a business, Huston said.
Huston added that De La Roche provides knowledge gained from unique experiences that other members in the group have not had.
“The experience she has gained from constructing a very highly unique venue for a highly targeted market provides her with a very unique perspective she has brought to the table,” Huston said. “She also brings her experiences she has gained from being a mother to the group as well.”
De La Roche said she also encourages her female staff to pursue educational opportunities and helps to cover the costs associated with that schooling.
She also allows women in dental schools and studying marketing to come into her business to shadow and learn how things are done at a woman-owned and -ran practice.
“I want women to see that we are capable of accomplishing wonderful things. I want to be able to give all the fire and drive I have in me to these people,” she said. “The American dream is still alive and it goes for anyone. If you can dream it and work hard you can accomplish it.”
Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
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