With over 25 years of experience in customer service, management, and human resources, Aleida ensures that the offices of Dentistry for Children run smoothly. As the Practice Administrator, she was the very first employee Dr. Dennis hired when he started his practice almost 11 years ago. Since then the practice has expanded to include four locations, a second dentist, and 12 staff members.

“My favorite part of my job is knowing that we make a difference in the lives of all the little boys and girls who walk through our doors,” she says. “They may arrive hesitant or apprehensive, but they all leave with a smile, a balloon animal, and the knowledge they need to maintain good oral health.”

A fluent Spanish speaker, Aleida—or “Cusi,” as she’s affectionately referred to by family and close friends—is the youngest of five children and the only one born in the United States after the rest of her family emigrated from Cuba in 1968. When her family relocated to central Minnesota in 1975, her father started Manea’s Meats in Sauk Rapids. Aleida grew up working in the family-owned business and continues to help out today.

“Holidays happen at my sister’s house, and they end up being a lot of Cubans talking all at once,” says Aleida, with a smile and a sparkle in her eye. “It looks and feels a lot like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We love our food, fun and family. All of us—from the babies to the elders—arrive and depart with hugs and kisses. That’s a tradition in our culture and one my parents made sure we would continue to pass down.”

Aleida divides her time outside of work between gardening, antiquing, concert going, bird watching and supporting her husband and two grown daughters through their life adventures.