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Creating an inclusive culture highlights 2017 President-Elect's Conference

August 01, 2017

By Kimber Solana


Welcome: ADA President-elect Joseph P. Crowley welcomes more than 80 volunteer leaders from state dental associations and related groups to ADA Headquarters during the 2017 President-Elect's Conference. With the theme "Create the Culture," this year's conference emphasized the need to search and try new ways to positively impact members.
With a focus on creating an organization that can respond to an evolving profession, ADA President-elect Joseph P. Crowley welcomed about 80 volunteer leaders from state dental associations and related groups to ADA Headquarters July 23-25 for the 2017 President-Elect's Conference.
    
"Change is a scary word. I think you all know it," said Dr. Crowley, in welcoming the attendees. "Change is difficult but we're not going to be able to keep doing the same things and be the profession for our [new dentists and dental students]."
    
With the theme "Create the Culture," this year's annual conference emphasized the need to search and try new ways to positively impact members, specifically in cultivating an environment that encourages new dentists to take on leadership roles in the local, state and national levels of organized dentistry. The leadership retreat for presidents-elect also featured in-depth discussions of challenges and opportunities facing the profession; networking and sharing of best practices; and gaining insight on governance.
    
"The reality of the millennial group is they are the most talented, most educated, most diverse group ever in any generation," said keynote speaker Jason Young, president of LeadSmart, Inc. and author of "The Culturetopia Effect." But we do have four generations in the work force — it is our current reality. So for us to operate in our current reality, we're going to have to make adjustments to adapt.
    
Mr. Young moderated a panel discussing how to navigate through a multi-generational workforce and organization, yet managing to create a culture that can attract new dentists to become leaders.
    

Millennial impact: Dr. Julie Powell, president-elect of the New Mexico Dental Association; Dr. Carol Morrow, president of the Colorado Dental Association; Dr. Michael Eggnatz, Florida Dental Association president; and Dr. Irene Marron-Tarrazzi, ADA first vice president discuss tactics and strategies that have worked to foster and engage new dentists in leadership positions at the state and local levels during the 2017 President Elect's Conference, held June 24 at ADA Headquarters.
The panel included Dr. Carol Morrow, president of the Colorado Dental Association; Dr. Julie Powell, president-elect of the New Mexico Dental Association; Dr. Michael Eggnatz, Florida Dental Association president; and Dr. Irene Marron-Tarrazzi, ADA first vice president.
    
"Millennials, Gen Xers — we bring something else to the table," Dr. Marron-Tarrazzi said. "Not only the perspective, but we bring fresh and innovative ideas."

The panel spoke of tactics and strategies that have worked to foster and engage new dentists in leadership positions at state and local levels. These tactics include providing mentorship, giving new dentists voting positions in committees and councils, direct outreach — such as calling and asking them if they'd like to participate, and becoming more welcoming to all dentists, whether they work in public health or a dental service organization.

They've already seen and continue to see progress.

Dr. Morrow spoke of since restarting and reinvigorating Colorado Dental Association's New Dentist Committee after she graduated dental school in 2006, new dentists have been able propose changes that have made the association more nimble and efficient. Five of the nine executive committee members of her association are under the age of 45, she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Powell shared that through outreach efforts, more than half of the delegates during this year's New Mexico House of Delegates Meeting were new dentists.
    
"Let's face it. Like it or not, the future of dentistry is not me," said Dr. Eggnatz. "I think the ADA has done a fantastic job in getting me in to leadership. But the next 10-15 years is going to have to be people [much younger]. They think differently and I'm fascinated by their priorities, so I'm trying to adapt."
    
"This is the challenge," Dr. Crowley said. "Do we continue to do what we've always done and expect a different result? Or do we embrace where we're going?"