Posts tagged NLC Recap
NLC x3


I still remember sitting in the back of the room, not sure what to think: it was hard to not be depressed after seeing how far ahead in ASDA spirit several other chapters were compared to us.  Rather than wallowing in sadness or shrugging it off, my rebellious spirit almost immediately stepped in.  My attitude immediately changed from one of vexation to one of determination: "Challenge accepted,” I said to myself. Equipped with a notebook full of ideas and inspiration from amazing people, I left NLC 2013 ready to get to work.

Fast forward two years, and with 20 more chapter members than were with me the first time, my feelings were very different.  I felt confident and ready to show Colorado ASDA off to the world! Sitting at the front of the room as the District 9 Trustee, I looked back at my clan of chapter members and felt so accomplished— not just because of how well our chapter had done since my first NLC, but because we were about to have yet another amazing conference!

My third NLC was much different from my first, and being on the other side of things gave me a very different perspective. My first year, I attended breakout sessions, introduced myself to those who inspired me and talked to national leaders about what it is like to be involved at that level. This year, I led two breakout sessions, tried to inspire as many people as I could, and encouraged everybody I saw to apply for a national ASDA position. All three years have been great experiences, but in completely different ways.

If I learned anything from attending NLC three years in a row, it is that you only get out of it what you put in—which is why NLC gets better each year. The benefits of networking become more and more valuable because my connections with other students have become more and more personal. The speakers become so much more motivating because I am looking for a different level of inspiration. The meetings become increasingly energizing because I am exceedingly excited to attend. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising because that, in essence, is what ASDA is—everything you need! You take away whatever you put in and you put in whatever it is that you need. Opportunities are everywhere and it is up to us to take advantage of them. NLC is the perfect place to do that!

How the NLC Changed the Way I Think About ASDA
Two weeks into my second year of dental school I received an email notifying me that I had been selected to be fully funded to go to the National Leadership Conference in Chicago. I was excited to travel to a new city and experience the conference with my peers. Little did I know this new experience would also help me view my profession in a new way.
My first year of dental school I wasn’t as involved in ASDA as I could have been. I went to many of the lunch and learns and participated in weekend events when I had time. Up until this point I hadn’t really taken much of an interest in the power that ASDA and organized dentistry could provide me. After this conference I realized that it would be silly to continue on in my dental education without pursuing this essential side of dentistry as well.
Our dental schools do the job of teaching us what we will do as dentists as far as procedures and patient care goes. Unfortunately the time we spend in school is so limited that we barely touch on how to excel as a dentist in our profession. These characteristics are often times intangible and may have the potential to make or break us as dentists. This conference addressed many of these characteristics with sessions on practice management, ethics, finance, patient management, running a successful private practice, and many others. We got to hear from numerous talented speakers and new dentists on their transitions from school to practice and the qualities that make a good leader.
Even though I am in the deep dark cave of second year, at this conference I got a glimpse of the sweet fresh air that awaits us as dentists. This conference broadened my perspective and reminded me that dentistry is so much more than exams and lab practicals. Thankfully we will have the ability to be successful by treating our patients with tact and making smart decisions in our practice. While we may not have all of these skills right now as students, ASDA and the ADA give us the opportunities and connections to gain these skills and become successful dentists.
NLC 2015: There is No Better Time Than Now

12108139_10207871424240558_5092313985958098927_nLooking back at this year’s ASDA National Leadership Conference, I noticed something that stood out like my first wax up on #8: First year dental students were the obvious minority at NLC. Initially, I thought that was to be expected since academic excellence is of the upmost importance at this stage in dental school. I believe the rigorous pre-dental journey has shaped the majority of us to feel uncomfortable receiving a grade lower than an A, and at the worst, a B. For this reason, the value of a leadership conference the weekend before a few tests is superseded by the fear and anxiety crafted well before dental school. There is an obvious financial barrier to a conference such as NLC and that will not be ignored here. For those who did not consider finances to be a barrier this year, my goal is to push you a little closer to attending next year. I like to do a cost-benefit analysis on many decisions in my life because it helps to paint situations a little more clearly:

THE COSTS:  Registration and airfare (hotel and food included in registration), and a weekend of study for tests the next week (potentially a letter grade lower on an exam).

THE BENEFITS: Eating lunch with the president of the ADA, gathering a pocket full of business cards from national speakers and leaders in the dental profession, building a network of future leaders around the country (adding as many people on Facebook as you possibly can), building relationships with vendors, and having a great time with peers who enjoy and realize the value of self improvement in their careers.

Now, the cost-benefit ratio seems great, and is probably pretty fair.  However, one could justify it still not being worth the price and sacrifice in grades the next week. But, if I told you that in 10 years you could successfully run a dental team thanks to Dr. Warnken, out-market your competition thanks to Dr. Salierno, and start a scratch practice while working for a DSO thanks to Dr. Meru, would you consider attending a conference that gave you those tools?. In today’s instant-gratification world, it’s hard to look too far ahead, but with crystal clear vision and future planning, you can see that the benefits more than outweigh the costs of this weekend in Chicago.

I challenge my classmates and every dental student in the country to assess their goals and perform a proper cost-benefit analysis. I challenge you to think about the number of patients in your life that are going to ask you about your grades. I challenge you to think about the number of word-of-mouth referrals you will get as a result of tactful communication and comprehensive patient care. These are trainable and learnable skills that NLC offers and they are yours for the taking.

As a first year student who attended NLC, I feel it is my responsibility to encourage other first year students not to wait. Don’t miss out on a relationship that could change the path of your life. Don’t miss the gems that will mold your leadership not only for the profession but for every interaction you make with another person. Mistakes will cost you more each year you wait, but being proactive and yearning for knowledge will significantly lessen the risks we face as dental professionals.

NLC Experience as the DS1 Essay Scholarship Winner

12028746_525042934317332_2280680843332817981_o As a student of the Dental Medicine program of Colorado, I was lucky to have been chosen to attend the National ASDA Leadership Conference in Chicago. I had never even heard of ASDA before entering dental school, and was honestly apprehensive of the passion and excitement many showed for this organization. As an undergraduate, I was apart of the Biology and Chemistry club, but they were never the most exciting parts of my undergraduate career. I was really mostly excited to see Chicago, which was about to change.

Before attending, I had written a paper on the word “leadership” and what it meant to me; this put me in the running to be fully funded to Chicago NLC. I was then informed that my essay was chosen, and I was lucky enough to be fully funded. I was so ecstatic, but had no idea what to expect. With my anatomy exams the following week, I was worried that attending NLC would take away invaluable study time.

Nevertheless, I attended NLC and can truly say I regret nothing. I arrived at the gorgeous Hilton Chicago and I was in awe. I attended the sessions and it was so exciting to see so many dental students from so many places in one room. These people were like me, and all were hungry for knowledge of the career they are pursuing.

Sessions I attended included mostly post-grad options and ways to be smart financially while owning a business. While I still have a while until I have to worry about these things, it’s never too early to start having a plan. As a first year dental student, I think a lot of us lose sight of the reason why we’re here; many of our beginning classes have nothing to do with dentistry. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tests and studying that sometimes it becomes the question “why am I doing this”, rather than “I’m so excited I made the right career decision”.

NLC brought back the motivation I came into this semester with, fresh out of being accepted into dental school. I’ve heard many times that these conferences “aren’t for first years,” when ASDA NLC has so much for first year students. The great thing about this conference is that students of ALL CLASSES can take home information on study strategies, residencies, practices, budgeting, and so much more!

As if all of this information wasn’t good enough, I was able to attend  so many events to interact with other dental students from in and out of our district. Hearing that another student 2,000 miles away was going through the same worries and fears as me was comforting. I was also able to bond with my own classmates, reassuring each other that our missed study weekend was worth it.

Chicago NLC was one of the most fun, informational, and motivational trip I have ever attended.  I would recommend ANY dental student that has a desire to be successful to attend next year. I may have missed a weekend of studying (which ended up not mattering because I did great on my exams), but I gained a an endless amount of knowledge about dentistry and becoming a business owner.

Thank you ASDA!

Perspective from a Pre-dental Student

The mentorship program at the National Leadership Conference. No matter how much outside research I read about ASDA’s National Leadership Conference (NLC), I still had my doubts. Will this conference help me as a pre-dental student? Will I walk away from it feeling more energized about dentistry? I read that there were personal development opportunities available (but then again, that’s what my Bridezilla sister told me about being her Maid of Honor!)

I didn’t exactly know what to expect at NLC, but I had a general idea. I expected the conference to be full of informative breakout sessions and like-minded people passionate about dentistry. However, I didn’t expect to meet people who were sincerely interested in my journey to dental school. I didn't expect to be on the edge of my seat during the presentations and to develop a drive to be more engaged in ASDA. NLC went beyond the scope of my expectations and truly provided many unique opportunities for pre-dental students.  Here are three unique opportunities NLC can offer for pre-dental students:

1) Connect you with a mentor. There are no dentists in my family and few dentists in my life, so it’s hard to find someone who understands the journey to dental school. That’s one reason why the NLC mentorship program can be so valuable. Pre-dental students had the opportunity to be paired with a dental student from schools you want to apply to. It was extremely reassuring to share my challenges and triumphs with someone with prior experience. My mentors allowed me to pick their brains about their schools, gave me great advice on applying, and connected me with other leaders. Yet, I quickly learned that I didn’t have to go through the mentorship program to connect with leaders at the conference. The ASDA leaders, alumni and dental students were all very encouraging and had unique insights into the breadth of dentistry. Connecting with dental students is a great opportunity for pre-dental students to access a supportive community and to be involved in a strong network.

2) Prepare you to become a well-rounded professional. I was truly impressed by the variety of topics and lessons among the four education tracks offered at NLC. In the Business and Financial Leadership track, I learned how to build my personal brand. This skill is not only important for business professionals, but also for pre-dental students. We should be able to communicate what makes us unique from other applicants. In addition, the pre-dental workshop was one of the best comprehensive resources I have ever seen. The workshop highlighted how to enhance your application and how to be innovative in order to stand out. The wide collection of topics and workshops provide a unique training opportunity for pre-dental students and prepare you to become an outstanding applicant and health professional.

3) Engage you in issues related to dentistry. Sometimes as pre-dental students, we can become overly consumed with the details of applying to dental school. With the stress of submitting the perfect application, it’s hard to look past dental school and easy to forget current issues that dentists face. Dr. Shenkin’s presentation on how dentistry's hot topics impact your future quickly energized me and kept me on the edge of my seat. As aspiring dentists, we need to be aware of the dental landscape we will eventually work in. The presentation shed light into the growing number highly indebted dental students but a decline in adult utilization of dental services. Another challenge dentists are confronting is the increase in adult Medicaid dental benefits but stagnant government funding.

The advocacy breakout sessions at NLC allowed me to go beyond dental school basics and dive into policy issues regarding our future profession. As pre-dental students, we can be engaged in organized dentistry now and being an ASDA member is a great way to start. I never truly understood the magnitude of my ASDA membership and the unique opportunities it offers for pre-dental students until attending the National Leadership Conference. Though I walked into the conference with worries and doubts, I left feeling confident in my future career and in myself. I encourage other pre-dental students to join ASDA and to take your involvement further by attending national events.

~Lynn Doan, Pre-Dental ASDA Member

Curriculum Vitae: Your Course of Life

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As some of you know, I’m one of the older guys here. I have a long history of applying for school positions and jobs. When I attended the ASDA NLC in Chicago, I thought it was important to brush up on my CV writing skills, especially since the CV format may be different than in my native country of Germany. Colleen Greene’s CV writing lecture taught me a few new things. Although there is no exact way to write one, Dr. Greene gave some useful tips and tricks to mastering the CV.

Think about the situation: You apply for a residency, and you know your application will be one of hundreds of others - that your paperwork is in a huge pile of other applications. How will you be the ONE that stands out? Do you think your great GPA alone will get you there? It might, but what happens when your CV looks like a lame pizza flyer… one that you transfer directly out of your mailbox into the trash can without reading?

A good CV should have a structure with clear categories. Why not give the category names a different color? This will give your CV a nice touch, and it will look more interesting than other applications.

The CV begins with your name and address in the header. Include your email address, but be careful. Don’t use your “supertoothdoc” or “cutemolarmouse” Gmail address that you created as a student. You need a “professional” email! If you don’t already have one, create one.

Next, list your EDUCATION clearly. Include the name and location of each school, the dates attended, what you studied, and your grade point average. Leave some space between the information to make things more readable.

The second block should be about your RESEARCH/EXPERIENCE. Tailor this section to the program for which you are applying (residency, associateship, GPR, etc.). List your projects, presentations, and teaching experiences here. Did you receive any awards in your school life? This is the perfect place to write them down.

Do you have any LEADERSHIP or COMMUNITY SERVICE? This information should come next on your CV. Use concrete details about your leadership, specifically your responsibilities...this will make your achievements stand out. If you helped coordinate a service event, include the details.

If you have any existing PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS, put them in a separate section by journal, title, and year. If you’re submitting your CV electronically consider including links in your publication list, and only write down the important ones. A lengthy list looks like a scrapbook and will expand your CV unnecessarily.

Next, place PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS, such as memberships of ASDA, ADA, etc.  To what extent were you involved with these organizations?

OPTIONAL SECTIONS can be placed now. These may include things like military service, conferences/meetings you have attended, and personal interests. Here is your chance to discuss your hobbies like home brewing, outdoor activities, or painting. Remember that you want your CV to be clean and concise. Introduce these activities in the CV, but expand on them in your interview.   Don’t forget other SKILLS like speaking, reading, or writing fluently in another language. Be honest, and never overstate your abilities. You never know when your interviewer speaks the same language fluently and may test your skills!

Finally, you may give a PERSONAL STATEMENT. I would personally skip this part in a CV and put it on a separate page, but some people like to include it in the CV. This should be a short statement that clearly states your career or school goals. Use action verbs and power words. Make this an interesting reflection of yourself. You want the reader to recognize that you stand out among the other candidates.

If you use some of these little hints in your next CV, you may be the ONE in the huge pile of applications! Most importantly, treat your CV with great care. You have accomplished many things in your life, so shine! Also, please proofread carefully for misspelled words and incorrect grammar.

You can find more information on, or simply send me an email. I am more than happy to help you with additional resources on how to write an effective CV.

~Michael Nery Schulte, ISP 2015, Colorado ASDA ISP Representative

ASDA and Advocacy—Highlights From ASDA's National Leadership Conference

Becky Lauren Natalie This past October, I attended the ASDA National Leadership Conference.  Having recently been elected the ASDA Alternate Delegate for my class, I was sincerely excited and curious about this conference.  I knew I would be surrounded by others who shared my same enthusiasm about ASDA and my commitment to enhancing our dental school experience and future profession. Given my legal background, I am particularly interested in ASDA’s and the ADA’s role in legislative and legal issues regarding dental school education and the dental profession.  While I thought I had a good grasp of the issues regarding the profession, at the conference, I learned so much more about the various nuances within the law that affect dentists. I was thoroughly impressed by the commitment of ASDA and ADA to advocate on our behalf. For this blog post, I wanted to highlight three areas regarding the law and dentistry that were large topics of discussion at the conference.

1)  Pending U.S. Supreme Court Case about Dental Boards and Anti-Trust

Recently, the United States heard oral arguments for North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission.  This case hinges upon whether the NC Board of Dental Examiners has the authority to send warning letters to non-dentists who offer dental services, such as teeth whitening.  For this case, the FTC is concerned that the Board is engaging in antitrust behavior.  The pivotal issue in this case is whether the Board of Dental Examiners is considered “private", as anti-trust laws only apply to private entities. While the NC Board of Dental Examiners is considered a public entity, the FTC argues that it is comprised of dentists who primarily make their living as private dentists, and thus, they are also affected by the market that they are attempting to regulate. The ADA submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Supreme Court for this case.  An Amicus Curiae brief is essentially an opinion of a third party that is not directly involved in the case but has a substantial interest in the outcome.  The final decision should be issued sometime in 2015. You can view the ADA’s brief here.

2)  Student Loans

The accumulation of significant student loans is a large source of stress for dental students.  While the rising costs of tuition are often unavoidable, ASDA and the ADA are advocating for students and recent graduates from a tax standpoint.  Currently, most dentists’ incomes are too high to have a student loan interest deduction on their taxes.  The ADA is actively lobbying the federal legislature to completely eliminate this income cap.  This way, interest on federal student loans can be considered a tax deduction, which can potentially save dentists up to thousands of dollars each year. To take action on Student Loans through ASDA's Action Site, Engage, CLICK HERE.

3)  Dental Mid-Level Providers

Unlike Colorado, other states in the country are allowing “mid-level” providers to provide some basic, yet irreversible dental procedures in order to increase access to dental care.  ASDA and the ADA are very concerned about this, as it allows individuals with less than four years of dental training to perform procedures that can permanently affect a patient’s tooth.  Additionally, the addition of mid-level providers dilutes the dental profession in these states, which can have a substantial impact on the quality of dental services and the salaries for dentists. ASDA seeks to ensure that only dentists provide irreversible dental procedures to patients.

These three issues are just some highlights of the myriad of issues and work that ASDA and the ADA do on our behalf.  In addition to attending the legislative sessions, I attended marketing, financial, and other sessions which my colleagues have already highlighted. This conference confirmed to me that ASDA is really looking out for us. I certainly caught the “ASDA fever”!

Marketing at the National Leadership Conference

NLC Group Attending ASDA's National Leadership Conference for the second time, I knew what to expect - a great learning experience, a chance to make new friendships & connections, and most importantly, renewing my excitement about dentistry. In dental school, we're often thrown into books and typodont work, making it challenging to see the future as a dentist. The speakers at the conference presented many topics that allowed us to connect the dots between our studies and the seemingly far away future. One topic, presented by Dr. Mike Meru, was marketing a dental practice successfully on a budget. Learning the details of marketing kept me excited about how dentistry functions in a dynamic environment, yet taught me that additional effort is required in order to stand out.


According to Dr. Meru, in order to begin marketing you must create a brand - the symbol, title, or image that will embody your work.  He also claimed that you can start working on your brand TODAY!  The key is creating a logo that is recognizable and distinct, which can be both easy and inexpensive. If choosing this route, however, it is important to note that you get what you pay for – that the quality of a service is often correlated with the amount of money paid for it. In essence, shop around – and keep in mind that many companies such as 99 designs, crowdSPRING, DesignCrowd, and offer a superior product at a conservative price that can compete with the quality of expensive graphic designers.


Now, armed with a great brand and logo, you can move on and present your practice to the public. According to Dr. Meru, when starting a new practice it is worth investing in search engine optimization, so that your business appears on different searches, becoming visible to the masses. From there, begin advertising in local publications, at community gathering sites, and on social media to see how your business grows. However, be sure to keep in mind that social trends are constantly evolving (i.e. Facebook vs. Instagram), and use this to your advantage – these resources are typically free and a great way to spread awareness of your practice. Using hashtags, QR codes, and giving away merchandise are other ways of advertising on a budget.


All of this thinking about adverting got me in the mindset of private practice, and how close I actually am to becoming a dentist. Since returning from my trip, I’ve been able to put more energy into my lab work and focus on my books, as my interest in dentistry has been reignited. I know that in just two years I will be combining my work with my interaction in the community – and I can do all of this through the benefits of marketing.


~Natalie Lesinski, Class of 2017, Colorado ASDA 2nd Legislative Liaison