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When it comes to a conversation-starter, people rarely have to go much further than my first name. “What’s your real name?” they ask. My name is Kiki, pure and simple. I grew up with two parents who were (and still are) artists. My mom is an abstract artist and does large-scale sculptures and paintings, while my dad is a conceptual artist. I was named after the subject in a photograph called Le Violon d’Ingres (Ingres’s Violin) by Man Rey. The model in the portrait is Kiki de Montparnasse, a 1920s French flapper, and the two shapes painted on her back on the photograph evoke the image of her as an instrument—a tribute to Dominique Ingres who was an accomplished violinist and painter. While one might assume that with all that artistic energy surrounding my childhood, I’d grow up to be an artist myself, but I’ve always experienced a different calling. Sure, I enjoy drawing now and again, and one of my favorite hobbies is knitting (more on that later), but health care and interpersonal communication have always my true passion.
Before I started here last October, I worked with a plastic surgeon for nine years. Naturally, I started low on the totem pole, but by my fourth year, I had worked my way up to office manager, and remained in that position for the next five years. About three years ago, my husband and I moved to this area and the commute to work became a bit of a hassle. Then our son, Russell the Fourth, came into our lives and I began to realize that running the office of a plastic surgeon was not necessarily conducive to being a mom. Surgeries were sometimes unpredictable, so a procedure that was scheduled to end at five could go on for another hour or two, in some cases. With the doctor approaching retirement and a new baby to lure me home, I decided to see what else was out there. That’s when I discovered DeLurgio Orthodontics.
At DeLurgio, I found myself tempted by the prospect of working with a young doctor early in her career. The staff seems fun and positive and there was a daycare just around the corner—perfect for my son. Several interviews later (the doctors were very thorough), I had the job and began my position as the practice’s receptionist. Today, I do many of the same tasks I had in my previous job, but I get to be witness to patients as they experience the positive changes that come with orthodontics. When kids hear that they’re braces can finally come off and they do happy dances, that makes my day.
I love hearing how people who once felt embarrassed to smile now feel confident and happier. For me, being able to help our patients and their families get an appointment that works for them, despite their busy schedules, is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. The rule of thumb is simply to treat everyone else how you want to be treated, and I do my best to give that to our patients every day.
When I’m not up at the front desk, you might find me knitting on my lunch break with Debbie. Our friends here joke that we’re part of the “Old Lady Club,” with our knitting needles and yarn, but I can assure you that my son has the warmest head of all his friends. My favorite projects to knit are baby clothes, but I also do blankets and just about anything else.
On weekends, I enjoy spending time with my family. Since we live in a more rural part of town, we have neighbors with cows and chickens, and there is nothing more fascinating to a toddler than visiting barnyard animals. We enjoy taking walks by the farms and going to the zoo together. When we can, my husband and I also enjoy going camping, seeing live music, and taking our boat out. All in all, I’ve got plenty of reasons to smile, so I guess you’d say I’m in the right place.