Question and Answer: Auster
A) Why am I applying for this position?
I am completing my first term on the BOD. I feel that I have been an extremely valuable Board member at a difficult time for the Academy. The current board has accomplished many things but I feel that my job is definitely not done yet. I would like one more term to allow continuity as we move forward and to help achieve great things whose foundations are already in place.
This position has been a rare privilege and I have been honored to be part of the leadership of this great organization. As I said in my first application two years ago, the AACD has changed my life in dentistry. It has given me confidence and a fulfillment in my profession that I never felt before. The AACD was such a passion for me that I left my first annual session with a “need” to keep the annual session feeling going all year long which lead me to establish the Empire State Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Along with a fabulous board of directors that I assembled “from scratch”, we have achieved great things at a time when 30 of our 36 American affiliates have disappeared or declined terribly. Our seminars have never had less than 80 attendees and at times have included 250 people, even in the midst of a recession. These have included a large group of solid AACD speakers including Frank Milnar, David Hornbrook, William Dorfman, John Cranham, and Paul Homoly.
The same enthusiasm that ignited the success of the ESACD lead me to join the AACD Board of Directors two years ago. I feel that I have been an active and effective member of the BOD. I only hope for one more term. I am aware that the success of our Academy rests on the shoulders of its leaders and new leaders give us new wings. I feel that my leadership has done exactly that but I feel that I need one more term to supplement what has been accomplished thus far. I want to use the next two years to help grow our membership with our new Study Club proposals and affiliate structure. I feel that I have synergy with the incoming president as well as the president-elect and can help them do great things.
B) My leadership skills and organizational style …what to expect and how I work with others:
I have actively participated in discussions since my first day on the board…the AACD is extremely important to me and I have taken my fiduciary responsibilities very seriously. I have read every piece of information before our board meetings and actively participated in virtually every discussion. A good example occurred last year when we were faced with an extremely ineffective Affiliates Committee that was created by the former ED. I took the reins at the board level and helped create our fully functioning BOD committee as well as suggesting great people who have thrived on the committee. This could not have happened without mutual respect from the other board members as we have guided this new path.
This style has also allowed our BOD Affiliates Committee to be the epitome of a focused, successful committee. The Executive Director and current president of our Academy have both complimented my leadership abilities and the amount that has been accomplished in such a short time. We are going in directions we never could have predicted when the committee was started and have elicited opinions from multiple factions in and outside our Academy. Open, honest communication and goal directedness have been the key to achieving multiple goals with many more exciting ones to come in 2014. Currently, I am chairing an ad hoc committee that will incorporate Dr. Jeff Morley’s vision of an AACD Study Group system around the country and I have been thrilled to work with a man who has had such an amazing impact on our world of cosmetic dentistry.
My leadership has also been evident at our New York affiliate. At the ESACD, I gathered a tremendously effective board of directors, many of whom have been board members for 6 years. As mentioned before, thirty affiliates have folded or become inactive while our group has thrived. My success is due to mutual respect with our board members and the ability to work together to a series of goals. I have the ability to keep a meeting focused, delegating responsibilities when appropriate and holding the reins tighter when discussions meander. I am happy to say that the future of the affiliate is in good hands with a new president-elect and vice president who have learned from my experience. I have purposely handed over the leadership of the affiliate so I can concentrate on my role on the BOD and BOD committees.
C) My Accomplishments and Approach to Fulfilling Obligations
Much of this was answered in the last question. Among my accomplishments (along with our Board members):
1) Active participation in every discussion at board meetings and virtually 100% attendance (left one meeting 1 day early for a family wedding)
2) Helped direct our board to excellent decisions on many matters over the past 2 years. I have worked well with other board members. I have not been afraid to hold and discuss a minority viewpoint when necessary and have voted my conscience on all issues with the betterment of the AACD in mind.
3) I have supported and contributed to a new decision matrix, the new AACD marketing plan, and many of the decisions that have lead to a more harmonious, thriving future for the Academy.
1) Created the “affiliate in a box” that now exists on the AACD web site. This is an efficient solution to creating or improving affiliates. It includes AACD speakers; potential sponsors; national hotel chains; 401C3 paperwork and suggestions; marketing companies; Director Insurance companies; and many more things that benefit all affiliates. These will help to bolster struggling affiliates nationwide.
2) forged the creation of an AACD video to be used at all affiliate functions to gain familiarity and help create AACD members out of affiliate members.
3) Created interviews with many former AACD presidents; AGD and ADA officials to study their bipartite systems;
4) created a working relationship with the ABCD and PEC to help create a curriculum to be used at all affiliates.
5) Took our interview with Dr. Jeff Morley and “ran with it” to consider AACD Study Clubs around the country. We have spoken to other national groups who have study clubs to learn how their systems have worked.
6) Beginning discussions with the AACD Foundation to link local shelters to the local AACD affiliate.
7) Created two affiliate leadership awards which are now given out at that the AACD annual session.
Empire State Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
1) Replaced a failing New York affiliate with a vital one which will live on with new board members and officers. We have had between 80-250 attendees at each seminar.
2) Worked with John Calamia and NYU to create an award for the best cosmetic dentistry case at the school. Dr. Calamia brings students and faculty to each of our seminars now which increases their exposure to the AACD.
3) We will be a pilot site for the new study club system if authorized by the BOD
4) We have given awards at other dental schools and hygiene schools
5) We have shown the same charitable spirit that the AACD holds dearly, working with a volunteer dentistry program in Jamaica as well as working to forge bonds with local shelters.
D) Conflicts and friendships:
I feel that I have already demonstrated that this is a non-issue for me. I feel that most of my colleagues on and off the board are my friends. This has not stopped me from actively disagreeing with them. My job as a board member is to do what I feel is best for the Academy, to fulfill my pledge to institute fiduciary responsibility and forward thinking. If my opinion is contrary to my friend’s feelings, it does not stop me from enjoying our time together outside the board meeting. My leading the “charge” to recreate the Affiliates Committee despite obvious disagreement at the time from other leaders is an example of this form of action which has lead to a fully positive response and did not create enemies but fostered friendships on all sides.
E) What about me is unique? A“difference maker”?
I have never been shy in a board setting. My experience as founder and leader of the New York affiliate sets me apart as a board member. I was complimented last year by leaders and board members alike for stating my opinions early on and not waiting in the background for many months as many new board leaders do. This does not mean that I butted in when I had little knowledge of an issue. I have read every page of our meeting preparation notes as well as the bylaws and member responsibilities. My initiative on affiliates and other issues has lead to exciting present and future results for the Academy.
In my next term, my experience will be invaluable in molding other projects to lead the AACD to an exciting future.
F) Interests and expertise supporting the AACD Strategic Plan and alignment with the Academy core purpose:
I have actively participated in the formation of our strategic plan over the past year. The BOD and ABCD have collaborated with Barb and the office staff in the formation of a great plan for the future of the AACD. My expertise on the affiliate level and in the formation of our new study group initiative will continue to work towards increasing membership and an increasing number of accreditation candidates. The education system I am helping implement in coordination with the ABCD and PEC is in line with our mission of “advancing excellence in the art and science of comprehensive cosmetic dentistry…”
My initiative has included discussions with Barb Kachelski and Lisa Fitch about expanding GBAS to the affiliate level and linking affiliates with local shelters. Similarly, I have spoken to AACD University leaders about linking students to local affiliates thereby cementing an early relationship with the AACD. I have also acted as a spokesperson for the AACD at times and contributed to articles that have been posted on websites and magazines.
I feel that my first two years on the BOD has resulted in a bold plan for the future of our organization. My work will continue to help the AACD educate, motivate, and innovate and drive our strategic plan forward.
G) How do I relate to support the membership forming a bridge between board and membership:
I feel this is one of my biggest strengths. I have strong links to membership through the New York affiliate and to leaders of other affiliates. I meet members at my own speaking engagements and at seminars I attend nationwide and constantly give out my AACD card and encourage members to come to our annual session. I have arranged for Barb Kachelski to have phone conversations with AACD members in my region to get their opinions of AACD positions and have personally convinced non-members to join and members to come to the annual session who may not have otherwise signed on. My suggestions have lead to new PowerPoint presentations discussing the Credential as well as a video filmed at the annual session. These media presentations are aimed at inactive or “checkbook members.” At the annual meeting, I introduce myself to members and give them a chance to discuss their membership focus and issues.
H) Leadership Courses:
I was lucky enough to be a part of a 2 day AACD leadership workshop on June. I will be part of the one day leadership pre-annual session in Orlando. I have also taken multiple courses with Paul Homoly and did in-office training with Mickey and Diane Bernstein. Also I have read leadership books as part of the BOD training as well as on my own.
I) What else should you know about me:
I have a terrific working relationship with past and present board members and work extremely well with Barb Kachelski and Mike DiFrisco. Many great things are happening and I want two more years to keep this fabulous momentum going. I have established great ties with Susan Hollar and other ABCD leaders and Lisa Fitch of the foundation and I feel this harmony of purpose can lead to greater things for the AACD.
I gave a seminar at the Greater NY meeting in December, 2013 and will begin a lecture “tour” in 2014. At each lecture and in my articles in Dentistry Today entitled “Conquering a Difficult Case”, I never fail to mention the AACD and the benefits of joining and becoming accredited (including power points provided by the AACD.) I always credit the AACD for “changing my life in dentistry”
My other dental passion is as a volunteer dentist in Jamaica. I go there every November. I have heralded our organization to fellow dentists and even Jamaican Dental Students. I am trying to help 2 of these students come to Orlando this spring for our annual session.
J) Licensing board actions or pending ones:
Never and I plan to keep it that way.
K) Felonies or charges pending: