Experience is Training – How I Got Involved with the Free Dental Project
Mar 24 2011

Following is a guest post by Hannah Daniel.  Hannah manages a blog about dental health and is passionate about making sure people have access to oral care. She also wants to remind everyone to brush and floss every day!

I studied journalism at The University of Texas, but am I a reporter now? Of course not. Isn’t that how it always works?

You may not be exactly where you intended to go in life, but sometimes what you learn is only training for where you are meant to be. You never know where life may take you. Teachability is the key – you must find lessons and be willing to apply them to your current situation.

I chose to major in journalism because the concept fascinated me. How else can you learn so much about so many things and have the ability to share it with others? I even created a complete 100+ page business plan for starting a new magazine myself. Have you ever poured yourself into a project only to shift directions right after you finish? Now imagine all the valuable skills and lessons you learned from the experience!

That’s what happened to me when, quite by accident, I was introduced to the world of brand visibility and marketing, and it fascinated me from the start. I watched the people around me and gained a broader view of the field. I took a job with a company that sells discount dental plans called 1Dental.com. As a brand visibility manager, I have an important part in promoting the company and expanding its online network.

Then my experiences took yet another turn – philanthropic projects. 1Dental is dedicated to helping people have access to low-cost dental plans, but over the years of business, our team has run into many people who cannot afford discount dental plans for even $75 per year. We wanted to do something to help, since our normal business cannot meet these needs.

Even though it’s not in our normal line of work, we recently created a unique Free Dental Care Finder to help people find free or low-cost dental care in their specific area. It has been a long process, but we personally contacted each of these clinics to verify the information in this tool. We even included Google Maps information with street views of each clinic to help pinpoint the location. The project has been fully funded by 1Dental.com, and our hope is that we can help make dental care more accessible for those who can’t afford it across the nation.

Every day I strategize ways to network with people and help people learn about the Free Dental Care Finder. We’ve made a free widget that anyone can put on their own website so people can find free dental care without even leaving their page. I gather information. I write. I publish relevant content. I was specifically trained for journalism, but everything I learned applies to the career in which I now find myself. You never know how your training will help you in the future, even if it seems completely unrelated. Your experiences could actually be classrooms in disguise.

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