(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of profiles leading up to the conclusion of the 2019-20 Annual Campaign.)
Dr. Shellie Branson is smiling wide these days.
The pediatric dentist enjoys all aspects of her life, professionally and spiritually.
“There’s a lot of amazing Jewish leaders in this community,” Branson said. “They seem to give their time and money generously. That’s inspiring to us. We want to be part of it.”
So Branson and her husband, Dr. Ralph Green, have become ingrained in Jewish Louisville. Both contribute to the Federation. In fact, Green is scheduled to become the chair of the board of directors in June.
They want to help local Jews connect with their roots and spirituality.
Our Jewish community is very open to everyone,” Branson said. “I feel like if you lived here and haven’t been a part of it, just give it a chance, even if it is just walking in the doors of The J. If you could try to reconnect, I think you would be totally engaged, and you wouldn’t be sorry.”
A native Louisvillian, Branson loves what she does. She has practiced pediatric dentistry here for more than 30 years.
“It’s gone by fast,” she said. “I have no plans to retire. It’s a rewarding job.”
Branson’s practice is more than a business. It is a family environment.
“I really care about my employees a lot,” she said. “I care that they are happy and do a really good job. I think our patients feel that. They feel the connection we have to each other. When I’m at work, I’m thinking about these parents driving all over, leaving work early, picking their kids up, rearranging their schedules. I try to connect with every one of them, and that is why I love this so much.”
It’s important to feel professionally fulfilled, she said. “I try to mentor young people to figure out what they like and to not just get any job. I hope I pass that on to them.”
That same energy motivates her to give to the Federation, and back to the Jewish community.
“In New York, everyone you know is Jewish. Here, you have to go out of your way to see your Jewish friends and do something Jewish. I think the Federation tries really hard to fill a missing link between synagogue and your secular life. I think they do a really good job.”