by Dr. Trista Felty
The Council on New and Younger Members recently decided to develop member profiles for publication via the eBulletin. We want to highlight other new and younger members who are making strides within our profession to elevate the field of orthodontics. We also would like to share stories about those members who have achieved interesting and admirable feats, whether in orthodontics, their communities, or athletic endeavors.
We hope that showcasing these members will inspire others to get involved, because even though we may be new and younger members, we can have a significant impact on the profession and in our communities, both now and in the future. It seems only fitting to start off this new feature by highlighting someone who spends his extra time highlighting others for the betterment of our profession: Dr. Lance Miller.
Podcasting Conversations with Successful Orthodontists
When one thinks of normal communication tools used for orthodontics, podcasts aren’t exactly the first medium to come to mind. Dr. Miller has taken a relatively unusual form of communication in our field and made it into a highly anticipated event every Tuesday, when a new podcast is delivered onto his Elevate Orthodontics website. I got to turn the tables on Dr. Miller and ask him some questions for our very first member profile.
Dr. Miller is a long-time fan of podcasts. Some of his favorites include those by James Altuchur, Tim Ferris, Howard Farran, Mark Costes, Jim Dahle (the White Coat Investor) and ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption. While he learned a lot from the business and dental-focused podcasts, he found none focusing on orthodontic discussions.* He felt inspired to start his own podcast based on interviewing other orthodontists and colleagues who directly help us both personally and professionally.
“(Podcasts) offered an intimacy that comes out during an unscripted interview and the knowledge that your words are being sent to ear canals all over the world,” says Dr. Miller. “They are also inherently a multitasking medium; people can listen (and learn) while they commute, exercise or travel. Podcasts provide a chance to turn unproductive time into a chance to learn or be inspired.”
Starting a podcast was a new challenge for Dr. Miller, going from listener to producer. He had to spend time learning how to record and distribute a podcast. He went to fiverr.com to get an introduction and logo made to make it even more professional, and launched a website and companion Facebook group for listeners to post questions and comments.
“I felt unqualified and unsure of how my efforts would be received by my colleagues,” says Dr. Miller. “Eventually, I told myself that I was going to create a podcast that I would enjoy and learn from and if others happened to like it that would be a bonus.”
A Fan Base Develops for the Podcast Series
The podcast has garnered fans other than Dr. Miller, and has been downloaded in all 50 states and in more than 75 countries around the world. It seems that Dr. Miller found an unknown demand in the market of the orthodontic community.
The podcast officially launched in late January 2017 with Dr. Miller’s first guest, Dr. Neal Kravitz. I stumbled onto the podcast a few weeks after it had officially launched, and ended up listening to past episodes faster than I normally binge watch new Netflix series.
“We are entering an exciting time, where our ability to connect and learn from our colleagues is propelling the specialty forward,” says Dr. Miller. “One-way digital communication, like webinars, podcasts, and live broadcasts of lectures allow us to access experts and industry leaders from our homes or offices. Two-way communication, such as the rapidly proliferating orthodontic Facebook groups give us a chance to ask questions, explore ideas together, find mentors and accountability partners, and enjoy the camaraderie of our peers as we share our frustrations and triumphs.”
I have found the biggest benefit of such groups to be the general spirit of collaboration instead of competition that is stressed among them. The guests on Dr. Miller’s podcast also demonstrate this spirit – sharing tips and pearls of wisdom to elevate the orthodontic profession above that of the individual orthodontist. Of course, Dr. Miller himself also exemplifies this generous spirit by delivering these podcasts at no charge to his listeners, while he spends time each week recording and producing new episodes.
Dr. Miller has hosted over 25 guests on his podcast including fellow orthodontists, an oral surgeon, the founder of a group buy supply company, and the White Coat Investor (Jim Dahle) himself. If he could interview absolutely anyone on his podcast, he would like to have as guests Tony Robbins (motivational speaker and author), Sam Walton (founder of Walmart, deceased), Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx) and Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos).
When it comes to managing his practice, a key thing that Dr. Miller says he has learned through his interviews is that, “Leadership is hard work. It is easy to dictate policies, but far better to inspire and motivate your team.”
More on Dr. Miller
Originally from: Canada and lived in several countries including Australia, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. He was raised mostly in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Graduated from: BYU with a B.S. in neuroscience. He then graduated from dental school at the University of North Carolina before completing his orthodontic residency at Saint Louis University.
Practices in: New Hampshire, where he purchased a practice in 2011 and has three locations.
Family life: Dr. Miller said he liked the idea of living and working in a small town, which drew him to the New England area. His wife and their two kids love the outdoors and Dr. Miller looks forward to winter when he can downhill ski. They recently got a new dog, a Goldendoodle named Snickers.
Went into orthodontics because: He felt it was a job he would be excited to go to every day for years to come. He said, “Orthodontics is the best job in the world. I love the artistry and the science, I love solving clinical and management challenges and I like meeting new people every day.”
Dr. Trista Felty of Abbotsford, British Columbia is a Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (PCSO) representative to the AAO’s Council on New and Younger Members (CONYM). She can be reached at email@example.com.
* The AAO offers the Business of Orthodontics podcast; however, the AAO podcast series is different in focus from Dr. Miller’s. It emphasizes discussion of legal topics and orthodontic practice with AAO legal team members, as well as leaders discussing AAO programs, practice management resources and news.