EDITOR’S NOTE: Two of Benco Dental’s senior female executives stand in for Managing Directors Chuck and Rick Cohen in this, the eighth annual Lucy Hobbs Project edition of Incisal Edge.

We mark our eighth annual tribute to women in dentistry with thoughts from two leaders who exemplify Hobbs’s pioneer spirit.


THE WAY IN WHICH Dr. Lucy Hobbs defied nearly a decade of resistance from others before finally earning her dental degree in 1866 is as important as the accomplishment itself. She persevered with total authenticity and a steadfast commitment to her pursuit of dentistry, forging ahead while always being true to herself.

If there’s one thing I believe in, it’s leading by example. The Lucy Hobbs Project, for me, is inspiring because being a successful leader means instilling a strong belief in honesty, fairness and authenticity in our team. We strive to be indispensable partners for our valued customers, and that means genuinely living Benco Dental’s fundamental purpose of driving dentistry forward in everything we do.

In this women-focused issue, you’ll meet (among others) the founder of two institutes and a dental school bachelor’s program, a globally trained implantologist, an advocate for the oral care of 28,000 children and counting, the mind behind 100-plus medical devices, an engineer of empowerment and a unifier of oral health and medicine. They are Lucy Hobbs.

I like to think that in some small way, I’m Lucy Hobbs now too. Being introduced to her legacy as part of my journey with Benco Dental has added depth to my role and granted me another great spirit to embody. Clearly, the more all of us support women, the stronger the dental industry will become for everyone. I’m happy to be part of an organization that takes our commitment to such support so seriously.

KATY COHEN is Benco Dental’s Chief Revenue Officer.

FOR WOMEN IN dentistry, the pipeline to leadership has widened significantly—but it has taken some time. In the 1970s, the decade in which I was born, the share of women among dental-school students jumped from a paltry 1 percent to double digits, and by the time I joined Benco Dental, the proportion of female graduates was approaching 40 percent. Only recently have we finally achieved a true level of equality in our dental schools, with women now making up just over half of all enrollees.

Today, I’m energized in my role as Benco Dental’s Chief Financial Officer and doing my part to help blaze a trail for the next generation. I’ve watched with pride as my own career growth has dovetailed with the rise of women across the dental health-care community, whether you’re a dentist, assistant, hygienist, consultant, corporate executive or any of the other countless roles women now occupy throughout this industry. As a leader, I feel an especially close connection with many of our entrepreneurial customers and the other remarkable individuals who will potentially set an example for generations still to come.

To me, keeping that momentum going is crucial. The more we have role models and mentors inspiring and instilling a strong work ethic in tomorrow’s rising stars, the more leaders we’ll create. Part of Benco’s commitment to driving dentistry forward is being a force for positive change. On behalf of all the women who make up the Benco family, welcome to our eighth annual Lucy Hobbs Project issue of Incisal Edge.

KAREN FRIAR is Benco Dental’s Chief Financial Officer.