How a brown DL envelope changed my life in dentistry

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This article was written by Karenza Stribley, Practice Manager at Penroses Dental Practice and Holsworthy NHS Dental Care

This brown envelope changed the direction of my life! I look back and recognise it as my ‘sliding doors’ moment. I had finished college and worked the summer in a theme park, then I found myself out of work. I volunteered at a local primary school to keep myself busy whilst considering my future. Not knowing what direction I wanted to take, I applied for a Dental Surgery Assistant position, which sounded interesting. After carefully writing out my letter and CV I could not find an envelope; the only one my mum could find was this brown DL envelope. I posted it and waited to see if I would get a reply.

A week or so went by and after not hearing anything I thought that was that. Then one evening, a lady called Mrs Chope telephoned and invited me in for an interview; I asked when the interviews were being held. She told me they were that evening and Dr Chope wanted to see me at 8.30 pm! It turned out that because of the brown envelope my letter had been put with the business post for Dr Chope, who had only just opened it and was so impressed that he asked if Mrs Chope could slot me in for an interview.  My parents were not around to take me by car, so I had to ride my motorcycle in and change in the public toilets!

Karenza qualifying in 1998

I arrived for my interview on a wave of confidence because “Dr Chope really wanted to meet me!” Needless to say, I smashed the interview and got the job. I started work at Penroses Dental Practice and Holsworthy NHS Dental Care on 12th November 1990, and I am so proud to have 30 years of continuous employment. I qualified as a dental nurse in 1998, as an Oral Health Educator in 2002 and as a Dental Radiographer in 2004. I then became Practice Manager in 2005.

When the practice joined Dentex in 2018, I was unsure of how I would fit in this much bigger dental company, but I can honestly say it has been such a positive move for my career as I continue to learn and experience new challenges on a daily basis with endless opportunities for me to develop my skills and grow.

Since then, my experience with Dentex has been really rewarding. The support I receive from the different departments is fantastic and makes managing a busy six-surgery practice much easier. What I really like about Dentex as a company, though, is that we have always been able to remain an individual practice. We have not been rebranded, and have kept both the control of our business and the clinical freedom to run the practice the way we want to.

Dr John Chope remains our rock and running the business he once built. He has seen me through my career highs and lows, including personal ups and downs. When John retires, I strongly believe that with the support of Dentex, I will make him proud. As a team, we will make sure his practice will continue for years to come.

The photographs below show me a month before starting work, and the other was my surgery when I started work, this room is now exclusively my office!