Posts tagged NLC2015
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!