Mentorship takes many forms. One valuable way to make a difference is the Life West Mentor Doctor Program (formally Champion Doctor Program). The Mentor Doctors are chiropractors who are interested in finding and mentoring the next generation of chiropractors.
The Life West Mentor Doctors commit to sharing the story of a career in chiropractic – in their practice, at local colleges and universities, and everywhere they go. They partner with the enrollment team to get materials for students and to be on the list of places where a student can shadow a chiropractor. Mentor doctors sometimes work with recruiters to deliver a presentation on a college campus near them.
DR. SYDNE POMIN
GRADUATED: March 2015
PRACTICE: San Rafael, California
Dr. Sydne Pomin didn’t always plan to be a chiropractor. When she graduated from college and began working in corporate management, she quickly found herself bored and disconnected from her work. She recognized that she was unhappy and asked herself some key questions: Who is providing value in their work? Who is happy in their work?
Her chiropractor, who had helped her recover from migraine headaches following a neck injury, seemed to absolutely love his work. She wondered what it would be like to have a job like his.
As she considered changing careers, Dr. Sydne was afraid. What if she wasn’t good enough at science and math? Going back to school felt intimidating. Nevertheless, she pushed through her fears and re-enrolled in school full-time to get the science classes she needed to be admitted to chiropractic college. Dr. Sydne chose Life West because it felt right. She remembers getting three hugs in the hallway the first day on campus. She knew she was home.
Dr Sydne graduated from Life West in March 2015 and began to work as an associate. She didn’t have a concrete plan as to how she would transition into her own practice – but once again, the universe provided an opportunity to see herself in a new light. One of Dr. Sydne’s chiropractic mentors was injured and needed major surgery, so she asked Dr. Sydne to step in and take over her 35-year practice. While Dr. Sydne and her partner (also a chiropractor) did not feel ready after only nine months of practice experience, they said yes anyway, trusting that they could rise to the challenge.
“Entrepreneurship is deciding to jump off the cliff and build the airplane on the way down,” Dr. Sydne explains. “That sums up the experience. I have always been about saying ‘yes,’ even if I didn’t feel ready. It’s so uncomfortable. But then I learn. It turned out to be a great decision, despite the steep learning curve of owning and managing a practice and a high-volume patient base.”
Dr. Sydne became an active Life West Mentor Doctor as soon as she graduated from Life West. She started her mentorship activity by hosting local students, allowing them to shadow in her office. Whenever she met someone who was interested in chiropractic, she invited them to sit on the bench in her office to observe the practice flow. The more they watched, the more questions they had.
“I find opening the eyes to a younger generation to the general aspects of a career in chiropractic to be extremely fun. They resonate so much with wanting to help others with a natural, alternative health option,” Dr. Sydne said.
She has gotten pretty good at seeing when someone has an “ah-ha” moment around chiropractic. When that happens, she will look them in the eyes and say, “You know what? You’d be a great chiropractor.” And that’s all it takes to start the conversation.
Dr. Sydne has big dreams for chiropractic. Her long-term goal is to create a practice that serves as a space for new doctors to transition from a student identity to a doctor identity. She sees an opportunity to do things differently. As the profession grows and develops, Dr. Sydne believes that chiropractors need to adapt to the strengths and values of the next generation entering the profession. Her own first associate position showed her how much opportunity there is to make this transition better. She looks forward to participating in this change.
The impact of mentorship can be huge and Dr. Sydne Pomin know firsthand that mentorship matters. “We are currently watching the future of the profession unfold with a new generation that has a different set of tenets. I want to be a part of the future. The only way to get stronger as a whole is to reach out a hand and ask, ‘How can I help?’ I learned so much from outside docs that were willing to teach and answer questions. I feel it’s my duty and privilege to carry that torch.”