(Photo: Andrea Yaley)
BY RICK WEINBERG, CALIFORNIA BUSINESS JOURNAL
When Dr. Douglas Boucher’s dental practice in Menlo Park, Calif. became available after he tragically passed away a year ago, the offers came rolling in.
Fourteen offers in all were made, yet Dr. Boucher’s staff rejected them all, one by one.
Then Dr. Andrea Yaley walked into the door.
“That changed everything,” says Mary Adams, who was Dr. Boucher’s assistant for 19 years. “Almost instantly, I knew Dr. Yaley was the one. I liked her immediately. There was a special vibe about her.”
Adams immediately called Dr. Boucher’s 94-year-old father, Richard, who was monitoring the transition of a new dentist taking over his son’s practice. “I think we found the perfect fit to take over the practice,” Adams told Boucher.
The staff and Dr. Boucher’s father met with Dr. Yaley, asking her numerous questions, which she answered with joy and confidence. After a few minutes, Adams looked at Dr. Boucher’s father, who was smiling.
“It was a smile of relief,” Adams says. “He knew we found the right dentist.”
For Dr. Yaley, taking over the Menlo Park practice is also a dream come true – for she is not only in love with the area but also dentistry, which is what she wanted to do since she was 13 years old.
“It’s always been my lifelong dream. At the age of 13, I was already thinking what am I going to do with my life. Yes, that is pretty young to start thinking about your future, but it was also at a time in my life when I was getting braces. Seeing what the dentist and orthodontist were doing and how they did it was really interesting to me. It piqued my interest. Plus, my neighbor was a dental assistant so all of my experiences at the dentist for my entire life were really good, positive and fun. Dentistry also aligned with my beliefs of health, helping people and art.” — Dr. Yaley
Art? “Absolutely,” Dr. Yaley says. “As a dentist, you have to have an artistic eye and the perceptible ability to recreate a natural tooth. “One of my favorite parts of my job is giving someone a great smile. In order to free hand a tooth in a person’s mouth and make it look natural, it involves an artistic touch and attention to detail.”
That is something Dr. Yaley is quite familiar with – for she has been painting Impressionistic landscapes since she was a child. When she isn’t at her practice, she can sometimes be found painting in the Bay Area and other places she has visited.
When Dr. Yaley was interviewing with Dr. Boucher’s father and the staff, that was one of the many characteristics they liked about her. They also loved her philanthropic side.
Dr. Yaley provides exams, preventative care, and restorative treatment to people who cannot afford it. She volunteers with organizations such as the Special Olympics, the AIDS Project L.A. Dental Clinic, and several community programs for underserved women and children such as The Haven Family House, which receives dental hygiene kits delivered personally by Dr. Yaley. She has also traveled to Panama and Costa Rica to provide dental care to individuals who had never seen a dentist before, an experience that she will never forget.
“It’s hard to truly articulate what a venture like that can do to you,” she says of her philanthropic journeys overseas. “Traveling for hours through rural areas and meeting people who had never seen a dentist before, well, it’s very unique and special. To be able to help people like that is very heartwarming.”
That side of Dr. Yaley comes directly from her father, Mike, a CPA who volunteers on ski patrol in the Seattle area, which is where Dr. Yaley grew up.
“My dad instilled in me the importance of giving back,” Dr. Yaley says. “He is a real sentimental and great guy. He is the kind of person who would give someone the coat off his back. He has saved the lives of a few people with CPR and he once saved the life of a woman who was about to be hit by a car. He’s like Superman. He’s always giving homeless people food on the street. He’s always been a giver with a big heart. He used to tell me how there are so many people out there who are less fortunate than us and that we need to help them when we can. Not everyone can give back. It’s a very special gift you can give somebody.”
What amazes Dr. Yaley’s staff is how similar she is to Dr. Boucher. They didn’t realize just how much until she took over the practice and began working on patients.
“Dr. Yaley is very conservative, just like Dr. Boucher,” Mary Adams says. “He did not push treatment on people and that’s how Dr. Yaley is. She’s very honest and caring in the same way Dr. B was. The patients love her just like they loved Dr. Boucher. She’s really the perfect fit for us.”
Dr. Andrea Yaley, DDS
825 Oak Grove Ave.
Menlo Park, Calif. 94025