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April 19, 2018 // Orthodontics Specialist Lorne Kamelchuk, on empowered decision-making and sometimes colouring outside the lines to achieve true financial wellbeing: Our People At Play, Dr. Lorne Kamelchuk of Group Calgary Orthodontics

Dr. Lorne Kamelchuk is an Orthodontist and proud owner of his own practice here in Calgary. In this new edition of Our People at Play, he references financial wellbeing as true ‘openness’ to what comes, discussing the importance of a plan that gives you the freedom to adapt to evolving goals, opportunities and timelines. Follow along to learn more about his determined career approach, the power of finding direction and taking ownership for working towards his passion.

Find out why he’s OK with the fact that ‘making it’ looks different than he thought it would, and how relationships are central to everything he does.

Tell us about your professional past and present?

“As a young Dentist fresh out of the University of Alberta I pursued an Orthodontic Specialty at the University of Toronto before starting a private practice in Calgary. Although I had some previous Associate experience, proprietary ownership as a Specialist was something completely new to me, and full of underestimated challenges.

I found myself in the biggest balancing act of my life. On one hand there was the expectation of executing a newly developed skill-set while, on the other hand the reality of building and managing a practice that initially had no direction and tons of inertia! What I learned from that experience is that once you have a very clear vision and direction, time is your biggest asset.”

What do you love most about what you do?

“What I love about the work my team does are the relationships we create which define our practice. Our team has developed a culture of selfless advocacy in our office, because of this, the trust our patients’ place in us allows the conversations we have to transcend the mechanics of our profession and go to places that are often surprising to me.

This means that we can focus on doing our work well, and our relationships seem to do the promoting for us – which I still find both flattering and humbling at the same time! It is truly the relationships that I really enjoy most.”

Let’s talk about the inevitable battle of managing your own business – what are the day-to-day struggles you face?

“I do think the biggest in our business, both on the business side and on the service side, is the expectation of immediacy. The truth is, I don’t always have the answers and I usually don’t have them immediately. To add irony, it seems the important questions that need answers ‘right now’ always arise when we are multi-tasked, time-pressured, and at our busiest. These are not the ideal circumstances under which to be making well-measured decisions.”

How did you plan for owning your business and for your future?

“I planned for ownership from the outset. It was never really a difficult decision for me although I’ve been at it long enough now to be able to say it’s not for everyone. Early in my career I was told that a choice had to be made between autonomy and security. I believed, maybe a little naively at the time, that I could have both. I set out to establish an autonomously owned practice that would also provide the long-term security that was important for our family. Now, I probably value the autonomy we have in making planning decisions more than the security itself.”

How has PlayCheques supported you with this plan?

“PlayCheques has allowed us to dream again.”

“The role that PlayCheques plays for us, especially lately, is one of empowering our decision-making. We’ve recently completed a series of mechanical steps; re-evaluating our risk management portfolio, re-setting our tax planning strategies, updating estate planning, re-focusing some of our personal priorities, and creating a medium-term plan for our growing family. To sum it up, we’re at a stage right now where PlayCheques has allowed us to dream again.”

What are your thoughts on the financial services Industry?

“Prior to working with PlayCheques, our planning was deficient in three major ways:
Firstly, many of the recommendations we received were brokerage based with an inherent transactional bias. Secondly, we had multiple products, from multiple sources, that inefficiently overlapped and, in turn, were diminished in individual value. And finally, our planning timelines tended to be annualized and much too short-term for any real ‘holistic’ plan to emerge.

Integrated planning, with an overview respectful of the primary goals, established over reasonably defined timelines was where we needed to get to.”

What does ‘financial wellbeing’ look like to you?

“I think ‘financial wellbeing’ is really about empowering your choices. Our experience has been that our plans, circumstances, and even our dreams have continued to evolve and change.”

I think ‘financial wellbeing’ is really about empowering your choices. Our experience has been that our plans, circumstances, and even our dreams have continued to evolve and change. This is not a bad thing – in fact it’s a great thing. For me, financial wellbeing is having the flexibility so that life’s opportunities are not constrained by a rigid plan that denies the possibility of something you never thought of before. It’s not a number, it’s an openness.”

What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career?

“…to be 100% responsible for my own self-determination and to own the outcomes of that responsibility.”

“The best career advice I ever received was that nobody was going to do ‘it’ for me and even if I could find someone willing they’d probably get ‘it’ wrong anyway. It was advice to be 100% responsible for my own self-determination and to own the outcomes of that responsibility. These were tough words, because my passion wasn’t immediately apparent and I didn’t know what my ‘it’ actually was. The pursuit became increasingly worthwhile as ‘it’ became clear. Good advice? Yes. Easy to follow? Not so much!”

How do you Play? (Interests, Hobbies, Passions etc.)

“‘Playing’ at my life stage right now is not what I had imagined it to be when I set out fresh from Graduate School. Since then, I have been blessed with a beautiful family that defines not only my recreational pursuits, but every aspect of my day-to-day life.

What I used to dream of doing once I’d ‘made it’, just isn’t relevant anymore because those old dreams didn’t include the people who have become the most important to me now. Being able to ‘play’ is what makes it ALL worth it. Of all of my professional Colleagues, Adrian George understands this the most of all.”