Dr. Kathy Giswold, a third-generation dentist, is passionate about taking good care of her patients. So when she became full owner of Monona Dental three years ago, she focused on bringing together a team of coworkers who share that passion. In doing so, she also created one of Madison’s best places to work, the smallest business to make this year’s list.

“It’s just evolved into a fun and happy place to work. And I have a lot of patients who comment on what a great vibe we have here,” Giswold says. “You know, they can sense that. I think if there’s negativity, people can sense negativity. If there’s positivity, people feel that.”

Employees share Giswold’s passion for patients and keeping things upbeat. They also appreciate the great work environment. Among their benefits, employees get health and dental insurance, a 401(k) plan, plus bonuses. Their hours are also consistent and predictable, not always true in busy dental practices. Plus, they appreciate Giswold’s openness to hearing their ideas for improving the practice.

“The team is just a top-notch group of people,” says Karri Lynch, the office administrator. “Their personalities are just fantastic.” Everyone, Lynch says, is quick to step in and help out wherever needed, no matter what his or her job is.

Jenny Carter, a dental hygienist in the practice, likes working for Giswold. “I think she really cares genuinely about people’s happiness at work. I think she’s also very understanding about life outside of work, which is not the easiest thing to find.” Carter also worked for Giswold’s dad when his dental practice was open. Now, she says, she wouldn’t work anywhere else.