The weekend prior to Thanksgiving, I attended the 2014 AGD Leadership Symposium. It was a great opportunity and I was quite excited to attend. Ironically, as I was preparing to go to AGD Headquarters to get a peek at the new building, I was sitting with a friend and was sharing how much I was looking forward to the upcoming days. It was in that moment that I remembered that the AGD symposium was not my first experience participating in a leadership event. In fact, it was 19 years prior.
In November 1993, as a high school junior, I went to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Young Leaders Conference (NYLC). The NYLC is a weeklong leadership program for outstanding students. The program still lists as one of its benefits that students will learn essential leadership, communication, networking, decision making, conflict resolution, and critical thinking skills. At that moment, as I reminisced about my time in D.C., my friend asked me: What did you learn from that conference? I can say without a doubt that I left that conference learning more about my young self than I first even realized. I began setting goals and meeting them. I stepped up for leadership positions in my extracurricular high school activities and excelled in them. What the NYLC taught me has resonated throughout my life. I didn't realize it until that conversation, but I have always been a leader, volunteering within many organizations throughout my adult life.
As a young dental school graduate, I had a drive to lead and participate, but I struggled to find the right fit. It wasn’t until I attended the AGD Practiceology Conference in Atlanta in November 2012 that I recognized how comfortable I felt with the AGD. Although I had been a member since I was in dental school, the AGD Practiceology Conference enticed me to attend more AGD-sponsored symposiums and conferences. Following the AGD Practiceology Conference, there was a 24-month, fast-paced, accelerated drive within me to do more within the AGD. In 24 months, I completed my Fellowship, began blogging here, joined the Michigan Board as a MasterTrack committee member, and then served as a member of the Michigan AGD Board of Directors. I also made the commitment to attend every annual session possible.
Now that I have attended the 2014 AGD Leadership Symposium, I am wondering, what can I do next? Where am I best suited to serve? I am not certain where I will be in an official capacity, but I can tell you that I am very excited about the future of the AGD—and you should be, too! If you have always had a desire to do more, reach out to your AGD constituent board, or if you have a desire to collaborate with your colleagues at the national level, let AGD Headquarters know—the AGD is always looking for future leaders.
Here I am again—setting goals and aspiring to meet them.
Colleen B. DeLacy, DDS, FAGD