By Greg Hill, J.D.
From the Summer 2022 Journal of the Colorado Dental Association
On June 2, 2014, I walked into the headquarters of the Colorado Dental Association for the very first time as your executive director. I was excited and nervous as I sat out on a journey to be the very best executive director I could be and to help advance the goals and objectives of organized dentistry in Colorado. This summer, I took the next step in my career and have accepted the position of executive director and CEO of the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA). That journey begins in mid-August, so by the time you read this, my time as your executive director will have passed.
As I was wrapping up my work and meeting with staff, colleagues, and stakeholders, I was asked what my most memorable experience was here at the CDA. It is hard to point to any single event, but instead I look back at the start of what would begin the transition that would position Colorado as a national leader in membership growth and provide the structure that allowed us to continue to serve each of you through the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the summer of 2016, and the CDA Executive Committee came together for its annual strategic planning meeting in a hotel near Union Station in Denver. It was there where we carved out a visionary strategic plan and direction that included Membership 2020, a strategy for governance restructuring, and a plan to rebuild an aging technology infrastructure. Each day, we moved the needle, focusing on the metrics of membership growth, turning around a seven-year decline in market share and capitalizing on the tremendous growth in the Colorado market. Between 2016 and 2021, the CDA generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue as it stabilized its membership, and we reinvested those dollars in the technology to begin to create a customized membership experience to empower your success as a dentist here in Colorado. We have rebuilt our technology stack so we could work remotely and securely and continue to serve our members no matter where we worked.
Bottom line, we began to work as a business, not just refocusing our work to empower member success and accelerating our transition toward a customized member experience, but working with our strategic business partners to bring business solutions for your practices to flourish. As I have talked about before, our strategy of resilience that we introduced during COVID aligns itself perfectly with the business model of the American Dental Association as it seeks to reposition itself as a nimble, highly responsive organization.
During my eight years at the CDA, I was very fortunate to have come into this role alongside Dr. Brett Kessler, who became the president of the CDA just days after I started and to learn from him and to see his evolution as a leader. Brett, you are a big part of why I have had this opportunity here in Colorado and I look forward to seeing you continue to grow and serve the profession. Sitting at that board table in 2016 was a first-year member of the CDA Executive Committee, Dr. Jeff Kahl. Jeff, you recognized there was a tremendous opportunity to stabilize our membership and that investing in that infrastructure would lead to tremendous membership and revenue growth. That first-year secretary of the CDA would become the CDA President during COVID and through Jeff’s leadership, we were able to become an even stronger organization. I cannot thank the two of you enough for your vision, your leadership, and your friendship. You both have incredibly bright futures in this profession and your leadership and vision will shape the dental profession for years to come.
For all those eight years, I have had the privilege to work with two amazing women, Pam Brockhaus and Molly Pereira. We’ve added an incredible membership team of Erica Carvin and Elisa Llodra and recently Julie Collett to support the CDA Foundation. While not with us the past few years on staff, but no less a part of my team, has been our lobbyist, Jennifer Goodrum. I feel blessed to have had the chance to work with the six of you. We’ve seen challenges and successes and we’ve supported one another through painful losses. I could never have asked for a better work family to spend my day with five days a week. I consider all of you part of my extended family and you make it very difficult to walk away.
In my conversations with the NYSDA, I talked about the challenges the profession is facing with the lingering effects of COVID, workforce shortages, and now inflation. More than ever, organized dentistry should be an integral part of your dental practice. The CDA team, the staff, leadership, and board of trustees, are as committed as ever to the mission and vision of the CDA. Join them, support them and succeed with them.
As I leave you and say my final goodbyes, I cannot say thank you enough for giving me the chance to work for you. Colorado will always hold a special place in my heart. For many of you, our paths will continue to cross, but for most of you, this is my final goodbye. I wish you all the very best as you continue your careers.