Dr. Cindy Roark on Women in a Male-dominated Industry


October 15 was the start to National Business Women’s Week. To celebrate, we want to highlight some of the intelligent and dedicated women leaders at DentalOne Partners and provide women in the workforce with tips, tools and advice on many relevant business topics. The first woman in leadership we will recognize is Dr. Cindy Roark, senior vice president and chief clinical officer.

Every successful woman must possess certain traits to thrive in a male-dominated industry, such as the dental industry. Of course, you have to be great at your job—any number of people say you have to be better at it than men. You have to work hard—again, some say, harder than men. You have to be resilient, for the inevitable ups and downs. You need stamina. You need mentors.

Dr. Cindy Roark knows just what it’s like to work in a male-dominated dental industry. She brings more than 18 years of private practice, nonprofit and Dental Support Organization (DSO) experience to DentalOne Partners. She has been in a non-clinical, leadership role for the last 10 years, both at DentalOne and externally. We asked her several questions to understand more on this hot topic.


Q: The dental industry is known to be highly male-dominant. Explain what it is like working as a woman in this industry.


Q: What advice would you give to women in the dental industry?



Q: Looking back, is there anything, as a woman, you wish you knew coming into the industry?

A: Yes, I wish I had known that I would have to be as much a business woman and administrator as I would be a healthcare provider. With the changes in insurance reimbursement, charting, documentation and administrative rules/statutes, a large portion of your career will be spent navigating things for which you are not properly trained. I pictured myself “saving the world from decay”. The reality is far less glamorous. I wish I had taken business classes earlier in my life, so I did not have such a steep learning curve.


Q: Would you like to add anything else?

A: I have owned a private practice, worked for an Academic Medical Center nonprofit, and worked with and for various Dental Support Organizations. I can honestly say that the breadth of experience has shown me what’s good and bad about all models of practice. I know first-hand that the field of dentistry can and should accommodate all three types of practice. It’s typical to hear “haters” against the DSO model.  My advice would be to see for yourself.


The dental industry is always changing and evolving, allowing for greater opportunity, growing competition and more reasons to be in-tune with the trends.

Historically, dentistry has been a male-dominated industry. However, current trends show that dental students who enter school are basically 50 percent male and 50 percent female. The gender gap will continue to decrease due to the rise in young female doctors and the retirement of older generations. 

Until these trends start to prove true through the number of women in dental practices or in leadership positions, keep Dr. Cindy Roark’s advice in your back pocket. However, if you’re currently seeking a forward-thinking company with nine out of 14 executive leaders being women, check out DentalOne Partners’ career opportunities for dentists and hygienists offered at one of our 160+ supported practice locations. 

In other news, read an article from Dr. Roark, seen in Dentistry Today, called “Women and the Changing Face of Dentistry” to find out the benefits of hiring more women leaders in dental professions.

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