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A week in the life of Marita MacDonald


Day 1:

Hi everyone! This week I have the honour of taking part in 'a week in the life of' series for the Heart Your Smile campaign, an initiative I’ve been involved with for a few months now.

The idea for Heart Your Smile was borne from discussions by a group of leaders in dentistry, who felt the profession needed an image makeover – from the inside and out. It all began with a manifesto of 9 habits, which were put together as the backbone of the initiative – to inspire dental professionals to be the best they can be. Throughout my blog you will notice highlighted words that are key points from this manifesto. I worked with the team on setting up and implementing the social media aspects of the campaign, so I have had a ringside seat on the development of Heart Your Smile. I've also had the privilege of getting to work with some of the leading names in UK dentistry, who are the trustees of Heart Your Smile: Roger Matthews, Simon Gambold, James Goonik, Seema Sharma and Chris Barrow.

The thing that happens when you spend time with people who have excelled in their careers, is that it inspires you to look at yourself and your own career and realise the opportunities are endless, and all around you.

Qualities that I recognise and admire in this team of people are their unique ability to connect with people – they understand the value of networking. They exude and embody confidence in the dental profession. They are not afraid to innovate and try new things. When you are in their company you can't help but smile because their energy is bold and contagious! The basis of their work is informed by a deep respect for dentistry and care for patients. Anyone lucky enough to spend time with them will benefit from their mentoring approach.

Day 2:

For day 2 of my Heart your Smile 'week in the life of' series, I lost myself in pinterest and created a board with photos of hearts I found all around the house (I was surprised to find so many!).

Click here to view the board: http://pinterest.com/maritamacdonald/heart-your-smile/

Day 3:

Thanks to all of you who commented and liked my 'hearty' pinterest board yesterday!

Today I'm writing my blog with very shaky arms – I've just come back from a killer personal training session…ouch! There is one upside to paying someone to make you exercise – you get really fit and do way more than what you would have done on your own. My trainer doesn't know this (or maybe he does!) but whenever he tells me what the next exercise is, he asks: Can you do two sets of 25? (for example). Instinctively my answer is always yes, and because I've said yes, I push myself to that number even if it nearly kills me. The shame of not following through on my word is clearly my motivator! If he just said 'do 25' I might be more prone to giving up when it starts to hurt. I'm slightly glowing with pride tonight after hearing that I'm one of his few women clients who can do 'proper' push-ups, and two sets of 25 at that... YES!

One of the things that I really enjoy about working in the dental industry is the inspiration I get from all the dental runners and (borderline extreme) fitness fanatics out there. Social media has made it even easier for people to publicly share their exercise regimes through portals like runkeeper. Knowing what a rush it is to come back from a solid training run or bike ride, you can't help but 'like' people's status updates when they log their activities – a virtual high five to those who moved away from the couch or desk…our common enemy!

For me this links well with the 9th habit of the Heart Your Smile manifesto – Care: everyone's health matters. As professionals, and certainly when you run your own business, it's so easy to neglect your own health. It's something I have to continually remind myself to do. Then when I'm a burnt out, raggedy and emotional insomniac mess I realise I’ve pushed things too far again! I'm trying to spot the signs sooner

Speaking of running, I've recently teamed up with my dental buddies Laura Horton, Sylvie Sturrock, Kelly Haggett and a few others to run the Race for Life race in Finsbury Park in July. We've called ourselves the Running Dental Devils (there should probably be Divas in that title too!). Our aim is to not only raise money for this very worthy cause, but also to inspire our other friends in dentistry to join us (sorry, ladies only!). I believe our team will be supported by one all important 'bag man' – Wil Watts – a crucial role on race day, make no mistake!

So in the spirit of Heart Your Smile, please feel free to connect with us on the Facebook page and Sponsor us!

Many thanks!!

Day 4:

One of the things I really really really enjoy about my job as a dental journalist is interviewing people. Asking questions, and learning to ask the right questions to the right people, has been essential in my gaining knowledge about dentistry and all its subspecialty areas. I've been so privileged being in the dental press for over 6 years now and to be invited to dental conferences around the world – my press badge has got me as far afield as Las Vegas, Singapore, Stockholm, Dubai – and more! Because I didn’t have a dental background to begin with, asking questions came naturally to me, and fortunately I always spoke to people who were willing to explain everything to me!

Through establishing DentisTV, I've had the opportunity to hone my presenting skills by interviewing experts in front of a camera. There's never a script, just a list of people to interview in a short amount of time – no pressure then! The day before a show when we are filming I always feel sick to the pit of my stomach at the thought of getting in front of the camera, but then when I’m there, I absolutely love it!

It also helps to be in the good hands of Jem Patel and his JSP Media Group crew who film and edit DentisTV. Watching Al and Dave do a soundcheck before filming by interviewing each other about toothpaste is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen – they are such a comedy duo! And Jem is a presenter extraordinare and has given me a lot of good tips along the way – it’s so good to learn from a professional!

So for today's post, I'm going to 'treat' you to the first viewing of one of the DentisTV episodes that we filmed at the Dentistry Show in March. The reason I'm starting with this particular episode is because I interviewed dental student, Louise Brownlow about Heart Your Smile. The rest of the episodes will be posted next week – and there will also be another interview with Alex Teckkam – another dental student working with HYS – so keep an eye out for that!!

In this episode I also got to interview Dr Al Kwong Hing from the BKH Group and Dr Howard Farran, founder of Dental Town (who asks me some funny questions during the interview, such as how many pairs of shoes I have and what I would do if I lost all my teeth!)

Enjoy!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mngBrcqxHYY

Day 5:

Day 5 and wishing you all a special Easter break. I took this photo last night and I wanted to share it because it captures the lovely side of technology. Some might say it makes us disconnected and isolated but for me it enables connections and harnessed in the right manner, it can help us be more connected to extend positivity and love. I see it daily with dentistry and social media, informing, involving and ultimately influencing the patient community. How can we use it better?