About Jeremy

Meet Jeremy Barr

Jeremy is a salt-and-ginger husband, father, son, teacher, leader, manager, small-business owner, and life-long learner. He grew up on the east coast of Canada. Born in Nova Scotia in 1982, his family moved to Goose Bay, Labrador in 1988. He is the oldest of a family of 5 children and has worked his whole life to curb the bossy streak that comes with being the oldest child.

He struggled to choose a single-path career after graduating high school in 2001, since he was interested in so many things; science, technology, and writing were equally fascinating. Upon graduating high school, he spent a year serving youth in Guadeloupe, in the French West Indies. He was hoping to gain a new perspective on his career path. While he was there, he audited some university courses, made some friends, volunteered with a local youth organization and visited the country.

Upon returning to Canada, in 2002, Jeremy decided to pursue his education in teaching and mathematics, through the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. He did a first year of CÉGEP at the Collège Laflèche, and then worked through a double-bachelor’s degree in mathematics and secondary education. Along the way, he experienced Quebec culture, made lifelong friends, and learned how to lead and manage a classroom of students.

Jeremy and Sharon got married in 2009. They lived and worked in Goose Bay for a year, before moving to Ontario in 2010.

In 2011, three good things happened. Their first child was born. Jeremy landed a job at a local school. And Jeremy and Sharon partnered to build their first dental practice in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Jeremy was grateful to work for a school board while raising a young family. This allowed him to find a certain alignment between work and life, teaching during the week, managing the back-end office systems on the weekend, and taking care of his family throughout. Over the next 6 years, their family grew, the clinic grew, and Jeremy’s skillset grew. He completed the Special Education (part I) AQ, as well as the FSL Specialist.

In 2017, with the birth of their third child, and with the clinic going through its first growth spurt, that division of time and energy was no longer sustainable. Jeremy had to make a choice: pursue a facilitator or leadership role with the school board, using the skillset he had already developed, or learn how to train, develop, lead and manage a team of adults in a new field.

Jeremy has the dubious honour of being insatiably curious. Given the choice between a low-risk, stable, predictable venture, and a higher-risk, fun adventure, he will generally choose the latter.

At first, Jeremy postponed making a final decision. He took a one-year sabbatical from teaching, believing that the growth spurt at the clinic would slow, things would settle down, and he could make a reasoned decision the following year.

He was wrong. That first year of full-time, in-person management at the dental practice held a lot of learning for Jeremy. He went from being an experienced teacher to a novice office manager. It’s one thing to teach full-time and take care of administrative work at a dental practice part-time; it’s something else entirely to step into full-time, in-person management of a small, tight-knit team.

Over the course of 2017, Jeremy went from not knowing what he didn’t know to knowing what he didn’t know. It was nice to be in learning mode again, and to have a new field to study. Jeremy completed a dental practice management course through the University of Toronto in 2018. He started to develop a professional network in the dental field, learned the business side of running a practice, and started to understand how to improve how the practice was running.

From 2017 to now, Jeremy has worked on improving business systems, and has learned just how important it is to have good people on the team. He hopes that the lessons he has learned in a small family business can be useful for other small-business owners, and aspires to become the person he would have loved to learn from back when he was new to all of this.