CHICAGO, December 15, 2022 — The American Dental Association (ADA) is pleased to announce that Ms. Leslee Williams has been promoted to the position of Vice President, Public and Professional Communications. In this role, Williams will lead a team of experts in science, dental practice, health policy, and government affairs to research, analyze and develop insights in order to create and measure communications strategies positioning oral health as essential to overall health, and the ADA as the nation’s leading, trusted oral health resource.
“I’m thrilled to announce Leslee’s promotion to Vice President and excited about the creative vision she will bring to this role,” stated Raymond Cohlmia, D.D.S, Executive Director of ADA. “The ADA and its members have faced unprecedented challenges in recent years, and Leslee is a respected communicator whose excellence, vision and execution were key in helping dentists and their teams navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Working together with ADA leadership and expert staff, Leslee set the bar high for ADA to communicate early and as often to the dental profession and the public. Beyond crisis communications, she leads ADA reputation management and thought leadership, media and public affairs, executive communications and outreach to the public, empowering people to live healthier lives by learning how to protect their oral health and reduce their risk of oral disease.”
During her 22-year tenure with the ADA, Williams served in a number of roles, most recently as the Senior Director, Communications. In this role, she led teams focused on the implementation and measurement of multi-year, omnichannel campaigns that resulted in a double-digit increase in positive/neutral media sentiment over a five-year period.
On behalf of the ADA, Williams oversaw the 2Min2x Ad Council Campaign, a children’s oral health omni-channel public service campaign with 35 dental health partner organizations, encouraging children via fun, creative Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to brush 2 minutes, 2 times a day to prevent cavities. The campaign results featured $78M in donated media and resulted in a 12 percent increase among English and Spanish-speaking parents/caregivers saying their children brushed more often as a result of the campaign.
Additionally, Williams conceived and led ADA’s award-winning COVID-19 Crisis Response team of more than 50 individuals to provide the latest scientific and economic data, enhanced clinical safety protocols, continuing education, and legislative and regulatory advocacy to a variety of audiences. These efforts resulted in 11,000 news stories citing the ADA over a two-year period with an audience of 18.2 billion.
Williams previously managed health communications at the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), where she led outreach efforts on AAP’s groundbreaking recommendation to place babies on their backs to sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“Throughout my career, my passion has always been to empower people to live healthier lives by communicating credible scientific research, practice guidelines and public health recommendations from the nation’s leading, trusted health professionals,” stated Williams. “Dental health is an integral part of overall health, and the American Dental Association powers the profession of dentistry to advance the oral and overall health of the public. I am thrilled to lead a very talented communications team dedicated to the achievement of ADA’s vision and mission.”
Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Illinois State University in Normal, IL. She is a recipient of numerous awards including an ADA Presidential Citation, ADA Executive Director Awards for Exemplary Performance, and the ADA Bernie Conway Award. In addition, the accomplishments of the COVID-19 team Williams led resulted in a Silver Stevie from the American Business Awards, a Public Relations Society of America, Chicago Chapter Skyline Award, and a Golden Trumpet Award from the Publicity Club of Chicago.