How has ASDA helped you build your leadership skills? My “ASDA fever” started prior to my first year of dental school, when I was involved with the Summer Research Program at Pittsburgh. I was paired with an upperclassman, who had previously completed the research program, as my mentor for the summer. Fortunately, I was paired with Dr. Casey White, ASDA District 3 Trustee 2020-2021, who was actively involved in ASDA. I remember meeting her over lunch. Instead of talking about dental school and research during our first meeting, all we talked about was ASDA. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be involved with the association.
I began my leadership journey with ASDA during my first year, when I served as my class' D1 representative on the Pittsburgh ASDA Executive Board. From there, I attended the District 3 Conference in the Poconos and was elected ASDA Vice President, where I have continued to grow as a leader. Serving in these leadership positions, I have improved my communication and time management skills. I have also seen the power of advocacy first-hand at the local level, where I have advocated for changes within the dental school to promote wellness, such as ensuring students are provided with hearing protection.
What do you think is the most vital quality in a leader? From a young age, I learned that confidence is key. In high school, we were encouraged to stand in the superman pose, telling ourselves that anything was possible. In college, I surrounded myself with strong and confident women in a sorority. Now in dental school, I use these experiences to serve ASDA. Being confident not only in oneself, but in one's abilities is the most impactful quality a leader can have. There is also power in being confident of where one's knowledge stops and knowing who you can approach to find the answer or discuss the need for future change.
Why should members get involved with ASDA leadership positions? Once you experience the energy of “ASDA fever," like I did, it is hard to let go. I would encourage all members to attend a local ASDA event, make the trip to their district conference, and run for a position-whether it be at the chapter, district or national level. I knew from the beginning I wanted to be actively involved in ASDA, but I also recognize that dental school is a challenging time. For those who think they do not have time, I would encourage them to start small, such as helping their local ASDA chapter organize an event. ASDA has given me the opportunity to meet new colleagues, develop my own leadership skills, and build confidence as both a dental student and future dental professional.
What future leadership roles in organized denstiry interest you and why? After my time as Pittsburgh ASDA Vice President comes to a close, my goal is to take on a leadership position at the district level. I want to take the leadership skills and experiences I have gained at my chapter level to positively impact all five schools in District 3.