Success in Sports and Dentistry Alike Requires Teamwork

Jackie Ulasewich-Cullen


So many of us grew up playing sports, including me. As a child and young adult, I enjoyed participating in sports for the competition as well as the camaraderie. Sports taught me to push myself to achieve my goals. I have some great memories, and I also learned some excellent lessons that I have carried with me through to adulthood and into my career. The biggest lesson I learned from playing sports is how important it is to be a real team player.

Playing sports as a kid is an opportunity to make friends, learn strategy, and, of course, stay healthy. But one of the best lessons that sports teaches us is that good teamwork can make the difference between being number one and being on the bottom of the heap. As children, we may not fully understand this. But as adults, we can look back on our experiences and realize how they really prepared us for the future.

When you are part of a team, you learn to put the needs and goals of the team ahead of yours. At the same time, you learn that pursuing the team’s goals often helps you in achieving your own. For instance, you can be the best player on the team. But if you don’t work with your teammates and respect the skills they bring to the table, you jeopardize the win, and you certainly won’t be nominated for MVP.

This same lesson applies to the workplace, especially when you own a business. Some business owners can be inflexible and have a tendency to micromanage, which is understandable given the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into running a company. But the most successful entrepreneurs are those who trust their partners, collaborators, and employees, having faith in their abilities and the roles they play in achieving the company’s goals.

Another thing that successful team players understand is that you can always learn from those around you. Each team member has a special set of skills that makes them good at what they do and an important contributor. This same way of thinking applies to achieving business goals as well. I learn from my partner and the My Dental Agency (MDA) team every day. We work in harmony, and everyone respects the skills and knowledge of their coworkers. We couldn’t be the successful and growing company we are today without every single person’s contribution.

I also see these lessons carry over to client relationships. Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with many dental practices, each one unique in its own right and with something special to offer. Not surprisingly, the practices that typically benefit the most from their relationship with us are the ones that think of MDA as a part of their team rather than just another vendor. The practices that open up to us and allow us to work with them on a more personal level end up seeing the best results because they realize that success is a team effort.

When the dentist understands that to take their practice to the next level they need to help us help them, it can make all the difference. If the dentist is truly engaged when we are consulting with them, providing insight into their aspirations, it gives us so much more to work with and greatly increases the odds that our ideas and strategies will hit the mark. We are happy to take the ball and run with it, but we have a much better chance of scoring when we work together on the game plan first.

Working together as a team makes each player better, whether it results in a W or it doesn’t quite go as planned. Communication and planning are essential to increase the chances for success. In essence, when we work as a team, within the company and with our clients, we all win. Successes are sweeter and failures are a lot less bitter when they are shared.

With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. UlasewichCullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at

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