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Virginia AGD

Leap Into Practice Mentorship Program

January 6, 2022 6:30 PM - February 24, 2022 6:30 PM (EST)

Event registration

Leap Into Practice Mentorship Program: Mentor Application

$0.00 each



Leap Into Practice Mentorship Program: Mentee Application

$0.00 each



The Leap Into Practice Mentorship Program is an interactive, structured 8-week virtual program that seeks to connect practice owners (Mentors) with aspiring practice owners (Mentees) to ultimately help mentees determine if practice ownership is right for them and to embark on this goal with more confidence and preparation. The tangible “walk-away” will be a customized, self-developed business plan and up to 24 CE hours.

The program will be a combination of guided educational sessions, self-learning and one-on-one guidance from speakers and mentors. Mentors should be expected to dedicate 2-3 hours/week, and Mentees 3-5 hours/week.

WEEK 1: Introduction/Objective/Industry Analysis. This week will help mentees build on the executive summary, company description (including services and product line) and market analysis portions of their business plans. By S. Natasha Gillis, Esq. and Malika Azargoon

  • Why do I want to embark on practice ownership?
  • What are my goals in owning a practice? Is practice ownership right for me?
  • Conducting an industry outlook, looking at target markets and engaging in a competitor analysis

WEEK 2: Organizational Structure. This week will help mentees build on the organizational structure portions of their business plans. By S. Natasha Gillis, Esq. and Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE

  • Exploring the world of liability with sole proprietorships, general partnerships, navigating professional LLCs, Corporations, and more, plus tax considerations by guest CPA, Allen Schiff
  • A word about partnerships, employees v. contractors and multi-practice ownership considerations

WEEK 3: Operational/Management Strategy. This week will help mentees build on the operation and management portions of their business plans. By Malika Azargoon and S. Natasha Gillis, Esq.

  • Creating an organizational chart for your company by identifying key personnel most general dentistry practices need and conducting an in-depth look into the everyday functions of a dental office to create an operational plan
  • Understanding HR basics and hierarchy of relevant laws.

WEEK 4: Finance-Capitalization and Understanding Numbers. This week will help mentees build on the finance portions of their business plans. By guest lecturer Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE

  • Determining if you are financially ready to run your own practice: how to determine how much money you need to maintain your own lifestyle and pay student loans while balancing costs of ownership
  • Understanding how much it will cost to start and run a practice—(an in depth discussion of start-up v. acquisition)
  • Capitalization—how to break into practice ownership (exploring capital sources, including lending)

WEEK 5: The Art of Self Sustaining, Growing and Achieving Profitability. This week will help mentees build on the finance portions and marketing [pricing strategies] of their business plans. By Malika Azargoon

  • Billing-- understanding how you will make money: types of payor (insurance) contracts including medicare/medicaid, membership plans, fee for service.
  • Scheduling and Numbers

WEEK 6: Finance Continued--In Business to Make Money. This week will help mentees build on the finance portion of their business plans. Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE

  • How/when to pay yourself
  • Sustaining Associate Salaries and Growth? Financial benchmarks to help determine when you are ready.
  • Reading and understanding financial statements: how to write a P&L, the importance of a Balance Sheet, and more
  • Important documents to look at when considering the health of a practice (for acquisitions)

WEEK 7: Marketing and Sales. This week will help mentees build on the marketing and sales portions of their business plan. By Malika Azargoon

  • How you will attract patients, patient communications and how to promote retention (start-up v. acquisition considerations)
  • Considering your start-up budget—a discussion about how marketing strategies may be different for start-ups v. acquisitions.
  • Revisiting membership plans and insurance credentialing as a sales strategy
  • Overtreatment v. not selling enough—navigating ethics in presenting treatment plans to maximize productions while minimizing patient distrust

WEEK 8: Leadership and Communication. This week will help mentees build on the management portion of their business plans. By Malika Azargoon and Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE

  • Managing and orchestrating an office team effectively—How to go from self-management to team management. Exploring proven team building and retention strategies that work
  • A discussion about benefits and salary considerations when it comes to operational costs.

BONUS: The Life of a Dental Entrepreneur. This is a motivational conclusion to help inspire and provide some last words as “food for thought”. By Malika Azargoon, S. Natasha Gillis, Esq. and Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE

  • On going considerations including:
  • The importance of practice audits to consider patient numbers, revenue, areas of loss and areas for growth. A quick overview of KPIs.
  • Thinking ahead—in it to win it: thinking about retirement as a business owner
  • Top Qualities Every Successful Dental Practice Owner Possesses



Mentors and Mentees must apply to be considered for the limited number of spots available. To apply, register to reserve a (free) Mentor or Mentee Application Ticket. The application period will open on March 1st and will close when the program is full. Selected applicants will be contacted on a rolling basis as applications are received with a program start date of late October 2021. Applicants need not be AGD members, but CE hours will only be tracked for AGD members.

  • Once selected, Mentees will be invoiced a $500 fee for program enrollment
  • Selected Mentors will be enrolled in the program at no cost
  • Both Mentors and Mentees who are AGD members may earn up to 24 Self Instruction/Lecture CE Credits upon completion of the 8-week program. Masters are also eligible to earn up to 8 Service Hours.
  • Both Mentors and Mentees who are AGD members will receive an invitation to attend the Annual VAGD Award Gala in October 2021

An Ideal Mentor is...

  • Physically located in DC, MD or VA
  • A Practice Owner, 5 Years or More
  • A Fellow or Master of the AGD (minimum 500 CEs completed) *Not a requirement, but preferred
  • Available 2 flexible hours/week during 8 week program
  • Have reliable online access

An Ideal Mentee is...

  • Physically located in DC, MD or VA
  • Available 2 flexible hours/week during the 8 week program
  • Have reliable online access  

Privacy Statement: The Virginia AGD in partnership with The ZarGill Group take your privacy seriously. The Mentor/Mentee program will not share or sell your e-mail address or other personal information to other organizations or individuals. Information collected as part of the Mentor/Mentee application process is used only to find suitable matches between mentor and mentees. By submitting an application, you will not be guaranteed approval into the program as all applications are subject to final VAGD discretion and approval at its sole discretion.


The Principals Behind the ZarGill Group

 S. Natasha Gillis, Esq. is the principal attorney and owner of The Gillis Firm, PLLC. Natasha is a dental and healthcare attorney whose practice focuses mainly on healthcare practice mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as well as start-up practices with a bulk of her time spent serving dental practices and dentists. Natasha also assists with partnership changes, start-up practice guidance, commercial lease reviews, commercial real estate purchases and associateship contracts.

Natasha’s passion for healthcare representation started during her clinical work in law school where she advocated for a skilled African American obstetrician who was prevented from delivering a baby in a local hospital exclusively due to his race. Coming from a background of small business owners, Natasha graduated law school with a passion of helping doctors of all races and backgrounds achieve the ultimate goal of practice ownership.

Most recently, Natasha has served as a guest lecturer teaching dental students about various aspects of practice ownership including VCU School of Dentistry, acquisition considerations as a panelist at the Virginia Dental Association, the Vaccine Townhall with the Virginia Academy of General Dentistry, the Mason Enterprise Center Small Business Conference, and more. Natasha works with new business owners and aspiring dental entrepreneurs every day and realized that there is a heavy need for basic business education. She teamed up with Malika Azargoon to create “Leap Into Practice”—a series of dental-oriented business education seminars, including the Mentorship Program for VAGD members. Natasha’s moto is “Your Practice is My Passion.”

 Malika Azargoon is the founder and principal consultant at Zar Dental Consulting, LLC (“ZDC”) serving over 100 general and specialty practices throughout the DC Metro area, surrounding Mid-Atlantic region and additional practices currently being served from Texas to California. Malika’s commitment to client-focused, results-driven best practices is the platform upon which she has built ZDC. Malika is an industry expert in understanding the patient journey, creating a team culture to create greater efficiency and profitability, and effectively managing a successful dental practice at every stage of its development.

Having presented at several national dental conferences, her ability to engage teams and achieve remarkable breakthroughs are what make her one of the most sought-after dental consultants in the country. Her stage presence aspires dentists as she uses her expertise and real-life experiences to show her audience how they can build thriving dental practices. Dentists and their teams find that Malika “speaks their language” and understands their different pain points. She has been called the “Dental Therapist” and “Team Whisperer.” Malika teamed up with Natasha Gillis to create “Leap Into Practice”—a series of dental-oriented business education seminars, including the Mentorship Program for VAGD members in efforts to contribute her expertise to the dental community.

As an avid runner, she uses her marathon training as an analogy for how she helps dentists and their teams build successful practices every day—"commit to the race, stay determined, and cross the finish line.”

Introducing Guest Dental CPA: ALLEN SCHIFF, CPA, CFE

 Allen Schiff is the managing member of Schiff & Associates, LLC (S&A). Allen has over 35 years of experience in the areas of dental practice management. Allen's services include business planning to include obtaining financing, succession planning, exit strategies and long-range planning. Allen has assisted dentists with practice acquisitions, start-ups, operational analysis and associate contract analysis.

Allen has published numerous articles within the dental industry and can frequently be seen in Dental Economics, as he is a contributing writer to the magazine. In 1998, Allen earned the designation of Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), having the expertise to resolve allegations of fraud, obtain evidence, take statements, write reports, testify to findings and assist in the detection and prevention of fraud and white-collar crime.

Allen is the President of the Academy of Dental CPAs ( This group of very knowledgeable CPA firms across the nation specializes in practice management services to the dental industry for over 9,000 clients. He serves on the ADCPA Executive Committee and is Chairperson of the ADCPA Marketing & New Members Committees. Allen presents to the ADA (American Dental Association), the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentists), local Mid-Atlantic societies, as well as various dental study clubs. For the last 35 years, Allen has taught at a local dental school as well as 8 other national dental schools on the subject of dental practice management. Allen is a current Board Member of the Maryland State Dental Association Foundation (MSDAF) as well as a Consultant to the ADA (September 2019). 

Virginia AGD is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing education programs of this program provider are accepted by the AGD for Fellowship/Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2023. Provider ID# 219330

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