Intro by Paula Parker
Diana Batoon is having the time of her life in dentistry! When you meet her or hear her speak, her smile is contagious, and her genuine enthusiasm about being a dentist is immediately evident.
As a practice owner in Scottsdale, AZ, Dr. Batoon wears many hats, both in her practice and in her personal life: Dentist, CEO, Entrepreneur, Team Leader, Award-Winning Industry Speaker, Lifelong Learner, Wife, Mom, Caregiver, Friend.
Like many professionals, finding a balance between building your career and being present in your personal life is an ongoing challenge. Dr Batoon recognizes the value of self-care and staying involved and connected to those that offer support and love in return. She has graciously shared her thoughts on how she balances a thriving integrative dentistry practice and speaking career while keeping her family #1, and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
Dental School: Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
General Practice Residency: VA hospital in Loma Linda, CA.
Diplomate: Dental Sleep Medicine
AADSM; AACP; PPRN; ADA; AzDA; ABDSM
Just like many new dentists, after graduation, I worked in corporate dentistry and as an associate dentist.
Early on, I was a CE junkie and participated in several esthetic continuums and learned CAD CAM and laser dentistry.
In 1999, I took the step toward practice ownership and founded Bonita Dental.
I purchased an existing practice with an existing team and continued to accept dental insurance while building out my own team and vision. I made a few key investments, from replacing old equipment to incorporating technology, to becoming a paperless practice, to purchasing my own condo unit and building out an integrated sleep practice with ancillary medical providers. I hired part-time outside medical billers until eventually we learned how to do it ourselves.
I am constantly pursuing and learning new techniques to improve my level of care and services for my patients. Through it all, collaboration has been a key to success and has helped me grow my practice.
Raising three boys is hectic, especially with two working parents. We learned early on that we needed to find a way to maintain our careers while still making our family our priority regardless of work. When our boys were younger, my husband and I “built” a support network – a village – with other parents to help coordinate school and athletic pick-ups and drop-offs for all our children! Once our boys were driving, things got much easier. As chaotic as it feels when your children are growing up and their needs are constantly evolving, it is temporary, and at times I had to remind myself to cherish those moments that pass so quickly in hindsight.
A few key lessons we’ve learned along the way that help us keep family #1:
- Sunday is family day for us and no matter what is happening in our lives, Sunday is a day of rest and connectedness. We take time-out from our outside lives to devote time to each other and GOD.
- We plan a family vacation at least once a year. Even if it is a short drive to California, or tagging along with me when I speak, especially in a new place, we always plan time away.
- We ALWAYS have at least one parent at the boy’s events. Sometimes it’s a juggling act, and I may have to move my patient schedule to make a track meet at 3:30 pm or camping with the mountain biking team to be there for the race the following morning.
- Eating together as a family. They look forward to home-made chicken fettuccine or a night out at the sushi bar.
- Be present in your children’s lives. Regardless of their age, when you find a way to connect, it keeps communication flowing. Things change so quickly as they grow…when my boys were younger, they looked forward to me taking them out to lunch on Fridays. As they became high school age, we started the tradition of going out to breakfast with each of them 1:1 after their first semester so I can do a “check-in” with them individually. Times like this stick with them. My oldest, Mateo, is a junior at University of Arizona and still asks me when we are going to breakfast every year since he started college…so I guess I did something right!
- My husband & I make time for us and our marriage. We have a date night twice a month and realign.
- For those of us that have aging parents, stay in touch! I call my mom, who has been widowed for many years, every Sunday – even if it’s to say hi and have a short conversation. I want to build loving memories with her, especially as she gets older.
It’s there. Stress is there. It’s a part of life, yes. Yet I have learned to adapt better, changing my coping skills, and building my support system personally and professionally. I have a group of close friends and also have active mentorships with fellow colleagues. I believe it is all about perspective…how you process in the moment what is happening to you. I’ve found that failing forward along my journey made me stronger – both as a clinician and as a woman. If something did not turn out like I had hoped, or I was disappointed, I simply moved on. I realized how much energy it takes to focus on negativity, and I’m not interested.
I have people in my life that depend on me and it’s important to stay positive in order to function well. My father passed away very young at the age of 49, and my mother is now in her 80’s. I know there will be a time when I need to step up and take care of her. It’s the cycle of life.
To manage my stress, I take time for self-care – like the flight attendants tell you…I put my oxygen mask on first so I can help others around me! As a rule, I try to get enough sleep and I also have a few specific outlets to help me decompress. I love to travel, enjoy lunch or brunch with my friends, or grab a ZOOM call with faraway friends. My guilty pleasure is binge watching good shows on Netflix with my husband, but above all else, spending time with my boys is truly a blessing. We have two German Shepherds, Rocky and Astro, that offer me unconditional love no matter how I’m feeling when I arrive at home, which makes any day bearable.
Wearing so many hats in life, I find respite in meditation, breathing and resting. This is especially important to be my best for my family. My faith is important to me and keeping God close to my heart is KEY.
I have an active speaking career and love where it takes me and the people I meet along the way, BUT as a rule, I am always home by Sunday. Sunday is 100% dedicated to family time.
Maintaining a positive narrative in your head is crucial, especially as a clinician and the leader of your practice Drinking water is simple, but hydration is important, and it does make a difference! C
Staying connected to family and friends allows me to surround myself with feelings of love and acceptance and reaffirms how worthwhile this life is.
I am a sucker for finding a good deal! It doesn’t matter if it’s clothes, travel fares, or a book I’ve been wanting to read.
Bottom line…THE SIMPLE THINGS MATTER!
As a member of the Arizona Dental Association, there are opportunities for volunteering both as a dentist and alongside my boys.
As a family, we have made it a point to be active in organizations that help those less fortunate than us. It reminds us of how fortunate WE are to have necessities each day. Giving back helps us as parents and role models for our boys set the tone for being mindful and kind to everyone around us, no matter their circumstance.
I love dentistry and I am grateful that I have found and maintained a passion for what I do each day – even after practicing clinically for over 25 years. The many aspects of services we can offer our patients to improve their quality of life is exciting which is exactly why I expanded my practice to integrative dentistry, sleep apnea and airway.
I am passionate about sharing my knowledge with others in dentistry, and am grateful for my family’s support as I’ve pursued my dental speaking career. If I can inspire people in their workspace to serve their patients or clients better – that’s the most meaningful thing to me.
If you are a dentist-owner and would like to share your story on how you find balance between the demands of dentistry and practice ownership and your personal well-being, please reach out!