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Dentsply Sirona’s Women Leaders Discuss the Company’s Goal to Empower the Female Workforce

In an exclusive interview at the Dentsply Sirona World Conference, Erania Brackett and Andrea Frohning shed light on their multifaceted roles, the company’s commitment to sustainability, and its proactive efforts to empower and promote women in the dental industry.

At the Dentsply Sirona World Conference held this past September in Las Vegas, Dimensions of Dental Hygiene Editor in Chief, Jill Rethman, RDH, BA, FADHA, had the opportunity to interview two women leaders from Dentsply. Erania Brackett is the senior vice president of orthodontic aligner solutions and customer experience. She is also the head of sustainability at the company. Andrea Frohning is the senior vice president and chief human resources officer. They discussed their roles and how Dentsply Sirona is committed to empowering women in the workforce.

From left to right: Marion Par-Weixlberger, vice president of corporate communications and public relations; Andrea Frohning, senior vice president and chief human relations officer; Jill Rethman, RDH, BA, editor in chief of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene; Erania Brackett, senior vice president of orthodontic aligner solutions and customer experience and head of sustainability

Rethman: How do you juggle your roles as senior vice president and head of sustainability?

Brackett: Balancing multiple roles involves effective time management, delegation, and a passion for each responsibility. In this multidimensional role, I focus on optimizing our products and services while ensuring sustainable performance for our customers, employees, and investors. Aligning these critical aspects not only positions us as an industry leader but also underscores our larger mission of positively impacting society while delivering quality products that meet customers’ needs, providing an excellent customer experience, and driving operational excellence across the board.

Rethman: As part of your role is to enhance customer experience, are there specific ways you are reaching out to – and working with – the dental hygiene community?

Brackett: One effective way to reach out to the dental hygiene community is by offering continuing education opportunities. Customized educational programs are a great way to engage with them. These programs can focus on educating dental hygienists about new techniques, innovative technologies, and solutions by Dentsply Sirona while showcasing the benefits they can bring to their practice.

In today’s digital age, social media platforms also offer excellent opportunities for us to connect by maintaining active and engaging social media content, answering questions, and fostering discussions.

We actively seek out partnerships with dental hygiene associations to foster stronger connections within the community. By collaborating, we can better understand the challenges and needs of dental hygienists, allowing us to develop tailored solutions that address their specific concerns.

Of course, to support dental practices becoming more sustainable, we’ve developed a Sustainability Resource Kit that can be also utilized by dental hygienists to take action for a more sustainable dental practice.

Rethman: What has surprised you the most about your position with DS so far?

Frohning: While I’ve had the opportunity to work with incredible, top-notch companies, I am very excited to be part of the Dentsply Sirona team. The company has gone through a lot of change the past 2 years, yet, what I have been surprised to see is the dedication and passion of our employees to work through that change and to make the adjustments needed to get our business back on track. Our teams have shown incredible determination to weather management changes, to take on challenging initiatives such as implementing a new ERP system, and to commit to a new way of approaching our quality and compliance programs. So overall, the resiliency and positivity of our team members have been wonderful surprises.

Rethman: Seeing as you have worked in other industries besides dental, what are some similarities and differences in how those businesses are run?

Frohning: Regardless of the industry, I have always found that people want to be part of a winning team. They want to be part of something good – that is helping others and helping the world in which they live, they want to do good work, be valued, and they want to have career growth and be rewarded for the work they do. So, there are a lot of similarities across businesses when there is a focus on building a positive work culture – one that is high-performing as an enterprise and personally rewarding for the individual. At Dentsply Sirona, we can lead the dental industry in product offerings and solutions for our customers and patients. The impact on lives is so apparent! It’s more than just smiles that we are creating. Therefore, we operate with a very customer-centric mindset. Focused on dental professionals’ success and their patients’ experiences.

Rethman: Dentsply seems very committed to empowering and promoting women. What drives this commitment and how did it start?

Brackett: At Dentsply Sirona, our commitment to empowering and promoting women is deeply rooted in our organizational culture, which values and respects every individual, recognizing the richness that diverse backgrounds bring to our company. We have never taken this principle for granted; instead, we continually emphasize its significance within our corporate ethos.

Our journey toward a more inclusive and gender-diverse workplace took a significant step forward with the launch of our comprehensive sustainability strategy, BEYOND. This strategic initiative prompted us to set clear goals and objectives related to gender equality. It served as a catalyst for formalizing our commitment to fostering opportunities for women within our organization.

Frohning: As part of our sustainability goals, we strive to achieve gender parity and gender pay parity by 2025. We are proud to share that we have achieved gender pay parity in the United States and are working diligently with our human resources and managerial teams to close the small remaining international gap for professional managerial levels by 2025.

In support of this goal, we have completed the development and launch of tools intended to drive pay consistency and will continue to educate our managers and human relations teams on the importance of addressing potential pay parity gaps for new hires, promotions, and new job opportunities across all levels within the business.

I’m also pleased to share that by the end of 2022, 43.5% of our total workforce was female. We have established an action-driven roadmap to achieve our goal, which includes providing hiring bias training and guidance for all hiring managers by the end of 2023, communicating our benefits offerings to retain talent, utilizing the tools shared by the Paradigm for Parity initiative, expanding the membership of our Women ERG to help create a supportive and learning working environment, and providing more mentoring, coaching, and leadership programs.

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