Candidate Q&A

Ossie Vereen
1. Why are you applying for this position?

Applying for the technician’s position on the board of directors seems like the next natural step as an accredited lab technician. The position will allow me not only to be an accredited member but to become a contributing member to the organization. It will allow me to contribute in more than one way, which means giving of my time and thoughts as well as performing actions that will promote the AACD.
For example, as a member of my church, I have done almost every job in the church except pastor the flock. Also, I was the president of the WSDLA for two years while I also volunteered for various committee assignments and positions as needed. I know how to work with people and becoming more involved in the AACD will allow me to learn more about the organization from the inside and simultaneously provide an opportunity to affect change from the inside too.
2. Every effective Director/Officer/Board Member has a good mix of different qualities and management styles. Identify your style and skills by responding to the questions below:
a. We are interested in learning about your leadership skills and organizational style. Tell us what we could expect and how you work with others. Be as specific as possible.
My approach for any initial meeting or gathering is not to impose but to listen, learn, and understand. Thereafter, when I know more about the group, its goals and objectives, then I can provide my thoughts, guidance, and leadership related to the current issues and goals. I stay away from holding pre‐conceived ideas as facts, but I do attempt to learn the situation and what is required to be successful—basically, using a methodical approach to leadership and problem‐solving. Although I have personal objectives, I seek to discover if my objectives align with and can be included in the strategic planning of the organization or vice versa.
Regarding organizational skills, my strengths lie in my abilities to instill confidence and to motivate others to seek higher skills. When working with peers and dentists with various skills, my strategy always includes listening, assessing, prioritizing, grouping similar tasks and activities, and then re‐evaluating. I also use persistent networking and verbal contact to stay in sync. I enjoy the use of technology, but I do not rely solely on technology. I believe to be effective in my work one‐to‐one or even one‐to‐many contacts may be necessary. I ask questions to discover interests and work objectives; I observe, and I offer suggestions and recommendations to ensure we finish as one (no miscommunications). To successfully work with people I know and don’t know, I would rarely change my approach. I seek mutual respect, a common language, and a definition of the end product (whether it is a dental product or business issue).
b. Serving the AACD requires people to take on projects through completion, often working with others to accomplish specific goals. Tell us about your accomplishments and approach to fulfilling obligations.

My personal goal was to achieve AACD accreditation, which required many hours of phone calls and networking to find partners who would help me achieve this goal. It was not an easy task, but I prevailed because of vested interests. The process required end to end organizing, planning, designing, and completion of cases. Special attention was given to cases when working with dentists in other states, which included managing lab requirements as well as clinical requirements. Personal communication was very important, in addition to incorporating the use of technology with clear and precise instructions.
Related accomplishments outside of the AACD that require high level project management include:
·    Organizing and managing monthly communion service at my church – I revamped a system of uncertainty and inconsistent participation by setting expectations for all participants, including dress code requirements and communication protocols in the event of unavailability.
·    Chairman of Board of Trustees – I delegated tasks and responsibilities for managing church properties and finances to vice chairman, secretary, and treasurer while overseeing other administrative functions.
·    President of WSDLA for two years, as well as held positions of vice president and president elect where I led the state meetings and multiple teams of subcommittees in planning and preparation to host the state convention. The position also included fund raising responsibilities.
c. AACD offers an opportunity to forge friendships that may cause conflict in policy ethics.
The ability to forge friendships and manage ethical policy conflicts is a matter of understanding and clearly explaining the actions that were taken or not taken. If I am able to communicate a clear understanding of the issues, I feel that I can manage conflicts of interests. My goal is to try and get as many people as possible on board with clear explanations (it would be great to get everyone but…). My communication style depends on the closeness of the friendship. However, for casual or close friendships, my ethics for managing policy decisions would not differ.
3. What do you bring to this position that is unique or distinctive? How will you make a difference?
I am a dental technician in an organization that is predominantly dentists. All of my actions and knowledge are the results of what I have achieved and learned over thirty plus years. Hence, my perspective will be from a position of a dental technician, in which I will attempt to offer insight and present options to connect the whole picture from end to end.

4. Please give us an idea of where you see your interests and expertise supporting the advancement of the AACD Strategic Plan and reflecting an alignment with the Academy’s core purpose.
My interests are in communication and improving the relationship between dentists and laboratory technicians. I believe my interests align with the strategic plan of the AACD because communication is the key to elevating the conversation between dentists and technicians, especially when either is seeking accreditation. I take this on as a goal to elevate the conversation.
5. Ultimately, the purpose of serving the AACD is to support our membership. Tell us how you see yourself relating to the membership and forming a bridge between the Board and our members.
The first step to forming a bridge was becoming Accredited. Currently, I see my position not necessarily as a board member, but as a person interested in reaching members (both dentists and lab technicians) to forge relationships that build up the organization through communication, learning, and the accreditation process.
6. What else should we know in order to consider you as an applicant for this position?
I am personable, and I really enjoy meeting and talking to people. Education has elevated my skills, but my attitude is about being gracious and consistent, as well as having fun.