Top 25 Women in Dentistry: Betty Mitchell, Dental Technology Program Dir. at Kirkwood Community College

September 28, 2012

Betty Mitchell is the director of the Dental Technology Program Director at Kirkwood Community College and Educator Representative at the National Association of Dental Laboratories.

Betty Mitchell is the director of the Dental Technology Program Director at Kirkwood Community College and Educator Representative at the National Association of Dental Laboratories.

As a successful woman in her profession, Mitchell attributes much of her accomplishment to her own determination and ambition.

“I think that there are a lot of challenges that come up in this profession that you’ll have to be determined to turn those challenges into assets,” she said. “This isn’t a perfect profession. Challenges do arise and when they do, many times it requires past experiences to discover solutions. The faster you can apply past situations the quicker solutions materialize.”

Mitchell considers herself a cup-full kind of person, but also said that her cup tends to be somewhat larger than the average cup.

“Everybody has their full cup. Sometimes it is a demi cup, other times it is a huge soup mug,” she said. “The trick is not to spill the contents of your cup.”

As a woman, she feels that females have become much more accepted and respected in the dental profession, and that the sex of a dentist has become less important than is was in the past.

“Today, I don’t think there’s any separation between male or female, both are appreciated,” she said.

Throughout her successful career, Mitchell has recognized that she didn’t get where she is on her own. No matter where you are in your life, you rely on people around you, and it’s imperative to realize their importance - they are your core of support.

“Everybody needs that support to do their best, and success is much better when your team is successful as well,” she said.

As an educator, her favorite part is watching the challenges the profession itself has had to face and how far it’s come because of those challenges. She enjoys watching her students grow and succeed as well as watching the profession move forward.

“I tell students when they enter this program that for the two years that you’re here, you will build a foundation and see what you can do with that,” she said. “Especially with the technology coming into this profession. It will make our jobs so much better and we will make our patients’ smiles so much better.”

But her job isn’t always easy. Mitchell sets high expectations for her students and sometimes she struggles when they can’t reach their full potential. She works through it by helping those students as much as she can while also giving them guidance and insight into the profession and their own personal roles.