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A D3's take on the PDS Conference

By Rachel Lederman, ASDOH Class of 2021

As a last-minute applicant to the Pacific Dental Services (PDS) Leadership Conference, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. All I knew what that I was going to get to head back to my hometown to see the beautiful Seattle summer, family, friends, and of course my dogs. Having always been curious about leadership conferences after hearing the rave reviews from peers who had been on them and come back feeling inspired and re-energized, I was excited to see what the hype was all about. While visiting home was the hook that initially caught my attention, the leadership conference didn’t disappoint.

I am not the type to enjoy a lecture. From a naïve perspective, the idea of sitting in the same chair all day listening to just two people talk about practice management, leadership, and finances wasn’t something I imagined to be fun. But this conference was anything but boring! The two dentists who spoke to us were experienced, enthusiastic, engaging, and embodied everything my classmates had reported about their own experiences at leadership conferences. I believe there is something to be said for the power of mentorship. Rather than an academic lecture that drones on and attacks you with endless information, we received what felt like personal advice from tried and true dentists. Instead of feeling like just the recipient of information, I felt like I was part of a conversation that was meaningful to me and my future.

My personal favorite part of the seminar was hearing the dentist’s advice on practice management and leadership concepts. While it was perhaps more immediately valuable for me to learn about debt management and financial advice, I feel that advice from experienced dentists is invaluable. Leadership isn’t something you can read about in a book and be good at, it requires thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and daily practice. I loved that they touched on the importance of having a mission statement and a team that agrees on living by that statement.

A dentist without a team that feels important and involved, and voluntarily strives toward a shared goal; is nothing. From my first impression of the speakers I knew they were leaders to me and I trusted that their advice was solid. To anyone who is hesitating to apply for a leadership conference; I can’t recommend it enough. They are educational yes, but perhaps most importantly they get you to start self-reflecting and setting goals toward becoming a better dentist. We won’t just graduate and be good leaders and business owners; it takes years of practice in your life and in your work to become a leader. Why not start now?

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