A. Why are you applying for this position?
I am re- applying for the accredited member BOD position because I feel that I have done an outstanding job on the BOD and I wish to continue. On my first application I wrote that I wanted to bring energy, ideas, and enthusiasm to help the AACD to continue to be the fantastic organization that has inspired me and others to be the best we can be. I wanted to be a small part of helping others grow and stretch and give back in ways they never thought they could. I have done just that.
B. 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.
I have been a member of my local and state dental societies since graduating from dental school in 1995. I became aware of the AACD when it came to Boston in 2001. I was struck with how different it was from my local dental society where there were way too many egos and way too little excitement. I got hooked and haven’t looked back. In 2005 I became a member of the BOD of the New England Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. I started as Membership Chair and worked my way up from treasurer, vice –president and finally to be president from 2009-2010. During my time on that board, I had the honor of working with many fantastic dentists. These were a diverse group of individuals that have a passion for dentistry and a desire to share. As great as they all are, they were not always beating to the same drum. I was able to help herd them towards a shared vision for our academy. We went from struggling to break even or loosing for each course, to generating a profit at each course for four years in a row. When I left the presidency, we had a large surplus which has been maintained to this day despite the horrible economy. I am not taking all the credit, but I like to think that my sense of humor, energy, ability to relate to others, and tendency to be future focused helped to produce the success we enjoyed.
My tenure on the AACD BOD has seen tremendous change within the academy. The very first BOD meeting we were faced with the evaluation of the ED and the resulting differences in opinion around how, why, when, and even if, this evaluation should be accomplished. There were some heated discussions and several personality clashes. We as an academy had also just come off of a period of turmoil that had fractionated the membership and fostered severe animosity. As a new BOD member I had not been a party to any of that, nor privy to the behind the scenes machinations that had swirled around those events. There was a temptation to just keep my head down and stay out of the way for a while until I got the lay of the land. That is not my style. I read what I could find, solicited backstory where I could, and strove to educate myself on what had happened and how. As someone who had not been involved, I did not bring baggage or have a prior agenda. I could listen to both sides and also be trusted because I was not seen as coming from either camp. What that enabled me to do was to immediately start contributing to discussions and offer opinion and feedback.
The result of the evaluation was the resignation of the ED and the task of searching for a new ED. You all are aware of what went into that process, and know how hard we all worked to ensure that the new ED was a great fit for the future of our organization. I not only participated in the process, but had a key role in most of the discussions that ultimately saw our new ED hired. There were passionate people on both sides, but we were all able to have constructive conversations without the prior hostility. We all worked hard to change the culture on the BOD to a more constructive supportive environment, where people could have different opinions on an issue without feeling attacked. We also repaired the rift between the BOD and ABCD by fostering a more open transparent system where there was cross talk with liaisons. We had to deal with the resignation of Jerry Woolf, figure out the line of succession to replace him, and replace several other BOD members as well. That was a busy first 9 or 10 months for a first time BOD member. Not only did I not” just keep my head down”, I stuck my neck out, participated and made myself heard.
(Note: Dr. Burba combined C,E,F into one answer).
C. Serving the AACD requires people to take on projects and see them to completion, often working with others to accomplish specific goals. Tell us about your accomplishments and approach to fulfilling obligations.
E. What do you bring to this position that is unique or distinctive? How will you make a difference?
F. 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.
When I started on the BOD there was an ED Affiliate relations committee. As a past president of an affiliate I was disappointed to not be on that committee. Peter Auster , as a current president of his affiliate was not on the committee either. We thought that was ridiculous. We lobbied hard to get onto that committee and forced a BOD vote to get us there. Once there, it became apparent that the committee seemed to be set up to do away with the affiliates rather than to support them. I worked hard to help change the direction that committee was taking. As a past president I feel strongly that the affiliates can and should be a vital piece to the strategic plan of the AACD.
After only one or two phone meetings, the committee chair resigned and shortly there-after the ED had resigned as well. That left the ED Affiliates relations committee in limbo. It had no chair. More importantly, with no ED how could there be an ED committee. That did not stop us! We lobbied for, and spearheaded the BOD vote that made all committees BOD committees, and got approval to have the committees pick their chairs. On our next call, Peter and I were voted in as co-chairs of the committee. We had gone from being excluded from the committee, to running the show. With that accomplished we set out to make the affiliates have a substantial position within the AACD. There is now an Affiliates-in-a-box concept where new affiliates have resources at their disposal to help form and run their organizations. There are further resources for all affiliates to get speakers, advertise and plan events, find sponsors, communicate with their members, secure discounts on services and supplies, and find new members. There are video clips to play at affiliate events that promote the AACD, membership, accreditation, and scientific sessions. We hosted an affiliate’s lunch at the last scientific session to bring together affiliate leaders to foster communication and brainstorm for mutually beneficial programs. A portion of a morning session was devoted to affiliates where two affiliate awards were given out to honor contributions by members. There are now opportunities to network between affiliates and also with the AACD to help create a symbiotic relationship. All that happened in less than 8 months, and came together in time for Seattle.
We are continuing to work under the new president and with the new ED. The affiliates are now a major part of the strategic plan as laid out in June. I was a major advocate for the affiliates at those sessions. There are programs in place, and in the works, to help the affiliates promote the AACD membership and vice versa. We are working with the newly revived university outreach program to coordinate efforts towards the dental schools. The ABCD is working with us to help promote accreditation to affiliates and also develop courses for affiliates to put on. We are experimenting with two affiliate study group pilot programs to possibly roll out a Spear like module structure in conjunction with the PEC. There is also a pilot program with Chicago to explore a bipartite dues structure. Leadership training is in the works to help both train affiliate leaders and also groom future AACD leaders from affiliate ranks. There are many more ideas and programs to come. My point is that I have not been afraid to get in and tackle a task, and advocate for what I believe in. Anyone who has had experience with me on the BOD knows I am no wall flower.
D. The AACD offers our members a superb opportunity to form friendships which could be brought into conflict when policy decisions or approaches must be addressed. Tell us about how you might balance those friendships when policy or ethical issues create such a conflict.
When there is an organization where so many dynamic personalities exist there are always going to be personality clashes. These may arise from differences in vision or direction where both people truly believe they have the best interest of the academy in mind. I would hope that the fact that the academy does foster such close and lasting friendships would prove to be a benefit in those situations. When the issues have been laid out, the very fact that the friendship exists should mean that the issues get worked through and the friendship endures. I believe that two adults should be able to sit down and work through issues without animosity clouding judgments, or friendships being leveraged.
G. 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.
Aside from the things already mentioned, I believe that I bring a perspective from both general and accredited membership. I have struggled with the lack of excitement and solidarity that other organizations have. As a general member I always looked forward to the annual meeting as a way to reconnect with friends of like mind from around the world. I loved the high level of courses and lack of ego. I was always amazed that the “gurus” were at the courses too. Not only that, but they were at the social events with the rest of us. That doesn’t happen at most conventions. It is that level of camaraderie that makes the AACD special. I have been in the trenches as a newbie and worked my way through the accreditation process. I have seen what it takes to acquire the skills needed to do work at that level. I will try to help ensure that the AACD keeps bringing that level of course. As an accredited member I am now constantly trying to find courses that will continue to push me and expand my knowledge. While the president of the New England chapter I helped to put together and speak at the “Failures I have Known” course at the Boston scientific session in 2011. Our idea was that you tend to learn more from when you fall down, than when everything goes to plan. We designed a course where other lecturers could make a guest appearance. They brought one or two cases that they felt went wrong and told how they learned from them. We managed to get an all star cast ( Goodlin, Weston, Radz, Mechanic, Zase, and others) to put on a fantastic program that got rave reviews. I would try to help bring courses that the general members, accredited members, and maybe even the gurus would want to go to and could learn from.
As a member of the Member linkage committee and then the member communications committee my first year on the BOD, I was directly involved in trying to find ways to bridge the gap between the BOD and the AACD membership. We worked on ways to help the members be heard by the BOD and improve how the BOD communicated and related to the membership. We also revived the university outreach program which I mentioned previously. What I didn’t mention is that we worked to coordinate those efforts with all levels of the AACD. The PEC needed to be in communication with the University Outreach, which needed to coordinate with affiliates, the ABCD, relevancy, marketing and the BOD. Through the strategic planning sessions in June, we have streamlined our efforts by removing duplications, improving communication, and having liaisons.
H. Please list any leadership courses or webinars taken. Leadership training is highly recommended.
As a BOD member this year we all participated in the Leadership training in June. My practice has participated in the Blatchford coaching program, several leadership development seminars, Paul Homily leadership programs, personality profile coaching, conflict resolution training, and I have a practice consultant/coach. I also continue to take many courses on teamwork and leadership.
I. What else should we know in order to consider you as an applicant for this position?
You pose the question in the application “how will you make a difference”? I answer by saying this is how I have made a difference already. You took a chance on a new face two years ago. I had to fight through an election and convince the members to take that same chance. I took that chance and ran with it, worked hard to get up to speed, made my presence felt, and offered more than my two cents. Within the first 6 months I was co-chairing a major committee. I did a great job and I want to continue. You don’t have to take a chance this time. You know what you are getting.
J. Has any dental licensing board taken adverse action against your license or is there any action pending? If yes, please explain.
K. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or are there any charges pending or under investigation? If yes, please explain.