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'Leadership Day' kicks off 2014 New Dentist Conference

July 18, 2014

By Kimber Solana

image of NDC crowd at Leadership Day
New dentists: Attendees of the 28th New Dentist Conference listen to Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president, who spoke of the ways new dentists can take on leadership roles in their communities and organized dentistry.
Kansas City, Mo.—
Whether it is volunteerism and mentorship to possibly becoming the president of the American Dental Association, the first day of the 28th New Dentist Conference had one clear theme: Leadership.

"Fostering leaders is a big part of what the New Dentist Committee does. We always believe that the voice of the new dentist is extremely important as new dentists make up roughly one-quarter of practicing dentists in the country," said Dr. Brian Schwab, ADA New Dentist Committee chair.

The first day of the three-day conference, held at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, dedicated many of its sessions to helping more than 350 registrants to find pathways to leadership, how to lead and inspire, and to exchange ideas on the current issues facing the profession.

image of Dr. Waynerd Frederickson attempting to negotiate a higher salary during a how-to-negotiate activity in the Pathways To Leadership session at the 28th New Dentist Conference
Proper negotiation: Dr. Waynerd Frederickson attempts to negotiate a higher salary during a how-to-negotiate activity in the Pathways To Leadership session at the 28th New Dentist Conference.
In addition, new dentists had the opportunity to engage with the leaders of the ADA New Dentist Committee, the ADA Board of Trustees and leaders from state and local dental societies.

"Our great leaders are getting older and going into retirement, and as new dentists, if we don't take charge of the future of our profession, someone else will and we may not like what we see," said Dr. Robin Nguyen, of Trinity, Florida.

The New Dentist Conference, Dr. Nguyen added, is a good way to meet people who are in the same stage of their professional lives — practitioners in their first 10 years out of dental school — to share ideas and recognize what's important to the profession at this point in time and in the future, she said.

Dr. Nguyen was among the new dentists who queried Dr. Norman and Dr. Kathleen O'Loughlin, ADA executive director, during a question-and-answer session. She asked what the ADA is doing to accommodate the changing demographic in dentistry as more and more women are entering the dental profession.

image of Dr. Andrea Janik, of San Antonio, asking a panel, which included ADA President Charles Norman and Executive Director Kathleen O'Loughlin, how the ADA is utilizing social media to communicate with dentist during the Leadership General Session at the 28th New Dentist Conference.
Q&A: Dr. Andrea Janik, of San Antonio, asked a panel, which included ADA President Charles Norman and Executive Director Kathleen O'Loughlin, how the ADA is utilizing social media to communicate with dentists during the Leadership General Session at the 28th New Dentist Conference.
Others, including Dr. Edgar Radjabli, of Baltimore, asked the panel how the ADA is addressing the issue of student debt.

"It's important new dentists learn about the various resources and options out there to help them pay off their loans," Dr. Radjabli said.

As part of the daylong leadership development session, keynote speaker Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., chief economist and managing vice president of the ADA Health Policy Resources Center, discussed the changing dental landscape, including utilization of dental care and trends in student debt, and identified key entry points for strategic action going forward.

About 60 people attended Pathways to Leadership, led by Dr. Maria Maranga, a session where new dentists learned how to position their existing skills and develop new ones for leadership opportunities throughout dentistry.

In another session, Lead Yourself (And Your Team) To the Promised Land, Dr. Guy Deyton explored the five practices of highly effective leaders based on research of over one million leaders.

Dr. Brigid Mooney, of Centreville, Virginia, said she decided to attend the conference to learn how she can apply her skills in new leadership roles and her career.

"It's very encouraging to know that anyone can work to become a good leader," Dr. Mooney said, adding that leadership can mean volunteering in the community to getting involved in their local dental societies. "The conference is helping me get the tools and resources to figure out what leadership roles I can do."

Other speakers and courses during the day included:

•    Kirk Behrent, founder of ACT Dental, Being All That We Can Be: Changing Perspective to Change Reality;

•    Jeanine Pekkarinen, ADA Membership Recruitment, Retention and Outreach manager, Enhancing Member Value for New Dentists.

In two sessions, Hot Topics in the Round and Idea Exchange, attendees discussed issues new practitioners face, which included student debt and navigating the business world. Joining the interchange were leaders from the New Dentist Committee and members of the ADA Board of Trustees.

"You set the direction for our profession. You decide what our polices are. You decided how we're going to advocate for our profession," Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president, said. "All you have to do is speak up, and offer your opinion and support."