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Pat Shaver

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Wonder Women

Four Inspiring Women Follow Thier Passion to Help Others

Article by Lauri Gross

Photography by Jack Hartzman

Originally published in Potomac Lifestyle

Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, owner Smiles of Chevy Chase

When did you know you wanted to become a Dentist?

It was career day in the 3rd grade. A doctor came in. He said, ‘All day, every day, I help people smile. It’s arts and crafts in the mouth.’ I said, ‘Wow.’ I love arts and crafts and l love science. It was the best of both worlds. That’s where I started absorbing as much information as dentists had to give me. First it was Career Day and then I quickly got in touch with other doctors through family members and friends. 

Describe your mentor(s)

Dr. Peter Neff took me under his wing at a really young age. I volunteered at his office. He showed me the types of appliances he was making, how he would help people and he always explained the ‘why.’ For him it was really important to explain how he was helping people and why an appliance was used. I started interning in his office and I spent summers interning in an orthodontist’ office, an oral surgery office, and a general dentistry office.

How did you choose your specialty?

To be the best and to change patients’ lives, I needed to treat patients comprehensively: looking at their entire mouth and understanding why they needed treatments and preventing the cycle of break down. I specialized in advanced general dentistry, implants, crowns, cosmetics and Invisalign.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?  

The ability to change patients’ lives daily. Everything From a small filling on a broken front tooth to a full-mouth reconstruction.

Hilary Anne Fordwich

Hilary is Founder of the business development consulting firm Strelmark, LLC. Previously, she headed up global business development and sales for an international firm. She is a sought-after keynote speaker and has addressed the World Congress, National Press Foundation and many others. She has been commissioned to write about business development for many major national publications. Hilary is also an accomplished golfer and golf commentator. She serves on the board and/or holds leadership positions for Easter Seals, March of Dimes, the British American Business Association and many others. She has three children of her own and five additional children as a joint united family. 

How and why do you include humor in business? 

Comedic levity keeps audiences engaged. If you bore people, they tune out. My sessions are highly tactical and practical but it’s ineffective to deliver that if you’re boring. 

How do you keep your life in balance?

I always look at how to kill four birds with one stone. For example, if I get together with friends with kids, these would be business people, so we talk about business and do something with the family. Or, if I am watching a movie or the news, there will be some piece or fact that goes into my next keynote or presentation.

Guiding principal?

What I do for companies is so rewarding and clients are so grateful.  My guiding principal is Onward and Upward: I want to carry on and help everyone around me to be better and move up.

Pat Shaver

Pat was born during World War I. Her family lost everything in the depression but she managed to attend nursing school in her home state of Iowa. She is now 101 years old.

After you worked as a nurse for several years, how did you switch to become a Navy nurse?

I got a letter from the American Red Cross saying they needed nurses in the Army and the Navy and Airforce.  I chose the Navy and they sent me to the South Pacific. We went over on the ship and we were chased by a Japanese submarine for a while. I took care a lot of wounded people from Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, you name it.

After about 18 months in the South Pacific, Pat was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. She married a Navy doctor, resigned her commission from the military and had four sons. Pat and her family ended up at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda where Pat volunteered for nearly 40 years, up until 2013.

What is your life like these days?

I have four sons, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren. I am active in the Republican Club. I go to church and I also read a lot. I

like to read new books that are out and I always read the paper and I listen to the news and I enjoy getting outdoors and working in among the flowers and trees.

Dr. Ke Wang, Owner Advanced Acupuncture and Chinese Herb Clinic

Why did you become an Acupuncturist?

I have family members who have been doing this for 40-50 years (in China). I grew up seeing how they help people through sickness. That was very impressive to me and inspired me to get into this field. 

Tell me about your patients.

I specialize in pain management and immune system support. Chinese medicine is more comprehensive. It is to balance the whole body to heal disease. I have a cancer patient in stage four. His oncologist said he had six to eight months to live but we worked together on better nutrition and diet to support his immune system and lifestyle and he is alive now, two years later.   

What’s the most challenging part?

Making people understand what I am doing. It’s a different philosophy from western medicine.  The most important thing is for patients to believe in what we are doing so they can receive the treatment better. Also, most people think about injection needles but acupuncture needles are specially designed so it’s like a sting for one second but many people don’t even feel it.

What about herb treatment?

Herbs are especially for immune system support. It can help the stomach or spleen absorb nutrition, or help the liver or kidney detoxify and help more nutrients get through the whole body.

  • Smiles of Chevy Chase
  • Dr. Ke Wang, Owner Advanced Acupuncture and Chinese Herb Clinic (photo provided)
  • Pat Shaver
  • Hilary Anne Fordwich
  • Hilary Anne Fordwich

Businesses featured in this article