Men of Vancouver is an editorial series featuring stylish and professional men in Vancouver. MofV producer and stylist, Jason Sarai of Style by Sarai, recently interviewed dentist and restauranteur Dr. Nick Seddon for this exclusive in-depth photo editorial.
What do you do for work?
I guess when it comes down to the heart of it – I make people smile! I have changed people’s lives by creating beautiful, healthy smiles and really it’s one of the intangible rewards of being a dentist. Apart from that, I’m an entrepreneur. I have a few other business ventures on the go – one of the latest that I’m focusing on is a Freshii franchise in Kitsilano. Who doesn’t love to eat healthy!?
How did you get involved in this career?
During high school, I had the opportunity to shadow a couple of local dentists. I was immediately fascinated by their practices. I was drawn to the idea that you can transform a person’s life by making a few subtle changes to their teeth through the use of technology and the right skill. That had me hooked. The marriage between technology and science fuelled my decision to set dentistry as my academic goal.
When I began my practice at Dundarave in 2008, I wanted to change the misconceptions about dentists. We’re really here to make you smile! Smiles are so important, not just for visual appearances, but for health as well. Research shows that 90 per cent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations. And of course, we want you to look beautiful and feel confident. This is what led me to Freshii as well. I feel strongly about healthy living and inspiring leadership. When we eat well, and take care of ourselves – mind, body and soul – we get the most out of life.
What do you enjoy most about your career and company?
I am challenged and inspired constantly. There’s no typical day in terms of patients, various procedures, and a multitude of problems that need solving. Whether it’s leading my teams, offering insight, working hands-on at sculpting a beautiful smile, managing the financial side of my businesses, or getting ready to head off to a third world country and offer my services; there is never a dull moment, and I’m always pushed to be better, do more, and stay humble.
Where do you see your career in five and 10 years time?
There are few things I see for myself in the next five to 10 years. I would love to continue to grow my practices, as well as mentor associates to grow within our team. Right now we have two locations: Dundarave and Oceanfront, I can’t wait to grow my brand. I also would love to continue lecturing on cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and practice management.
A passion of mine is to focus on global philanthropic projects in developing countries; I’d like to be able to contribute more, both financially and through the provision of my time.
As for Freshii, I believe everyone can gain a better lifestyle through healthy living, and I would love to grow it throughout the Lower Mainland.
What are the challenges of your career?
In dentistry, there’s a lot. You have to stay abreast of new technologies, enhance your clinical skills, and of course keep your patients happy – all of this while maintaining a certain level of business acumen and leadership training for my fantastic team of employees.
What has been your greatest business challenge to date?
This is easily what I am doing right now, managing two incredible dental offices and growing the Freshii brand in Kitsilano. And really, it comes down to balancing my time between all of these endeavors while enjoying a life outside of my career.
What has been your greatest business accomplishment to date?
I’ve got a few things I’m really proud of. I am proud to have grown my dental office in West Vancouver by four to five times its size. The impact I have made to my patients and my employees has been really rewarding for me. And at the start of this year, I opened up another clinic, Oceanfront. That with adding Freshii to the mix thas been both fulfilling and perhaps a little overwhelming.
What’s your advice to professionals wanting to pursue a career in dentistry and now the restaurant industry?
Dentistry – if you work hard and continuing learning, this will be a very rewarding career in whatever capacity you choose. And the restaurant industry? This is too new for me, so I really can’t comment here. Ask me in a year! However, if you were to ask this question as an entrepreneur, I would say be bold and never fear the mistakes you will undoubtedly make along the way.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Taking risks, seizing opportunities, leading others, and taking responsibility for the success or failure. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows!
How has entrepreneurship played a part in your life to date?
It’s what gets me up in the morning. It has allowed me opportunities to learn, travel the world, teach others, and create my own life.
How do you manage your personal and professional lives?
I used to be terrible at managing a healthy personal life, generally engrossing myself in my work to the point where the personal line started when I went to sleep and ended when I woke up.
Describe your typical work day?
I come from a work hard-play hard mentality so bear with me! I wake up early to take a phone call from Freshii headquarters and meet with a dental team member or friend for breakfast. Drive to work (or take the skytrain) to start the morning huddle with my dental team and then treat patients all day. Lunch usually has me catching up on administrative work in both Freshii and dentistry or sometimes still has me in the dental chair treating patients. My evenings are usually a combination of sports (like running, yoga, soccer, or spin), business meetings, and then social time with the people that keep me sane!
How do you manage your personal and professional lives?
With my busy schedule, I will admit that I do make certain sacrifices. One would be sleep. If I can make it all work out despite having to stretch my day to 2 a.m., then so be it! Balance is always something I strive for, but it doesn’t always happen. Keeping that positive outlook is half the solution! I’d like to say I’m organized, but it is more controlled chaos than anything. Sometimes it’s fun flying by the seat of my pants, but it’s not for everyone.
How much travel is involved in your line of work? Where do you enjoy travelling to most and why?
Travel is not required whatsoever; however, it is a passion of mine. I have been extremely fortunate to learn from the very best that dentistry has to offer in places all over the world: Brazil, Italy, Dubai, France, and the U.S. I have also had the pleasure of performing philanthropic work every year in developing countries such as Cambodia and Ecuador. I’ll be headed to Haiti in January. As a soccer fan, you’ll find me travelling all over the world to see the greatest game whether it is the World Cup or European Championships. Next on the list is France for the 2016 Euro Cup and Rio for the Olympics.
What are your favourite hobbies?
Wow, there are quite a lot. Soccer, running, cycling, cooking, dining out, wine, meeting new people, and learning new things. I’m also involved with a lot of social groups in the Vancouver area to keep me occupied: Whiskey Wisemen, Chasing Sunrise, Beta Theta Pi Alumni, and the Vancouver Club. There’s never a dull moment!
What charitable organizations/programs do you work with?
My time is split between various cancer charities including the Ride to Conquer Cancer (five-year participant), Kayak for a Cure, Movember, and Walk for the Cure. In dental philanthropy – I am an annual participant with Kindness in Action.
How did you get involved with this cause/organization?
I stumbled upon this amazing little organization – Kindness in Action about four years while doing some online research. I have gone to Peru, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Ecuador; and each adventure has been incredible. Over the last four years with them, it has taught me to appreciate what I have at home, how to communicate with people even if you can’t speak their language, how to stay safe and sound in relatively dangerous areas. I’m amazed every day at how fortunate we really are.
Why is giving back important to you and your company?
I believe that any form of charity work is good for everyone involved – the people receiving your service and yourself for knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life. I’m a firm believer that the more you give, the more you receive.
What does a typical weekend look like for you?
If I’m in town, I love to go out and connect with my friends and family – with delicious food, sporting activities (I LOVE hiking) and joining in to whatever is going on in around our city. We have great museums, and cultural events. Its always fun to go out and mingle. I also do tend to attempt to catch up on missed sleep, however I end up working on any outstanding admin tasks instructions.
What are your favourite places to go eat in Vancouver?
I am so lucky to be in Vancouver because of all the many different types of cuisine: Chambar, Miku, Cuchillo, Hawksworth, Coast. I’m salivating as I’m saying this!
What do you recommend someone to try when at Chamber?
Their mussels and lamb shank are delightful.
How do you think people would describe your style?
I would probably say classic, preppy, sporty, and fun but not too over the top. I don’t tend to overdo it unless its coming out of the tickle trunk!
What does style mean in the world of dentistry and entrepreneurship?
Style represents someone’s professionalism, creativity, and all-round personality.
What does style mean to you?
I would say that style refers to an individual’s expression of their personality and creativity.
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