Lisa Kallis chose a career in dentistry because she wanted to help people overcome the same fears she once had about dentistry. During dental hygiene school, she had instructors that inspired her, and they left an impression on her that lasted beyond graduation. Eventually, she went back to school for education, earned her bachelor’s degree and was working on her master’s when she got pregnant with her daughter, Alyssa. She divided her time between teaching at the local community college and doing clinical work, and then her family moved to Southern Illinois. Again, she split time between the clinical and business world, and spent half her time teaching at Lake Land College and the other half working for Dr. Rick Workman’s dental office in Effingham, IL. Early on, she knew that Dr. Workman had a gift – not only for dentistry, but for making people feel excited about the dental industry.
When Heartland Dental started to expand their education programs, Lisa was approached about joining the company full-time. Julie Thomas is the person who interviewed her.
“She’s one of the main reasons I exist here. We have a bond like sisters,” said Lisa. “Dr. Workman’s philosophy of care and his forward thinking really made me feel like I had to be a part of this company. It’s what drove me to leave academia and focus on teaching, training and mentoring at Heartland Dental.”
Throughout the years, Lisa had had many different jobs roles within the education department at Heartland Dental. Today, she serves at the Director of Hygiene. One of her proudest roles, however, is that of mom.
Two of Lisa’s three daughters currently work for Heartland Dental. Alyssa, is a recent graduate of ATSU Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health in St. Louis, MO, and this summer she’ll become a Heartland Dental supported dentist at Family Dental Care at Winghaven in O’Fallon, MO. She began her career in dentistry as a dental assistant during her senior year of high school.
“I did a co-op program in high school and worked at a Heartland Dental supported office in Charleston, IL,” she said. “I really enjoyed working there and being in that environment and one day I looked at the dentist and said, ‘I want to do your job someday.’”
In undergrad, Alyssa majored in biological sciences and focused on a pre-dental path. Throughout her journey, Lisa has been a major support system and role model for Alyssa.
“My mom is one of my biggest role models. I’ve sat through various continuing education programs and watched her speak in front of people, and she’s so moving to me. She lights up when she’s teaching. My sister, Aryel and I are very fortunate that we got to see a parent get up every day and love what they do.”
Aryel works on the business side of Heartland Dental at Home Office. She is on the doctor recruiting team and works as a doctor recruiting coordinator.
“Growing up, my mom and I talked about Heartland Dental a lot, but the culture of the company is what really drew me to this career path,” she said. “I interviewed with some other corporate companies, and I liked them. However, they didn’t have the same culture and atmosphere as Heartland Dental. It wasn’t even my mom that sold me – it was Heartland Dental.”
When Lisa learned that both girls would be continuing her legacy at Heartland Dental, she was elated, and both daughters see futures with the company. Once settled into her supported office, Alyssa hopes to start giving back to the community, impacting their lives beyond just dental care
“I haven’t lost sight of the fact that my career involves helping people and make their quality of life better,” she said. “I want to impact an entire community, not just my team or the patients in my supported office.”
Aryel will be taking her personal and professional growth to the next level when she attends Eastern Illinois University to get her Master of Business Administration. This decision was prompted shortly after joining Heartland Dental and finding her niche in the business world. One day, she hopes to take on a leadership role within the company.
“One thing I love about Heartland Dental is there’s always opportunity. I’m learning so much from different people in all different areas of the company,” said Aryel. “From Home Office to field administrators, supported doctors and their teams, all the way up to our executive vice presidents - everyone here is inspirational. To be a part of the largest dental support organization in the country is extraordinary.”
As the company continues to expand, Lisa hopes that the same driving concepts and energetic culture will remain. The company is bigger now than ever before, but her goal is to ensure everyone has someone to look out for and care about them, just like Dr. Workman did to the handful of his employees back in the day.
“I want every team member, Home Office employee, supported doctor, etc. to know that someone cares about them as much as Dr. Workman cared about all of us when we were just a small team,” she said. “I have so many great memories of Dr. Bloink, Debbie, Julie and I from those days. We’re kind of like our own family. There has to be something about the bond of that early team that prompted our children to want to go into the dental field and ultimately continue our legacy.
Although Lisa and her two daughters are part of the Heartland Dental family, they’ve each taken on their own individuals roles, proving no matter your interests, there’s a home from you at Heartland Dental.
“I can’t imagine not coming to work at Heartland Dental every day. Its home for me,” said Lisa.