Like many young artists, Rebecca Wade found joy in expressing herself on canvas. Now that canvas is a crown.
An aspiring painter and sculptor who was working toward a degree in computer graphics in 1997, Wade responded to an ad for a part-time position at a dental laboratory only because it mentioned 'artistic ability.' She was hired as an opaquer and—due to her obvious potential and ability to learn quickly—was moved into the ceramic department within just two months. It wasn't long after that she opted to leave school and focus her energy on her newly discovered career.
For the last 10 years, she's been using that talent and energy at DSG Clearwater where she now runs the Ceramic Department. "My number one goal in my role here was to create a true team and we've really done that," says Wade, whose 11-person team worked together to implement Lean Manufacturing principles in the department and meets weekly to discuss challenges. "We lift each other up."
Wade credits Laboratory Founder Richard Harrell, CDT, with teaching her how to lead and motivate people. "He knew I was interested in getting into management. He showed me the difference between influencing others rather than just telling them what to do." Harrell also encouraged her early in her career to earn her CDT—which she says "opened the floodgates" and propelled her to learn more and get involved with the industry.
Case in point: she's attended courses at The Dawson Academy and LVI among others, and is in the midst of pursuing AACD accreditation. Currently Vice President of the Southeastern Conference, she's been a board member for eight years and a key part of its Visions Committee, which focuses on mentoring the organization's future leadership. "My time on the board has been invaluable," says Wade. "Not only have I met people who inspire me and who have become friends, but I have a broader perspective on our industry that's critical when I'm making decisions about our business."