Kendra Flowers on Navigating Careers and Negotiating UP

Kendra shares her story about setting goals, making plans to achieve them, and most of all, overcoming doubt. 

Kendra Flowers, BSDH, MSDH(c), RDH, has an awesome story, one that is can motivate and help us. In this interview, Kendra shares her story about setting goals, making plans to achieve them, and most of all, overcoming doubt. Two years ago, she could not see clearly. She saw hurdles in her professional life and struggled to live her ideal life. But now, she is the Director of Clinical Development for Elite Dental Group, which manages hundreds of dental offices across the country. She is also completing her Master’s degree in Dental Hygiene.

Interviewer: Claire Jeong, MS, RDH


DentalToaster: First, congratulations on your new position. How do you feel?

Kendra: I feel great about everything that has happened. I enjoy working in a corporate environment and this position brings all my skills to life – clinical and educational.

DentalToaster: Can you tell us more about your journey, from the beginning?

Kendra: I have been working in the dental field for 17 years. I started as a dental assistant at age 17. I was a pediatric dental assistant for 6 years before I went to hygiene school. Then, I worked in clinical hygiene for over 7 years. But I knew I wanted to do more. So, I also worked and as an educator at American Eagle, Dental instruments company. I also taught at educational institutions and tried other corporate jobs. I found this position of Director of clinical development, probably through a Facebook group.

DentalToaster: Can you please walk us through how you overcame your fears and ask for what you deserve?

Kendra: I love education and I also have a passion for scientific research. But I had a lot of doubts in myself. I did not really know what to do, and where to look for resources. Through this one to two-year period, I really did not have a clear vision for my passion. But I kept pushing myself to get out there. For example, I went to a lot of professional development courses. Not all of them were dental related. I also read a lot of books. On top of that, I gathered a lot of mentors.

Then, I went through the 30-day manifesto course, by Jamie Dooley RDH, life coach. The course taught me how to write down my negative thoughts. The exercise made me literally burn the paper that listed the negativity. After that, I made goals and created actionable items. Within two years, I already have achieved those goals!  

DentalToaster: I remember when you texted me that you got offered the position and negotiated successfully for more. I was so happy for you! Can you help us understand how you negotiated for more? Do you have any tips?

Kendra: First, you must believe that you are worth it. Then, do your research on how much others are making in similar positions. You can go on salary surveys that are available online and find that information easily. Once you have that data, you can understand what to ask for.

Then, when it was time to negotiate, I used email conversations to graciously communicate my asks. But I was strategic with my sentences. My tip would be: don’t ask for permission and don’t wait for others to give you something better. For example, instead of writing: “can I get more vacation time?”, which is asking for permission, I wrote: “it would make me feel more valuable if we could agree on more vacation time.”

As you can see, the way you ask should be strategic.

DentalToaster: You are totally right! I read a lot of negotiation books and they all talk about how to phrase your ask. The goal is to create a win-win situation. In the example above, you will get more vacation time but in return and the company gained a team member who is loyal because you feel valued. There is something called the Golden Period in negotiation. That is between the time you are offered the position and the moment you accept it. This short window is when you should ask for compensations, bonuses, vacation, or other items that you think you deserve.

DentalToaster: Where did you learn all those negotiation strategies?

Kendra: There are a lot of resources out there. They are easy to find!

DentalToaster: You are the founder of The Tooth Fairy Review. Tell us more about it.

Kendra: The Tooth Fairy Review is a brand and you can find the website and social media pages. I review dental products, give my honest opinion, and pair the findings with scientific researches. I started it because as I said earlier, I had a passion for education and research, but did not exactly know what to do. I had to push myself. So, I set a date (my birthday) and launched the site. It took me 6 months, in my head to imagine a video, when in reality, it was so quick to produce. This goes back to how the invisible hurdles in my head were preventing me to move forward.

DentalToaster: Do you think your Master’s degree also helped you with gaining confidence and ask for what you deserved?

Kendra: I believe so. During my first year at graduate school, I read so many articles about fluoride. When I met a doctor, who was not convinced about fluoride, I could reference articles intelligently. Currently, I work with dentists and the credentials are beneficial in many ways.

DentalToaster: It is so nice to hear this message. The first step can be extremely scary, but once you take it, you can move on so much faster. Thanks for sharing that. Would you say that The Tooth Fairy Review helped you get your current position?

Kendra: I definitely think so. This website is the proof that I have a passion for products and education. Even though it is not the most polished or updated website, it builds credibility to my skills. I would encourage anyone to create his/her own brand, even though you don't really have an end goal.

I also worked in many temp jobs. Even for those positions, I leveraged my personal brand and asked for what I deserved.

DentalToaster: Thank you, Kendra, for sharing your story. You are a role model for many of us, and I wish you the best in everything you do.

Watch the full interview ->>>


Kendra Flowers, BSDH, MSDH(c), RDH

Kendra McKune Flowers has been in dentistry since she was 17 years old. She has evolved from a dental assistant, clinical dental hygienist, dental hygiene educator, speaker, and now a dental product/service reviewer. Her passion is the oral-systemic health link and expanding the scope of dental hygiene practice to increase the quality of care to the public. She is currently completing her Master of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of Minnesota. Her thesis focuses on diabetes and interprofessional education. She enjoys volunteering at local and regional dental clinics and is active with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.


Claire Jeong, MS, RDH

Claire Jeong Dental ToasterClaire is an entrepreneur, author, educator, researcher, and international speaker. She is the founder of StudentRDH / SmarterDA – Dental hygiene and assisting exam prep solutions. In addition, she created DentalToaster, an online CE platform that provides unique courses for the dental professional.

Claire has a Master’s Degree in Administration from Boston University, Dental Hygiene Degree from Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene in Boston, and a Business degree from the top business programs in Korea. Prior to her career in the dental field, Claire Jeong was an education specialist at Boston Children’s Museum.

Through her live and online courses, Claire helped tens of thousands of people gain valuable dental knowledge and clinical skills. With her expert knowledge in education, she authored the e-book WakeUp Memory™, which teaches how to use the brain and remember anything. She combines the WakeUp Memory Technique™ in her courses and teaches educators to apply this method in their own classrooms. To her audience’s testimony: “Learning is now addictive.”

Many of Claire’s articles, such as the New Hypertension Guidelines are ranked one of the top articles in RDH Magazine and DentistryIQ. She is regularly invited in podcasts and conferences such as RDH Under One Roof as a key opinion leader. Her classes are fascinating, and the audience becomes glued to their seat. Claire also provides guidance to companies to reach the younger generation of dental professionals. Email: ClaireJ@DentalToaster.com

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