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  • Emily Martin

National Leadership Conference

Wow – “ASDA Fever” is definitely a real thing. There’s certainly something infectious about spending the weekend with 600+ dental student leaders.

National Leadership Conference was held in Chicago, Illinois on October 30 through November 1. It aims to foster leadership growth, facilitate idea exchange with other ASDA chapters, and encourage discussion about current policy and legislature changes in dentistry. This experience only strengthened our belief in the true importance of organized dentistry.

Each morning began with a keynote speaker. Carey Lohrenz was the fist female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy and spoke to the commitment, tenacity, and resiliency it takes to be a leader. Leaders should be able to get the job done despite pressure. Dr. Tasha Eurich is a leadership expert with a PhD in Organizational Psychology, and she focused on the efficiency of leaders. Finally, Jia Jiang closed the conference with his unconventional, yet humorous, way of dealing with rejection (Check out his YouTube channel of “100 Days of Rejection” if you have some time, and you’ll see what I mean!). Fear of rejection cannot and should not dictate the decisions of a leader.

There were four “tracks” throughout the conference that focused on various realms of professional development: career planning, business and financial leadership, advocacy and professional issues, and chapter leadership and management.

We attended various breakout sessions, all of which were engaging and informational:

  • “Your Role in Organized Dentistry”

  • “Running an ‘Ideal’ Chapter’”

  • “The Secret Lives of General Dentists”

  • “A Hands-on Lesson in CV Writing”

  • “How to Lead a Dental Team”

  • “Hot Topic: Licensure 101”

Before the conference closing, we were able to participate in our District Caucus along with District 5. Shout-out to District 4 and our fearless leader, LaJoi Wiggins!

ASDA conferences scream, “NETWORKING,” and this conference certainly did not fall short of that. We were surrounded by the most driven and inspiring dental students, pre-dental students, and practicing dentists, some of who serve in leadership roles in the ADA and AGD. Whether it be eating dinner with District 3, exchanging ideas with the ASDA leaders of Colorado and Harvard at lunch, or spending time with the various chapters within our district, there was ample opportunity to meet future colleagues and learn more about ASDA and our profession.

The information we brought home is not something we could have learned in a classroom. Thank you MUSC and ASDA for providing us this opportunity!

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