Now friends, colleagues and co-workers, Dr. Fabiana Heilman and Dr. Jennifer Brownie started their careers on two very different paths.
Dr. Heilman went to dental school in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the age of 18. After graduating in 2002, she practiced dentistry in Brazil for six years before moving to the United States. In order to practice here, she had to go back to dental school. In 2012, she graduated from the University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry.
Following graduation, Dr. Heilman was ready for another location change, although this time a little more local. She made a list of six states that she would be willing to move to and started interviewing.
“I was very open,” she said. “I just thought the best option, the best interview, that’s what I’m going for.”
Dr. Heilman believes it was fate for her to be part of Heartland Dental, a company she didn’t know much about prior to affiliating. She interviewed with Neibauer Dental Care in Virginia, My Dentist in Oklahoma and Quirt Family Dentistry in Wisconsin, all of which later affiliated with Heartland Dental. She ended up choosing Quirt Family Dentistry and started her career in the United States.
Many miles away, Dr. Jennifer Brownie was attending dental school at the University of Michigan. Similar to Dr. Heilman, Dr. Brownie didn’t have any prior knowledge of Heartland Dental, but did her research. She also was considering a few other options. She consulted her mentor who asked her what felt right, and her answer was an office receiving Heartland Dental’s support. She was at a point of transition in her life and left Michigan to join a Heartland Dental supported office in Tennessee.
Dr. Brownie and Dr. Heilman met at a continuing education seminar, Dr. Leadership, soon after affiliating with Heartland Dental and continued to run into each other at other courses. Eventually, Dr. Heilman was ready to leave her position at Quirt Family Dentistry and transition to a new supported Heartland Dental office. She wanted to be in a bigger city and found herself in Nashville, which is where her friendship with Dr. Brownie started to flourish.
“I had been working in an office one day a week, and Dr. Heilman happened to be in for an interview the day I was there,” said Dr. Brownie. “I got in contact with her before she moved and talked with her a little bit about the office, the team and my experience there.”
“She explained to me what a typical day in the official was like and even gave me tips on where to move in the city,” said Dr. Heilman. “I didn’t know anyone in town, but she and some of the other doctors knew me, and right away they embraced me and made me feel welcome. That’s how it is when you’re part of this Heartland Dental family.”
The two realized they had a lot of common interests and became quick friends. Last September they had gone back-country hiking in Colorado.
“We had joked around and said, ‘Can you imagine being able to do this every weekend?’” said Dr. Brownie.
Little did they know this would soon be a reality for them. Out of curiosity, Dr. Heilman was looking into where Heartland Dental was expanding and saw that they were recruiting for a newly supported office in Colorado. It sparked her interest, and she let her Regional Director of Operations (RDO) know that Colorado was on her mind. Knowing that she was ready for a change in scenery, Dr. Heilman mentioned the opportunity to Dr. Brownie because the office needed two doctors.
After further conversations with their RDO and the doctors in their current practices among others, they decided to move to Colorado.
“We’re leaving behind our friends and our teams, and that’s not easy. But, you learn a lot when you move and in the end, I like to think it doesn’t matter where you end up or where you live, but the people you meet and connections you make along the way – that is what’s life changing,” said Dr. Heilman.
“Currently, Heartland Dental only has two supported offices in Colorado, so we’re hoping to help them make a successful transition to a new state. We’re excited to be the pioneers of this journey,” said Dr. Brownie.
Gateway Smiles Dentistry officially opened in Aurora, CO on Thursday, August 4, 2016. Congratulations, Dr. Heilman and Dr. Brownie!