Julie Charlestein is part of the fourth-generation of Premier Dental, where she currently serves as CEO. Premier is a 106-year-old business that develops and manufactures innovative consumables for dental health professionals around the world.
Listen in to hear Julie’s family business story—a story that began in 1913 by her great-grandfather, Julius Charlestein, who worked as a dental instrument sharpener. Julius saw an opportunity to pivot into sales, first as an agent for manufacturers looking for representation, and eventually shifting to the product development and manufacturing company that Premier is today.
Julie studied political science and Judaic language and literature as an undergrad. She later returned to business school and then took a job in telecom. Julie says she wasn’t sure she wanted to work in the family business. It was also important to her to work elsewhere for the experience and validation.
Eventually, her father called, asking if she was interested in joining Premier. As part of her process to consider it, Julie did extensive research about Premier Dental and the industry. She connected with other family businesses and even hired a family business consultant to help understand the dynamics, and how to advocate for herself and integrate herself into the business. She accepted a position as a Product Manager in 2001, and three years ago, she transitioned to CEO.
During the conversation, Julie shares what went well with her transition to the business and to CEO. She also shares a few things she wishes she would have done differently.
In this episode:
- Meet Julie Charlestein (1:33)
- About Premier Dental and the evolution of the industry (2:30)
- How Julie entered the business (6:55)
- Understanding role and how to fit into the family business (9:10)
- Succession and negotiations (11:27)
- President to CEO (13:10)
- Were there rules of engagement for entering the business? (15:25)
- Lesson learned (18:25)
- Engaging Gen 5 (25:20)
- Grandfather’s adage (26:40)
- Enjoy the business, not obligated to it (28:20)
- How to learn more and find Julie (30:45)
- Self-care and leadership (31:20)
Resources from this episode:
Meet Julie Charlestein
Julie Charlestein is the President and CEO of Premier Dental Products Company which develops, manufactures and distributes innovative dental consumables and devices for the oral health professional worldwide. Proud to be running a family -owned business, Julie is the first woman and the fourth generation of the Charlestein family to lead the company, which was founded by her great grandfather, Julius Charlestein, in 1913.
As Premier’s President and CEO, Julie was voted one of The Top 25 Most Influential Women in Dentistry by Dental Products Report. She is known for her high-energy, inspirational leadership and ability to forge meaningful partnerships across the industry. Her depth of experience in running a family business, dynamic personality, and story-telling ability make her a sought-after speaker for industry events, conferences, and panel discussions.
Highly-respected in the industry, Julie serves on the Board of Overseers for The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, the Dean’s Advisory Council of Temple University Dental School, the Board of ASDOH (Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health), and the Board of the Alliance for Oral Health Across Borders. Julie previously served on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the School of Dental Medicine at Harvard University.
Notable & Quotable
I knew the date of the transition for me to become CEO. I thought it was no big deal.. just a title change, but on that day absolutely everything changed, and I was surprised. The enormity of the responsibility was now completely all mine. —Julie Charlestein
I wish I would have prepared myself more for the transition to CEO and the emotional side of the responsibility. —Julie Charlestein
I wish I would have spent more time talking to my grandfather and father together about their vision for the business, their vision for me, and their philosophies for the business. —Julie Charlestein
My grandfather had an adage that is ‘remember who you are.’ He also said ‘part of you belongs to Premier.’ —Julie Charlestein
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