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Conversations with the Inspiring Joanna El-Maasri Reppas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna El-Maasri Reppas.

Joanna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and immigrated to the united states at the age of 3. I grew up in San Marcos, CA and always knew that I wanted to be a dentist. I moved to Cleveland, OH and attended Case Western Reserve University where I earned a degree in psychology and went on to earn my Doctor of Dental Medicine. I then returned to California and completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency at UCLA. After completing my training, I returned to San Marcos and opened a Private Dental Office with my husband. It was very important to me to give back to the people of the city that I grew up in.

Has it been a smooth road?
I have met many obstacles and challenges on the journey that has brought me to today. Being a woman in dentistry, I have had many jobs where I had to prove to peers, employees, and patients that women can be just as trained, skilled, and knowledgeable as their male counterparts. Yet, the true difficulty is in being a female business owner and entrepreneur. Throughout the community, other business owners often assume that I don’t know what I am doing because I am a woman and I am young. Once they get to know me, they realize that age and gender have nothing to do with ability, skill, or intelligence. As an entrepreneur in a county and city that is extremely saturated with Dentists, it was a unique challenge to try and find ways to stand out from the crowd and carve a path to success. Not only did our practice meet and address that challenge, but we have found ways to excel and provide an experience to our patients that they could not imagine getting at a dental office.

The advice that I can give to young women is don’t give up on yourselves and don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out exactly like you planned them to. Stereotypes and preconceived notions of a woman’s ability in the workforce and as an entrepreneur are meant to be broken. Be strong and straightforward; be transparent but tactful; trust your gut instincts but don’t base your decisions solely on emotion.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into San Marcos Family Dental story. Tell us more about the business.
As a dentist, I see people of all ages and enjoy providing a vast array of dental procedures to my amazing patients. Our office is known for providing an amazing experience in a relaxing and comfortable environment for people as young as newborns with their first tooth to patients who are well into their 90’s. We are a family dental office where a patient comes to get wholesome care from our great team.

I am most proud of the changes that we make in people’s lives and the changes that we make in the way people view coming to the dentist. For most, going to the dentist is a stressful experience that they would rather avoid. As our patients can attest, we have changed this viewpoint and have provided them with a place to feel at home, relaxed, and at ease.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Have a goal in mind and a road-map on how to get there. Understand that along the way, detours can arise and the final destination might even change, but the person in the driver’s seat should always be you.

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