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Chairside Chats: A Word With…Dr. Zahra Gangji

March 15, 2022
by Oral Health


Dr. Zahra Gangji

Stony Plain Dental Centre, Stony Plain, Alberta

What are the two key qualities you look for in a new team member?

I want people on my team who have a positive attitude and are motivated to work. We have had team members who have had no dental experience, yet they were motivated to learn how we operate, learn our systems, take constructive coaching, and become an integral part of our practice. These individuals are key to helping us succeed.

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What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a new business owner?

Set SMART goals and track everything—especially KPIs. It is easier to gauge your success when you have tangible numbers to compare versus going off emotional responses. How else will we know whether we’re growing, stagnating, or even declining? Share your numbers with your team. If they don’t know now, how else will they learn if they are doing a good job or not? Knowing your KPIs will help you track, grow, and pull out of a decline in a month.

What is your biggest day-to-day challenge?

Managing a large group of people can be challenging. Different personalities, different communication styles, different levels of engagement, different roles. That is why we have taken various steps to make sure the team remains engaged and upbeat. In our practice we have a Morale Champion. Their objective is to brainstorm and implement fun things in the clinic; one day they will place empowering messages in each of the team members’ lockers or make Taco Tuesday lunch for the team. In championing our day-to-day challenges, morale is the key ingredient in our daily success.

What would you change about yourself if you could?

I think if I allowed myself to be more vulnerable then it would help in my stress management skills. As the leader of a group, we often take in a lot of the emotions of the team and deal with a lot of stress. I need to work on releasing my stress better with meditation, more exercise, and expressing my vulnerabilities so I don’t internalize things.

Who was the greatest influence in your life and why?

My parents are easily my greatest influences. They have taught me and my three siblings the meaning of staying humble even in the greatest of times. They immigrated to Canada and raised four first generation Canadians with what then seemed like ease and grace. They instilled a high level of work ethic and respect into me and shaped me into the person I am today.

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

Not to sound like I don’t value modern medicine, but I have always had an interest in holistic medicine. By collaborating with different disciplines of medicine, I believe there is a true benefit in an
integrative approach for people’s overall well being. Holistic and conventional medicine both aim to help heal and improve people’s lives—what better approach than to amalgamate them?


Dr. Gangji is a graduate of the University of Manitoba and has been the owner of Stony Plain Dental Centre since 2008. She grew her practice from 5 operatories to 16 operatories in the past 10 years. She enjoys building relationships with her patients, giving back in her community, and supporting local causes. She’s confident in all aspects of general dentistry and is a clinical instructor for the University of Alberta Faculty of Dentistry.


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