Tom Sullivan knows just how many volunteers contributed to the 2014 Midwinter Meeting. And he knows that the Chicago Dental Society will need just as many volunteers to produce similarly stellar meetings in 2015, 2020 and 2050.
He and his colleagues will help interested members identify opportunities to increase their involvement with their dental society at a new program being offered at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting. Dr. Sullivan, a longtime Chicago Dental Society member and past president of the Illinois State Dental Society will lead Your Dental Society Needs You Friday, Feb. 21, beginning at 10 a.m. in Room W474A.
“In my 30 years with organized dentistry, I got into the mix of the Midwinter Meeting, met people, and learned from the bottom up what it takes to put together something of this magnitude. There is a huge team behind our meeting; someone has to be walking the floor and checking fire codes, for example,” Dr. Sullivan explained. “We aim to make people aware of the avenues for new dentists to get involved with their Branches and gain access to volunteer positions.”
Dr. Sullivan and his colleagues on site will answer questions from the audience and share their own stories of involvement in organized dentistry.
“As a young dentist, what impressed me was putting a face to name that I had heard and getting to know people, emulate them and call them my true mentors,” Dr. Sullivan said. “You can repeat that story if you take the time, and you get it back 10 fold. It’s not that big of a mountain to climb, but it is fun climbing it.”
Longtime CDS member and volunteer Michael Durbin said the program was born out of questions he hears from younger colleagues all the time. He encouraged current volunteers to invite younger colleagues and attend together.
“We know that our dental students are more engaged than they used to be, and we have lots of student volunteers. But there are the same opportunities for them once they graduate and start practicing,” he explained.
“We need to grab that enthusiasm and make sure we’re giving them an outlet for their leadership to continue. We hear over and over again that people are unsure of how to get involved,” he continued. “We needed to take that message to the Midwinter Meeting for people to see all of their options for getting involved. This is an opportunity to ask questions and get together a plan for where to go next.”