Brace for Impact

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By Greg Hill, J.D., C.A.E., CDA Executive Director
From the Summer 2017 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association

I recently had a conversation with a dental association leader about our strategic plan and what we hoped to achieve over the next five years. During that conversation I noticed that I used the word “impact” over and over, to the point I was searching for other words to use in its place. 

The more I thought about it after I finished my conversation, the more I recognized that the philosophy behind our strategic plan is all about impact. How can we have a greater impact on our support of future dentists? How can we have a greater impact on member value and create greater member success? How can we have a greater impact on access to care in Colorado?

That ultimately is what we are seeking to do. We are becoming more impactful and optimizing our organization internally by: • rebuilding CDA Enterprises as a for-profit subsidiary, to enable the CDA to grow non-dues revenue; • recommitting our support of dental education, through the CDA Foundation, by growing the CDA Endowed Scholarship at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine; and• creating leadership development programs that will lead to more effective leaders in the future.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer you a brief summary of some key programs we are working on that I believe will make the CDA a more impactful association.

Diversity in Leadership

At the CDA House of Delegates in June, I spoke of the changing demographics in membership. Modeled after similar programs at the American Dental Association and other state associations, the CDA is working to enhance the leadership opportunities for dentists who belong to ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles. The program is in what I call the “innovation” stage, where we are developing the program details and will be formally launched this fall. Following a recruitment and application process, the CDA will identify up to 10 dentists to begin a one-year leadership development program this coming April. Through this program, we are hopeful we can make a substantial impact on the future of this association.

I would like to recognize Dr. Amisha Singh of Aurora, Colo., who was selected to be a member of the 2017-2018 ADA Diversity in Leadership class. We look forward to learning from her experiences as we build our program in Colorado.

Component Presidents-Elect Conference

Each year, the state association presidents-elect gather in Chicago for a training program designed to help them become more effective leaders. Similarly, we are working to bring the presidents-elect of our component societies together to help them become more prepared as they take on the responsibilities of running a component society. This program will include a detailed overview of the CDA, the staff, the goals and how we can work together to make all of our components and the CDA stronger. Look for more details this winter.

Integrating Higher Technologies into the Association

Customized, on-demand content, personalized for the member is an expectation that must be met for a seamless online user experience. Amazon and Netflix are now the standard that every business organization must achieve or run the risk of becoming the next Blockbuster. To be more impactful as a 21st Century association, the CDA is exploring integrated systems that will enable it to pull together data from multiple platforms to give members a customized experience while providing staff with analytics to make better decisions and be more innovative in program design.

CDA Enterprises to Better Connect CDA Members with Member Benefits

If the CDA is to grow and become a more impactful organization and meet the future needs of its members, it must optimize its non-dues revenue generating programs. CDA Enterprises (CDAE) will work as the association’s for-profit subsidiary to bring a more focused approach to member benefits through its endorsed companies. A new board of directors has been selected for CDAE and we have been working with Snowgumbo Services in a consulting role to research similar programs in other states and professions and gathering data on member utilization. Their report will become part of the “playbook” as we seek to help our members become more successful in their dental practices.

Telling the CDA Story Through a Cohesive Brand Strategy

What image do you see when you think of the CDA? What image do policymakers see? What image does the public see? The most successful companies have defined a cohesive brand strategy that tells the story of their products and services. As we seek to become more impactful as the leading advocate for oral health in Colorado and as a strong voice for the profession, we have a story that must pull together our public outreach, our member recruitment, future dentists, along with stakeholders and policymakers, in much the same way others in the healthcare space have already done. Moore Communications Group, nationally recognized through their work with Fortune 500 companies, is working with the CDA to build a cohesive brand that creates the CDA story we want to tell. Meanwhile, the ADA is working to redefine its brand design through a member-centered vision and forward-looking strategy, which will reshape the future relationship with members.

As I begin my fourth year as your executive director, I am more excited than ever before about this organization and its future. These programs, along with our political action committee, our foundation, our new dentists committee, and countless other programs are working collaboratively to give greater voice to our membership and to help them become more successful dentists through exciting and innovative programs. So brace yourself and imagine the possibilities and the impact we can together have on the profession.