Question and Answer: Notarantonio
A. Why are you applying for this position?
I became a member of the AACD in 2007, and attended my first meeting in Atlanta. As I attended lectures and looked at Showcase photos, I was in awe of the knowledge and skill that these doctors and technicians displayed. I was determined to get to that level myself and began the Accreditation process shortly thereafter. I must say, it was the most educational and amazing experience of my career to date.
One of the other things I love about the annual meeting is the quality of speakers and education available. I’ve always said, and continue to say, that there is no other meeting that I attend where I look forward to each and every class that I register for.
The reason I am applying is very simple. I realize that I may have never known about the Academy or this process if I was not guided by a member and his recommendation to become a part of it. I feel that I owe a lot of where I am in my career to the Academy, and am dedicated to do all I can to help it to continue to grow in a positive direction. The people I have met, the education I have and continue to receive, and the skills I continue to develop were definitely not attainable in dental school or thereafter, without the proper guidance and organization. I firmly believe that the AACD delivers all of this. Up to this point, I have focused mainly on my clinical skills to be the best practitioner I can be. I feel it is time for me to expand my role as an Accredited member of the organization so that I can further contribute in whatever way the Academy needs me to.
I am participating in my second University Outreach Program at SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. I have already begun sharing my experience locally to dental students in support of the AACD. Last years response was excellent and I am hoping for an even better one this year. It is one of my goals to enlighten young dentists and dental students to the wonderful world of dentistry and the resources available to them. I would also like to focus on enlightening as many dentists as possible about the Academy. In my demographic area, the presence of the AACD is not as powerful as I would like it to be, or think it should be for that matter. Therefore, as a member of the board, my goal would be to help with further ideas on how to let people know about the Academy and all it has to offer, as well as help find ways to make all existing members as active as possible, and further spark their enthusiasm to do the same.
B. We are interested in learning about your leadership skills and organizational style. Tell us what we would expect and how you work with others. Be as specific as possible.
My ability to work well with others developed when I was a child. Growing up, I was a soccer player, and not just recreationally. As with everything I do, I put my heart and soul into the sport I loved, and strived to be the best. As you may know, soccer is very much a team sport that requires dedication, discipline and selflessness. On numerous occasions, I was given the responsibility of being a team captain and I never knew what that responsibility really meant until I was much older. Over the years, I learned that this honor was not just about how skillful a player one was, but equally important how well that person motivated and represented the team both on and off the field. The two instances that made me realize exactly what being a captain was all about were when I was chosen captain of the U.S. Eastern regional team during try outs for the Under 17 U.S. National team, and more importantly, captain of the 1995 Ivy League Champion Cornell University Men’s Soccer Team. That team went from two wins the year before, to winning an Ivy League Championship. We weren't just a team, we were a family. This is the philosophy I would adopt as a member of the board, as well as with all members of the Academy in general. Simply put, I will do anything for anyone or for something I believe in, and I never expect anything in return.
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.
I quote from the movie Back to the Future, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything." For as long as I can remember, I have always lived by those words. In high school, I was determined to be the best soccer player in New York; in 1991 I was voted Section IX most valuable player. As a child, I dreamed of representing my country in Soccer; in 1990 I was a member of the Under 17 United States National Team. My goal as a senior in high school was to get into an Ivy League School to receive a great education, as well as win an Ivy League championship in soccer; in 1992 I was accepted into Cornell University and won the Ivy League Championship in 1995. In 1997 I was accepted to NYU Dental School but was waitlisted at Stony Brook. I was determined to get into Stony Brook and went to the admissions office every day at 4pm to see if a spot opened. Needless to say, I received a call one day from the director of admissions and her exact words were, "Mr. Persistence, would you like to attend Stony Brook in the fall?" This same determination is now an integral part of my dental career. As soccer was my passion growing up, dentistry is certainly my passion now. As I stated earlier, I wanted nothing more than to have the skills I saw presented at the AACD meeting in Atlanta. I worked hard to become an Accredited member and I am continuing that effort currently toward my Fellowship. More importantly, when I am asked of something by others, I do it immediately to the best of my ability and with no procrastination. I feel this enthusiasm and determination will be a very positive attribute to the board, and the AACD in general.
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.
Although a conflict between friendships and ethical issues may very well arise, to me it is very simple. Business is business, and personal is personal. In my opinion, as long as the distinction is made between the two, friendships need not suffer. I may not always agree with my friends on politics, ethics, or personal issues, but that does not mean they are not great friends. People come from different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs, and I feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether or not I agree with it. I was raised by two immigrant parents who came here from Italy at a very young age, and their culture, as is the case with many others, has some very interesting cuisines. Growing up, I was told every thing I ate was "Italian chicken". Obviously that was not the case, but that does not take away from the fact that it was all very good. Now if I would have been close minded as I grew up and avoided the things that I ate as a child, I would be missing out on some fantastic dishes. In my eyes, this open mindedness is something I feel will easily balance my friendships if policy or ethical issues arise.
E. What do you bring to this position that is unique or distinctive? How will you make a difference?
One thing that will set me a part as a candidate is my clinical experiences thus far in private practice. I joined private practice as an associate in an office that was very “technology” oriented. I quickly adopted all of these principles into my practice philosophy. From the start I have been accustomed to a “paperless office”, digital radiography, Cone Beam Technology, and CAD/CAM technology, both chairside and laboratory (I have an in office technician). Although I am not sure how many Board members share these experiences, I feel I may be able to make a positive influence with the “digital generation” of the Academy and also get those people that are part of that world more involved with the academy as well.
Even though I may lack experience on the political side, I feel this can be a benefit to the AACD. As I learn and develop as a board member, I will have the opportunity to experience the direction in which the Academy would like to go, as well as offer insight into more positive directions that the Academy can take. I do belong to numerous other organizations, but I do not possess the passion for them nearly as much as I do for the AACD. I would love to make the AACD an integral part of every practitioner’s life and will do whatever it takes to make that dream possible. As you saw from my previous answers, as well as my motivation in athletics, I feel that my determination is something unique that I can bring to this position. I never was one to accept the answer that something cannot be done, and I will further encourage open-mindedness as a member of the board. As always, I will put my heart and soul into this position and do the very best I can for the Academy and all of its members.
F. Please give us an idea 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.
As I review the Academy's Core Ideology, it is exactly what the Academy instilled in me. The Academy is what gave me the platform to develop into the clinician I am today, and unknowingly instilled those values in me along the way. This, in my opinion, is one of the great things about the Academy. It is constantly giving you the opportunity to improve as a person and a clinician and it is up to the individual how far they want to go. It is these exact values that I want to share with the students and dentists of the world. As I am not far out of dental school myself, I can clearly relate to them and very easily show them exactly what they may be uncertain of, and how bright their future can be with the proper guidance. I never had the good fortune to be guided in school or at home, having not had any dentists in the family. In fact, I was the first person to graduate from high school in my family. My achievements were not without hard work and perseverance. As rewarding as each achievement was, a little guidance would have been helpful. I am actively involved in the University Outreach Program and would love to find more ways to get the younger generation more involved in our Academy. As far as the strategic plan goes, I agree with the overall plan as I review it. This I feel, is where my inexperience again can be a positive thing as a board member. If I earn a spot on the board, I will learn more specifically what direction we are headed in to achieve each goal, and offer an enthusiastic insight with other ways to reach our goals.
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.
I honestly feel that this is where I can contribute the most as a board member. For anyone who knows me well, they will tell you that I truly am a well rounded person. I can relate to people of any age, gender, race or culture. I have always been that way throughout my entire life. For example, I have friends who are very well educated, and some who did not graduate high school. However, no matter what context you put me in, I have the ability to fit in well. I feel that this is critical when it comes to relating and forming a bridge between our board and our members. Certain things are not for everyone. For example, Accreditation may not be for everyone, or Fellowship for that matter. However, I feel that even though a doctor may not be interested in the Accreditation process that does not necessarily mean that they cannot be an asset to the Academy in general. I learned so much as a clinician at our meetings that I feel anyone can benefit from attending them. Maybe when the time is right, they will challenge themselves towards attaining Accreditation. In the mean time, I feel like the first step is to make our members more a part of the Academy, to the point that they are proud advocates of it. I have always believed that the best referral is word of mouth, and maybe this is something we need our members to do more of so that this Academy gets the recognition it deserves.
H. Please least any leadership courses or webinars taken.
I have taken the following two leadership webinar courses from the Dale Carnegie Training Institute
Coaching for Improved Performance
Course Information: Accountability starts with clearly defined performance objectives, and good leaders measure individual and group contributions against those ends, working diligently to close the gaps. Holding others accountable to their goals provides opportunities for growth, learning, and ongoing motivation. This workshop provides effective coaching techniques and other tools to help close the gap between expected performance and actual results.
Dream Big, Focus Small: Achieve SMARTER Goals
Course Information: We often have the best intentions when it comes to goals. Sometimes we surprise ourselves and achieve great things - either personally or professionally. At other times we make a few attempts then abandon our efforts before we realize any benefits. How is it that sometimes we push through barriers to reach our goals, yet at other times we come up short or get derailed? In this fast-paced, one-hour Live Online webinar you will learn the importance of getting really clear about what you want. You'll pinpoint with a laser-like focus the small steps that you need to getting big results. And you'll learn how setting SMARTER goals is the key to overcoming obstacles and consistently achieving success.
I also completed a course in public speaking at the Dale Carnegie Institute, as well as The Sirona Speakers Academy Workshop given by Dr. Paul Homoly.
I. What else should we know to consider you as an applicant for this position?
One of the most important things I feel should be considered about me for this position is that I am not only dedicated to the Academy, but I am dedicated to help people in every aspect of life. In 2008 I spent a month in Madagascar doing pro-bono dental care in rural areas. Some of these people have never seen a dentist and the infections we came across were life threatening indeed. Not only may I have saved a few lives during this trip, it changed my life in so many ways.
Along with my partners and staff, we participate in several community activities such as a Halloween candy-buy-back, sponsoring guide dogs for American veterans, local food drives during the holiday season, and a scholarship contest. One of my biggest passions however, is treating students from the Martin C. Barell School, Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism (NSSA). NSSA was founded to provide services that meet the unique needs of individuals and families touched by autism. The goal of these services is to maximize potential, to enable individuals with autism to more fully participate in family life, to prepare for the transition to increasingly less restrictive educational environments, to develop the skills necessary for future employment, and to develop the skills that facilitate full participation in community living. In addition to the challenges listed previously, another one is the challenge of maintaining their oral health. This obstacle is one that the staff at NSSA, along with myself and my staff at Huntington Bay Dental, are constantly attempting to improve for the future of their students. I am proud to say that I treat many of the students pro-bono and their families, and they have become part of my family as well.
I feel that I have touched on many of the positive attributes that I can give to the Academy in general, and to the board if elected. Honestly, I feel that the most accurate way to evaluate me for this position would be during a personal interview. It is there I feel that you will truly see the excitement, passion and dedication I can bring to the Academy now, and for many years to come.
J. Has any dental licensing board taken adverse action against your license or is there any action pending or under investigation?
K. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or are there any charges pending or under investigation?