Dr. Patrice Smith shares her secrets to building a fulfilling, multi-faceted career and life.
Have you ever considered launching your own business from home or traveling abroad to give back to communities 5000 miles away, all while maintaining your practice as a dental or medical professional? Your career doesn’t have to be confined to one line of focus. Some people thrive when they juggle commitments that are very different from one another.
She’s an orthodontist who has mastered the art of time management. Her 9-5 schedule may consist of appointments with patients in the office, but her 6-10 is her time to manage her self-started candle business and blog.
Although born in Jamaica, Dr. Smith moved to the U.S. and attended dental school at Howard University in Washington D.C. It wasn’t until her third year of school that she decided she wanted to go into orthodontics. For her, orthodontics is the ideal practice because it allows her to “use both sides of (her) brain simultaneously: the analytical and the creative.”
“It allows me the freedom to express my personality, one that is very laid back (must be the island girl in me) but also type A when it comes to details, systems and organization,” she said.
It is the love for creative freedom and challenging herself in unique ways that, in part, inspired Dr. Smith to establish her own candle business called Unorthdoc Candles. As someone who always adored scented candles but couldn’t afford to purchase the high-end brand ones during dental school, Dr. Smith began making her own candles from scratch. What started out as a fun, relaxing hobby turned into a full-blown business as demand for her candles accelerated.
When I asked her how she finds the time to run her business in addition to practicing her profession, she told me she has an organized planner to keep a routine schedule. She only works in the ortho office 3 days a week and usually dedicates her evenings to Unorthodoc Candles.
Another major hobby of hers is blogging.
Back in 2008, she started chronicling her dental school journey through blog posts. “It was kind of like a diary where I documented everything and other people found it to use as a resource”, she admitted. Dr. Smith felt compelled to assist other dental students through their career journeys by sharing her own experiences.
Today, she runs an incredibly successful blog called TheUnOrthodoc (theunorthodoc.com), designed to help young professionals lead a balanced and purposeful life. The website also features resources such as student financing options as well as her favorite dental products!
Last, but certainly not least, Dr. Smith uses her professional skills to give back not only to her home community but communities across the globe.
She is the cofounder of Dental Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing dental services to underserved communities in different countries.
“All of us share a passion for giving back to our communities and to the disenfranchised. With the exception of 2020, every year we travel to different countries and provide free dental care to those without access,” she said of her and her team.
Is there anything Dr. Smith can’t do?!
On building your personal brand: “Prioritize authenticity. Early on, I was very caught up in how things looked, but after a while I realized people will gravitate towards you for your authenticity.”
On choosing a specialty: “*Try to figure out early, what you want and how you want to lead your professional life.” Make sure the specialty you choose fits with your preferred lifestyle.
On setting your schedule: “*Work with someone so you can see how you want to practice. I did that for two years and realized I was burnt out. Hence, why I work 3 days a week. During those 3 days, I am all in so I can deliver the best quality of care.”
Follow Dr. Smith on Instagram to stay up to date with her career journey! (@dr.unorthodoc).