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Harnessing the power of storytelling

Unique CE, compelling speakers kick off New Dentist Conference

November 05, 2018

By Kimber Solana

Drs. Christopher Nakamura, Jessica Liu and Gracie Castillo
Meet and greet: From left, Drs. Christopher Nakamura, Jessica Liu and Gracie Castillo share a laugh during the New Dentist Conference networking breakfast.
Photos by EZ Event Photography

Honolulu — When asked to discuss the importance of perseverance, there was buzz as audience members turned to their neighbor to talk.

But when they were asked to share their first or worst experience riding a bike, the buzz turned more into a frenzy as some laughed and others motioned how they were thrown up in air before they crashed.

“And you all survived!” said Kindra Hall, the keynote speaker during the first day of the 2018 ADA New Dentist Conference, held Oct. 18 at the Modern Honolulu, refocusing the audience back to her presentation.

“Didn’t you like talking more about your bicycle experience? When you’re telling stories, we’re more ourselves. We relax a little bit because we can see our listener responding,” said Ms. Hall, an award-winning columnist and author. “As a listener, didn’t you prefer the bicycle story a little more? We get to know the storyteller a little more.”

Kindra Hall
Professional storyteller: Keynote speaker Kindra Hall shares how storytelling can help new dentists connect with their patients.
Ms. Hall kicked off the conference by sharing marketing techniques, specifically storytelling skills, that can help new dentists connect with their audience, ultimately increasing their patient base and fostering better relationships.

The New Dentist Conference, a customized experience created for dentists fewer than 10 years out of school, is being held in conjunction with the ADA annual meeting. Attendees convened to meet up with former classmates, new colleagues and learn from each other.

In addition, this year’s conference included a customized continuing education track curated by new dentists and unlimited access to ADA 2018 events, continuing education and the Exhibit Hall.

“What I like about this conference is that they have a lot of new and exciting things that you don’t normally find at the regular ADA annual meeting,” said Dr. Erin Williams, of St. Louis, who attended her fourth New Dentist Conference. “The offer courses that are very specific to me and other new dentists — from how to become a practice owner to learning more about finances.”

Dr. Williams, a 2013 graduate of the University of Missouri at Kansas City dental school, said she was most looking forward to attending the “Pediatric Behavior Management” course.

“I see a lot of kids at my practice,” she said. “I know I can get something from that course that I can immediately use in my own work.”

Among those takeaways is the power of storytelling, said Ms. Hall, adding that being a better story teller allows dentists to better engage patients and increase referral opportunities by building connections.

Drs. Khealynn Harris, Nancy Evans and Mauricio DosSantos
Smiles: From left, Drs. Khealynn Harris, Nancy Evans and Mauricio DosSantos smile during the keynote speech Oct. 18 at the 2018 New Dentist Conference.
“I know dentistry is changing but it’s still about relationships,” she said.

Prior to Ms. Hall’s keynote, ADA immediate past President Joseph P. Crowley welcomed the attendees by touching on the new dentists’ role in the changing landscape of the profession.

“I hope to say, and I hope it’s not an overused term. You are 100 percent of our future,” he said. “Dentistry is being altered, and I would encourage you to lead that change.”

The conference also featured Charles Adler, the founder of crowdfunding online platform Kickstarter. He shared his experiences in starting and growing a business, along with helping new dentists discover strategies for a scalable business model and how to create an entrepreneurial innovation-based business.

Artist and poetry slam champion Sekou Andrews also delivered a unique keynote address on why one must challenge convention to make transformational change. The schoolteacher-turned-actor, musician, entrepreneur and two-time national poetry slam champion shared pivotal moments and insights from barrier-breaking companies and individuals.

For more information on the New Dentist Conference, visit