As Omnicron wanes and women look toward a new normal, many realize the pandemic was transformational for them and the way they do business. Julie Charlestein found a new approach to oral care in a business that had been in her family for generations.
"I see opportunity in every challenge. My mantra — in life and in work — comes from a 2010 Gatorade commercial: 'If you want a revolution, the only solution, evolve.'
You have heard it a million times since March 2020: the pandemic created unprecedented challenges. But there are some silver linings even in the face of adversity: some challenges have led us to innovate in ways that are here to stay.
Take wellness, for example. While not a new buzzword in 2020, wellness has evolved. Health, fitness, and self-care have blurred into an overall focus on well-being that is being prioritized within our homes. I saw this as an opportunity to leverage my expertise as fourth generation CEO of Premier Dental, known for developing industry-leading innovations for oral care professionals, to create something consumers could use in their daily at-home wellness routines.
I channeled my idol, Diane von Furstenberg, who is fearless and unapologetic in building her empire; I set out to develop a product that would improve consumers’ oral health (and therefore their overall health) on the 360+ days a year when they are not visiting the dentist, while also delivering brighter, whiter smiles. In the face of uncertainty, izzo came to life. This four-in-one technology for your mouth is an at-home oral care system that debuts an entirely new product category for consumers.
In the creation of this product, and while continuing to stay true to Premier Dental’s mission, I did not do anything perfectly. One challenge was personnel management. I pride myself in human connection, and prioritizing my people helps keep them (and me!) motivated. Without day-to-day interactions and real-time laughter in the office, I felt disconnected as a leader and a colleague. I started scheduling zoom game nights, doing fun quizzes and just recently started a leadership meeting with a round of Bingo; anything to keep morale up and the team engaged!
The turn to remote/hybrid work blurred the separation between work and home, especially for team members with children at home, or those living in smaller spaces. It was important for me to set an example of compassion and understanding.
Setting my own rules about carving out time for myself and my family made it acceptable for our employees to set their own. I will not take any work calls when I am with my kids, and I carve out time each day for a short yoga practice or workout. I encouraged self-care for everyone at Premier — after all, health is at the core of our business – but if I did not talk the walk myself, how could I expect my team to do so? Making sure I took care of my needs, allowed my team the space to do the same and as a result, continued producing their best work.
Sometimes uncertainty brings the opportunity for a change of focus and repositioning, and sometimes overcoming a challenge, leads to a revolution."