Name: Dr. Lee Gause
One word: Craftsman
How HE Ordinarily Impacts: Through his Smile Design Gallery, Dr. Lee Gause is able to do the unimaginable: provide complimentary dental services to those underserved communities who deserve to smile boldly again. With celebrity friends like Swizz Beatz and Fab Five Freddy by his side, Gause’s mission to heal people, one smile at a time, is how he is able to not only impact but prepare individuals for a bright and prosperous future.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
There is strength in numbers. In a time where strength is needed in the community, I am proud to be selected alongside many other accomplished professional men of distinction. I hope to follow in the footsteps of other leaders and to work to uphold the image of black doctors.
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
My work mission is to show that being a talented doctor/dentist supersedes race. Since Dr. Charles Drew, we have held a unique position in healthcare. My practice of cosmetic dentistry is at the absolute highest level in the country and internationally, despite racial barriers.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I established my practice on the most expensive block in Manhattan and, as a result, the highly coveted location made my initial startup cost high. Despite this, it was still one of the best decisions I have ever made. Through hard work and dedication, the cost of the location is no longer an issue and I’ve created an office where the facility is conceptually aligned with the quality of care.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
I value Emotional IQ and integrity as I interface with other doctors or team members. I can teach someone how to master cosmetic dentistry, however, having great core values and truly understanding how to empathize with other people, especially in my line of work, is a real science!
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My passion project is my athletic mouthguard company that I founded with Floyd Mayweather: Iceberg Guards.
What is the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I received has come from my mother. She is an amazing and talented dentist who I admire and wholeheartedly respect. And because of her leadership and influence, I’m a firm believer in a saying that comes from the movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” This resonates with me because I’ve put my heart and soul into my business. Since I launched my company, my team and I have been able to create a dedicated following of patients who trust us—but none of this would have been possible if I didn’t pursue my passion, believe in myself, and go out on my own to create Smile Design Manhattan.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Although we sometimes have to work twice as hard, life balance and health are a priority. You can make all the money in the world, but it’s useless without good health, family, and happiness.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I work out and pray in the morning, before I begin any task. Doing so makes me far more patient and capable of conquering the unique challenges of every day.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
I grew up at a small “inkwell” beach in North Carolina. We were all surfers. To this day, I still rent a surfboard anytime I am near water. So back home, 10 dollars gets me a day in the ocean, and for me, this is the best stress therapy on Earth!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
The Seychelles, because I have never been and am dying to go there.
Anything else you’d like to say?
To be the best, you just have to be the best.
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