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Innovation highlights 2016 President-Elect’s Conference

February 15, 2016

By Kimber Solana

Presidents-elect: (Left) Dr. Karyl Patten, American Association of Women Dentists president-elect, and (right) Dr. Thomas Sokoly, District of Columbia Dental Society president-elect, listen to Dr. Bill D’Aiuto, Florida Dental Association president-elect, during a town hall session at the annual conference.

Town hall: Dr. Prabu Raman, Missouri Dental Association president-elect, speaks during a town hall session with about 50 other volunteer leaders from state dental assocations and related groups.

Welcome: Dr. Gary Roberts, ADA president-elect, welcomes about 50 volunteer leaders from state dental associations and related groups for the 2016 President-Elect’s Conference held at ADA Headquarters.
With a focus on teamwork among dental associations in seeking innovative ways to better serve members, ADA President-elect Gary L. Roberts welcomed about 50 volunteer leaders from state dental associations and related groups to ADA Headquarters Jan. 24-26 for the 2016 President-Elect’s Conference.

“Leading a dental society isn’t like running a dental office,” said Dr. Roberts, in welcoming the attendees — three of whom joined via a webinar due to Winter Storm Jonas.

“In your professional work, you always win. You always succeed. Failure isn’t an option,” he said, adding that leading a dental society is very different. “In fact, in order for us to make any meaningful change, we have to be prepared to accept some uncertainty. We have to be prepared to experiment, to test things out, to attempt new solutions to problems. And we’re going to have to be prepared to accept some risk. Because sometimes we will fail.”

With the theme “Leadership for Innovation,” this year’s annual conference emphasized the need to explore and experiment to make improvements that will positively impact members. The leadership retreat for presidents-elect featured in-depth discussions of critical issues facing the profession; networking and sharing of best practices; and gaining insight from leading experts.

Dr. Prabu Raman, Missouri Dental Association president-elect, cited professor Andrew Razeghi’s keynote address as especially engaging and informative of the three-day conference.

According to an IBM Global CEO Study of 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries and 33 industries, CEOs ranked creativity as the top leadership competency for the future. Mr. Razeghi, managing partner of StrategyLab Inc. and lecturer at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, shed light on what exactly it means for an organization to be creative and what it takes to create a culture of continuous innovation — a culture designed to help organizations remain relevant and become indispensable to those they serve.

“[We need to] keep working on improving since the goals we pursue are usually moving targets as the world around us never stands still,” said Dr. Raman.

Dr. Raymond Martin, president-elect of the Massachusetts Dental Society, agreed.

“Organizations that do not continuously innovate, especially in today’s rapidly changing environment, will not adapt and will ultimately become obsolete,” he said, adding that he found the Membership and Innovation session both “informative and eye-opening.”

During the session, the presidents-elect heard from ADA staff on state and national membership trends, advocacy challenges in the year ahead, new ideas and research underway to grow membership and turning dialogue into innovation and action. In addition, the volunteer leaders shared best practices, giving them an opportunity to network.

“Just as 50 separate strands of rope are made much stronger once they are brought together and twisted into a very strong single rope, all of the [presidents-elect] working together towards the common purpose of serving our members can accomplish a lot more,” said Dr. Raman