“You can go home again.”

by Rob Lauer

You can never go home again." So the saying goes. But Lynn Cipcic, Practice Manager of Midgette Family Dentistry, might beg to differ. Last spring, after eight years in Alabama, the Chesapeake native returned to the practice and felt as if she had never left.

"I walked in the office, reactivated myself in the computer, and hit the ground running as if I'd never been away," Lynn says. "On my first day back, I walked in and called out, ‘Honey, I'm home!'"

From 2002 until 2012, the Western Branch-based practice had been Lynn's home. "Working that long in one place, you develop close relationships with your coworkers because you spend more waking hours in the office than at home," she points out.

Lynn's relationships with Dr. Brian Midgette and his team have their roots in a casual conversation with a church friend one Sunday in 2002.

Like many working women, Lynn had taken time off from working outside the home when her four children were young. When they were older, Lynn decided to again focus on her career. But finding a job was easier than finding a sense of job-fulfillment.

"At church one Sunday, a friend asked me how my job at a local doctor's office was going," Lynn recalls. "I said, ‘Well, I shouldn't lie in church, so actually it's not going well.' My friend's husband was one of Dr. Midgette's closest friends. He told me that the practice was looking for someone to work at the front desk. At the time, I was familiar with who Dr. Midgette was because, when he lived in the Western Branch area, his kids and ours went to the same school, but I didn't know him personally."

Lynn applied for the position. When she sat down with Dr. Midgette for an interview, she obviously made a very favorable personal impression. The next day when she followed up with a phone call. he asked her, "Are you ready to come to work?"

"For the first two years, I worked at the front desk," Lynn says. "At that time, Dr. Midgette had no practice manager. But the practice was growing and soon got so big that he realized he couldn't do dentistry and handle everything else in the building.  So, he offered me the position. I had no managerial experience at all, so I was nervous. But Dr. Midgette said, ‘Don't worry, you'll do just fine.'

"The practice was very different then," Lynn continues. "We only occupied half of the building and leased out the other half. Once those other spaces were vacant, we did a complete remodel because the practice had grown so much that we needed the entire building. While the exterior looks more or less the same, the interior is completely different. When I was hired, I was one of 13 employees. Now, there are 22 staff members and four dentists in our office every day."
When in 2012 Lynn's husband, Rob, received a job offer in Alabama, she bid farewell to her work "home" of ten years and headed south.  While she easily found employment in dental practices there, Lynn encountered a challenge faced by many women entering a new workplace at middle age.

"Going into the workforce after my kids were older was honestly not bad," Lynn continues. "Going back into the workforce when I was older was harder. If you come into a new job with years of experience, you quickly know which things probably will or will not work. You have a pretty good idea of how to fix certain problems. But often, it's not always accepted in the manner you intended."

"We have a deep level of trust here-
and that is uber important...
We all work together as a team.
It takes all of us to give the patients
the service and care they deserve.
I feel very blessed to be back here
working with these wonderful people!"
 -Lynn Cipcic

Early last year, while working for a small dental practice in Alabama, Lynn had questions about a procedural matter. "I trust Dr. Midgette 100 percent, so I texted him to ask for his advice," Lynn remembers. "While we were texting, I jokingly said: ‘These darn Alabama dentists! Can I please come back to work for you?' He said, ‘Sure. Can you start tomorrow?' It turned out that he was looking for a practice manager. I asked if he'd consider me for the position if I moved back to Chesapeake, and he said yes."

With both Rob and Lynn securing employment and listing their house, the couple decided it was time to return to Chesapeake….and then came COVID-19.

"Because the pandemic had begun, the office had been closed for routine dental health visits and we  were only seeing emergencies," Lynn explains. "I was set to return to work on June 10. That was the date everyone kept citing. But when safety practices were put in place to keep everyone safe, June 10 became April 27. Back in the office, my first question was: ‘How will we see all the people we haven't been able to see for the 5 weeks we weren't seeing hygiene patients?'  After a little brainstorming, Rob said, ‘Why don't you just pick-up seeing patients where you left off?' That made sense, but I'm not one to shoot before I load the gun. I think things through. I always look before I jump into the water. It took working late some nights and weekends to execute this task, but finally, we did it! So, I really can't take the credit for the idea; that goes to my husband."
During Lynn and Rob's eight years away, their family had experienced several very blessed changes.

"When we moved from here in 2012, we had no grandchildren. Now, we have five," Lynn says with pride. "Our oldest son, Joe, has four children, while our daughter, Jordan, has one. Our son Brian now lives in Charlotte, and recently, our son Cameron got engaged."

Lynn extends her strong sense of family to the staff of Midgette Family Dentistry.

"The girls in the office are like my family," Lynn insists, "and the doctors fall in line right behind my husband and children. We have a deep level of trust here-and that is uber important. When there's trust, people feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions. They may not always agree with one another, but they know everyone will listen to them and respect their opinion. We all work together as a team. It takes all of us to give the patients the service and care they deserve. I feel very blessed to be back here working with these wonderful people!"

Lynn Cipcic with Dr. Kelly Paxton

Midgette Family Dentistry

3326 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, VA 23321