Dr. Steve Mark Gan on the Service of Smiles | OneMega.com
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Dr. Steve Mark Gan on the Service of Smiles

Dr. Steve Mark Gan on the Service of Smiles

Business & Career | October 29, 2021
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Dr. Steve Mark Gan—President and CEO of the GAOC Group of Companies—shares his secret to success and how he kept his businesses thriving even amid the pandemic.

The journey began two decades ago. After completing further studies at the University of Southern California and at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Steve Mark Gan returned to the Philippines. “I felt that it was my responsibility to share the knowledge, expertise, and technology that I acquired while in the United States,” he shares.

While abroad, he had witnessed the wonders of modern dentistry. And with a patriotic spirit and a kind heart, he set out to help the country’s local dentistry landscape by meticulously setting a plan in motion. But with that being said, not everything came easy when he arrived.

And yet, he persisted. Just like all success stories, the journey came with its share of ups and downs. This is his story.

Of Humble Beginnings and Starting Small

With only PHP 3,000 and a third-hand dental chair to his name, he started from humble beginnings. “I started my practice in a tiny clinic in Binondo. That was 1998. I would count those as the difficult days of my professional journey,” he reminisces.

Beyond material belongings, however, were important qualities that he made sure to keep. “One of the most valuable lessons that my parents instilled in me is the importance of hard work, discipline, and perseverance.” These helped him along the way. Soon enough, he joined St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City and his time there eventually gave him the values of integrity and resilience.

Not more than 3 years later, he finally establish his own clinic. “In 2001, I founded the very first branch of Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC) in a small but respectable 60-sqm space at Medical Plaza Makati. Since then, GAOC has flourished into becoming one of the leading group practices in Asia,” he beams proudly.

Surviving and Thriving: GAOC Amid the Pandemic

Even while going through major hurdles like the pandemic, Steve emphasizes that anticipating and quickly responding to business disruption was always built into how he runs his business. “We must be able to adapt to what the current situation calls for,” he explains. “In our case, we strengthened our health and sanitation protocols and took the necessary steps to provide our patients with the safest dental environment and experience possible.”

He also adds that he encourages everyone around him to continue to be smart and innovative workers. “As I always tell my staff, this pandemic amplifies both your strengths and weaknesses. Your survival and creative instincts come out best during a crisis. Now is the time to grab every opportunity and really make it count.”

Steve hopes that careful planning, preparation, and execution will take them far. “Ten years from now, I believe GAOC will remain at the top of our industry,” he says confidently. “We will not only be one of the leading dental group practices in the Philippines, but also in the Asian region. We will reach this milestone by continuing to provide world-class and state-of-the-art dentistry to our valuable patients.”

“We will continue to reinvent ourselves to ensure that our patients are always satisfied with the dental care they receive. At this time, we believe we should be prudent and proceed by taking one step at a time,” he finishes.

The Importance of Support Channels

The same philosophy applies to his real life and is further aided by his faith. “As the cliche goes, life is full of surprises. Adversities can either make our life more exciting or forbidding, depending on how you look at it. I overcome challenges in life because of my faith in God. Whenever I face difficulties, I pray and ask for guidance and wisdom,” he shares.

Likewise, for Steve, a good support system also goes a long way. “The love and support from my family and real best friends also play an important role when the going gets tough. They keep me rational and grounded.”

And when it comes to learning, he invests his time in reading motivational and inspiring material about 21st-century business leaders like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos. “It helps give clarity to my outlook and infuse my mind with life-affirming and positive thoughts,” he explains.

Steve adds that it also helps that he’s found what he truly loves to do. “I am grateful for this profession that I love and one that has also loved me back. I am truly fortunate to have found my life’s work at a very early age. Being happy and loving what you do matters.”

Likewise, he believes in having a healthy mindset, as well as clear boundaries. Off work, he spends his free time with family and loved ones. “I like to dedicate time to doing recreational activities, such as cycling, which I started again several months ago after years of hiatus,” he shares. “I also have a passion for cars, comic books, and various sports such as golf and basketball. Making sure that I spend time doing all of these things results in a successful and satisfying work-life balance.”

Wise Words by Dr. Steve Mark Gan

As Steve looks forward to taking his next careful step, he’s also energized at the idea of an emerging new generation. “My advice to young entrepreneurs is to always be confident and be innovative.” Thus, the quote, “Confidence breeds success and success breeds confidence,” is a mainstay at any of his lectures. In fact, he explains it as, “the more you do, the more you know you can do.”

You attempt to reach greater heights each time you achieve your goal. And with each victory, you are even more sure of securing the next one. It is in fact a wonderful and rewarding cycle,” he says, adding that failure is normal and it shouldn’t deter us from taking risks. “Rather than worry about the outcome, soak it up and enjoy the thrill of the moment.”

His final piece of advice? “Never settle for less. Always try to be the best in your field—in whatever your chosen craft may be. Never forget that we only live once and we have to give our best shot in everything that we do.”

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Pinky is the President and CEO of Progressive Laboratories, Qualibet Testing Services Corp. and KPP Powers Commodities. A chemist by profession, she is also the President of the Association of the Bureau of Animal Industry Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories (ABAIL). A humanitarian at heart, Pinky hosts a weekly online show called Grateful Tuesdays. On top of all this, she is also a wife and a mother of two.
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