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Alliance honors two for outstanding leadership

May 19, 2015

By Michelle Manchir

Ms. Franklin

Ms. Cox
The Alliance of the ADA has announced its winners of the 2015 Beulah K. Spencer Service Awards.

The awards recognize members who make admirable contributions and who exemplify outstanding leadership and volunteer spirit through excellence in service and commitment to their Alliance on the national, local and/or state level.
Leslie Franklin and Karen Cox were honored with Spencer awards in April at the AADA's annual conference in Memphis.

Ms. Franklin, of Englewood, Co., was the AADA's first contributing member after the AADA House of Delegates voted to open membership to non-spouses who wanted to join the organization.

Ms. Franklin has attended all but one AADA Conference since 2000. She worked for 15 years at Great-West Life on ADA Members Insurance Plans, overseeing all aspects of program marketing, including cultivating a relationship with the Alliance as a corporate sponsor. She then worked on pipeline development for the program, working exclusively with new dentist and dental students to promote the members-only life and disability insurance plans.

Ms. Franklin said being a member of the AADA is important to her because, "The Alliance 'rounds out' dentistry and provides a place for non clinicians to provide meaningful support to the profession and its priorities and to make the collective voice of dentistry even louder. I've met so many wonderful, passionate, dedicated people through the Alliance; it's easy to want to be part of a group like that."

Ms. Franklin said she hopes expanding the AADA's programs and opportunities for today's members and future members will be central in attracting and engaging them.

Ms. Franklin said she was "honored and humbled" to receive the Spencer award.

"I'm inspired to keep doing what I've been doing, since it not only feels good but clearly makes a difference," she said.

Ms. Cox, of San Antonio, Tex., is a former bookkeeper at her husband's practice and past president of the Alliance of the Texas Dental Association.

Ms. Cox enjoys promoting dentistry among the underserved with her husband, David. In 2009, she and David visited India where she assisted her husband with dental work at children's boarding homes and orphanages.

"It is fortunate that we are part of a profession where dentistry meets immediate needs and therein opens doors to people's lives," Ms. Cox said.

Ms. Cox has also volunteered in civic, school and church activities for many years. Many times, she dressed as a tooth fairy and presented information about eating healthy, tooth brushing and visiting the dentist to preschoolers and kindergartners in Weatherford, Tex., where she and her husband had their dental practice for 30 years.

"Some children would later spot me in public, point at me and tell their mothers 'there's the tooth fairy!' At which point I would just smile and wave back, just like a tooth fairy should do," Ms. Cox said.

Ms. Cox said being a member of the Alliance is important to her because "I believe in supporting and partnering with the profession my husband has chosen.  Dentistry has been good to us and our family through the years."
"With the face of dentistry changing at a rapid pace it is very important for the Alliance to be a voice and (an) advocate that helps 'protect the profession' and the aims of organized dentistry, specifically through our legislative efforts. "

Ms. Cox said "I thank AADA for considering me worthy enough to receive this award."

The Alliance of the American Dental Association promotes healthy dental practices for dentists, the public and the dental profession as a whole; actively supports dental families at every stage of their career and lives; acts as ambassadors for dentist spouses and dentistry through legislative advocacy and local outreach; and provides extensive oral health education in communities across the nation.