Woody is the undisputed Father of Modern Dental Education. Some of you reading this are too young to remember when it was nearly impossible to find good continuing education about how to actually make a living at the practice of dentistry. I might even count myself as one of these, too. Why? Well, Woody Oakes and his organization have always been around since I started practicing.
Back when Woody was trying to figure out how to make his practice work right out of dental school, there weren’t all that many options out there. There have always been good courses on how to do good clinical work. Still, for many years there was a stigma attached to trying to make a profit while you practiced.
I’ll be one of the first to admit that I don’t truly understand why profit was looked upon as a dirty word in our profession for so long, but it was. Woody finally cracked the code in his own practice and he vowed that he would make it his lifelong mission to help other new and struggling dentists find a safe harbor to learn and grow.
Woody trailblazed this new area of learning with the establishment of his Nationwide Dentist Newsletter back in April of 1988. He grew his subscribership up to an amazing 12,000 dentists very quickly and changed the name to The Profitable Dentist. Considering there are only about 100,000 general dentists in the U.S., I want you to sit back and think about just how important and influential those first newsletters must have been.
A few years later, Woody decided to reconstruct the seminar scene that he had himself found so boring and hard to work within and he started his legendary Destin seminar. He also coined the term “Edu-Tainment.” Never again would dental seminars resemble the old school dark lecture halls at the state meetings and the like. No, people could learn, get better, and have fun all in the same place.
I would be lying if I said that Woody wasn’t a huge influence on me. I became a subscriber to The Profitable Dentist soon after I built my own practice. I met a very friendly Woody at Destin the next year and told him a little bit about my story.
Less than 2 years later, I was on the cover of the flagship magazine in all of dentistry telling my story about how I had gone from no job, no prospects, no land or building, and a wife pregnant with my first child, to a fully functional dental office with 3 ops, 1 acre of land, and a fully stocked practice for less than 200,000 dollars in less than 60 days.
Then, in 2008 Woody gave me my very first full day seminar on stage in Louisville, Kentucky. That is the day that launched The Capacity Academy and got me on my way to helping all of you in one way or another.
Is it any wonder, then, that the second I heard Woody had come back to lead his organization after a year-long sabbatical, that I trucked it straight up to New Albany, Indiana, to see if there was anything I could do to help?
Woody and I hung out for about an hour. I got the 5 Star Tour of his offices. (BTW, it was super cool to see my face on some of the products toward the front of his warehouse indicating that they are some of his best sellers.) We shared and talked about lots of things. I accepted Woody’s gracious invitation to speak to his coaching clients this year and Woody accepted my invitation to be interviewed for this very Winning Dentist ezine.
He sure seemed to be his old self after a tough stretch of health issues. He looked good to me and I can only assume that the fire is once again lit full beam inside him as he plans on the direction his company will take from here on out.
Woody and I both know that it is a huge responsibility to teach and coach other dentists. That’s why the mission of an event must be larger than just education. It must be transformative. It must be inspirational.
And last, but not least. Don’t forget that it must be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?