Getting ready for the June Board meetings, it was time to pack. Luggage is getting larger from the days when I could throw in a pair of jeans and few t-shirts and head off to the airport. Now there are file folders, suits and ties (OMG!), and on this particular day, 23 stuffed toy beavers to give out to the staff in Madison.
The customs agent raised a few eyebrows and pointed to the secondary inspection line…”You got some 'splanin to do, Lucy!” After a 30-minute session where U.S customs verified this Canadian’s claim to being President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry--and a lot of smirking as he was rummaging through my luggage--they let me board the plane.
Needless to say, the beavers provided an entire weekend of comments and jokes, and I am afraid I have cemented my legacy within this Academy….although it could be a lot worse!
I want my Presidential year to be known for lots of hard work, a great sense of humour, the desire to keep it fun, and to ensure open communication to promote teamwork, trust, and camaraderie amongst the leadership.
It’s working. These efforts have been embraced by all of our leaders, both past and present, and the feeling of friendship, teamwor,k and energy during this past meeting is living proof that all it takes is to be nice. Figures it took a Canadian to get this one right!
On a more serious note, looking into the crystal ball is providing an interesting challenge to create a road map to the future, to determine how the Academy can be proactive to deal with the trends and issues that face us, and to be prepared for change as opposed to not being forced to react to it.
We have changed the focus of the Board to one of future vision with detailed direction and oversight of our staff. We have spent 2 ½ years figuring out governance, and beta testing it, and now are finally able to use these new “rules of administration” to make things happen. We look so good this year only because of the hard work of the Presidents who paved the way for this year to unfold as it should. Thank you!
Our meetings were filled with experts discussing the trends in dentistry (nothing we didn’t expect, but nice to confirm our suspicions with graphs and numbers) along with taking care of business items and a good mix of leadership development!
It was a fantastic agenda, exactly what a Board should be doing, and I am so proud of the participation. We have the right people on this board, a great mix of skill sets and diversity and we worked together as a team to make the appropriate decisions on behalf of the members of this Academy.
We are off to a great start. It was unanimously felt that we worked hard yet we still had fun and frolic in Madison!
After the accolades and success of the scientific session in DC, the personal note from Canada's Prime Minister, knowing that all was running smoothly and full steam ahead, I knew the shoe would have to drop.
Now I find myself the subject of my very own personal country and western song, as our beloved pet Shih Tzu succumbed to cancer. It is so hard to let go of someone or something we love! The painful emptiness one feels is only something that will dull over time until we can find comfort in the fond memories we hold so close to our hearts.
We're reminded that our lives are multifaceted. Although we have an incredible passion for the Academy, it is really about the relationships we have, the good things we do to make things better for others, and that we must maintain a balance between work, the Academy, other interests, and of course family and friends.
Being President of this Academy is like any other position....you get out of it what you put into it. Those who know me understand I don't do anything that isn't all out and full on, so the issue is not how much I will put into this position, but how I will maintain that life balance that can so easily be lost.
It seems most of my time is spent working on Academy business, phone calls to members, committee conference calls and planning for the future. But the life balance needs to return. Feeling safe knowing that everything was humming along and there was not much more I could do this weekend until I received some survey results from the board, I decided to heed my own advice and take time to create some life balance.
I donned my pack of camera gear and headed out for a couple of days of solitude into the wilds of Algonquin Park in quest of moose and newborn calves to photograph. Mommy moose was very accommodating as I was able to spend 5 hours one day getting to know her and her 2-week-old calf. They put on quite a show for me. It was touching to see the way this big mama moose was so tender with the newborn. The time away was wonderful for putting things back in perspective. I even got home early enough to spend time with my wife, Ricki, and our son Ryan who had just returned from his first year at law school in London, England.
Just like that mama moose and her newborn calf in the wilderness, we are only here for a short time, to do our best to make things better for those who will take our place oh so quickly. Remembering that it is about the relationships we build, the good things we do for others, and living every day as if there will be no tomorrow will help me keep my perspective as we work hard this year to keep this Academy so great well into the future.