District 3 “Grand Slam” Leadership Conference in Baltimore
By: John Lindberg
Class of 2021
We kicked off the academic year with the annual District 3 Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on September 7th-9th. The event took place at the Hilton Baltimore hotel with spectacular views overlooking the Oriole Park at Camden Yards. ASDA members from Penn, Temple, Pittsburgh, Howard, and Maryland gathered to participate in activities to foster leadership skills, improve each member`s respective chapter, and network with other students in the district.
The leadership conference began Friday night with a social event sponsored by Pacific Dental Services. Students from the various school were given the opportunity to mingle and network prior to the activities the next day. On Saturday, speakers from across the country presented on a variety of topics. A few speeches included: “The Leader Who Spreads ASDA Fever” by Dr. Kyle Larsen, “Leadership, Purpose, and Trust” by Dr. Sarah Johnson, and “Network like a Kindergartner” by Tyler Robers.
The speeches focused on developing leadership skills and how it relates to managing a dental practice. For example, Dr. Johnson spoke about the difficulties of managing her staff in private practice early in her career. She believed that because her employees saw her more as a friend, rather than a leader, it was difficult for them to take her seriously whenever they were asked to go the extra mile. What she eventually learned was that everyone has an emotional need for a purpose, whether in life or at work. After defining a purpose in her organization and coaching her employees, by matching their life goals with the purpose of her organization, she found that she no longer needed to micromanage and her employees became self motivated. This same principle can be applied to motivating members at local chapters.
The conference continued with an activity called “Strategic Planning” by Roopali Kulkarni (National ASDA President) and Dr. Alex Mitchell (former National ASDA Vice-President) to apply the principles learned that day and set a plan to improve each local chapter. Students organized themselves into groups based on the schools that they were from. Each group was then asked to reflect on their own chapter`s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Afterwards, each group rotated and made recommendations on ways to improve other chapters. The activity ended with each chapter defining a purpose, similar to the one created by Dr. Johnson, to bring back to their respective schools and use to effectively lead and motivate members. Later that night, students enjoyed dinner and participated in an evening social sponsored by Midwest Dental and Aspen Dental, respectively.
The conference ended Sunday with a unique opportunity to visit the National Museum of Dentistry where various historical dental artifacts were on display, including George Washington`s dentures. Overall, the conference was a great learning opportunity filled with enjoyable memories and new friendships.